Small businesses wanting to do more with technology but conscious of cost have received some good news today with Telecom announcing a new range of mobile plans called “Ultra+”.
According to the telco, the plans give business customers unlimited calling and texts and - for the first time in the New Zealand market – the ability to share a monthly data allowance between employees.
The Ultra+ offer allows businesses to purchase a core plan, which includes unlimited calling to all New Zealand mobiles and landlines, unlimited texts, and a large data allowance ($119 a month for 3GB of data and $219 for 8GB).
They can then choose to add additional employees (up to 3 for the $119 plan and 8 for $219) for only $39 each. Each additional person can use the unlimited calling and texts while also having access to the data allowance.
Head of Business Marketing, James McLeod, claims that when developing the plans Telecom had researched how small businesses were using technology, and what they saw as most important when it came to their mobile needs.
“Obviously the small business market is hugely diverse, ranging from people working in the trades who are a one-man (or woman)-band and always on the road, to high tech firms in an office of 30 people," McLeod says.
"But when we talked to customers, we found some common themes when it came to what they wanted from technology.
“They told us that expectations around speed have increased significantly, and their clients now expect everything to happen faster.
"They also said that while new technology and faster networks has also brought a number of new opportunities, it has also brought increased competition."
While customer needs and expectations may have changed, McLeod believes what hasn’t changed is the ongoing focus small businesses must have on cost and efficiency, and the importance they place on personal relationships.
"Interestingly, these customers still rely very heavily on calling – reflecting the personal nature of New Zealand’s SME sector," McLeod adds.
“These plans were designed to give businesses a simple mobile package, which eliminates the danger of ‘bill shock’ while allowing our customers to talk on their mobiles as much as they need to.
"We’re providing cost certainly around calling and texts, while also delivering value by allowing businesses to share data allowances.
“The trends we uncovered around data use were also interesting. Mobile data consumption is definitely increasing amongst business, but consumption isn’t always spread evenly across the team.
"For example, if you manage a team of sales reps but are office-based, your reps will likely need more data than you on a day-to-day basis, but there may be times when you yourself are travelling and need a bigger allowance than usual.
"Our customers didn’t want to have to sign up to plans with big data allowances if their consumption varied from month to month, so being able to purchase a core plan and then share the data amongst team members was very appealing.”
McLeod concludes that the new Ultra+ plans were part of a broader package of services that Telecom was offering to small business customers - these included the personalised service provided through Telecom’s business hubs, access to a free national WiFi network, and the free upgrade to 4G network that Telecom will launch on November 12.