Mobile Network 2degrees will today launch a new offer that knocks down one of the biggest mobile data customer pain points by allowing customers to share data from one account.
"Shared Data" means a customer can use data from one account across a range of devices, or share that data with friends and family, provided they too are on 2degrees' network.
Malcolm Phillipps, 2degrees' chief marketing officer, said 46 per cent of mobile users now have more than one device while 72 per cent of those with a mobile data plan don't use their full allocation.
Shared Data will address both of those issues and simplify account administration and payment for customers.
Now, many customers "tether" devices such as iPads, setting up a wi-fi network from their smartphones and using that connection for their tablet to avoid extra data charges. Shared Data means customers will no longer have to do that, said Phillipps.
Phillipps said mobile data use on the 2degrees' network has increased by more than 200 per cent over the last year as more customers use multiple devices to stay connected.
It also delivers economies of scale. Customers can think about taking larger data plans which deliver better value for money.
He said the offer is a New Zealand first and the only other similar consumer plan anywhere else is in Canada.
2degrees' chief executive Eric Hertz said customers on 2degrees' Pay Monthly accounts can cover up to five mobile devices from one data plan, allocating their data to any smartphone, tablet, USB modem or gaming device that uses the 2degrees network.
"Unused data no longer goes to waste," said Hertz.
Data can also be shared with any other 2degrees customers, including those on prepay.
2degrees research found that almost three-quarters of those surveyed believe their data plans do not offer good value for money. The survey also found fewer than 50 per cent think mobile data plans are simple to understand.
Hertz said Shared Data is free to all 2degrees Pay Monthly customers for the first six months (until December 7, 2012).
After that it will cost $5 a month plus $1 a month for every gadget that is added. Everyone who joins also gets 1GB of bonus data free every month for one year.
To set up a shared plan, customers text from the SIM their Pay Monthly account is on with the mobile number of the gadget they want to share with by sending "Shared" and the mobile number to 747.
To cancel sharing with a device, they send a text from their SIM with the word "Stop" to 747.
Last week 2degrees launched "touch" mobile phone payments for bus and taxi fares in Wellington with payment card company Snapper, in what it described as the first fully commercial deployment of near field communications (NFC) technology in New Zealand.
Customers will also be able to use their mobile phones to pay for goods at retailers, including dairies, Subway restaurants, FIX Urban Grocer and cafes.
The LG Optimus Net is the first 2degrees Touch2Pay capable handset. Other handsets across a range of price points will be released throughout this year.