Prices cut in mo­bile data plans

The Timaru Herald - - CATALYST - SU­SAN EDMUNDS

A value war has bro­ken out at the top end of the mo­bile data mar­ket.

Spark last week slashed the cost of its high-end mo­bile plans and of­fered un­lim­ited data for less than $20 a week.

Now Voda­fone has re­leased its own range of plans with more data. It is of­fer­ing a Red+ Essentials plan for $79.99 a month with 22GB of data, or 10GB for $59.99.

2de­grees has also boosted its lat­est mo­bile plan line-up to of­fer 25GB for $70 with­out hot spot or speed re­stric­tions. The com­pany’s un­lim­ited plan is $129 a month.

Con­sumer NZ writer Ha­dyn Green said phone users in New Zealand and around the world were us­ing much more data on their mo­bile phones.

‘‘We don’t need more min­utes, we just want data be­cause ev­ery­one is us­ing so­cial me­dia, tak­ing photos and send­ing them to their friends.’’

Ser­vices such as iMes­sage and FaceTime also reroute tra­di­tional phone ser­vices to use data in­stead.

But Green said tel­cos had strug­gled to of­fer that be­cause al­though texts and talk min­utes were cheap to pro­vide, data cost more.

He said Spark had been able to find a way around it and its com­peti­tors had re­sponded.

But it was un­clear how many peo­ple needed mo­bile data plans that big. ‘‘I’m a pretty heavy user but I very rarely hit 1GB a month.’’

He said many heavy mo­bile data users also tended to have ac­cess to wifi net­works.

Users might only need a large data al­lowance if they were us­ing their phones to stream movies on other de­vices, which Spark does not of­fi­cially al­low.

He said $80 a month was still a high mo­bile phone bill, es­pe­cially if it was not a busi­ness ac­count.

Spark of­fers a $19 plan with 750MB of data, 200 min­utes and un­lim­ited texts.

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