Vodafone partners with Square to add payments to phone bundle

Vodafone Australia has signed an agreement with payments technology company Square that will see it offer the Square Reader for AU$5 when bundled with its business phone and data plans.

Payments technology company Square has announced a partnership with Vodafone Australia that enables small businesses to bundle a Square Reader with selected phone and data plans.

From Tuesday, small businesses will be able to purchase the Square Reader from certain Vodafone stores for AU$5 when bundled with Vodafone's 24-month AU$60-and-above Red Plans and AU$50-and-above SIM-only Red Plans.

The Square Contactless and Chip Reader normally costs AU$59, and is also available to purchase online as well as in more than 1,000 retail outlets across Australia.

"In an increasingly cashless society, we want to arm small businesses with sophisticated tools so they're ready for anything -- tools that are traditionally reserved for big businesses," Stuart Kelly, executive GM of Enterprise at Vodafone Australia, said in a statement.

"It's just the start of our journey to provide more complete solutions for the thousands of small businesses operating across Australia every day."

Square's Australian country manager Ben Pfisterer did not reveal further details of the agreement, but told ZDNet that the partnership was a "natural fit" and is centred on the ability for small businesses "to be able to 'walk out working' with Vodafone's selected business phone plans and access to a full point-of-sale system".

"Australian businesses are located everywhere and anywhere, and with around 500 Vodafone stores nationally, this is a chance to give more business owners across the country access to a complete communication and business solution," Pfisterer added.

"This partnership helps remove the hassle for time-poor business owners of having to fill out forms, review complex and expensive contracts, and coordinate multiple vendors for their hardware, software, and payments services."

Square has launched 10 products and services in Australia since it opened operations in Melbourne last year, including Square APIs, Virtual Terminal, and Square Invoices.

As part of its strategy to play a more prominent role in the SMB sphere, Vodafone announced in June last year a suite of business-centric plans and access to third-party apps such as Dropbox Business, MozyPro, Norton Small Business, Xero, Office 365, GoDaddy, and Google Apps.

The telco's Business Flex plans allow small and medium-sized businesses to curate their own mobile phone plans, ranging from AU$30 to AU$150 per month.

The plans all include unlimited text messages and national calls, data of up to 20GB per month, AU$5 per day global roaming, the capability to share plan inclusions across all employees, a personal account manager based out of Vodafone's Tasmanian service centre for companies with 10 or more employees on a Business Flex plan, the telco's 30-day Network Happiness Guarantee, up to 10,000 Qantas Acquire points, and an "optional technology fund" to aid businesses in purchasing new smartphones and tablets.

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