Mobile provider Two Degrees plans to open more than eight retail stores in the next year as it gears up to launch its 3G service and offer post-paid plans. The firm is negotiating leases for stores in central Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch and eyeing up potential sites in Hamilton, Palmerston North, Tauranga, Nelson and Dunedin. It has signalled its plans to offer a 3G service and to start signing customers up to contracts rather than offering pre-pay services only. A 3G service allows for faster mobile internet than 2G, meaning customers will be more likely to download and pay for data. When coupled with the option of contracts, Two Degrees' 3G service could see it poach some of the more lucrative customers from incumbents Vodafone and Telecom. Spokeswoman Bryony Hilless said it was targeting high-footfall areas such as Auckland's Queen St for its stores. The company would own some stores itself but was also looking for operators, who would pay the store fitout costs but would not pay Two Degrees any fees or sales commissions. It would launch a website today, 2degreesdealer.co.nz, on which potential store operators could register interest. Two Degrees customers can currently buy products and credit top-ups from a range of outlets including most supermarkets, Shell and Caltex petrol stations, Warehouse Stationery and Dick Smith. IDC telecommunications analyst Rosalie Nelson said the move was a logical step and reflected Two Degrees' desire to expand its range of services.
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