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Smart crusader with smart deals for smart phones

Mobile phone users in New Zealand can expect increased benefits at decreasing costs, as the third largest mobile company unfolds innovative plans to enable people to talk more and pay less, simultaneously using their devices for multiple tasks.

Stewart Sherriff, who was appointed as the permanent Chief Executive of 2degrees Mobile Limited, one of the fastest growing companies in the country, is keen to take the Company to the next level of growth, along with more customers enjoying more benefits than ever before.

The announcement of his appointment (on August 27, 2013) came at a time when the market is poised for accelerated growth, orchestrated by increasing demand and fierce competition. He was leading the Company in an interim capacity for almost five months following the death of Eric Hertz who died with his wife Kathy when their plane crashed into the sea off the coast of Kawhia, near Raglan in South Island on March 30, 2013.

Mr Sherriff was not new to the Company as he was its Chairman in his previous assignment at Trilogy International, a majority shareholder. That tour of duty also placed him in charge of Trilogy’s operations in Bolivia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

He finds New Zealand interesting and motivating. He and his wife Mo are excited to call Auckland their home.

“We have always loved New Zealand, not only because of the culture, relaxed way of life and the fact that we share the same passion for all things rugby, but also because we are now closer to our grandchildren in Australia,” he said.

Impressive career

Born in Letham, a village in Angus, Scotland, Mr Sherriff launched his career as a technician at British Telecom. He has since then been a globetrotter, growing from strength to strength with extensive experience spanning three decades in 20 countries across the Continents.

“It has been a great journey so far, I have witnessed a number of significant changes in the industry,” he said.

If 2degrees revolutionised our market for mobile telephones, we can expect further waves of innovation, enterprise and excitement under Mr Sherriff’s leadership as he engages with his technical and marketing teams to introduce new plans that reinforce the customers’ Kingship.

“I love a good challenge and have worked in some pretty demanding mobile markets over the years including Slovenia, Croatia, Georgia, the US and UK, Iceland, Latvia, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Russia,” he said.

Mobiles outstrip people

Mr Sherriff believes that the fast moving communication technology, with its low-cost, user-friendly equipment and application will see the population of mobile devices outstripping the number of people living in this world.

He said that people are becoming increasingly reliant on their mobile phones to conduct business, office work, read news and share their views on current affairs, in addition to a host of other activities.

He profiled today’s people as passionate and socially active with a quest for knowledge and information.

“The world of mobile is changing at a staggering rate. People rely on their mobile phones for their work and personal lives now more than ever before. At the heart of these developments is an insatiable demand for data. In 2012, data consumption on our (2degrees) network almost tripled as against the growth of 70%.

“By the end of 2013, it’s predicted that there will be more mobile devices on earth than people; this phenomenal growth is set to continue as more apps and mobile functionality emerges. The possibilities are endless,” he said.

The Challenger

Corporate leaders, mobile users and visitors to New Zealand would agree that 2degrees Mobile has not only stirred the market since its advent in 2009 but also made a real difference in pricing and quality of service.

At the heart of its operations are real people, who spend time with callers explaining to them the salient features and benefits of various Pre-Pay and Post-Pay plans, and suggest cost-effective solutions to suit their needs and affordability.

“We pride ourselves on being the Challenger, the one who came in and shook things up. 2degrees has been instrumental in creating real competition in the New Zealand market which has, in turn, meant kiwis are now getting more value for their mobile dollar than ever before. A lot has been achieved since our entry four years ago but there is still more to do,” he said, and added, “Watch this space!”

According to some economists, “duopoly is as bad as monopoly, since it allows two to play the same game, often to the detriment of the customer.”

The news of the establishment of 2degrees Mobile in 2009 may have had just a leeting interest for some but as the Company began providing state-of-the-art technology at low-end prices, people began to pause and take notice.

Mobile telephones suddenly became more affordable, more areas hitherto characterised by existing providers as ‘black spots’ became accessible and most important of all, there was always a real person answering calls.

“Kiwis were getting a bad deal as there were only two dominant players in the market. We finally gave them a choice and the benefits have been significant, especially for prepay customers. For example, if you compare what $40 bought back in 2009 with today, people are getting more than 11 times the number of minutes for their money and in most cases unlimited texts. That was a massive shift in a short time, thanks to 2degrees forcing a change for the better,” Mr Sherriff said.

When the Company announced last year that its customer base had crossed one million, the impact of this milestone was not lost.

Better deals

Mr Sherriff believes that there can be better deals in Post-Pay and Business Plans.

“We want Kiwis to use their mobiles more. Smartphones are wonderful devices that can add more to our daily lives, but people have been conditioned not to make too many calls because of the cost. Our aim is to continue to provide outstanding value to our customers through innovative, affordable products and services.”

Its ‘Carry Over’ and ‘Shared Data’ offerings allowed customers to use their unconsumed minutes’ and data and share their data with other people or devices. Customers use what they have paid for, rather than losing unused minutes and data at the end of each month.

“No other network in New Zealand offers their customers this advantage. We were also the first in the market to allow customers to call and text Australia using their existing plan minutes and texts at no extra cost. As a part of our ‘Fighting for fair’ crusade, we reward all new and existing customers with new products as they are introduced rather than differentiate between them like other networks do. For example, when we introduced our carry over minutes and data plans, they were for all new and existing customers – not just new customers,” he said.

Spend Control

According to Mr Sherriff, the billing system of his Company also accrues benefits to customers.

“We charge in arrears rather than upfront to give customers more visibility into their monthly spending, which is great help to small businesses. We recently launched ‘Spend Control’, which allows customers to set a limit on the amount they want to spend each month, helping eliminate overage and ‘bill shock’. Our customers are now getting more value for their money,” he said.

2degrees Mobile Limited is the Sponsor of the ‘Best Small Business’ Category of the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2013. The Award Night presentation ceremony will be held on Monday, November 18, 2013 at Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland City. Tickets for the five-hour programme, including a small exhibition of Sponsors, cocktails, dinner and entertainment are priced at $150 plus GST per person. Tables seating 10 persons each at $1500 plus GST per table are also available. For reservations and further details, please call (09) 5336377 or 021-836528. Email: editor@indiannewslink.co.nz

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