Vodafone, 3 won't touch phone deals post merger

Existing prices in place for two years amid new service offerings

Vodafone Australia and Hutchison 3G Australia, or 3, have pledged not to change its customers pricing plans for at least two years after the proposed merger of the two companies.

According to both companies all new and existing contract customers of Vodafone and 3 will be offered the same pricing on Vodafone and 3 mobile voice and data plans for the next two years if the merger is finalised.

For mobile phone and broadband pricing, both will not alter the ability for customers to acquire devices for $0 on 24-month contracts.

In February Vodafone announced it will form a 50-50 joint venture company with Hutchison Whampoa, owner of the “3” brand, and offer services under the new name VHA which will begin trading mid-2009.

Nigel Dews, CEO of 3 and proposed CEO of VHA, said following the merger, Vodafone and 3 will remain “extremely competitive”.

“We’re happy to reassure our customers with a public commitment that if the merger proceeds as intended, no plan will be withdrawn from market for the next two years,” Dews said.

During this time VHA will introduce new offers and services aimed at winning new business.

Dews said Vodafone and 3 customers have “everything to gain” from the proposed merger.

“VHA will be a stronger mobile operator that is better positioned to compete in the Australian telecommunications market,” he said, adding VHA plans to draw on the best offerings of Vodafone and 3.

For competitive reasons the companies will not market the full roadmap of handset and mobile broadband products and prices, Dews said.

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