Results of the NZ mobile carrier Friday challenge

by kai on 17/09/2010

This morning I posted a “Friday challenge for Vodafone NZ, Telecom NZ and 2degree Mobile”. The idea was for the three large mobile networks in NZ to come up with a response to a typical scenario of a mobile device user looking for a good and reasonably priced plan/package structure. Everyone had time until 5:30 pm today (with a potential extension of 15 minutes or so because the server had an issue) to come up with something.

The overall results were pretty poor. Of the three big carriers (all very vocal and active on Twitter as long as it’s about pushing out their messages) one delivered a proper response. Another one sent a tweet saying their marketing department needs to look into that and the last one sent a tweet to a plan that didn’t fit the bill for what the challenge was.

Results (now it’s 8:30 pm) in order of how they arrived:

12:52 pm

2degrees mobile left a comment in the original post. They provided both a prepaid and postpaid (“pay monthly” with in fact a one month term in their terminology) option. Both look very reasonable to me with NZ$ 50 resp. NZ$ 59 and similar offerings. To be fair – the more expensive one actually does offer more voice minutes, more TXT and less hassle re keeping credit in the prepaid account etc – so for me it would be the preferred option. Here’s what 2degrees suggested:

Hello Kai (aka Agent K).

This is pretty simple for us (and we don’t like to make things complicated for our customers anyway!)

We’ve given you two options. One for a person who prefers Prepay and one who’d like to pay later (Pay Monthly).

OPTION 1 – Pay Monthly
1)120 minutes to anyone, anytime and anywhere in NZ
2)600 text to any network, anytime in NZ
3)512MB data
TOTAL: $59.00
(Note this is the purchase of a new 2degrees Pay Monthly no contract, no term plan for $39.00 and a 512MB data pack for $20. Two more important things to note, with Pay Monthly you get to carryover any unused minutes you might have at the end of the month, every month for a year and the 512MB data pack is currently being upsized to 1GB and does only work in our mobile broadband zones).

OPTION 2 – Prepay
1) 100 minutes to anyone, anytime and anywhere in NZ
2) 300 text to any network, anytime in NZ
3) 512MB data.
TOTAL: $50.00
(Note this based on pre-pay top up where if you top up your account with $30 you get 300 FREE text. With your $30 top up purchase an Everyone100 Talk Pack for $30 and then a 512MB data pack (as per the details above) for $20.

The team at 2degrees

Comparing their suggestion with the framework I’ve set I have to say it works out nicely. It would be nice if there was a bit more data, but I asked for a minimum of 500 MB and 512 MB is what I would get. Fair enough.

1:53 pm

A tweet from @VodafoneNZ: “@agentK Have send your requeset down to our marketing types, but can’t promise a 5:30pm answer (actually, can’t promise an answer) ^ME”

I’ve heard nothing more from them. No further comment and

4:14 pm

Oh look, a tweet from @TelecomNZ: “@agentK Talk and Text 300 baby! 300 off peak mins, 300 texts, 20 peak mins. $344.80 of value for $29.95 : ^TS”

Well – short response but who cares if it’s to the point. Unfortunately it isn’t. The package they’d suggested (follow their link for more) hugely favours off-peak talking and just 20 peak minutes. That’s fair enough and I maybe wasn’t specific enough on that in my task. One could also argue that if I’m asking for 60-120 minutes of which 30 are to a particular person certainly a share of those minutes would be in off-peak time. So – I’m not blaming them for that glitch.

Why they failed massively though is that the plan doesn’t contain data. Not at all. So – Dear friends at Telecom – incomplete.


On a good note – they all responded after I posted the links to the challenge to their Twitter accounts.

3. Vodafone NZ comes last though because they got stuck in their global corporate bureaucracy and didn’t provide a response.

2. Telecom NZ comes second (but pretty close to last) for not really understanding the task.

1. 2degrees mobile wins because they responded fast and appropriately and their offering looks good (at least on paper, this is not a test on network speed, availability, quality of service etc).

I don’t want to speculate on why the responses of Vodafone and Telecom ended up being what they were, they might have had their reasons for not responding to the challenge or delivering a response that didn’t fit the bill. Unfortunately the outcome pretty much confirms my personal expectations.

Jen D September 17, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Pretty much conforms to my expectations too. I would think that neither Vodafone nor Telecom would authorise their social media grunts to provide any kind of special deal or in fact any real information at all. 2degrees I have no idea about because they’re new, but they seem to be trying to differentiate themselves from the Big Two by being a bit more casual and user-friendly.

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