Telstra has scrapped excess usage fees and bumped up download allowances on a selection of its Next G mobile broadband plans.
It was a little less than a month ago that BigPond last slashed its wireless prices -- and today, it has done it again.
BigPond has increased the download allowance on its $89.95 plan, from 3GB to 5GB, and also introduced a new $29.95 plan with only a 12 month contract commitment.
The $29.95 plan only includes 200MB of data, so you could only use it occasionally and carefully, but for people who just occasionally need mobile broadband when they're out an about, the low price makes it a good deal.
Telstra also recently introduced prepaid mobile broadband -- another
option for people who want to use it occasionally and don't want a
monthly commitment. Be sure to read our article: BigPond Prepaid Wireless Broadband: be careful with the topups
Of course, other carriers offer much better value plans -- $39.95 for 5GB is the norm at Vodafone and Optus. However, both carriers have poor networks compared to Telstra -- Vodafone has very limited coverage and slow 3G speeds, while Optus has had widely publicised performance problems on its network for months as it struggles with radio outages during its "BigFoot" 900MHz network build, inadequate capacity in many areas and software bugs that have caused statewide mobile network outages.
Telstra, on the other hand, has a quality 3G network, with 99% population coverage and real throughput speeds several times faster than Optus or Vodafone's. You can watch videos of the speed tests of each network here
, or read the full analysis in the October 2008 edition of the mag.
Our testing showed that in areas where it has coverage, 3 is the only real competitor to Telstra in terms of network quality, however Telstra still trumps it for coverage with a huge margin.
So, to put it simply -- the Telstra product is certainly more expensive than the competitors, but then, you're actually getting a lot more speed and coverage -- and there's no point paying anything for a service you can barely (or can't) use.
Telstra has also removed excess usage fees on some of its plans. Where it previously charged a gut-wrenching $250 per gigabyte of use above a plan's quota, it will now simply reduce your connection speed to 64Kbit/s. This 'no excess fee' deal is available on the newly upgraded 5GB and existing 10GB plans.
It's worth bearing in mind before you jump into a BigPond Wireless service, though, that Telstra has started shifting its Australian call centres to lower-paid workers in the Philippines
, with BigPond the first to go. Right now, if you call for tech support, you'll first be forced to speak to a computer for 10 minutes or more, and by 1st February, even if you manage to get through to an operator, it will be someone in the Philippines.