That name brings back memories. Weren't they the same ones that brought us free dialup internet 'Freenet' over 20 years ago? Seem to have been around for a long time.
I believe that was mostly Clear.
There was a landline call termination rate of something like 4 cents per minute that Clear had to pay Telecom and vice-versa for landline calls that were terminated on each others networks. This was in a time when local calls were free to residential users.
Clear found a way to get heaps of Telecom residential users to call Clear lines was to host free dialup isp services using clear numbers.
The Hot Gossip chat lines (advertised late night on tv if you were in auck/wlg/chch) were another way to do this.
So Telecom was paying clear millions per month in 4 cents per minute for local phone calls destined to the clear network.
Telecom fought back of course in 1999/2000 with the 0867 dial code which then entered a legal battle with the commerce commission which wasnt finally sorted out until 2009.
Later on there was a similar mandated termination rate for text messages.
When 2degrees started, they encouraged people to sign up by giving away cheap pre-pay sims and offering rewards. If you got 20,000 incoming text messages to you from telecom or vodafone, they would give you points that you could spend on appliances like a free TV.
Telecom or Vodafone would then have to pay 2deg for each of those text messages delivered to 2deg customers.