Vodafone New Zealand will change its name to One New Zealand in early 2023, further affirming the telco's separation from its former global parent.
CEO Jason Paris said the brand change was the logical next step in the company's transformation after its 2019 sale to NZX-listed investor Infratil and Canada-based private equity giant Brookfield Asset Management.
“This move means we will have even more money to invest into our networks, onshore service, and technology solutions for our customers in New Zealand," Paris said.
"We think One New Zealand better reflects our deep connections and legacy in New Zealand, as well as our future ambitions."
For almost 25 years Vodafone had proudly served New Zealand and driven competition and innovation, Paris said.
"We have stood out for leadership in New Zealand mobility; we are now also a leader in next-generation digital and technology services."
As reported last week, Vodafone NZ edged closer to the $2 billion revenue mark in the year to 31 March, 2022. Total income increased from $1.954 billion to $1.967 billion as a slight fall in services revenue was offset by a surge in device sales and other revenue.
EBITDA growth of 10 per cent was achieved as a result of improved trading performance and business simplification while the telco continued to invest in network improvements, customer experience and other growth areas.
“We are going from eight letters to three, and we are keeping our strong partner market relationship with Vodafone, so our customers will continue to benefit from that via access to global roaming, IoT (Internet of Things) platform, security and network technology solutions for the business and consumer market," Paris said.
The name change was the "icing on the cake" after Vodafone NZ's focus moved from global to local, Paris said.
"Now, it is time to take the next step. To become One New Zealand. One team of over 3000 employees, with one focus on one country and on one goal, to unlock the magic of technology to create an awesome Aotearoa.”
Paris cited Vodafone NZ global partners such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Palo Alto Networks, and former parent Vodafone, as well as the February investment of $21.6 million for 60 per cent of cyber security company Defend, as key to ensuring business and government customers received the best technology solutions.
The company also announced One Good Kiwi, a digital charity platform through which One New Zealand would donate $1.2 million a year to worthy causes making positive change for rangatahi, and One Plan which will give customers the freedom to use data how and when they wanted.
Vodafone said that while customer experience was "better than it has ever been", One New Zealand would be on a mission to become world-famous for its service in stores, via call centres, or on-line.
There is work to do on that front, apparently. Earlier this month, Vodafone NZ fell from second to third place in a Canstar Blue survey tracking customer satisfaction among small businesses. The telco had earlier also placed third in a Consumer NZ review of how easy it was for customers to monitor their phone spend and usage.
The company has already started overhauling the way it sells and serves customers, bringing most of its call-centres back on shore and forming local teams of experts as well as bringing its 52-store retail store network under full ownership.
It had also been upgrading its legacy technology to make it easier for its teams to assist customers.
On the upside, Vodafone NZ was recently awarded the best mobile network in Aotearoa New Zealand by independent global leader in mobile testing, umlaut.
“Our commitment to Aotearoa has always been intergenerational," Paris said.
Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation -- soon to be Te Rourou, One New Zealand Foundation -- had already invested close to $50 million in securing a better future for rangatahi (young people), which the telco believed to be the biggest corporate philanthropy in New Zealand’s history.
Vodafone entered the New Zealand market through the acquisition of BellSouth in 1998. Major network investment and the buyouts of TelstraClear and internet service provider Ihug followed, to establish a strong challenge to incumbent Telecom NZ, now Spark.