2degrees offers trial unmetered mobile phone data

You can’t share it. You can’t tether. There are conditions. But you can download as much 2degrees mobile data as you need on your phone without worrying about the bill.

Mobile carrier 2degrees offers what it describes as New Zealand’s first unlimited mobile data plan.

For $129 a month customers get to fill their boots with unlimited calls, unlimited texts and as much data as they can shovel through their handsets.

For a limited time only

The deal is for a limited time. 2degrees says the offer is a trial. With refreshing honesty chief marketing officer Roy Ong says if it’s not economic for the company then it will stop offering the deal.

In truth, the way the offer is presented means it is unlikely to spin too far out of control. Phones can only absorb so much data in a month. And anyway there’s a fair use clause which means 2degrees can stop anyone abusing the offer.

If 2degrees allowed users to tether their phones to computers or set up mobile hotspots and share it with friends then the network might run into problems. Remember, 2degrees has less 4G spectrum than its rivals.

In some ways the $129 unlimited data plan seems unnecessary, almost redundant. For $80 a month 2degrees customers get unlimited calls and texts along with 10GB of data. What’s more, you can run a hotspot or tether. You’d have to work hard on a phone to get through that amount in normal use. That is unless your phone also happens to be your TV screen.

If anything, the $129 unlimited offer underlines the value of the $80 plan.

2degrees conditions

It’s not clear how 2degrees will police the conditions. Apparently there are ways users can cloak Wi-Fi hotspot or tethering activity. But the fair use clause should cover all that.

Unlimited mobile data plans have been late to arrive in New Zealand, there are a fact of life elsewhere in the world. US carriers offer unlimited data plans with prices starting from US$50. Some even allow limited hotspot and tethering.

Sooner or later unlimited mobile data plans will be as common in New Zealand as today’s unlimited broadband plans. And one day they won’t include restrictions.

In practice the real value of this kind of unlimited plan is that it means you never face making decision to, say, not use data because you may run out.