The price pace is staying hot in the local Internet access market, with IBM Global Network announcing a new range of pricing plans which takes its rates well below $2 an hour for high-volume personal users.
Although it prefers to trade on added-value features such as its global bandwidth management and roaming facilities, IBM has repeatedly shown itself willing to join the fray when the market moves on price.
IBM now offers three plans for personal accounts: $12 monthly for five hours, plus $2.50 for additional hours; $45 monthly for 20 hours, $2.25 additional hours; and $90 monthly for 50 hours, $1.50 additional hours (all including GST). Corporate accounts now cost $30 per user on registration, then $2 per hour and $2 per month per user (all ex GST).
"These new rates put us pretty much where we've consistently been in the market," says Terry Bowden, IBM New Zealand's client services manager of networking. "I think there's healthy competition in the market--it's helping keep Internet access available to one and all. The $90 for 50 hours rate is a very good thing. The next step I suppose would be to a flate rate, but I don't think that encourages efficient use of the network.
"I still see IBM Global Network's global bandwidth management as the thing that sets us apart from everybody else. Other ISPs rent a line to the nearest port of call, or out of the country in some cases, but after that you're on your own. We carry our customers to New York or the UK on our own network."
IBM Global Network marketing specialist John Stewart says the company would like to extend access outside Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch using an 0800 service "but the current pricing by domestic network providers is so high that it makes offering such a service to our customers prohibitive."