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Friday, 20 November 2020 11:18

What's so great about TPG's new offering, felix?

What's so great about TPG's new offering, felix? Pixabay

What is it that makes felix, the new mobile service from TPG Telecom, such an outstanding offering?

One really fails to understand the hype over a service that charges $35 per month — which means $420 a year — and offers very little in exchange.

Now I am never one to plug any provider — I am on the blacklist of my NBN provider Aussie Broadband at the moment — but I get a much better service from the MVNO Boost Mobile compared to felix.

Boost resells Telstra's service, and while one may not be a big fan of the latter company, there is no doubt that it has the widest 4G coverage in this country. It would be always superior to the Vodafone network which TPG uses; i used the latter network when I had my mobile plan with Kogan a couple of years ago.

I just ran a speed test on my mobile and the resulting screenshot is below for you to see, dear reader.

The Boost package I have costs $150 for a year — it seems to have risen to $200 with the yearly data quota now at 100GB — which gives me 80GB of data for the year, more than enough for me as I only need this on occasions when I use a hotspot after the NBN has collapsed – and at times when I am sitting in certain areas of my house. Last year, I used only 30GB of data.

boost speeds

The appeal of felix may be to greenies, given that TPG touts the service as “Australia’s first telco brand powered by 100% renewable electricity” and an “online-only telco” that “stands out through its sustainability credentials and ease of use”.

For those who swallow all the "green" claims, I would strongly recommend watching Planet of the Humans, a documentary (embedded below) that busts many of the myths with which environmental warriors surround themselves.

When one offers endless data and then caps the speed at which it can be sucked down, there is a very definite limit to what one can use. I recall that Alphalink, my very first ISP, had a similar offer back in the late 1990s: unlimited data for $100 a month. But the speeds were often slower than a turtle and one often gave up in sheer frustration.

And I am always wary of these "up to <speed>" claims. It always means that the speed can be at the lowest end of the spectrum and the MVNO will have legal cover.

There's more with my Boost plan: unlimited calls and texts nationally and also unlimited calls to 25 international destinations. But then I am one of those furriners and I need to speak to people outside the country. It may not be a big deal for someone who has no family or friends outside Australia.

And then, of course, we come to the contentious issue of support. One reason why I left iiNet, an ISP with which I was for more than a decade and which provided excellent service for most of that 10 years, was the erosion of service quality after it was bought by TPG. It just went downhill.

I've had equally bad support from TPG when I had to contact them on behalf of a friend who has been using TPG's Internet service for a long time. The support was erratic and annoying, to put it mildly.

With an app set to serve as the medium for support, things are unlikely to improve.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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