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Oh my. Slingshot's entry-level UFB plan has a lousy, lousy data cap

UPDATE: CallPlus boss Mark Callander has told NBR ONLINE that Slingshot's fibre plan went live with "an outdated table".

The entry-level plans should have read 20GB, not 10GB. The company is updating its website now.

Still, my criticism stands: 20GB is still puny by fibre standards.

Asked what was the point of fibre with such a modest, copper-world data cap, Mr Callander told NBR:

"There are a range of plan options to suit the needs of all customers – not all customers are created equal. 

"For example, customers that are price conscious can still get many of the benefits of fibre for the same price, or less, than what they paying today for copper based services – this includes things like actually being able to send photos or upload large files. 

"This is something that is not possible on most copper-based services today. 

"Download speeds will obviously improve due to the technology and also the fact that issues such as home wiring issues will be addressed and the improved reliability of fibre. 

"On the other end of the spectrum, customers can get a 250GB broadband plan which includes a homeline and a range of smart phone features for just $102 which is great value."

Earlier plans for unlimited fibre data caps were put on hold after the demise of Pacific Fibre, which was "a real blow," Mr Callander says.


I've given Orcon and Snap some jip for launching fibre with cheap entry-level month plans ($75) ... but hamstrung with lousy datacaps of 25GB and 30GB respectively.

If your internet use is that modest (and 25GB does not go far once you start downloading movies, backing up files to the cloud or any other serious broadband use) then you may as well stay on copper.

They know this, and are just waiting to swing iin with an upsell (in its defence, Snap said it had a 145GB a month free top-up for the first 12 months, plus a 500GB top up for $70 a month).

But Slingshot (a division of CallPlus) has blown both away by beating them on entry-level price ($72 a month) but a joke data cap of 10GB at that price-point.

So much for CallPlus CEO Mark Callander's hints that Slingshot's home fibre plans (like its school plans launched last month) might have unlimited data.

Poor show.

(I don't have so much of a problem with the entry-level speed of 30Mbit/s and 10Mbit/s up given that it's a lot closer to true speed, unlike heavily-contended copper.)

Data rollover
The good news is that CallPlus higher-end plans (see table below) look more realistic, and a lot better value for money.

Last week's rally proved a little too hard to sustain at the start of the week as investors reassessed equity valuations near five-year highs and you get data rollover if you don't hit your monthly limit (which CallPlus is pitching as a New Zealand first).

You also get 10GB of free online backup (nice touch).

Slingshot's "Turbo" plans will be faster than Starter plans, the ISP says, thanks to more international bandwidth being on tap for Turbo users (one competitor has already grumbled you could paint it as the reverse. Starter users are gettng their data shaped).

Be quick
Presuming they get their install right, it's good to see Orcon, Snap and CallPlus jumping into the fibre market. 

If you're in one of the 76,000 or so premises lucky enough to have UFB fibre running past them so far, you've not got another option.

So check out Slingshot's full range of plans here (and the table below; all UFB plans include VoIP, or the ability to make phone calls over the internet).

And if you are on Snap, Orcon or Slingshot, and have UFB at hand, get a wriggle on – it's still not clear, amid endless government shillyshallying, whether Chorus' free kerb to home connection deal will last beyond the end of this year. 

Click table to enlarge.

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Comments and questions

To commemorate the entry-level data cap, all Slingshot customers will be provided with a free DVD copy of "Gone In 60 Seconds"

With a 50Mbit/s download rate and a data cap of 60GB give joe user 2.73 hours of full speed use per month. I graphed this out the the government when they first started this UFB madness stating that UFB is useless within the current pricing model of pay per byte. A much more reasonable pricing model would be to sell BANDWIDTH.

I dont think it is a lack of understanding on the politicians part just sheer corruption of the process as they all have investments in the status quo

No one will be getting full speed unless they live next to a cabinet. What is so important that you would chew through 60GB. I assume you actually work during the day

you cant read very well can you... 2.73 HOURS at full speed use.

TV on demand / net flix / spotify etc etc etc etc
using the internet to provide rich media as the bandwidth intends...

I myself would be downloading/uploading DB backup files from the US etc that uses a bunch of bandwidth.

none of the services you mention use UFB at 'full speed'. Netflix has the highest bitrate of all of them, and is Max 5Mbps, considerably lower than the 30Mbps UFB gives you

And, of course, there are plenty of larger caps for those who want to use it more.

Good to see you have no idea how fibre works. Everyone will get "Full speed" as you put it, fibre is not like copper based products. The issue will be with Handover contention, and international bandwidth

... We are talking about UFB not copper.

I have a 100mbps fibre plan in Wellington and easily chew through something like 80GB a month just streaming HD TV and the occassional PS3 gaming. When you get used to the ease of fast data it just becomes the norm, plus you'll find more uses for it.

Stop grizzling. You townies have it easy. Try having to use satellite with 2GB for $90 a month.

Boo hoo - how much money did dairy farmers make last year?

Keep in mind, they make revenue. Not profit.

It's my understanding that your existing ISP can connect on your behalf - then negotiate a tariff. True?

I'm not sure Graham. I don't think Farmside would be to keen on that idea. Good question though, thanks.

a 10GB cap. At 150mbit combined upload/download speed you can blow that in less than 10 minutes. Impressive.

