Internode has launched a set of new Combo plans, which combine ADSL, Fetch TV Lite, a mobile SIM and a home phone line in a single package. What do they cost and are they worth it?
Each of the Combo value plans costs $99 a month over a 24-month contract. For that, you get 200GB of ADSL2+ data, plus Internode’s Starter plan mobile SIM (which uses Optus). Fetch TV Lite offers a PVR and access to standard free-to-air channels plus pay-per-view movies, but not Fetch’s broader range of channels (those require the Fetch TV Full option). The NodeLine phone plan doesn’t include any actual call credits; you’ll pay 18 cents for untimed local calls, 15 cents per minute for long-distance calls, and 29 cents per minute to call an Australian mobile.
You can choose between three Combo ‘extras’: rental of the Fritz!BOX 7270 router; rental of a wireless bridge to connect your FetchTV box to your system; or upgrading the included Sim plan from the Starter plan (which gives you $165 of call credit and 200MB of data) to the Value plan ($450 of credit and 1.5GB of data). If you want more data, you can pay an extra $10 a month for 300GB.
What we like: If you don’t want the hassle of multiple individual contracts, this is an OK deal, though the savings come from the bundled hardware inclusions and the avoidance of a $79.95 setup fee more than the plans themselves. The 200GB Easy Broadband bundle with phone costs $79.90, the Starter pack costs $10, and Fetch TV Lite costs $9.95 a month — effectively the same cost as the $99 a month deal.
What we don’t like: Internode makes no secret of the fact that one aim of these plans is to sign people to 24-month contracts. That restricts your flexibility, especially in terms of changing mobile service provider. The phone credit won’t go very far; you get 76 2-minute calls at Internode rates. The phone data allocation also isn’t very generous, and we find it odd that Internode (unlike other Optus resellers) offers 150GB of free browsing on popular social networking sites, rather than simply calling this ‘unlimited’. (You’d have trouble going through 150GB of data in a month even with heavy Facebook use, but why make the distinction?)
Internode offer excellent customer service and this is a reasonable deal if you’ll use Fetch TV and don’t make a lot of voice and mobile calls. As ever, whether the bundle makes sense depends on your usage patterns. If you don’t want to be tied down, you can spend similar money for a no-contract option (for instance, you could combine Exetel’s $60 a month 1TB no-contract deal with a $39.90 Amaysim SIM and use the mobile for all your calls.)