Between the big three carriers and the plethora of MVNOs, there’s no shortage of plans and prices to keep track of. But how many of us actually bother to do that in a market awash with unlimited (or near unlimited) plans?
I was inspired by today’s launch of Aldi’s mobile service, the inventively named AldiMobile. The promise of AldiMobile — and indeed any MVNO — is better value than the existing big three of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. There are still only three choices when it comes to the eventual carrier network in terms of actual network availability and performance, but there’s no shortage of additional MVNOs, which means that, despite the introduction of Critical Information Summaries, there are more plans, costs, fees and details to track than ever before.
What I’m left wondering, though, is how many people do this at a particularly fine level.
I’ll use myself as an example. While I test plenty of phones and mobile devices, they (mostly) come with carrier supplied SIMs, especially for exclusive phones. My day to day calling and mobile data is handled via a Telstra SIM that may be in any of about half a dozen phones depending on my writing and travel needs. Right now, it’s sitting in a Motorola RAZR M. I recharge it monthly for $30, which gets me $220 “worth” of calls and 400MB of data, as well as whatever I want to spend the $30 on. Typically it banks if I recharge within the month, or I may spend it on a data pack if I’m away from Wi-Fi for an extended period of time over the month. The thing is, I don’t call out all that much, so the $220 worth of calls may as well be an infinite number of calls. At a prepaid level, Telstra doesn’t do unlimited calls, but if you’re with another carrier or MVNO, there are plenty of “unlimited” call plans out there.
Call and SMS costs are quickly becoming relatively arbitrary things while mobile data still remains relatively expensive, and a clear cash cow for telcos. I do track my data usage, because that’s expensive and I rely on it a lot, but I don’t much track my calling costs, because I’ve never even come close to hitting that limit. Perhaps I’m an unusual case. Do you track the cost of every single call, or does your plan come with far more than you could ever use?
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