IPO candidate 2degrees says it will offer business customers free roaming to Australia when the bubble opens on April 19, with no extra charges to New Zealand customers who text, call or use data while across the ditch.
The three mobile operators have traditionally offered free transtasman roaming for consumers only.
Vodafone NZ was the first to react.
The telco is still charging $7 a day for roaming, but external affairs head Richard Llewellyn pushed its 5G advantage.
"We can also offer Vodafone NZ customers with a 5G enabled plan and 5G device, purchased from Vodafone NZ or selected NZ retailers, the ability to connect to a 5G mobile network in parts of Australia where Vodafone Australia 5G coverage is available," Llewellyn said.
"Australia is the most popular outbound destination for Vodafone customers, and we wanted to ensure 5G roaming is in place for when international travel across the Tasman resumes, as part of our efforts to future-proof our network."
2degrees does not have 5G roaming in Australia, a spokeswoman confirmed. The telco does have roaming agreements with all three mobile network operators across the Tasman.
A spokeswoman for Spark said, "We know Spark Business customers who travel across the Tasman will need the tools to keep working flexibility and remotely – so Spark's offer of 12-months of Microsoft 365 Business Basic for free with an Endless Mobile for business plan will deliver this for them. We will be keeping Spark's roaming offer in market . This gives our business customers simplicity and great value with a 7-day bundle of texts, calling minutes and data for $20."
All three of the mobile players have been hit by the pandemic, which has fuelled demand for domestic telecommunications services but around $120 million in high-margin incoming and outgoing global roaming revenue has all but dried up.
Survey: how many want face-to-face meetings?
2degrees, which is looking to make up ground on rivals in the business market, has also just wrapped up a survey of 1000 business people, carried out by Perceptive during February, which found that despite the rise of Zoom, many companies were looking forward to the return of real-life networking.
"Our research revealed that nearly half (48 per cent) of employing business decision-makers believe their business relationships suffered due to less face-to-face interaction in 2020 – an indication of how important doing business in-person really is," 2degrees chief business officer Andrew Fairgray says.
On their appetite for transtasman travel, 42 per cent of business decision-makers who responded to the 2021 survey said they intend to travel for business in Australia at least annually when the bubble opens. This is in stark contrast to 2020, when a third said they would not be doing any business in Australia at all, Fairgrave says.