Spark fighting fit as telco closes connection gap on Vodafone

“All up, Spark New Zealand is in the best shape it’s been in for many years.”

“The Turnaround Programme was completed at the end of June 2015, delivering significant improvement in sustainable free cash flow,” Verbiest adds.

“The principles of the programme have now been embedded into each part of the business.”


Echoing Verbiest’s comments, Managing Director Simon Moutter also claims that the first phase of the Spark New Zealand strategy that commenced in 2013 is now complete.

“We have now stabilised and reset the business to reflect the fast-changing and increasingly digital world in which Spark New Zealand and our customers live,” he adds.

“During that time we have reduced prices, cut costs, simplified products, overhauled IT platforms, rebuilt networks, established a new fast and competitive organisational culture and started winning in the market.

“We’ve also sold businesses that were no longer going to be part of Spark New Zealand’s future, and invested in the new core Spark brands, together with brands and new businesses like Skinny, Bigpipe, Revera, Qrious, Lightbox and Morepork.

“The extent of the change the organisation has experienced over the last two years is profound.

“Customers are sensing the shift and responding positively with improved brand metrics and reputation measures across key customer segments.”

Moutter says the company has sustained revenue and earnings growth in the Spark Home, Mobile & Business business unit for three halves now, driven by a strong performance in the market.

“While the FY15 results for the Spark Digital business unit reflect the impact of market pressures, we have now finished repositioning the business model, and we’re focused on closing high-quality sales and operating efficiency with a view to stabilising Spark Digital earnings in FY16,” he adds.

“Investment in digital service growth options has continued, with Lightbox surpassing its first subscriber target, Qrious gaining a firm position in the emerging data analytics market, Cloud IT growing strongly and Morepork Smart Living beta-launched.

“Our end-to-end Cloud computing capabilities have continued to expand with both Revera and Appserv exceeding performance expectations and attracting a significant number of new business customers.

“We believe our combined data network is second to none in New Zealand.”

As explained by Moutter, this includes the national reach of the 4G mobile network, the company’s optical transport core network and its nationwide broadband and WiFi networks.

“We have accelerated our rollout of 4G mobile broadband services using the 700MHz spectrum to make the most of owning more spectrum in this band range than any other provider,” he adds.

“Release 2 of the re-engineered IT systems has been delivered and our centralised Turnaround Programme to drive process and cost improvements has been completed, laying the foundation for future operational efficiency gains.

“All up, Spark New Zealand is in the best shape it’s been in for many years.

“We’re now shifting to the next phase of our strategy with even greater emphasis on digital self-service capability and leveraging our outstanding networks to create truly great customer experiences, and in turn generate sustainable margin and revenue growth.”

For Moutter, this is one of the key drivers behind the company’s newly launched Digital First Programme.

“Digital First is the next step in transforming Spark New Zealand into a smarter, more agile, more efficient company, with great digital customer experiences at its heart,” he adds.

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