Tuesday, 24 July 2018 09:46

Telstra expands its unlimited plans, includes new $199 plan with unlimited full speed data Featured


Renaming the unlimited data portion of select new plans as "peace of mind data" that eliminates excess usage charges, there are of course still some limits but the new plans are the best Telstra has ever offered.

Telstra says its customers can "today say goodbye to additional data fees in Australia with the launch of selected new mobile plans, part of the company’s first set of changes under its Telstra2022 (T22) strategy".

Quite what happened to the respectable single space between Telstra and 2022 is unknown, but we can only assume that space has had its job squeezed out as part of Telstra's planned 8000 staff reduction plans (as the CEPU union is decrying), leaving that space with no peace of mind as it has been completely spaced out.

Although job losses are no joke, we leave aside my comedic stylings to note Telstra proudly boasts its "new consumer mobile and tablet plans are the first in a series of product innovations Telstra is introducing under its strategy to simplify products, eliminate customer pain points and create all digital experiences".

It has taken Telstra about a century to realise this, but hey, better late than never.

So, what Telstra has done is to make "a range of mobile plans available from today" that will "give customers the option of replacing excess data charges in Australia with back-up Peace of Mind Data to use if they run out of their included allowance".

There are two sets of new plans for now – the Mobile BYO plans with 12 month contracts, and the Mobile Plans and Mobile Lease Plans on 24 month contracts.

The M plan from the Mobile BYO plans offers unlimited calls and texts in Australia, 30GB of data with "peace of mind data" capped at 1.5Mbps speeds OR the ability to forego than and pay $10 per gigabyte of extra data without speed limits for $69 per month, and other inclusions.

There'a also an L plan that has 60GB included data for $89 per month, the same inclusions as the M plan and 1 Starter Pack of Foxtel Now.

An S plan with 15GB for $49 has no Peace of Mind data component.

To see Telstra's Mobile or Mobile Lease plans, click here, with the Ultimate $199 plan discussed below.

Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn said "Australians want cost certainty and the freedom to use their smartphone or tablet without thinking about whether they will run out of data and incur excess data charges in Australia."

Penn, continued, penning that "with data traffic on our mobile network growing at 50% year-on-year, our customers are doing more and more on their devices. We know Australians often curb their smartphone use when they near their data limits and this holds them back from doing many of the things they love like connecting with friends and family on social media and streaming music.

"We’re ending this frustration with the introduction of Peace of Mind Data which makes excess data charges a thing of the past.

“From enthusiastic smartphone owners to parents giving young family members their first mobile, Peace of Mind Data provides the confidence that they can use their phone or tablet and never incur additional data fees in Australia.”

We're then further advised by Telstra that "Peace of Mind Data kicks in after customers reach their included data allowance to get customers through the remainder of the month. It is included on selected plans or can be added to other new plans for $10 per month".

Need even more than that?

Well, for those who feel the need for speed and only want the very best, Telstra says is "also introducing a $199 Ultimate plan for the ultimate smartphone owner which includes as much data as customers need at the fastest speeds available to them on Australia’s best mobile network".

That plan is part of Telstra's Mobile Plans and Mobile Lease Plans, which are "from" amounts, which usually means that if you want to keep your phone, rather than leasing it, you'll need to pay slightly more per month. It may well be worth paying a bit extra so you own the phone after the lease period, because you can then sell it, give it away, keep it as a spare or do whatever you want with it, and it won't matter if you've accidentally damaged it – so please use a case whether you lease, or not!

Note: if you are getting the $199 Ultimate plan, be sure to select "buy" instead of "lease" as there is no additional cost to this plan for buying a phone as opposed to leasing it. 

However, this new $199 Ultimate plan also includes 10GB of international roaming data, which is a great Ultimate inclusion. You can see more info on this plan, its other inclusions and other plans starting from $59 here and in the image belowhere and in the image below.

Telstra continued: "Also introduced as part of the launch is a redesigned Telstra 24/7 app making it easier and more intuitive for customers to access and control their services – the first in a number of changes Telstra is making to create an effortless digital experience.

"Telstra also unveiled it would soon give customers the flexibility to truly personalise their home and mobile packages based on what’s important to them".

Penn then further penned: “Our customers have told us that they don’t want to pay for things that they don’t use and therefore in October we will be launching more choice for customers allowing them to add services they value to their base plan.

“The next product milestone in our T22 product strategy will give customers the freedom to create home and mobile packages with the features, devices and content that matters to them. Customers will be able to select a core connectivity service and add their choice of great-value companion mobile plans, home and mobile devices or their pick of a range of world-class entertainment packages.

“Entertainment will headline the new choices available to customers in October with some exciting new options that build on Telstra’s superior offerings in sports, entertainment and music.”

Penn wasn't finished yet, adding that the experience for customers accessing extra services and content on the go would be underpinned by the coverage, reliability and quality of Telstra’s mobile network which remains the key reason customers choose Telstra.

His penultimate statement was: “In addition to investing in product innovation, we are investing $5 billion in our network over the three years to 30 June 2019, increasing capacity to cater for increased mobile data use which is currently growing at 50% each year.

"We introduced the world's first gigabit-enabled 4G network coverage to Australian CBDs and we are now pioneering two gigabit-enabled areas to increase speeds and capacity as a pre-curser to 5G.

"And, to give our customers a superior live, fast and data-free sports streaming experience even in high traffic areas, this month we integrated LTE-B technology into our AFL Live Official app to run on Australia’s only LTE-B enabled mobile network,” Penn ultimately concluded, seemingly making himself the Australian mobile user's ultimate Penn pal.

Here are Telstra's new Mobile BYO Plans, followed by its Mobile Plans + Mobile Lease Plans – click to the left or the images below to be taken to the relevant pages at Telstra where the plans are explained in full.  

About Telstra’s new mobile plans

Telstra’s new mobile and tablet plans are available to customers who want to bring their existing device to Telstra (BYO plans) as well as for Australians looking to lease or own a new smartphone (Lease and MRO plans).

Peace of Mind Data is speed capped at 1.5Mbps which is typically suitable for streaming video in standard definition on a smartphone, listening to music, browsing the web and accessing social media. Actual user speeds at times may be lower. Peace of Mind of Data is not suitable for HD video or high speed applications, and means that some webpages, video/social media content and files may take longer to load and will be slowed further during busy periods.

All new Mobile plans come with unlimited talk, text and MMS to standard Australian numbers plus exclusive extras available to Telstra mobile customers – including access to every AFL, regular season NRL and netball game this season live, fast and data-free. All for use in Australia.

Telstra also concludes by stating its "new suite of plans are for personal use in a smartphone or tablet only. FairPlay policy applies. For use in Australia".

On that note, I asked Telstra whether this meant Personal Hotspot on iPhones or Androids was being restricted from use, and I received word that Personal Hotspot on either platform was NOT being restricted, other than via the usual FairPlay policy restrictions, which means excessively excessive use first, something the overwhelmingly vast majority of users will never go anywhere near.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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 on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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