By Benedict Wee
Well we've gotten all the details about how much mobile newcomer 2degrees is charging for its services and the reaction has been pretty mixed. Let's go though their list of services using a Buying Guide.
Why I like it
Cheap Call/Text Rates:
Thank God. I can stop telling people that my calls are $0.89 a minute now. Also, $0.09 is not too steep a charge (for now) for texting.
To anyone in the 21 countries is awesome. Will be texting mum more often.
Are finally cheap. They come in both $2 and $20 varieties with the respective value inside. I always wondered why I had to pay almost $30 for a SIM with no credit.
Easy To Read/Understand Pricing:
Calls? $0.44/min anywhere, $0.22/min to 2degrees mobiles and landlines if you top up. Texts? $0.09. Picture messages? $0.50. Data? $0.50/MB. It's really simple. Vodafone is now officially the only telco that makes my eyes glaze over when I read about their pricing structure. Telecom isn't too bad however.
Calling Customer Service:
Is free. Always a good way to let consumers know you care and value their input.
Might be cheaper but I'd be able to skype or use a phone card at a better rate.
Port Your Number:
And you get $5 credit. Come on 2degrees, you gotta do better than that to get people to switch.
Per Minute Billing:
Is kind of a let down but the lower call rates don't make it hurt too bad.
Why I don't like it
Is expensive. $0.50/MB is way too much to charge to surf the internets. It's a pity cause if this was cheaper I'd switch from Vodafone immediately.
GPRS and EDGE:
If you're gonna charge so much for data it should at least be on a HSDPA network. GPRS and EDGE (it's like 2.5G) is considered slow in any 1st world country.
Telecom had a better line of phones when they launched. Vodafone still tops the list in terms of better overall phone choices. 2degrees only has one smartphone on the list and it isn't good. I was hoping for a Hero or Palm Pre to make its debut here. Sad.
Overall, I'm feeling pretty positive about the network despite its lackluster launch. 2degrees is stepping in the right direction and they can prove to be a formidable force against the duopoly that is Vodafone and Telecom. The points I don't like about the network are easily improved with time and I hope that they're working hard to bring us great mobiles and postpaid plans.
I saw on their facebook site that there are some people who are quite negative about the launch, complaining about the lack of "Best Friends" or thousands of texts for a cheap price. All I can say is hold on. They've only just started and once they get their bearings we'll be able to see better value deals. Besides, mileage will vary from person to person and since the SIM cards are affordable I highly recommend that you just get one, top it up and see how far you can go with the telco. (Update: They're even giving away free $2 SIM cards for a limited time.)
2degrees has brought something to New Zealand that we've lacked for a long time: competition. It can only get better for us consumers from here.