2degrees and Vocus officially join forces, announce unlimited 5G and special baby bonus

The babies of 2degrees
All Kiwis born on June 1, 2022 are eligible for a share of $222,000. Photo credit: Supplied / 2degrees

Telecommunications companies 2degrees and Vocus NZ have officially merged and in the process become Aotearoa's third-largest provider of broadband and mobile phone services.

To promote the announcement, $222,000 is being donated to any Kiwi baby born today, if their parents register them for it.

As part of the launch of the merged company, CEO Mark Callander said the organisation wanted to further challenge and disrupt the existing market.

The first sign of that was the announcement of an unlimited wireless 5G broadband plan starting at an introductory price of $65 per month.

"I see an incredibly bright future for 2degrees and its customers. 2degrees is a business that is well-positioned for strong growth into the future," Callander said.

Key to that is its 5G network rollout in main centres across New Zealand and expansion of its fixed wireless product as fibre input prices continue to rise. 

"Unlimited 5G home broadband just makes sense - with the speeds that 5G offers, people don't want to be constrained by data caps," Callander said.

"The combined business has a tremendous amount of infrastructure, and we intend to leverage this to shake up the telco landscape and better serve customers across mobile and fixed services."

The $222,000 being given to registered babies born in New Zealand today will be split between them evenly with the aim of setting them up for a "bigger, brighter and fairer future".

Families who welcome a new arrival on June 1, 2022 have until June 30, 2022 to register for the 2degrees baby bonus. Parents will be required to provide certified copies of their ID and their baby's birth certificate.

Baby bonuses should be paid by August 31, 2022 in a lump sum deposited into a nominated New Zealand bank account, the company said.

"It's awesome 2degrees is helping these pēpē who are lucky enough to be born on June 1," Dave Atkinson, Chief Executive, Parenting Place said.

"These babies and their whānau symbolise the diversity and future of family in Aotearoa."

The first year of a baby's life can amount to an extra $8000 to $16,000 in expenses, research has shown. 

With an average of 161 babies born each day, if everyone was registered for the 2degrees promotion they'd get just under $1400 each.

"We're so excited to see which corners of New Zealand our June 1 babies come from and to give those families a helping hand or perhaps the start of a nest egg for the future," Callandar said.

Mark Callendar, CEO of 2degrees
Mark Callendar, CEO of 2degrees Photo credit: Supplied / 2degrees

The combined assets of the new company includes $1.2 billion per year in revenue, 1800 employees, 1.5 million mobile customers and 355,000 broadband subscribers, just behind Vodafone in the market.

It also claims coverage to 98.5 percent of the places Kiwis live and work through its 1900 mobile cell sites and 4600 km of fibre.

Its customer care team is also completely based in Aotearoa.

Callander said the first changes customers will notice include new self-service portals and applications designed for seamless interaction with the company, as well as a range of new products. 

"Underlying all this is a programme of work to simplify and digitise the business. We have a lot of experience of this over the decades, and it will be core to the new-look business and how it meets customers' needs," Callendar said.

"Central to the 2degrees ethos is its vision of Fighting for Fair. As we move forward, we'll have a laser focus on award-winning customer service, innovation, and our commitment to bringing competition to Kiwis - from prepaying mobile users, to households, and businesses of all sizes right up to large corporates."