Thursday, May 21, 2009

Telecom promises better, simpler price plans

Telecom: So behind the times their ad was filmed in black and white

By Benedict Wee

The seemingly infinite archaic price plans offered by Telecom have been whittled down to 14 choices from the current 60.  In addition, changes have been made to call charges; you don’t have to pay extra when calling non-Telecom lines and charges are per second rather than per minute after the first minute.

These changes are made in conjunction with the launch of their new 3G network Telecom XT. They’ve also hinted at their data charges, stating that they will be similar to Vodafone’s $1 a day causal rate with a cap of 10 megabytes.

In addition, Telecom featured new (and I use that term loosely) mobile handsets that would be available with their new network. They include smartphones like the Samsung 8300 (ugh), Blackberry Bold (old you mean) and the Palm Treo Pro (why not Pre?) with 3G phones like the Nokia 3120 and N85 joining the Samsung F480 (all of em’ ancient). What hasn’t changed are the prices of the mobiles which are still high; the 3120 costing $299 (Vodafone’s giving it for free plus a 4 GB card with a 24 month plan) and the N85 at $1499 (the iphone 16GB is $1129 without a plan). 

The Nokia 3120 Classic. Can't argue with that!

It would be nice to see the 3 (4, sorry Telstra) mobile providers using a new smartphone each to represent their company. Since Vodafone has the iphone 2degrees and Telecom could fight over the Palm Pre and a phone running the Android OS (HTC Magic please!). That way, consumers would be persuaded to stick with their current provider and at the same time be comforted with the fact that their current telco is in the forefront of the price wars and that they are actually interested in keeping their customers.

Also, 14 different price plans is still a long list to read through when you’re looking for a telco. UK’s Orange network has 4 prepaid and 8 monthly plans while O2 has 5 prepaid plans and 6 monthly plans, all of which are relatively easy to understand though I wouldn’t mind going through a draconian selection process if the mobiles they were offering were heavily subsidized which they’re not.

This being said, Telecom and Vodafone still have around 2 months to get their act together and change their price plans and handset subsidizations before 2degress comes out with its claws unsheathed. Till then I’ll be waiting for the new iphone announcement in June, which incidentally coincides, with the Palm Pre US launch date. 

Sources - NZ Herald Telecom pledges simpler price plans on XT

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