A few months back, NZ's newest and most innovative mobile carrier, 2degrees, asked for suggestions for plans and products on their Facebook page. I tend to avoid service providers' major social media avenues simply because the average user comment in such places tends to be loud, uninformed, unaware of basic business practices, and thus annoying to read. I braved these murky waters and gave them a lengthy tongue-in-cheek comment about how great shared data bundles would be. They told me to wait and see. I have, and from today's reports, that was well worth doing.
2degrees shook this up in several ways, one of which was the introduction of roll-over minutes for on-account customers - if bundled minutes go unused, they will stay valid for up to one year. This was not an entirely new concept, but it was certainly new on the NZ market. I find it a proposition that adds a lot of value, as I make few calls, but tend to talk for longer periods of time when I do. They also have a bonus minute structure that is effectively the same as the standard expiring monthly plans offered by the other two, but being billed as a 'bonus' rather than sold as a fundamental part of the plan, the consumer perception is more favourable. Data and texting, on the other hand, have - thus far - expired at the end of the month (With the exception of some larger on-net data bundles that are valid for multiple months - these are pitched as an alternative to fixed-line broadband services).
Enter the current proposition
To illustrate, here's a hypothetical use-case scenario based on my understanding of the plan's functionality: Jill has an on-account plan with 3GB of data. Her partner Jack has a prepaid plan with 300MB of data that's been connected to Jill's account through this data-sharing option. As such, Jill pays an extra $5.00 for the connection plus $1 to link Jack's SIM/month, and when Jack's 300MB runs out, he can jump on to Jill's 3GB, and away they merrily go. I can see this being phenomenally useful, and pioneering the linking of multiple family members' services in ways the NZ market has very rarely seen (Telecom have offered basic linking of mobiles to home phone & broadband accounts for years, but their implementation is archaic in the current market). It also offers a serious selling point for 3G tablets - $12/year to have the option of using data on additional devices whenever necessary? Brilliant. No need to pay for an entry-level data plan for this second device, which have traditionally been priced at upwards of $20/month.
In my case, I thoroughly intend to link my partner's prepay connection as soon as I can, not least because 2degrees have offered a sign-up promo for the service of six months' free access and a bonus of 1GB of shared data. One does not complain, and I look forward to seeing the responses from Telecom and Vodafone.
-Article written by Nik "onslaught86" Turner