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Vodafone reveals even thinner pricing for Skinny rival

By Victoria Young

Sept. 3 (BusinessDesk) - Vodafone NZ and new partner Kogan Mobile have unveiled significantly cheaper prepay mobile services, which will rival smaller brands Skinny and 2Degrees. However, to get the cheapest prices, users mostly have to pay a year in advance.

Kogan's cheapest offer of all is $4.90 for 30 days with 32GB of data, but after that the usual 30-day price is $61.25. .

At a launch today, Vodafone chief executive Jason Paris said he was excited about bringing the 'Pak’nSave’ of telcos to the kiwi market.

“This is a market which I believe that Vodafone hasn’t been strong in. If you are a price-led brand in this market, then you’d be worried about Kogan,” Paris added.

Kogan, an ASX-listed challenger brand, has a launch offer featuring 32GB of data for 30 days for $424.62, or about $35 per month. The service comes with unlimited New Zealand and Australia text messaging and calling and uses Vodafone’s network. The catch is that’s a 365-day price and has to be paid upfront.

The launch offer, which expires on Oct. 28, is a 40 percent discount from Kogan's regular annual price of $707.70, or roughly $59 per month.

Spark-owned rival Skinny has a comparable package of 30GB which costs $66 for 28 days, while 2Degrees’ price for a 25GB plan is $70 on pay monthly or prepaid, but you don't have to sign up for a year, as with Kogan.

Kogan users can sign up for shorter periods but at higher cost. If users only want to prepay for just 90 days, the price for 32GB is $62.90 per 30 days.

Online retailer Kogan says its digital-only offer brings prices down. To move, users can keep their existing number but will have to pay $2 for a new sim card purchased online.

At the lower end of the scale, Kogan has a medium plan of 4GB a month which, at its regular price, is $342.29 a year, or roughly $29 per month.

This could be compared with Skinny’s 4.5GB plan which costs $36 for 28 days, while 2Degrees' equivalent is $40 per month for 4GB, with one hour of free data each day. Skinny and 2Degrees also have the benefit of being able to roll over any unused data to the next month.

Kogan’s key roaming option is a 56-destination bundle for $11.90 for three days.

No decision had been made about whether Kogan customers would get 5G when Vodafone launches it later this year, Paris said.

The move is the Australian retailer's first major foray into New Zealand, although it might be remembered for purchasing the Dick Smith brand out of receivership back in 2016. Kogan founder Ruslan Kogan would not be drawn on how many sales Dick Smith makes in New Zealand, describing the online marketplace as "successful."

The new partnership is similar to the one Vodafone Hutchinson Australia has across the Tasman, although it is difficult to see how much money the Kogan partnership makes.

Revenue from Kogan is lumped in with VHA’s other budget brand Lebara. VHA’s accounts for the first six months of this calendar year show its total revenue per user was $36.74, which is lowered to $34.52 when Kogan is included.

Kogan launched a mobile offering with VHA in 2015 and followed up with broadband. Ruslan Kogan's online empire now includes insurance, travel deals and superannuation.

Earlier this year, Kogan signed a deal with Meridian Energy’s Australian subsidiary Powershop to bring power and gas to Australian consumers.

For Vodafone, the partnership follows its announcement to the market that it would invest in physical retail sites on the back of a tie-up with Digital Mobile owner Millennium Corp.

The telco, owned by Infratil and Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management, has committed to bringing 5G to major centres by the end of this year and is undergoing a period of transformation under new chief executive Paris, formerly of Spark. Vodafone NZ still retains ties to its UK-based parent.


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