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Happy Birthday, 2Degrees

Paul Brislen. 05 August 2019, 7:08 am

It's been ten years since 2Degrees launch on the New Zealand market, bringing a truly competitive model to the mobile sector for the very first time.

Prior to the launch, the market was split fairly evenly between Vodafone and Telecom (now Spark) with Vodafone leading the way among consumers and the youth market and Telecom dominating the business space.

Both had operated different technologies - Vodafone with the GSM group and Telecom traditionally following its previous US-based owners into the CDMA family - meaning in effect there was little portability, little churn and customers were aligned not so much by market segment as they were by technology type.

A lack of number portability meant swapping providers was an onerous affair, and as a result prices were high and customers were generally grumpy.

Telecom had only just launched its new XT network when 2Degrees arrived on the scene and its various technical issues and interference with both 2Degrees and Vodafone networks was still a sore point in the industry.

However, with that as a backdrop, 2Degrees launched with that most unusual of propositions - simplicity. Three pries points (one for voice, one for TXT and one for data) fitted neatly on a billboard and proved a welcome antidote to the use of "confusion as a marketing tool" that seemed to dominate the industry at the time.

2Degrees set out to challenge the "cosy duopoly", as founder Tex Edwards liked to call it, by introducing new products that had been shunned by the other players. Data that rolled over month to month was one, as was a family group that allowed users to share minutes of calling and data and thus reduce wasted spend was another. Both Vodafone and Telecom were quick to follow suit launching products that many had said they would never see.

Today, 2Degrees has around 21% of the total mobile market and consumers (both business and individuals) see vastly reduced prices in the market. Instead of lagging behind the OECD, New Zealand mobile prices are now as good if not better than most countries and reach further into the communities than ever before. 

Note: This editor has worked for Vodafone and 2Degrees in the past.


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