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