Vodafone or Telecom or 2 Degrees?

February 21st, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Okay I blogged yesterday that I will be replacing my Blackberry with a new smartphone.

A related issue is do I stay with . Here’s how I am currently connected:

  • Home Internet – Vodafone (through Ihug)
  • Work Internet – Xtreme (they are in my office building, which is handy)
  • Blackberry – Vodafone
  • iPad – Vodafone
  • Mobile Internet – Vodafone (Vodem)

I am a bit exposed having my main four connections (I rarely go into the office) all with Vodafone. Hence my thinking has been to swap my Vodem for a T-Stick. This provides me with a backup network when Vodafone is down.

Also when travelling, I have often found Vodafone 3G signals hard to get (and GPRS is next to useless for me). In large parts of Ponsonby and St Marys Bay in Auckland I struggle to get Vodafone 3G. Sometimes you get a signal for a bit but somehow it gets overloaded and drops you to GPRS.

Sort of related to that, my Vodafone Blackberry hits a few black spots around Wellington. It always loses a call if driving up the hill to Khandallah. Also loses signal in parts of the CBD sometimes.

I’ve heard that XT is pretty good since they sorted their problems out – faster and with more coverage.

So should I stay with everything on Vodafone, or go to for some connectivity – and if so, for the phone or for the mobile internet or both?

2 Degrees is a possibility also. They tend to be cheaper, but I am more focused on speed and reliability than price.

What would be great would be a telco that would sell me say 100 GB a month, and allow me to use it over all four devices (laptop, phone, mobile internet stick, ipad). I hate it that I have to buy say an extra $20 of data for my iPad for the last three days of the month, when I have 25 GB unused on my landline etc.

I’m definitely not planning to change my home Internet (have been Ihug since 1996) or iPad (unless there is some bundled package for data across all devices). But I am open to going elsewhere for my smartphone and my mobile internet stick. Views welcome.

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35 Responses to “Vodafone or Telecom or 2 Degrees?”

  1. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    DPF,

    “Data buckets” are really a feature of billing systems and commercial models than of the networks themselves.

    As a business customer you are more likely to be offered that type of feature.

    On that basis I would not discount either voda or Telecom, and would also add TelstraClear into the mix. A call to their business team stipulating a data bucket as a requirement to get you to switch, might just uncover some options for you.

    (TCL use the voda mobile network)

    [DPF: TCL provide the non VOIP lines to my business, so I do have them in the mix]

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  2. Richard (97 comments) says:

    XT all the way.

    2 degrees is good for price, if you stay in a place with good coverage (ie major metro), but not so good for mobile users.

    Voda is getting VERY crappy these days.

    I use, well HAVE all 3, but use XT for anything important (and my main phone, data connection etc).

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  3. david c (254 comments) says:

    Vodafone’s mobile data plans are a joke. An absolute joke. I believe you get 250mb per month plus a free 1gb per month for the first 6 months of the contract. Pah.

    XT give me 2gb a month and that’s just enough…

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  4. marynicolehicks (24 comments) says:

    2 Degrees. Support the smallest player if you want the market to get more competitive and for things to get better in the future.

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  5. Fletch (6,497 comments) says:

    I had been on Vodafone for years; ever since I got my first mobile phone, but the reception really was poor where I lived. You had to do that thing where you move around the house to find a good place to send from. It was really bad for battery as well, as the phone would always be trying to find a signal and run down.

    About a month ago, I switched to XT and took my 021 number with me. I went along to a Telecom shop, and the guy actually did it for free. Just gave me a new SIM card and switched it over. By that night I was on Telecom.

    Reception is now wonderful, and I haven’t had any other problems so far (apart from some app on my iPhone which sends/receives 1KB a day and quickly uses up my prepay – have yet to figure out what it is).

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  6. dime (10,133 comments) says:

    about 8 years ago i managed to escape the evil telecom and went to vodafone. we moved the entire company.

    turned out vodafone was a bit average. the coverage seemed to go down hill.

    we moved back to telecom a few years ago – best move ever! i travel around NZ for work and so far the only real blackspot ive come across is a section between qtown and omarama!

    i still have buddies on vodafone – they are still dropping calls. i often hear them swearing at their phones, i look down and have 4 bars.

    the only downside to telecom – last year our wellington guy and christchurch guy didnt have a phone for a day. big deal.

