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Telecom will soft launch a naked broadband service tomorrow.
A hard launch is planned for November (why does all this language sound a little dodgy?)
Telecom has been the only one of the four ISPs not to offer a naked service (that is, broadband over a landline without a traditional home line bundled for voice calls - just the ticket if you're happy making calls over your mobile only, and/or Skype).
Must have a Telecom cellphone
Vodafone offers its cheapest naked broadband landline story to customers who also have their mobile with it.
Telecom goes a step further. Initially its naked service will only be available to customers on its Ultra Mobile cellular plans who also have Ultra VDSL and ADSL 80GB (and above) and landline plans.
The first Telecom naked plans are for copper broadband only. A naked option for UFB fibre will follow in the new year. (Early Telecom UFB customers still have a copper line into their home for voice calls as Telecom is still developing a voice-over-fibre-product.)
"Technical issues" mean naked DSL arrives via a bit of a workaround. A rep explains:
- With a new Ultra Mobile postpaid mobile plans, customers can now use their landline for broadband, only if it’s on the same account as their mobile. Once they’ve selected from the 80GB, 150GB or 500GB home broadband package, Telecom will then simply disable all inbound and outbound calls from the landline (except 111) and provide a $30 month account credit.
- ADSL plans & pricing non-discounted here and Ultra VDSL non-discounted plans & pricing here
- If the eligible mobile is removed from the account, the credit will be stopped. However the calling bar will remain until customers advise us otherwise.
It's never said it, but the most obvious reason for not supplying a naked broadband service is that it would hasten the demise of Telecom's cash-cow voice business.
Now, with that fast-disappearing anyway, and the competitive landscape changing, Telecom is offering selected customers with larger data caps its new naked service.
More Kiwis going naked - the stats
“The majority of our customers tell us their home landline is still an essential communications tool for connecting with family, friends and business contacts," Telecom CEO Chris Quin says.
"However, there is no doubt that Kiwis are increasingly going mobile..”
When NBR last checked in with IDC early last year (I've got some new figures on the way), the market researcher estimated around 45,000 or 4% of New Zealand households were on naked broadband plans [UPDATE: IDC says there are now 110,000 or 7% of today's broadband population on naked plans).
With CallPlus and Vodafone - who were actively pushing naked DSL - 14% of their customers were on naked plans [UPDATE: Callplus/Slingshot says the figure today is 15%].
That compares to the US, where anywhere from a third to half of households have ditched a traditional landline (depending on which survey you read).
A long time coming, but nice move, Telecom.