By Benedict Wee
Here we go again. A lively debate on the prices of the services and mobiles Vodafone NZ offers sprung up on Twitter and yours truly (as well as a couple of others) joined in to grill the telco about their high prices. Below are the exchanges that me and Paul have made and what I got out of the conversation.
The debate was already raging between other tweets when I logged on but I decided to only enter when Vodafone NZ made this remark:
I responded with:
This basically meant that they don't care for PrePay users as much as they do for those who are On Account (attached to contracts). And if you're not happy about their plans: switch telcos cause you're not their target group.
By now I know they were just bullshitting the whole situation. $29 for the Vodafone 541 is On Account and they were comparing it to a PrePay price in the UK.
First, Vodafone wanted to compare population size, which I did. After losing that battle they wanted to compare geographical size and challenged me to prove their phones were expensive:
which I did:
Again, after losing this battle they then decided to change tactics and go for their previous rediculous strategy of comparing PrePay with On Account:
Once again, they reiterated that they didn't care for PrePay customers as much. So I played their game and compared their On Account plans:
Vodafone NZ was trying to slip a quick one by comparing iPhones as Vodafone UK doesn't sell them and thus, there could be no fair comparisons. I chose the HTC Magic instead cause it was the same Vodafone branded smartphone offered in both regions.
Sensing that this battle was lost also, Vodafone attempted to change their stance with:
The HTC Magic in the UK was free on a 24 month plan less than 6 months after it was launched. This is just them trying to coverup that fact that their phones are being sold cheaper in their overseas branches.
Even if you do not have a timeline for when the UK dropped their prices, take a look at any of Vodafone NZ's phones. None of them are free with contracts. Their attempts at justifying high prices are terribly weak and transparent.
The debate continued with them replying with the "UK is not NZ" argument they've tried to use before and after asking why is the same telco not offering a relatively similar price on their mobiles they replied that both Vodafone branches are completely separate entities that order different amounts of handsets so they're priced differently.
Vodafone stopped replying after my last message, guess they decided not to incriminate themselves anymore.
As you can see from the long exchange above, they claim that their phones are not ordered in bulk along with the head Vodafone branch for distribution throughout the world but instead, are made after the initial order which is why their phones are expensive.
Makes sense? I don't think so. Yes the phones are made by batches but they're still the same ol phones and saying that they have to pay more because of a smaller order is silly. If you owned a multinational corporation and made a product, wouldn't you order them in one big bulk and distribute them according to the market size? How do they explain that parallel importers (who are much smaller than the telcos) managed to bring in HTC Magics and sell them for $400 lesser than what Vodafone NZ asks for on PrePay?
Everything about what Vodafone NZ has said reeks of PR spinning, and a bad one at that. Proclaiming that they don't care for PrePay customers as much as they do for those On Account is a terrible statement to make considering most remain on prepaid plans do so because of the lack of value when you take up a monthly contract. I still stand by the theory that they're just exploiting the New Zealand market as they've got a strong hold over us which comes about from the lack of competition. It's about time we stand up to their tyranny and greed.