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  7. George Patton (350 comments) says:

    Vodafone has lousy account plans for those who use data.

    Telecom XT’s network is much better in the parts of Auckland and North Auckland I like to work and visit friends/family etc.

    I have been biased against Telecom in the past, but readily acknowledge their data speed and coverage as better than Vodafone in the areas around central-east Auckland, and the Rodney District Council area.

    When my contract for Vodafone expires in September, I will be sorely tempted to move across to Telecom, pay slightly more per month in terms of my plan, but get a LOT more data and similar minutes.

    iPhone 4 on Vodafone
    iPad on Telecom XT
    T-Stick through Telecom XT

    I would love to give 2Degrees a go, but travel outside of the main city centre means I’d lose out data wise.

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  8. David Garrett (7,563 comments) says:

    My needs are very basic DPF (I’m a basic kind of guy) but I find 2 degrees fine, even way out here in the wops…their helpdesk is a bit spooky though…. when you finally get a human they all seem to be on some drug…

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  9. George Patton (350 comments) says:

    That being said, if there are any telco marketing folks reading this, I’d love to see a plan for power users like me that can take one of your on – account plans and whack up the data in major increments for every month in advance.

    EG – take the $150 month plan for Vodafone, and buy extra data up to 8gb per month for every month, not having to manually tell Vodafone.Telecom I want to buy an extra 2gb every time I exhaust that function.

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  10. tvb (4,517 comments) says:

    I use the mobile hotspot for the ipad – blue tooth connection which uses the 3G plan I have on the iphone. Can use wiifi as well but blue tooth (subject to security issues) is more stable. I am cancelling the 3g plan on the ipad now that I am satisfied on the stability of the hotspot.

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  11. thomasbeagle (77 comments) says:

    Telecom XT is a clearly better mobile network than Vodafone. Faster and more reliable. (I recently switched back from XT to Vodafone due to corporate bullshit reasons and it’s been a massive downgrade.)

    Don’t get 2degrees if you’re ever out of the main centres. They treat data differently depending on where you are and a) it’s a pain to manage two data caps, b) performance when roaming is shocking.

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  12. Julian (178 comments) says:

    I swapped from BlackBerry (Vodafone) to iPhone 4S (Telecom) last week and can’t believe I waited so long.

    BB has really gone over a cliff.

    A great thing about iPhones running ios5 is that text messages between them (even internationally) are free – not quite BBM but getting closer.

    Also, the service I received from Telecom (Ponsonby Road store) was excellent. They phoned me when my phone was ready to collect (they’d run out but received new handsets within 24 hours), and answered questions when I couldn’t get it working, by email (to a person, not an online form).

    One commentary I read basically said ‘pay more upfront for the handset as monthly charges will come down’, but by my calculations monthly charges would have to come down to around $20 in order to compensate for the savings you make by signing up for 24 months.

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  13. rightmakesright (12 comments) says:

    Hi David,

    From memory you had the original Bold? This didn’t have the 900mhz frequency that Vodafone runs its 3G network (outside of CBD’s) on. The iPhone 4S does, which will solve your coverage issue, problem with Khandallah – a lot of welly, same on Telecom, is that its hilly and its hard to get the network to reach into the nooks and crannys… can’t help with the plan side though sorry, I left Vodafone 12 months ago :( I can only skite and tell you how much data I get for my $60 per month in Aus :P

    Whatever you do, don’t use 2degrees, coverage was AWFUL when I was home in December and January, my grandparents house is just on the cusp of 2degrees reception and has average 2G Vodafone reception, but because the phone was flciking between the networks the I got NO coverage at all! Also the data speed on 3G in central Auckland is so bad that I was tempted to use roaming rates on my australian mobile, just so I could access the Vodafone network.

