Vodafone launches shared plans, Stan partnership

Vodafone Australia has signed an agreement with video-streaming Nine-Fairfax joint venture Stan to provide video services to its mobile customers as the company launches shared plans.

Vodafone Australia mobile customers on the company's Red contract plans can now share their monthly calls, text, and data allowances over up to 10 devices.

The Red plans, on 12- or 24-month contracts, start at AU$50 per month with 3GB of monthly data, and go up to AU$100 for 6GB of data per month.

Once a user is on a Red plan, they can opt to pay an additional monthly fee to add a plan for another family member's phone, or a tablet device.

For phones, the fee starts at AU$30 per month, with 1GB of additional data, up to AU$70 per month for an additional 3GB per month.

For tablets, there are the options of AU$10 for 1GB of data, and AU$30 for 4GB of data per month.

The monthly data allowance and allocated calls and texts are pooled for all devices on a shared plan.

"We are not bringing in just shared data plans; [it is] the whole family, on text and voice," CEO Inaki Berroeta told journalists on Monday.

Vodafone signs Stan

Following on from the company's bundle agreements with Spotify and The Sydney Morning Herald, Vodafone has also struck a deal for video content, signing up Fairfax-Nine joint venture Stan.

As first flagged by ZDNet earlier this year, Vodafone has been on the lookout for video content to complement its service, and has picked the local launch of Stan, with hit shows such as Better Call Saul, as the video partner for Vodafone.

The service has been available for four weeks, offering a free 30-day trial. The company has reported that it is on track to get 100,000 customers signed up in March, for a monthly fee of AU$10 per month.

The fee will be waived for Vodafone customers, but data charges will still apply. Berroeta rejected suggestions that the data-heavy video content would lead to a rise in bill shock for Vodafone customers.

"There are a number of things we're doing to prevent that. The usage of Stan will be done through the mobile phone, but also when they're at home. They can use it on any device and on any network. So they can use it on Wi-Fi, too," he said.

"Stan is video content, but I think the way we've managed bill shock is going to create real value for customers."

Customers who go over their monthly plans will incur an AU$10 charge for each additional gigabyte used.

Mike Sneesby, CEO of Stan, said Vodafone was a natural choice for Stan.

"In any partnership, bringing together two components to create value is what it is all about. I think from the start, we saw a very clear strategy from Vodafone. We'd kicked off talks with Vodafone before we'd even launched our brand in the market," he said.

Berroeta said that Stan has a good understanding of the local market.

"There are many opportunities, many choices. To work with the Stan team was fantastic; it was a real partnership from the beginning," he said.

Sneesby said the launch of Netflix in Australia in March would lead to more competition for Stan, but would help grow the market in Australia.

"With Stan, we have a whole range of exclusive and first-run content that will only be available on Stan. What we will see is a take-up of multiple services," he said.

"Obviously, there is going to be competition, but we're about building this category."