This week it has been reported on the NBR and Stuff that Vodafone would be offering its broadband subscribers six months' of free Neon as part of an extension of its partnership with Sky, which until now has seen the telco reselling Sky's products in bundles with broadband and home phone plans.
Sky's director of corporate comms Kirsty Way has confirmed to StopPress that these initial reports are true.
"Some time ago Vodafone had promotional material about this offer ‘coming soon,'" she says. I’m surprised it has become a news story this week but yes they do intend to work with Neon on an offer. This will be a good opportunity for Vodafone customers to enjoy Neon at a special rate."
The interest in Vodafone's promotion of the Neon package has largely been driven by last week's announcement that Spark would be offering its approximately 600,000 current subscribers (and those who sign up 30 April) a complimentary 12-month subscription to online video service Lightbox.
Although Lightbox has not responded to questions on whether the promotion has increased subscription numbers, it's not far-fetched to see some Kiwis switching to Spark to take advantage of the freebie.
This perk will be particularly appealing to Vodafone's naked broadband subscribers, who will after the pricing changes kick in on 1 February pay exactly the same prices as those offered at Spark (ADSL: $69 for 80 gigabytes or $89 for unlimited data; or VDSL: $79 for 80 gigabytes or $99 for unlimited data).
The Neon offer—albeit only a six-month package—should be enough to convince at least some Vodafone customers to stay with the service, but the problem is that Sky's SVOD service still hasn't launched. And with each passing day, the temptation to switch will become a bit greater.
The inconvenience of having to switch services generally dissuades users from changing providers, but, as was evidenced by the 70,000 Kiwis who changed energy companies during the 'What's my number campaign?', a better deal is at times capable of persuading consumers to switch.
Neon was initially set to launch in December, but the date was pushed out to the new year. It was then thought that the service would launch last Thursday, but this also didn't come to fruition and on 23 January Neon shared this Tweet:
We want NEON to be awesome, it’s just taking a bit longer than we'd hoped. You’ll be first to know when we’re live pic.twitter.com/wIlfCB5wB4— NeonNZ (@NeonNZ) January 23, 2015
Asked when Neon would launch, Way would not give an exact date.
"Unfortunately, Neon will not make a January launch," she says. "We are working hard to get this product to market as soon as possible and will advise when a launch date is known."