Vodafone has launched new post-paid mobile plans branded "Red", with an emphasis on unlimited calls and texts and locally based customer services reps.
The three Red plans are 24-month contracts priced at AU$65, AU$80 and AU$100 per month. Each plan comes with what the telco is referring to as "infinite" national calls, along with infinite local and international texts, making the major point of differentiation the data allowances. The plans will offer 1.5GB, 2.5GB and 5GB of mobile data as you go up the pricing scale.
The Red plans include a handset, although Vodafone is offering SIM-only versions for people who want to bring across their own handset. Doing so will drop the price by AU$15 per plan, making the costs AU$50, AU$65 and AU$85 per month.
The Red plans will also be able to take advantage of Vodafone's. For AU$5 per day, Red customers visiting the UK, the US or New Zealand will be able to use their phones exactly as they would locally, complete with data.
Red customers will be given priority status for any service calls, with the telco guaranteeing that the calls will be taken by the Hobart-based Australian customer service centre.
In launching the new plans at an event in New Zealand, Vodafone CEO Bill Morrow said that the company's experience with customer churn has made Vodafone realise the importance of providing a local customer service centre.
Vodafone offers additional data packs for users who want greater data allowances. For AU$10, you can add 1GB per month, and for AU$20, you up that to 2.5GB. This means that a customer signing up for the top-tier Red plan with their own handset could pay AU$105 for a data allowance of 7.5GB if they wished.
The "infinite" calls offer does not include all 13 and 1800 numbers. Vodafone's chief marketing officer Kim Clarke said that some "essential" numbers such as Lifeline would not be charged. For other 13 or 1800 numbers, international calls and "premium numbers", the face value of the plan would be the included call amount. For example, an AU$80 plan would include AU$80 value for the above types of calls.
The Red plans will be available from 28 August. They will be covered by Vodafone's network guarantee, which allows customers to cancel their contracts within 30 days if they are unhappy with the network.
Nic Healey travelled to New Zealand as a guest of Vodafone.