Maybe you're a Kogan Mobile customer annoyed that the service has gone under after its supplying wholesaler went into administration. Maybe you're an ALDI Mobile customer wondering what the future holds. Maybe you're looking for a new plan. Whatever your current situation, there are some things everyone can learn from the current prepaid dramas.
Blunder picture from Shutterstock
If you're not across what's happened, here's the short version: wholesaler ispONE has gone into administration, having already been in a court battle with its network supplier Telstra. Its two most visible clients were Kogan Mobile and ALDI Mobile, both of whom sold prepaid services. ALDI Mobile has negotiated a separate deal with Telstra, but Kogan Mobile customers now have no choice but to switch to another provider.
What can we learn from this saga?
1. People want Telstra's network
We've had cheap prepaid deals on the Optus network from the likes of Amaysim, Live Connected and Vaya for many years, which proves that a prepaid model can be sustained at these prices. Nonetheless, there was a definite wave of enthusiasm for Kogan Mobile, ALDI Mobile and Telstra-owned Boost, all of which launched this year using Telstra's older 3G network. If you're in a regional area or a city blackspot, Telstra clearly still seems the safest bet to many customers.
2. People think Telstra charges too much
With that said, clearly people don't want to pay Telstra's higher prepaid rates. Telstra doesn't offer a no-contract, unlimited calls deal under its own name or on its newer network; that creates a potential gap in the market. Right now, ALDI Mobile continues and Boost remains an option, but there's not the range of choice available that there is in the Optus-powered space. (To be fair, Vodafone is even slimmer pickings; the only choices there we know of are Just Mobile and Lebara.)
3. People like to buy brand names
Telstra network aside, one of the advantages both ALDI and Kogan enjoyed was the connection to a well-known brand name. I'd suggest that if ispONE had launched services under its own name, there would have been far less traction no matter what the prices were.
4. Long-term pre-paid contracts can be risky
The biggest inconvenience to subscribers migrating off Kogan Mobile is for people who signed up for a long-term (365 day) prepaid deal. That reinforces a point we often make at Lifehacker; long-term contracts often aren't a wise move.
5. People don't appreciate the flexibility of prepaid
While I can understand the annoyance factor of porting your number, especially as there's a slight risk you'll be without service, part of the benefit of a prepaid plan is its flexibility. People unhappy with losing their Kogan service are sometimes losing sight of that. Our detailed guide on how to change prepaid providers covers the best way to go about it.