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  14. moaningmoa (68 comments) says:

    iPhone – Vodafone
    iPad – Telecom
    Home – Actrix (i.e. telecom)

    Find the Vodafone coverage spotty to non-existent outside of the main cities. (phone is a brick in a lot of the Waiarapa)
    When I got the iPad I decided to give Telecom a try (again) and I have been impressed with coverage, it’s just so much better it’s not funny (3g through most of the Waiarapa)

    Once my contract on vodafone expires, both my wife and I will switch to Telecom away from Vodafone, for the coverage alone.

    As a side note, although Actrix is not technically the best deal, I have remained with them for the simple reason that their customer service has always been the best I have every experienced.

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  15. jptucker (18 comments) says:

    As per most of the posts above Telecom hands down is the best mobile network.

    To expand on TVB above I wouldn’t bother with the data stick (unless you can get a data bucket and prefer this way of working) and use the wifi/tethered broadband from the iPhone. I have heard that Vodafone don’t allow the iPhone to operate at it’s fasted speed in this manner, and that Telecom’s is faster, but I’m not sure if that is true, or simply a symptom of Telecom’s network being better.

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  16. davidp (3,588 comments) says:

    I needed to get a data stick for my laptop over the hols. I was heading to the Bay of Islands. 2 Degrees only covered the main centers, and by “main centers” they said they’d be deploying in to places like Rotorua “soon”. Forget it! I went with XT and the coverage was great. The only place I had difficulty getting a signal was Ahipara (south end of 90 Mile beach, about 15km from Kaitaia) where I couldn’t get a useful signal from my tent by the beach and had to wander across a car park before I could surf the web.

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  17. Lipo (229 comments) says:

    I will not use 2 Degrees as it was given to Maori for nix
    Same with Sealords, I will not buy there product either

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  18. Elaycee (4,410 comments) says:

    DPF Says: “In…. St Marys Bay in Auckland I struggle to get Vodafone 3G. ”

    Just ask Winston if you can use ‘his’ ethernet connection…. Heh.

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  19. peterwn (3,312 comments) says:

    XT data been generally pretty good. Used it OK in Stewart Island, the bit of Marlborough Sounds I go to, and Mulberry Grove, Great Barrier (after asking locals where the site was), there is no Vodafone at these localities.

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  20. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    Will echo the sentiments of a few here. Telecom XT with iPhone 4s tethering to the iPad has proven to be perfect for my phone and mobile data requirements across the country, remote and in the middle of the major cities.

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  21. MT_Tinman (3,259 comments) says:

    iHug are lowlife, lying thief scum!

    Stole from me then would not even acknowledge my existence.

    Telecom in ChCh is the only reliable provider. 2degrees is central city only and regularly I have people in the cab swearing at Vodaphone while I can’t remember last time I lost a call with XT.

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  22. jimbob2 (1 comment) says:

    Telecom XT is excellent, never lost 3G in Auckland, had pretty good coverage when I was travelling down south or up north.

    Vodafone’s crappy data service is the reason I left them. No regrets.

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  23. Fentex (1,040 comments) says:

    All Telecom companies should be as good as France’s Frog on this issue.

    They have a single flat rate for their service. Pay it and you get everything – landline, mobile, their wifi hotspots, webmail, website hosting, the lot.

    Even if, because of our remoteness, traffic charges were added it would still be a muhc better way to do business.

    Few things make me as mad as someone trying to waste my time with plans, schemes and options I need to study to understand what ought be a simple predictable transaction.

    If Vodafone wanted to destory Telecom (or vice versa) and steal their lunch adopting something like Frogs attitude (or even a slightly tiered version of it) would do it.

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  24. Tautaioleua (318 comments) says:

    :D

    Telecom is by far the more reliable, and has the greatest coverage zone in the country.

