UPDATED: 2degrees launches $149 all-you-can-eat mobile plan - with fair use hook

2degrees makes its new plan, trialled in December, permanent.

UPDATE APRIL 18, 2011: 2degrees has made its $149 all-you-can eat-mobile plan permanent from today, with monthly, 12-month and 24-month contract options.

The plan was previously restricted to the first 10,000 customers.

It covers "all standard calls" to a national mobile or landline (albeit with a fair use hook; see below); 1000 txts and 250MB of 3G data.

"I'm on it" commented Telecommunications Users Association chief executive and erstwhile Vodafone head of corporate communications Paul Brislen. "[The plan] could do with more data, but otherwise it keeps the phone bill to about one third what it was."

For its part, NBR would like to see the stingy 250MB data cap increased.

DECEMBER 15, 2010:: 2degrees has launched what it calls New Zealand's first ever all-you-can-eat mobile plan.

The $149 plan includes all standard national calls. No contract is required.

1000 txts and a diet-limited 250MB of data are included.

"Fair use" hook
The online mob was quick to spot a "fair use" policy hook which includes some reasonably obvious elements, such as a prohibition on auto-dialling (direct marketers, be gone) but also the extremely general:

If in our reasonable opinion we consider your usage to be unfair, unreasonable and/or Excessive Usage we may contact you and advise that your use is in breach of our Fair Use Policy and request that you change your use of the Services to bring it within our Fair Use Policy.

First 10,000
The plan is limited to the first 10,000 to sign up before January 31, the company said in a statement.

2degrees corporate affairs director Mathew Bolland told NBR the 10,000 limit was not a marketing call-to-action ploy, but a safeguard "to make sure we manage network capacity carefully."

Chief marketing officer Larrie Moore said the company's research showed that more than 200,000 New Zealanders were paying more than $150 a month for their mobile phone usage.

Mr Bolland told NBR the monthly dollar figure did not include data. 

"We believe there is a significant market of individuals spending $150 plus on calling alone.

"They may be consumers or sole operators like trades people or real estate agents. Data can be on top of that. They’re the same people who’ve watched pre-pay customers and corporate account holders get great deals while they’ve been stuck on high rates."

New pact with Vodafone
This morning, in a development that may be directly related, it was revealed that 2degrees had reached a new national roaming deal with Vodafone, heading off a Commerce Commission investigation.

2degrees had complained that high national roaming charges were a barrier to expansion.

Outside Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, where it has its own infrastructure, 2degrees customers roam (transparently to them) on Vodafone.

Useful threat
Mr Bolland said the timing was a coincidence.

He would not comment on the terms of the new deal with Vodafone.

"As it's a commercial deal we can't," Mr Bolland said.

"All we'd say is that regulation's not always necessary - but the threat of it plays a key role in making sure players cooperate in the interests of competition."

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