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Aldi Mobile’s once “unlimited” $35 voice plan has seen the introduction of new limits that remove much of the plan’s allure, a move that makes Boost Mobile on the Telstra network the best non-Telstra pre-paid provider, while also providing a handy fillip for MVNOs such as Amaysim.

Telstra’s dalliance with third-party MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) ISPONE has seen the destruction ISPONE itself, the closure of the once super-popular Kogan Mobile service, and now sees limits imposed on Aldi Mobile’s unlimited plan.

Kogan Mobile and Aldi Mobile were once ISPONE customers, but while Aldi Mobile was able to do a direct deal with Telstra itself for survival, Kogan Mobile has since tried doing deals with Optus-powered MVNO Yatango and Telstra-MVNO powered Telechoice for its customer base.

Two months ago to the day, Aldi Mobile then stunned its pre-paid user base by cutting the once surprisingly generous 5GB monthly data allocation in half, to 2.5GB per 30 days, as iTWire reported at the time.

But now comes more pain, with Aldi Mobile’s Critical Information Summary PDF explaining the new limits on what was once a $35 per 30 day unlimited voice plan.

The plan price remains the same - $35 per 30 days, but now you’re limited to “up to 2500 minutes to standard national fixed lines and standard national mobiles, 13, 1300 and 18 numbers and voicemail”, “up to 2000 SMS to standard national mobiles”, “up to 500 MMS to standard national mobiles” – alongside the still halved 2.5GB data limit.

Given the fact that Aldi Mobile customers were pre-paid only, disaffected Aldi Mobile customers need only port their service to another MVNO should they so desire, but it certainly does make you wonder what new limits for Aldi Mobile’s services are yet to come, with the $15 for 2GB data-only SIM potentially next on the chopping board.

These moves, which are presumably all at the behest of Telstra, bode well for the pre-paid Boost Mobile service, which operates as a Telstra MVNO.

Unencumbered by the limitations of using only “part of the Telstra 3G network” as is Aldi Mobile and Telechoice, Boost gets full access to the entire 42.2Mbps-class Next G network, although Boost Mobile customers don’t get access to Telstra’s 4G network.

Boost Mobile charges $40 per month for 30 days of unlimited Australian voice calls to landline, mobile and 13/18 numbers, unlimited SMS and MMS messages alongside 3GB of data.

However, given the changes to Aldi Mobile, Boost Mobile customers can only be wondering whether they’re next for the chop, although given Boost’s direct relationship with Telstra from the start, Boost Mobile customers can only hope Boost’s deal is a tad more robust than we’ve seen the industry and various customers suffer.

While there are countless other “pure” MVNOs out there on the Optus network alone, the most well known is arguably Amaysim, seeing as it has no stores or the presumably much higher level of expenditure of Virgin Mobile.

Amaysim offers a very similar package to Boost, with the main differences being that it is 10c per 30 days cheaper than Boost, while offering 4GB of data, albeit on Optus’ slower-than-Telstra 3G network.

So… while Aldi Mobile’s deal is still a good one, especially on a historical basis, it will certainly make many of its customers wonder whether it’s time to change to better value plans with Boost, Amaysim or someone else.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.

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