Tuesday, 31 March 2015 16:08

Telstra switching on 1GB for $10 'excess data blocks' for mobile customers Featured

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Dubbed ‘Extra Data’, Telstra is swapping excess data charges for a $10 charge per 1GB block from 12 May 2015 for most mobile customers - details here.

Telstra will switch on a new feature for all of its consumer and eligible business smartphone, tablet and mobile broadband customers, both new and existing, from 12 May 2015 to get 1GB blocks of extra data for $10 each once the monthly included limit is reached.

This will prevent more expensive excess data charges from being levied as is currently the case once a data limit is reached, with the telco saying the move will benefit ‘millions of Telstra customers’.

Billed as being the ‘simplicity of automatic data top ups’ when needed, the $10 charge applies to each 1GB block or part block - so if you use only 500MB of a 1GB block you’ll still be charged for the full gigabyte whether you use it or not.

Gordon Ballantyne, Telstra’s Retail Group Executive explained how this would give customers ‘greater confidence and control over their data’ while helping to ‘combat bill shock’.

Ballantyne said: “We want our customers to enjoy using data on their smartphones and mobile broadband devices on Australia’s best mobile network with confidence.

“Instead of counting megabytes, Extra Data will allow our customers to focus on the things they really love about using their mobile on our network – like streaming, sharing, browsing and connecting in more places.

“And if they want to continue to share, stream and download once they reach their plan allowance, they can do so without having to worry about unexpected data charges or contacting us to add a data pack.”

 

Ballantyne also explained that that ‘Telstra was unique in making sure its millions of loyal customers on older plans have the option to benefit from new data rates by swapping to Extra Data.’

Extra Data will work in conjunction with Telstra’s industry-first real-time data alerts, which let you know when you’ve used 50, 85 and 100% of your included data allowance ‘on consumer post-paid plans’ (with businesses still presumably to get this capability as previously promised).

Telstra takes the opportunity at this point to remind us all that its competitors data usage alerts are ‘typically delayed by up to 48 hours’.

Anyway, in May, Telstra says its customers ‘on eligible mobile, tablet and mobile broadband plans will be invited to opt in to receive Extra Data on their plan via the Telstra 24x7 App or by heading online.

If its customers choose to take up the service, not only will Extra Data swing into action once the included monthly data allowance has been reached, Telstra says its customers will be ‘sent an SMS or email alert each time they receive an Extra Data top up, so they’re always in the know.’

As you might imagine, Telstra’s generosity only goes so far, as there’s no data rollover - any unused Extra Data that has been applied will expire.

OPINION:

Bit by bit and byte by byte, Telstra is clearly improving its service to wired and wireless customers in what are clearly welcome developments.

Telstra is still the most expensive telco but you get what you pay for, and Telstra’s customers know it or they wouldn’t number in the millions, despite cheaper deals out there on lesser networks, or even outstanding pre-paid deals like those from Boost.

So, if you’ve often found yourself wanting a bit of extra data before the end of the month without having to pay an extra large amount for it, Telstra’s upcoming Extra Data may be exactly the kind of extra value you’ve been wanting to extract from Australia’s largest telco.

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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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