Oh and upload/download 2MB and 1MB. Living the dream - not.

They are simply relying on people's gullibility. Typical 'barrow boy' marketing techniques. really. It's nothing new in New Zealand - just look at Telecom's track record of fines for this type of behaviour... Caveat Emptor UFB users. Do your homework...

It is misleading articles like this which will result in limited uptake of UFB services. There are plenty of big-data plan options - why cause panic by focusing on the lowest priced entry level plan?

Newly developed homes will not get a choice, and will require fiber only - this provides a great choice for people who can not elect to take copper based products at a low price.

Retail ISPs should offer realistic plans from the get-go.

Plans with low data caps smell of bait-and-switch. It doesn't do the industry any good if they get soft coverage.

But our Telco companies are such ethical players Chris they would never bait us.... o wait the 2 players that matter vodafraud and telescum have both been fined millions for various different methods of defrauding the public over the past few years

Sunlight disinfects all... $87 for 10... No now 20 Gigabytes is outrageous. Exposing these sorts of market tactics is what journalism is about, not some PR about how wonderful the large cap plans are... The last time I looked in our newly developed area, UFB isn't available in the next 3 years...

Totally underwhelming. Like dropping a few metal washers into a blind man's begging bowl.

CallPlus's boss Mark Callander should be promo-ing this fantastic plan by being kitted out in a loud checked tweed jacket, straw hat, two-toned shoes, and be twirling a cane.

Unfortunately, all ISP's are the victims of very expensive international capacity - we are paying around 100x more than the most competitive markets. Until this changes (by more competition in the international cable market) New Zealanders are going to have to put up with these ridiculously low data caps. Since well over 50% of broadband subscribers in NZ actually use less than 10Gb of data per month, it is only fair to provide them with a lower cost, entry level data limit rather than charge them for data they are not consuming.

Unfortunately all ISP's in NZ suffer from the same problem of having to pay 100x more for international capacity than the most competitive countries. So ridiculously low data caps will be with us for a while. This problem will not go away until we have a competitive market - i.e at least one more international cable system.
Since well over 50% of broadband users in NZ use less than 10Gb of data, we offer them a lower priced plan - doesn't seem fair to charge them for data they are not using.

(Slingshot Chairman)

Hmmm... the question you should really be asking is why half of New Zealand broadband users use less than 10Gb of data... perhaps it's because it's slow and expensive - the SCC isn't cheap but the ISPs have options to improve the speed and reduce their SCC charges - caching of content comes to mind but none of them seem to have any inclination they seem to want to simply pass the charges on - neither are they particularly transparent about costs....

Not all content is hosted overseas - in plenty of markets there are arrangements where local content such as on-demand TV and local sites ARE NOT COUNTED towards the data cap and seeing as the don't incur international capacity they don't incur the additional cost.

Perhaps if the consumer had a transparent choice with 'free zones' locally held they would use more the 10Gb of data...

... but I'm not holding my breath that an ISP gets on the front foot to deliver something that customers might actually want at a reasonable price.

Lets not let the facts get in the way of a good political grandstand will you Malc.....

The assertion about SX capacity pricing is blatantly not true.

How are they doing the phone line? POTS? VoIP?

My problem with this article is basically, you are saying that low data users don't deserve a fast connection. Aye? You try living in an area that struggles to get 1Mbps connections on ADSL, we aren't even getting ADSL2+, we are going straight to fibre. But yet, according to this article, we don't deserve it because we don't have a high enough usage? There is definitely a requirement for a low usage plan.

actually the whole UFB thing is bit of a sick joke - there will never be any really compelling plans as the up front costs to getting into the fibre game are so horrendously high. because of this there are no compelling plans and international traffic (you know where the good stuff is), isn't that much faster than copper.

Thank goodness for unlimited DSL from SLingshot

Given TPG launched AUD $69.99 unlimited fibre offers in Australia today these meagre offers from all players are a travesty - a good 4G broadband offer is all these caps are fit for, but I guess you ain't got that either. We can't win gold the Olympics or the Bledisloe but we hose you in technology offers.

You forgot to mention the tri-nations, Rugby world cup, Rugby League world cup and rugby league four nations haha

As a customer of Slingshot - And I quote their service is worse than Vodafone.. slower / unreliable and generally Pathetic..

There customer service team is sh*thouse and never gets back to you in a timely manner - i waited on hold for an hour three times and two of those i waited so long that their call centre closed and I got cut off.
You cant leave a message and their call centre is busy all day.. Making me think either they are always having customer problems or they dont have any staff..

When I switched over they were using lines they couldnt control and my phone line and internet were effecting my home alarm.
I was on and off without phone for three weeks and then they sent out a Chorus rep who severed my home alarm. about $500 later from my alarm company im all up and working again.

They gave me two months free as I had another 2 weeks without a phone line as well.. Until the sort their sh*t out id steer clear of them..
I was with them when the were I4free so ti shows you how long I was loyal to them I kept my dial up with them as I needed my email address I then find out I can keep my email address for 6.95 a month.. If I had found that out earlier I would have gone ages ago..

Once a loyal fan now looking around again for a better ISP..

NZ is a third world country with the worst pricing imaginable..Actually worse than that...go to Indonesia, Thailand etc and see how fast and CHEAP their broadband is...We are victims of monoply pricing....