Spark has ditched the data cap on its top fixed-wireless access plan for business customers.
Fixed-wireless uses a mobile network to deliver broadband to a home or business, which can then be shared via Wi-Fi. It eliminates the need for a landline, and depending on your mobile coverage, it can deliver fibre-like performance. Unlike a mobile data plan, fixed-wireless service can only be used in one place, such as your office or home.
Under the telco's new Business Flexible Broadband on Wireless plans, a company pays $79 a month if they use up to 120 gigabytes of data or $89 if it uses more than 120GB.
For $10 extra on either plan, you get unlimited calls thrown in.
There is no throttling speed after you hit an arbitrary limit (a la the slow-down that occurs with "unlimited" mobile data plans after a certain point). But there is a "fair use" provision that could see Spark nudge you to a UFB fibre landline if you constantly chug down huge amounts of data.
Fixed-wireless connections can be installed in a couple of hours - a nice change from fibre - and can be cheaper. But do double-check that with Spark (or Vodafone or Vocus) that devices such as burglar alarms or Sky TV decodes will work properly with the technology. It's not always the case.
Spark is only offering unlimited fixed-wireless data for business customers, although it's residential fixed-wireless plans recently got bumped-up limits and now offer up to 600GB a month (that is, enough for watching Netflix every night) for $85/month.
The telco recently reported it now has 142,000 fixed wireless customers, which analysts say is good for its bottom line because it transfers some $50 million a year from landline network operator Chorus' pocket to its own as Spark keeps nearly all the revenue from a connection.
Vodafone NZ's new owners are keen to join the party, with the publicly stated aim of increasing their fixed-wireless customer numbers from some 46,000 to more than 100,000 over the next couple of years.
And whereas Spark has different fixed-wireless plans for home and business, Vodafone's new fixed-wireless plans launched last month can be used by consumers or businesses - though it skews to smaller and home offices.
A Vodafone spokeswoman said today, "We think wireless broadband is a terrific product for suitable businesses, especially as business use has very different peaks to residential use.
"In January we released two new commercial packages for wireless broadband, with 300GB [$73/month] and 600GB [$83/month] options available, and thousands of selected customers have been invited to participate in a trial of 1 terabyte [1000GB] worth of data a month."
Like Spark, Vodafone says wireless broadband isn't suitable for everyone, but the Vodafone spokeswoman said it was proving popular with businesses without fibre, such as satellite offices in areas not yet covered by the UFB, or building sites.
Most fixed-wireless today is via 4G, but Spark launched 5G fixed-wireless in a series of small South Island towns late last year, and Vodafone plans a broad 5G fixed-wireless rollout before year's end.
Vodafone is also mulling the possibility of letting you use a fixed-wireless plan in more than one place - for example, your home plus a bach rather than just your home.
The 5G spectrum auction set to kick-off on March 30 will help kick things along.
2degrees has yet to release a fixed-wireless product. Vocus (which owns Orcon and Slingshot) is planning to launch a fixed-wireless service shortly, wholesaled from Spark.