Sophie Ryan is online editor for the Business Herald

Spark or Vodafone - Who's number one?

Spark has waded into the Sky TV-Vodafone merger discussion - disputing a claim that Vodafone is New Zealand's number one mobile phone company.

Spark issued a statement this morning saying it is the number one mobile provider - when measured in terms of revenue earned from customers.

Documents released in the proposed merger deal say Vodafone is expected to earn $1.065 billion in mobile revenue (excluding wholesale customers) in the 12 months to June 30 2016.

Spark said today it expected its mobile revenue in the same period would exceed $1.1 billion, a lift of at least 7.9 per cent on last year.

"The company that Sky TV is merging with is only number two in mobile, not number one as quoted throughout their merger documents," Spark managing director Simon Moutter said.

Vodafone has not released its mobile revenues in New Zealand for many years, Spark said.

Vodafone declined to comment on the claim.

"We've rapidly closed the gap to Vodafone in terms of mobile customer numbers over the past few years. As a consequence, we've been confident we've been edging ahead in terms of mobile revenue market share," Moutter said.

Peter Wise, country manager for International Data Corporations (IDC), said both telcos had reasonable claims to the top spot.

Vodafone reported 2.4 million connections, compared to IDC's estimation of 2.26 million connections for Spark.

"They're both looking for bragging rights. They're both pretty close."

Wise said Spark has had a strong year in the last 12 months and the strong competition in the telco sector was good for customers.

"It's a really competitive market [in New Zealand], particularly when you look at 2Degrees."

The Sky TV/Vodafone proposal involves Sky TV acquiring 100 per cent of Vodafone NZ from UK-based Vodafone Group. The proposal is subject to Commerce Commission and Overseas Investment Office approval as well as the support of Sky shareholders.

- NZ Herald

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