According to the National Business Review (NBR), Telecom New Zealand is poised to launch its long-rumoured, no-frills sub-brand, under the ‘Skinny’ moniker. Citing an anonymous tip-off from one of the telco’s competitors, the NBR confirms that the domain name for Skinny has now been registered by Telecom’s lawyer for intellectual property purposes. The move is likely to precede Telecom’s unveiling of a multi-brand strategy, which will see it launch a new ‘value’ brand to sit alongside its established 3G network, XT. The Skinny homepage indicates an NZD4 (USD3.14) pay weekly deal – the very antithesis of Telecom’s high-ARPU-generating XT network.
In July 2010 Telecom confirmed its intention to switch off its CDMA mobile network in mid-2012, with a view to migrating all of its customers over to its W-CDMA/HSPA-based XT network. However, in doing so, the company faces the challenge of persuading around one million ‘low value’ customers to leave its long-running CDMA network, without losing them to pre-paid price leader 2degrees, which has made solid gains since launching in August 2009. However, the development could well prove to be a red herring; in May 2011 Telecom was rumoured to be preparing to launch budget-priced services under the ‘1 Mobile’ name, which was registered with the Intellectual Property Office in November 2010, but the plans never came to fruition.