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  25. Gavin Knight (9 comments) says:

    been very happy since switching phone (now iPhone) and iPad to Telecom XT over last couple years

    I also carry a Netcomm mobile wifi hotspot on Telecom XT but tempted to just share the iPhone’s data using it’s hotspot features (particularly once I upgrade from my iPhone 3GS) … portable wifi better as can share it to laptop and kindle which I couldn’t do with vodem or telecom data stick

    previously found Vodafone’s coverage very poor in Wellington and Auckland metro areas and even worse outside of cities

    2 degrees piggy back on Vodafone’s network when they don’t have their own towers so suffer from same coverage issues

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  26. Nigel (517 comments) says:

    Don’t forget you can setup an iPhone or Android as a hotspot for your iPad or laptop.

    Personally I’m happy with XT, I’m down to Telecom Home Internet, Telecom + Galaxy sii & my iPad/Kindle/laptop are wifi from home or cell phone hotspot.

    In your case I’d go for.
    Vodafone Home ( as good as any )
    Telecom iPhone
    Vodafone stick, but on prepay as a backup for the iPhone
    iPad/Laptop wifi primarily

    The other one is skinny ( telecom ) some serious good pricing there, but low data limits.

    [DPF: I quite like the idea of having the mobile data stick on prepay and use in emergencies only. If you have enough data for the iphone, then yes can use that as mobile data for laptop]

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  27. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    When I bought my Telecom smartphone, I moved to them from Vodafone because all of T’s smartphone plans allowed more monthly data than V’s nearest equivalent plan, for a lower price. This was in October 2011, haven’t been following the prices/deals since then as I am signed up for 24 months anyway…

    (Besides I probably do about half of my total mobile phone internet-ing at home over our domestic WiFi, while her indoors or the child are monopolising the PC…)

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  28. Paulus (2,672 comments) says:

    Am told that 2degree not available in say Australia.
    Have used Vodafone in China, HK, Singa & UK readily with no problems.
    But phone/text only on pre pay.

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  29. Spoon (104 comments) says:

    There’s going to be a lot of conflicting personal opinion here.

    Mine: I switched from Vodafone to Telecom. Have been very happy. Much faster.

    Vodafone were also pressuring my wife into signing onto a new, more expensive plan (a smart plan for her dumb phone) for 24 months. And the account wasn’t even in her name. Prompted me to switch my phone to Telecom, her phone to 2 Degrees, and our home Internet to Orcon. Not going to support that kind of activity.

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  30. lcmortensen (38 comments) says:

    My whole family is on Telecom (one is still on CDMA), and nearly my whole high school was on Telecom when I went there. Vodafone/2degrees reception where I am is patchy, and its a town of 2000 people.

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  31. pkiwi (111 comments) says:

    Travelling lots: Telecom XT
    Mainly in Main Centre: 2Degrees. I have switched over several phones onto their business plans saving heaps (>40%) for bundled calls and data.

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  32. Viking2 (11,574 comments) says:

    Try EOL. From Tauranga. Leave the rest for dead.

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  33. TooRight (3 comments) says:

    Whatever you do use the hotspot function and data plan on your iPhone 4 S for your iPad – the 3G option on the iPad is a rip.

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  34. Madison (1 comment) says:

    Don’t use 2 degrees for anything reliable. I like it because it’s cheap and functional and can get most of my texts sorted quickly and with very little reception but for power use the signal is dodgy. Vodafone seems to have trouble putting in a serious network as they don’t get all the access to install transcievers like telecom. I can’t use my phone for voice in my house and I live in town while nobody on telecom has this problem. For my uses 2 degrees is ok but for any actual voice work you’ll need Telecom to keep it working over the whole country.

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  35. whoopeee (1 comment) says:

    If you want to know if 2Degrees have broadband/network, you can check it at the following link:
    http://www.2degreesmobile.co.nz/mobilebroadband/broadbandzones

    I found it quite useful.
    Since you are using multiple devices, 2Degrees has introduced a new plan where you can share your data across up to 5 devices: http://www.2degreesmobile.co.nz/paymonthly/plans/shared-data

    Of course they only have modem sticks and don’t have landlines but their network has expanded tremendously.

    This is entirely up to you though.
    Signals are not to bad and they seem to be very customer focussed – thus attending to your complaints rapidly.

    Like all companies, they won’t know the faults unless they get feedback.

    Good luck :)

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