It was miraculous enough when Telstra's controversial PR chief Phil Burgess announced he was leaving; now Telstra has dropped pricing on wireless broadband significantly.
Telstra's much admired wireless broadband has occupied an unusual position in the market until now: it's widely regarded as the best service in terms of speed and coverage, but many people who'd like to have it simply can't justify the price premium. Telstra doesn't just charge a bit above the competitors — it charges two or three times what the competitors charge for the same volume of data.
Today's announcement drops Next G wireless broadband prices by up to a third, and scraps the inane practice of charging more for a laptop card service vs. a home modem service. (As BigPond's Justin Milne once admitted to APC, they're exactly the same bits and bytes flying through the air; telcos just charge more for laptop users because they can.)
Telstra has also introduced a 10GB plan for people who, well, frankly, can't get ADSL or cable, but still need to be able to download pirated TV shows and the like. (You know who you are…)
“The new BigPond Wireless Broadband plans reflect the exceptional value we offer customers who are looking for a reliable wireless broadband service,” BigPond's Justin Milne said.
The operative term in that quote is "reliable". When you consider the issues Optus and Virgin Broadband have been having lately on the buggy Optus 3G network, paying more for Telstra could actually be worth it. Yes, you'll still pay about twice as much for Telstra than other providers, but you'll actually be able to use your service.
Also, for once Telstra doesn't have the most ludicrous billing scheme of all the telcos — Optus takes that crown with its 10MB billing increments for its prepaid wireless broadband service (example scenario: log in and use 20KB to check your email; use up 10MB of your allowance. Use 11MB in one session, get billed for 20MB.)
Telstra is also offering half price access for 12 months if you sign up for three years and have another Telstra service such as a landline with both local and long distance, a Telstra mobile or a Telstra landline broadband service. Given how quickly the telco industry changes, we wouldn't recommend committing to anything for three years, but then again, as APC's Paul Wright points out, sometimes the saving from these deals is bigger than the cancellation fee you pay if you want out once the full price kicks in. See his article: Save money! Use BigPond Maths.
The new plans are as follows:
- 400MB — $39.95 (was $49.95 — a 20% reduction)
- 1GB — $59.95 (was $84.95 — a 29% reduction)
- 3GB — $89.95 (was $114.95 — a 22% reduction)
- 10GB — $129.95 (not available previously)