Section 4: Identifying participants in the market


The Commerce Commission has obligations under the Act to monitor different aspects of telecommunications markets (section 9A), along with the performance and development of telecommunications markets.

There is currently no positive obligation on market participants to make themselves known to the Commission upon market entry. As a result, there is no exhaustive list of all active telecommunications service providers in New Zealand that can be used for the Commission’s monitoring and compliance purposes.

Internationally, registration schemes for telecommunications service providers are common. In Canada and Singapore, there are mandatory registration and/or licensing schemes for providers of telecommunications services. In late 2023, the Australian Government sought views on the potential roll out of a mandatory licensing or registration scheme which would capture all telecommunications retailers. For clarity, we are not proposing a licensing regime, these examples are for illustrative purposes.

Problem definition

Requirements in the Act are given effect through the monitoring, compliance and enforcement activities of the Commerce Commission. To carry out its functions, the Commission needs to be aware of, and have key information about, participants. Currently the onus is primarily on the Commerce Commission to identify market participants, meaning its list of who is in the market may not be complete.

This can result in non-compliance issues for telecommunications providers, if they are not aware of the obligations they have under the Act, with potential costs if the Commission takes action for such non-compliance. Non-compliance can also have a significant impact for consumers. For example, the 111 Contact Code states that providers must ensure that vulnerable consumers have an appropriate means for contacting 111 emergency services in the event of a power failure.

Questions for stakeholders

Question 19

Do you consider there is a need for a registration requirement for telecommunications providers operating in New Zealand (when entering the market, as well as updating contact and other business details over time)? Why or why not?


Option 1: Status quo – no obligation for participants to identify themselves to the Commission for monitoring and enforcement purposes

Under this option, no changes would be made. The onus would remain on the Commerce Commission to identify relevant market participants.

Option 2: Mandatory registration requirement for telecommunications market participants

Under this option, market participants would have an obligation to make themselves known to the Commission or another government agency (ie MBIE). It could involve an ongoing obligation for providers to update their information if contact details or business offerings change over time.


  • Allows the Commission to accurately identify market participants for monitoring and compliance purposes.
  • Reduces risk of non-compliance for providers, and in turn benefits consumers.
  • Increases efficiency for the Commerce Commission as less time and cost is spent identifying market participants.


  • Ensuring registration requirements and costs do not create barriers to entry for smaller providers.
  • Scope of information required – could include provider name, key contacts and possibly other information (for example a high level description of the business) that would assist the Commerce Commission.  
  • Would need to determine what registration information (if any) is publicly available.

MBIE comment

MBIE does not have a preferred option at this stage. We are seeking feedback on the costs and benefits of a registration requirement. We note that if a register were created to hold this information, consideration would be given to the costs of establishing and maintaining such a register. Registers are typically run on a cost recovery basis, with fees collected from those registering. MBIE’s view is that any registration costs should be kept to a minimum.

Questions for stakeholders

Question 20

What are your views on the options we have identified? Do you have a preference, if so, why? Are there any options we have not identified?

Question 21

What would be the implications of a registration requirement for your business?

Question 22

Do you see any benefits or problems with information provided for registration being released/disclosed publicly? If so, what types of information should or should not be disclosed?