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Vodafone extends controversial 'Best Mates' plan to home lines

Vodafone has extended its controversial "Best Mates" plan to home lines, offering calls to five mobile or landline numbers for free as part of two new plans costing $85 a month (with 40GB of data) or $105 a month (with 80GB) plan.

2degrees complained loudly about "Best Mates" in the mobile market, which it said encourages and rewarded Vodafone customers for calling others on the same network - making life harder for 2degrees as a new market entrant.

In September last year, 2degrees called for a "Best Mates" ban.

In the 2degrees gun were the mobile version of Vodafone's Best Mates, and Telecom's My Favourites for home phone lines, which offers unlimited calls to a designated person's landline or mobile number for $6 a month - as long as their a fellow Telecom customer.

2degrees wanted the Commerce Commission to ban such "on-net" plans at the same time it regulated mobile interconnection rates.

However, the watchdog opted for monthly monitoring instead, with Telecommunications Commissioner Ross Patterson saying regulation was possible in future if the percentage of calls between networks did not increase. So far, there has been an up-tick.

The new Vodafone homeline "Best Mates" plans skirts the on-net calling controversy. A spokeswoman told NBR ONLINE the five free calling numbers could be to people on any network.

Late last year, Vodafone expanded its mobile "Best Mates" plan to include calls and txts to people on Telecom or 2degrees.

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