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The pains of deciding on a cellphone call plan

So, BestMate was actually an 'add-on' to Vodafone NZ's newly-released Supa Prepay plan (the wording kind of made this obvious beforehand, though), and not the main offering. But before one signs up, best to look at one's usage patterns. Steve Biddle has written thoughts on Supa Prepay, reminding us that it may not be suitable for some prepaid customers, while Matthew Robinson looks at the text messaging add-on, prepay crediting requirements and why he thinks that it's only now that something new is being offered. Comments following only assume prepaid accounts.

If one makes lots of calls of one or two minutes to multiple people and in-network or to landlines, it seems not worth bothering, as Steve points out the rounding used (per second after the first minute for Motormouth, Anytime and Nights & Weekends; nearest minute -- I'm guessing upwards -- for Supa Prepay), note to mention 49¢ (Motormouth) versus 89¢ (Supa Prepay and Anytime). If one's calls are longer than about 4 or so minutes, however, a $2 two hour cap might be an incentive. Overseas calls change things a little, but not much. There's no in-network or landline restriction on Supa Prepay, however. It's possible Nights and Weekends may also be appropriate; there's no in-network or landline restriction there either. But such in-network restrictions can be solved by (depending on one's circumstances) getting another phone on a similar prepaid plan on the only other cellphone network, or a second plan (and thus, account) on the same network.

So, without add-ons, unless one does actually do calls longer than about 4 minutes or doesn't want to complicate their life with a second phone (on another plan or network) or SIM, there won't be much point.

With the add-ons, the text message offer ($10 for 2000) is in-network only, which means trying to con as many friends as possible on to the same network. That's not always possible. While Telecom NZ's $10 for 500 plan has an allocation a quarter of the size, there's no in-network restriction. They also offer a in-network $10 for 1000, though. (The most I've ever really done with a push has been about 200 or 300 all networks in a month.)

Credit minimums are a little iffy for low-volume users as well. 365 days for the existing plans versus 90 days. The number's 365 day validity stays for all plans, however.

As for the other the BestMate add-on, I've already noted that it's not worth my bother given my usage.

Overall, nice idea, but doesn't suit my usage. Oh well. But I understand that it's quite possibly an attempt to lift ARPU, as Steve Biddle talks about in his diary entry.

That's enough from me on phone plans for a while. Talking about commercial products (no, I haven't been paid for or asked to write the above) in the way I have for the last few days scares me. I'll just stick to some more news articles as I usually do, now. At least I'll try to.

Sigh.

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