A busy year for the company, 2000 saw the introduction of key new services. In April, the My Vodafone portal was introduced and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) services became commercially available in May. Vodafone technicians also made the first GPRS call on a network in New Zealand, signalling the imminent arrival of continuous Internet content on mobiles.
Vodafone’s New Zealand customers became the first in the world to experience its totally mobile Internet portal, Vizzavi. It differed from My Portal in that it has the same look and feel around the world as well as an extended range of services for the New Zealand market.
In addition, Vodafone moved into mobile phone banking with an alliance with ASB Bank to trial the technology. The two-month trial used 150 ASB Bank customers who could check balances, statements, forex, lending and investment rates. The trial used visually displayed information.
In the same 12-month period, Vodafone scored again when it announced that electronics retailer Dick Smith Electronics would only stock Vodafone services and products at the expense of Telecom. The move signalled Vodafone’s move away from the business market and into more consumer/domestic sales.
There was little doubt Vodafone’s presence and its third share of the market gave the sector a shot in the arm. The company offered mobile users the full range of mobile services including callerID, faxMail, Text Messaging, e-mailPreview, and its Prepay product. A range of WAP and text-based information products were also available. Vodafone NZ claimed it boosted the market to such an extent that 50,000 New Zealanders would be new mobile users every month. Vodafone’s growth indicated that New Zealanders are less cautious about buying services from a cell phone only company than they used to be and the rest of the country is catching up with the early-adopters business sector.
For more information, see separate report: Vodafone New Zealand.
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