Are Live Connected Contract Phones Worth It?

Live Connected keeps a relatively low profile, but is well regarded amongst some Lifehacker readers for its very cheap mobile phone plans. The company is now selling a limited range of fairly new phones on contracts as well as prepaid SIMS; how do those offers stack up? The short answer: better than much of the competition, but still not better than buying outright.

Live Connected (which runs on the Optus network) is offering four handsets: Samsung's Galaxy S III and Note II, the HTC One X and the Nokia Lumia 920. That's plenty of Android choices and the best-regarded Windows Phone 8 device, but no love for Apple. The phones are listed as "coming soon" right now, and are only available on a 24-month contract. Delivery is free.

Whichever phone you choose, the pricing is the same. The M and L plans offer three months free; the XL plan offers six months free. We've detailed the costs and plan inclusions below:

  S M L XL
Plan cost $19.00 $22.00 $33.00 $45.00
Handset cost $31.00 $38.00 $47.00 $55.00
Total monthly $50.00 $60.00 $80.00 $100.00
Total contract $1,200.00 $1,260.00 $1,680.00 $1,800.00
Data (MB) 1000 1500 2000 3000
Excess data/MB $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50
Included value $500.00 $700.00 $900.00 -
Calls/60 secs $0.99 $0.99 $0.99 Unlimited
Flagfall $0.40 $0.40 $0.40 Unlimited
Texts $0.30 $0.30 Unlimited Unlimited
2-min calls 210 294 378 -

An important point up front: the main reason Live Connected is so cheap is that it doesn't offer any support via phone at all. If you have any network or billing problems, you'll be working via email. That makes it a less sensible choice for cost-conscious but clueless friends and family.

If you're happy to self-support, the existing plans are fairly cheap, though not by the same margin as Live Connected's SIM only plans. The equivalent Optus plan to the XL costs $99 a month including handset, so it's the six months that makes the difference. The S plan looks like a classic example of decoy pricing; who wouldn't pay an extra $60 in total over the contract for higher inclusions?

More broadly, the BYO Live Connected plans don't lock you into a contract and there are quite high handset charges here — on the XL plan, they total $990, which is close to what you'll pay for these handsets up front. (If the free months get withdrawn, that gap would be even larger.) If you can afford an outright buy, going for a prepaid plan will give you even more flexibility and will still cost you less overall.

Live Connected


Comments

    Short answer, No
    You can buy the phone outright (even from local sellers) and go on the same level plan and come out ahead by multiple hundreds.
    If you go grey market import, you'd save $500+ (based on SGS3 on the Medium plan)

    Angus, I'm looking at changing to lc and the only real outstanding query I have is whether they are required to send you usage texts if you are close to exceeding you limits. Do they need to comply with this like the rest if the carriers do?

    Thanks!

      They do let you know via email at 50, 85 and 100% They also let you know when you've gone over, how much it will be and after a certain amount of time bar your service until the next billing period. You do however have the option of turning off the bar if you don't care that you've gone over and able to pay it.

      They do but as I recently found out there is a 48 hour delay. This meant that even though I had chosen the option to bar my service once it reached its limit I was still charged $1180 for going 2.5gb over my limit of 2 gb. (the issue was with apple do a google search it is happening to heaps of people.) Even though I told them I did not approve the transaction they still charged my credit card the full amount. I am currently going through the TIO to retrieve the money and LC are being absolute pricks about it. The moment this issue is rectified I will be changing over to Kogan. LC has the worst customer service I have ever encountered.

    I'm with LC right now. They are great.

    HOWEVER, be very careful when you first join up. Their first month's data is pro-rata'ed and they will slam you hard for going over. I joined on the 27th and didn't realise how little data I had, and after just a few days use I had a bill for $250.

    BUT, this was entirely my fault so I'm not blaming LC. I should not have assumed that my billing started on the 27th.

    Otherwise I'm quite pleased with them.

    If there are better deals than LC I'm damned if I know what they might be. Utterly fantastic value for my $16.
    And yes you get usage texts, but the website is very simple and clear on usage too (tho it is 24 hours out)

      Unfortunately the new plans released for BYO last night are not as good. I don't plan on moving from my $14.99 plan until they force it upon us.

    I'm sure LC used to be way cheaper than this.. when I first looked at them they had $7.99 and $11.99 plans available, but these seem to have disappeared now?

    Yes it appears that they have raised their prices now that they have become popular.

    They weren't selling anything to new customers for several weeks there, then they redid the website and came out with these poor value plans.

    If you want what LC used to be (and still should be) goto www.vaya.net.au and click on Mobile. Their 3G flexi plans have $7, $11, $17 and $29 plans and the next step up from that is unlimited 3G talk/text with 5Gb data for $39. Their $11 plan is worth buying with 1.5Gb data and 2Gb for $17 with $700 calls is incredible value.

    Last edited 20/11/12 2:25 pm

    Quick question, insult my mobile phone plan intelligence at will, I do not care :)

    Ok, so buying outright is cheaper? I want a new Lumia 920

    And Telstra are the only Telco of choice if you want to have mobile receiption where I live *Why have a mobile if you can't have signal*

    So that makes them the preferred evil

    I currently buy $60.00 of credit with my Lumia 800

    It gets me 3 gig of Data, and a couple of thousand free text messages *I have never actually run out yet, so I don't know the exact amount*

    But it does not give me any call minutes

    The only reason I would go onto a plan would be to call people more.

    Obviously if the phone is 800 outright and on a 24 month plan the phone is eventually 1600

    That makes sense

    But isn't the value they offer on the plans good?

    Already half anwsered my question

    If I were to buy the 920 outright and then go on a $100 a month plan I would save

    Those numbers for the medium plan don't look right - $60 x 24 is $1,440 - so it's not decoy pricing....

    Ahhh - disregard. They bundle in 5 months of free access. Fine print, huh?

    I am with LC.
    They have gone from hero to zero overnight.
    They have almost doubled plan costs, put flag fall up by 10% and increased call costs by 10% overnight.
    BIG ripoff.
    Better with www.vaya.net.au as someone else said. Vaya have the prices that LC had until a few days ago.
    I'll almost certainly port across so I can get friends signed up and use the vaya-to-vaya bonus calls.

    vaya offers very similar plans to LC's older ones. The new LC plans are vastly inferior in all ways.

    Once the phone plan is over are you forced to stay with live connected

    A friend put me onto Liveconnected a while ago and I was very impressed with the price. It is not until you have something go wrong that you realise what a horrible company they are. A friend who works at the TIO (the telephone ombudsman's office told me they blatantly lie all the time when they have to deal with them.)

    I had a massive issue with excess data usage on 3g (even when on wifi) with my iphone. It is an issue that the Apple support person told me is known to apple. LC charged my creditcard $1180 for going 2.5 gb over my 2gb limit. I wrote to them and told them I did not approve the transaction and they charged my credit card anyway. They did not respond to emails and told me it was my own fault even though I had selected the bar my service option on their website.

    I am currently in the process of going through the TIO and I am confident that I will get the money back but it has been a total nightmare and I will be changing to Kogan the moment it is rectified.

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