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Business deals for mobiles - Part One (Optus) Business deals for mobiles - Part III (Vodafone)

06 February 2003
Written by Joshua Sansom


Vodafone’s Business Choice Plans appeared in the marketplace in September 2001, right when Mobile Number Portability became a reality. Over the last 16 months, the plans have remained the same and have proved to be a strong selling point of Vodafone.

All of the Vodafone Business Choice plans include the following benefits:
  • One-second billing
  • Free voicemail deposits and retrievals (when setup correctly via the “Call Alert and Deliver” function)
  • Free calls to other Vodafone users for the first 20 minutes in off-peak periods
  • Call ANY Vodafone mobile during peak periods for 20 cents for up to 10 minutes with no flag fall
  • Call nominated “mates” also on Vodafone at a rate of 10 cents for up to 10 minutes during peak periods.

Becoming more Business Orientated

In the last few months, Vodafone has removed most of their consumer plans to concentrate on the business sector.

The Business Choice (BC) plans start at $40 a month and go as high as $500/month. As of the beginning of February 2003, Vodafone has removed the need for an ABN (Australian Business Number) on applications for the BC40 and BC60 stand-alone plans, while all shared BC plans still require an ABN.

(For more information on stand-alone and shared BC plans, please refer to the subsequent section titled “In Depth Look At The Plans”)

There are options to choose from when connecting to the Business Choice Plans - Stand Alone or Shared/Grouped plans. This will be explained in more detail later on.

Simplified Plans

They offer a flat calling rate of ‘22c per 30 seconds’ (billed in one-second increments) on all of the Business Choice range of plans, which is for calling either a landline across Australia or another mobile network. One-second billing on the network is standard and has been for some time now. What this means is that you only pay for the time that you are on the call. It used to be the standard practice for carriers to round up your call to the nearest 30-second block and therefore you were (nearly) always paying for time of a call that you did not make. Some carriers still charge in this manner.

Length of contract

There are two types of commitment options with the Business Choice plans - a 12* or 18-month contract if a handset is needed, and the BYO plans (offering exactly the same call rates and benefits) that are only a contract of one month and then you can cancel your commitment or continue on indefinitely. Obviously, with the BYO plan, you must provide your own handset and Vodafone will provide the SIM card and the service.

*Only Business Choice 40 has a 12-month commitment period, all other Business Choice plans have an 18-month commitment period.

Handsets

Vodafone has a large range of handsets available on all of their plans. The contracts allow you the handsets to be subsidised heavily and therefore a new Nokia or Sony Ericsson or whatever handset that you choose may end up costing you very little or absolutely nothing upfront. The monthly payment for the handset is “built-in” to the plan that you are connected to. At the expiry of the contract  the handset is owned by the customer and you are free to go, or stay, as you please.

Insurance of handsets

Vodafone does offer insurance on their handsets. The insurance is usually provided by a third-party insurance company. The insurance costs average at about $
7.00 per month with some of Vodafone’s service providers giving 3 months insurance for free, after which the normal charges apply. If a claim is made, an excess of approximately $125 is required to be paid and the turnaround time to receive your new handset is about one week.

Service Providers

When connecting to Vodafone you have numerous options as to who you can connect to. You have the option of connecting to Vodafone directly or one of their many service providers including Look Mobile, Cellular One, Mobile Innovations and many others.

The only difference is that you will receive you bills on the service providers own billing paper and if you have an enquiry about your account, you would ring the service provider instead of Vodafone directly. If you connect with Vodafone directly, you will receive your bills on Vodafone letterhead and you would ring Vodafone directly with any enquiries. This issue does confuse customers until the matter is explained to them. At the end of the day, everyone is connected to the Vodafone network and there is no difference in the signal you receive, the features of the network or the plans offered.

 

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