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2degrees offers trial unmetered mobile phone data

2degrees mobile

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.

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3 thoughts on “2degrees offers trial unmetered mobile phone data

  1. It took Spark two days to respond to 2degrees’ all-you-can-eat mobile plan. That’s agile for a large company. There was a time when it would take months to get a counter offer like Freedom Mobile out the door.
    From Easter, Spark and Skinny customers can buy plans with unlimited voice and texting as well as uncapped data. Spark’s Freedom Mobile plan costs $130 a month. The Skinny Direct Freedom Mobile is $120.1
    As with 2degrees, Spark only allows a single phone to use the data. Users are told they can’t tether or operate a Wi-Fi hotspot. And like 2degrees, Spark says the plan is offered on a test basis and only to a limited number of customers.
    Questions and answers
    Spark Home Mobile and Business CEO Jason Paris says; “We’ve seen 2degrees’ new ‘unlimited’ plan – and while we like the intent, we believe it leaves customers with as many questions as answers.”
    The big question for most users considering a plan is what does 2degrees mean when it says there is a fair use limit.
    Spark attempts to answer this for its customers by bringing back traffic shaping, also known as throttling. That is, it delivers the first 22GB of data in a month as normal. Once a customer goes over that amount, the download speed drops.
    This used to be a common practice with broadband accounts. It provides users with enough incentive to self-monitor their use, without imposing horrific consequences should they over-indulge.
    The Freedom Mobile New Zealand model
    Paris says he thinks this is the right model for New Zealand.
    Well, up to a point. Unlimited mobile data plans are common overseas. They often have restrictions. The restrictions in New Zealand are tougher than elsewhere. In other markets carriers allow customers more. In the US 10GB of tethering is normal.
    It makes sense to impose some limits on an ‘unlimited’ plan. Wireless bandwidth is a finite resource. If carriers allow unrestricted use, wireless networks would quickly become congested and performance would drop.
    There are still questions. Most of all, how far will Spark go with the throttling? Will download speeds drop to half their normal level or right back to a crawl?
    The other question is where is Vodafone in this game?

    The $10 price gap between the two brands’ plans is interesting. In effect Spark users get Spotify, Lightbox and a daily 1GB of Wi-Fi hotspot downloads for $10. This tells you the real premium Spark puts on those services. ↩︎

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