Planhacker: Telstra-Based Unlimited Prepaid Plans Compared

Kogan Mobile has upped the prices on its plans, and those price rises are likely to see many customers looking to switch to alternative options. How does Kogan now compare with the other prepaid offerings on the Telstra network which offer "unlimited" calls: ALDI Mobile, Boost Mobile and Telstra itself? We've crunched the numbers.

Split milk picture from Shutterstock

First point: yes, we know that both Optus and Vodafone offer unlimited prepaid plans, under their own names and also through MVNOs. However, one of the key attractions of Kogan and the other Telstra resellers was the fact that Telstra's network was used — even if it is the older and slower Telstra 3G network. So for a consumer who doesn't want to pay an additional fee for the revised Kogan plans, what are the alternatives?

In the table below, we've listed the unlimited prepaid plans available from ALDI Mobile, Boost Mobile and Kogan Mobile. (Telstra offers prepaid but not with an unlimited talk time.)

For each, we've listed what you pay, and how much data is included (in MB). On Kogan plans longer than 30 days, this is typically a data allowance per month; for 30 days and under, data runs for the life of the plan. Additional notes on each provider are below the table. (For Kogan, we've listed the new rates that apply from August 1.)

Unless otherwise noted, the plans include unlimited calls to Australian mobile and landline numbers (including 13/1300/1800 numbers), and unlimited texts and MMS. There will invariably be an "acceptable usage policy" which gives the provider the right to boot you off if your usage is excessive. (Most plans also block business use.) International calls aren't covered in the basic credit, though some providers let you purchase add-ons for this.

PROVIDER COST DAYS DATA (MB)
ALDI Mobile $35.00 30 5000
Boost $10.00 5 500
Boost $20.00 15 1000
Boost $40.00 30 3000
Kogan Mobile $39.00 30 6000
Kogan Mobile $99.00 90 6000
Kogan Mobile $329.00 365 6000

ALDI Mobile

ALDI's 5GB per month option is slightly less generous Kogan's 6GB offering, but it doesn't restrict how you can use the data and costs a little less ($35 rather than $39), which makes it better value overall.

Boost

Boost is owned by Telstra but operated as a separate brand with different pricing structures. The $10 plan is very poor value for data.

Kogan Mobile

The price increase puts Kogan much closer to its rivals in cost terms, and it retains one big restriction: while you have 6GB of data, you can't use more than 400MB a day (and you'll be booted off if that happens more than three times). If your usage is heavier on weekends or you decide to send a few photos one day, that could easily make one of the rival offerings (which don't impose conditions) a better buy. If you're happy with a "set and forget" option, Kogan is the only provider in the Telstra-powered market with a 365-day plan.

Our verdict? The Kogan 400MB restriction makes it hard to take seriously, especially now that it's more expensive per month than ALDI Mobile. Right now, that's the one to beat if you insist on (older) Telstra network and want an unlimited plan.

Lifehacker's weekly Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals.


Comments

    Kogan mobile gives you 6000GBs of data? Good luck getting through that at 400MB a day. :P

    Also a word of warning. While Aldi do not state any restriction it is still possible to get your account suspended due to using too much data. Mind you for me that was from buying a 2GB bolt on every second or third day.

    Boost uses the Telstra Fairplay policy, billing is done by Telstra, so you're effectively on pre-paid plus without the 4G, which is worth something in and of itself. My experience is that MOG streaming hasn't counted towards quota even when tethered. Boost also has access to HSPA+ DC network (42 Mbps) whereas Kogan are limited to 7.2 Mbps. This is widely reported http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=2098004&p=22r427

    Boost also deal directly with Telstra rather than through an intermediate. It's supposedly not a wholesale arrangement but rather a partnership.

      whatever the relationship is, they still havent been able to port my telstra prepaid to boost after close to 10 days. Currently on my 3rd simcard they have posted out, and still on telstra prepaid.

      On another note, yes its easier to deal with the party when doing the port.

      Just a heads up: hidden deep inside the terms and conditions, you will find small print that says you cant just buy a starter pack and port the number. Since your on the same network, you need to start off with a blank sim which has no number assigned. painful, and they should make a bigger deal of this point.

        One way around this is to buy a $2 Optus/Voda-based SIM, port to that and port back to Boost. Bit of stuffing around, but it's worth it to keep your number, IMO.

      Yeah I'm keen on Boost for this reason, I think it's a big selling point and am surprised it wasn't mentioned here that Boost gets access to the full Next G network, unlike the other 2. That can make the world of difference in a regional town like mine.

    The Data under ALDI Mobile should be 5000 MB.

    The other big difference is how much access each network actually provides.
    Aldi and Kogan both make use of the Telstra wholesale network (97% coverage)
    Boost uses Telstra's Retail network (99.97% coverage)
    If you are in remote areas (most places in the NT) you get access on Boost, but you do not on Kogan/Aldi.

    How about TPG?

    $20, 30 days, 1GB

    I'm on a $10 plan of theirs, but apparently they don't offer it anymore.

      TPG use Optus' network, hence not the topic of this post.

    Woolworths: $30, 45 days, 5GB

      Again: on Optus. Noteworthy, but not the focus here. Clearly I need to schedule an all-networks unlimited prepaid roundup soon.

    Oops, I didn't realise you were looking only at Telstra.

      I do mention it in the headline and in the opening paragraph and again in the second paragraph . . .

    Kogan is still cheaper than Aldi and therefore better value if you go by the $329 pricing.

    I heard that Kogan are switching from Telstra to Optus. If this is the case, can I sue them?

    I live in an area that gets very poor reception from all providers other than Telstra. I signed up to Kogan, not only for their cheap price, but because of their ability to provide acceptable coverage. If they dump Telstra I will end up with no service while I am at home.

      This was (I suppose) a vague possibility when Kogan was fighting with its Telstra reseller, but that seems to have calmed down. Regardless, suing them if it did happen seems unlikely (and an overreaction). If you were on a 365-day plan you'd certainly have grounds to ask for a refund of the unused portion, but that wouldn't require legal action -- worst case would be dealing with the TIO.

    Aldi also gives you $10 credit (included in the $35/m cost) to use for international SMS/calls and premium services. To get this on Kogan you need to add a $14.95 bolt on.

    For our clients, we strongly advise AGAINST using Kogan.

    In our opinion, they are engaged in deceptive and misleading conduct as stipulated in the Consumer Protection Act. Both the ACCC and TIO have been dealing with complaints against them regarding that.

    Probably should mention that Aldi and Kogan don't get access to the full 3G network, whereas Boost does.

    Just about anyone who has ever had there main internet connection on the blink knows the reality of sometimes having to rely on mobile data to get by, with phone tethering by way of an existing plan being the most convenient.
    Kogan's 400MB daily restriction, and the nasty threats associated with it means that he's potentially going to leave you completely in the lurch.
    Until some other changes are wrought, the pricing changes mean that you'd be very silly not to consider your options very carefully.

    I was using Kogan for an iPad and old iPhone that I needed only Data for. Now that it has gone up for Data Only, I shall be looking around again. Or switch back to an Optus reseller for Data Only.

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