Spark is closing the Public Switched Telephone Network

The older analogue network (known as PSTN), which connects calls over copper lines is operated by Spark but used by some Vodafone customers. Spark has announced that PSTN technology is reaching end-of-life – they started decommissioning this network in 2017 and are taking an area by area approach with the aim of completing the work by 2023. This means that if you have a home phone using the copper network, it will stop working once Spark discontinues PSTN services in your area.

To make sure our customers are up and running on more modern technology before then, we’ve started moving our customers off PSTN and onto alternative services like voice calling over broadband (VoIP) or Wireless Broadband to ensure they have a home phone that still works after the older analogue telephone network (PSTN) shuts down.

Important things to know

  • If you have a monitored security or medical alarm that relies on your phone line it’s important that you call the company that monitors your alarm to ask if their services will work with voice calling over broadband/Wireless Broadband. If not, you’ll need to find an alternative before you switch to one of these services.
  • You’ll be able to keep your phone number when you move to voice calling over broadband or Wireless Broadband.

FAQs

What is the PSTN network?

Many years ago, phone calls were connected by a switchboard operator at the exchange. They would insert the phone plug into the right socket so the call could be connected. Automated systems to connect phone calls eventually replaced the switchboard operators in the 1980s.



Since then, phone calls have been connected through the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) which is operated by Spark. It’s a network of switches that automatically connect calls from one person to another over copper lines. The parts needed to keep it going aren’t being made any more, so Spark is retiring the PSTN network.

When will my local PSTN service no longer be available?

Spark is taking an area by area approach to move people off of the PSTN. These are the areas where PSTN services are no longer available at some addresses:

In Auckland: Devonport, Takapuna, Forrest Hill, Birkenhead, Birkdale and Tamaki.

In Wellington: Miramar, Hataitai, Wellington South (including Brooklyn, Kingston, Newton, Melrose, Berhampore, Mornington and Vogeltown) and Kilbirnie.

We have also moved Vodafone customers off the PSTN network in the following areas:

In Auckland: Albany, Browns Bay, Glenfield, Greenhithe, Kumeu, Red Beach, Torbay, Warkworth, and Whenuapai.

From 20 September 2021 PSTN services will no longer be available in these areas:

  • In Wellington: Alicetown, Eastbourne, ,Porirua, Stokes Valley, Tawa, Wainuiomata
  • In Kapiti Coast: Paraparaumu, Raumati
  • In Christchurch: Burwood, New Brighton
  • In Asbhurton: Ashburton
  • In Dunedin: Halfway Bush, Mornington, Port Chalmers
  • In Auckland: Beachlands, Greenhithe, Mt Roskill, Mt Wellington

While we don’t know which areas Spark will discontinue PSTN services next, we want to make sure our customers are up and running on more modern technology before then, so we’ll continue moving more Vodafone customers off the PSTN network. During mid 2021 we’re focussing on approximately 300 other areas throughout New Zealand.

How do I know if I have a traditional phone line?

If your home phone is plugged into a phone jack in your wall, it’s most likely that you have a traditional phone line that uses the old PSTN network. We’ll be in touch with a recommended alternative service for you – either voice calling over broadband or Wireless Broadband.

Can I still use my phone jack in the wall after the change?

If you have integrated wiring, your phones can be plugged into phone jacks in the wall. If you don’t have integrated wiring, you’ll need to plug your phone directly into the Phone 1 port on the back of your Vodafone modem. For more info or help getting set up, head to vodafone.co.nz/setupvoice

I’m not good with change – how can I get extra support to help me through this?

We have an NZ-based team that can help you through this and can even arrange for a Noel Leeming's Tech Support home visit on us to get your new service set up at your place. Please call us on 0800 000 047 between 11am to 7.30pm, Monday-Friday.

Can I talk to someone about this?

Yes – we have an NZ-based team that can help you. Please call us on 0800 000 047 between 11am to 7.30pm, Monday-Friday.

What if I don’t want my home phone anymore?

We can remove your home phone line from your Vodafone account. Please call our NZ-based team on 0800 000 047 between 11am to 7.30pm, Monday-Friday and they'll get this sorted for you.

What if I don’t want to change anything?

When Spark closes down your local PSTN exchange, your phone line will stop working and you won’t be able to use the same traditional phone line with any other provider either.

If you still need a phone service, here are your options:

  • Your phone line moves to voice calling over broadband;
  • Your phone line moves to run over Wireless Broadband; or
  • You only use a mobile phone instead.

What if I don’t get in touch with Vodafone in time?

We’ll try to contact you but if we can’t get in touch and don’t hear back from you then we won’t be able to move you to an alternative service. If this happens, we’ll assume that you no longer need your phone line and will take steps to remove it from your Vodafone account. This means:

  • You won’t be charged for your phone line from the date given in the letter/email from us (or we’ll give you a credit if your bill had already been sent to you).
  • You’ll lose your phone number and if you have Vodafone voicemail or call divert set up these will be cancelled.
  • If you have a monitored security or medical alarm that relies on your phone line this will also stop working.
  • These phone line changes will not impact your Broadband services with us.

Do I need to do anything right now?

If you haven’t heard from us and you have a traditional home phone, please call our NZ based team on 0800 000 047 between 11am to 7.30pm, Monday-Friday.

If you have a monitored security or medical alarm that relies on your phone line, it’s important that you call the company that monitors your alarm to ask if their services will work with voice calling over broadband/Wireless Broadband. If not, you’ll need to find an alternative before you switch to one of these services.

Do you have a monitored security or medical alarm that relies on your phone line?

If you have a monitored security or medical alarm that relies on your phone line, it’s important that you call the company that monitors your alarm to ask if their services will work with voice calling over broadband/Wireless Broadband. If not, you’ll need to find an alternative before you switch to one of these services.

Do you have a way to call 111 during a power cut?

If you or someone in your household relies on your Vodafone landline service, in order to contact 111 for medical, safety or disability reasons, you may be able to apply to be listed as a Vulnerable consumer.
If you qualify, Vodafone will provide you with a means to call 111 for emergency services in the event of a power cut. This will be provided at no cost.
To learn if you or someone you live with is eligible see our Vulnerable Customer or Medical Dependency Registration.

Will the price of my service change?

The price of your service may change – our NZ based team will talk you through your options and how much they will cost. Please call them on 0800 000 047 between 11am to 7.30pm, Monday-Friday.

Will any discounts I currently have continue?

Any discounts you have on your current plan will be removed when you move to a new service. If you have an eligible Pay Monthly mobile plan, you’ll still be able to get a $10 monthly discount off the price of your new plan.

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