Yep so Vodafone announced their plans for the iPhone release this week in New Zealand; what a disaster…
After getting everyone all frenzied last week with statements like “an iPhone from $199” the ugly truth emerged: Sure you can get an iPhone for only $199 but you need to sign up for a two year plan which will cost you over $6000 !
Check out this Vodafone sales exec getting beaten up in a TV interview:
One of the key things in the interview is the statement that the iPhone in New Zealand is been marketed as a premium product.
That I believe is the fatal flaw.
For years telcos have been trying to offset the declining revenue from voice with revenue from data services. In New Zealand mobile data services have been mainstream for almost 10 years but the costs have been so steep that most consumers have been trained to not even consider using them.
The iPhone is a perfect platform for mobile internet and in fact without good Internet access the usefulness of the device is eroded.
What Vodafone should have done is set their data plans to match (or even undercut) typical ISP broad plans and then gone to market with a “hey the mobile internet is here” campaign using the iPhone as the flagship device. Even if you had to pay a grand for the device people would have still gone for it (for years high end phones have sold for around $1000 and the iPhone is also an iPod and GPS unit so well worth that kind of money).
In a few year consumers would become so accustomed to having good, cheap mobile Internet that everyone would use it and of course Vodafone would then become the de facto supplier (and mostly likely make good in-roads into other ISPs market share as well).
But I suspect this will never happen instead they will just gouge early adopters and then sit around wondering why no one uses their data services. Sigh.
One ray of hope: Rogers, a telco in Canada, which suffered a similar public reaction to their plans has just backtracked and offered up some better deals.
Perhaps Vodafone New Zealand will see the light too.