New any-network mobile plans to be launched by Vodafone tomorrow have failed to silence criticism from rival operator 2degrees that Vodafone’s on-net pricing is anti-competitive.
Vodafone says its any-network plans available in prepay and on account packages include voice minutes to any fixed or mobile network in New Zealand, texts to any local mobile network, and a data bundle. In addition users can nominate either one or three “NZBestMate” contacts with whom they may share 1000 minutes and 1000 texts a month to any New Zealand mobile or 1000 minutes to any New Zealand landline.
The prepay plans start at $35 for 50 minutes to local mobiles or landlines, 2500 texts to any network and 150MB of data. The on account plans start at $45 for 100 minutes of voice, 2,500 texts and 250MB of data.
Vodafone general manager of consumer markets Aaron Beckman says the new plans are the third any-network offer Vodafone has launched this year.
“We started this journey with our customers in March when we launched TXTNZ, our any-network text bundle, for $12. We built on that with the launch of our on account Smart Plans in August... Now we’re extending it again to offer NZBestMate to prepay and on account customers on selected Smart plans.”
But 2degrees, which has previously lobbied the Commerce Commission to ban retail plans like Bestmate, says the new plans do not go far enough.
“It’s better, but not good enough,” says 2degrees director of corporate affairs Mathew Bolland. “The fact that the offer applies to 'some' customers means it’s unnecessarily confusing.”
Bolland says 2degrees offers any-net pricing to all customers on all plans and until Vodafone follows suit mobile users will continue to fear getting a bigger bill if they call a different network.
“These offers have only begun to be drip-fed into the market by Vodafone under duress. The Commerce Commission is watching and 2degrees encourages action because, at this rate of change, consumers won’t see the full benefits of competition for many years,” says Bolland.
"Let’s hope the next Vodafone press release shows real commitment to great value and announces the end of on-net pricing altogether," he says.
Vodafone's any-net Bestmate plans
|Prepay Smart plan||Prepay Smart $35||Prepay Smart $45|
To NZ mobiles or landlines
To any NZ mobile
On Account Smart
|Prepay Smart plan||Smart $45||Smart $65||Smart $85||Smart $100||Smart $150|
To any network
|Data bonus||Additional 1GB data for 6 months
Calls to voicemail at no extra charge