Telstra is introducing data sharing packages, letting you share your mobile data allowance between phones, tablets and Wi-Fi hot spots across a single plan. While that may sound tempting, the deal can quickly become costly.
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The Every Day Connect Data Share packages plans allow you to connect up to four devices to a single plan. The deal includes calling allowances as well (they're built on the existing Every Day Connect plans), so they're designed with a phone as the centrepiece.
The big catch? Purely to be allowed to share your data, you have to pay $10 a month. You then have to pay $10 a month for an additional SIM for any connected device. So if you want to use the same data allowance across your phone and your tablet, each with their own SIM, you'll pay $20 extra a month. Another tablet? $10 again for an additional SIM.
It's explained in this cheesy video:
With the cheapest Every Day Connect plan, which costs $50, you only get 1GB of data as the base allowance. Each additonal SIM includes 100MB of data of its own, but that's a minimal add-in. As a launch deal, Telstra is also offering 1GB of extra data each month for the first 12 months of the plan for anyone who signs up before the end of the year.
For a single device, this seems utterly pointless, as you could tether to your phone and use the same data without paying anything. Telstra has confirmed to us that tethering will remain available and won't attract extra charges. The only advantage that strikes us is that you won't drain your phone's battery as fast, and that you could use the devices in different places.
Adding these options is admittedly cheaper than buying an entirely separate SIM for your tablet or hotspot. On the other hand, doing that does score you more data. You're also tied to a 12-month contract with these plans (24 months if you choose a handset option), which is a long time to be locked down.
Our initial verdict? It's good to see more flexible options, but this isn't quite there yet. The added 1GB of data makes it a better deal, but it's still not especially cheap, and the advantages over simply tethering aren't obvious. We'd still suggest going the prepaid route, where you can get 3.8GB of data on your phone for $50 a month.
This is the first time Telstra has offered a data sharing plan. Optus has suggested it will also launch a similar option this year, while the now-departed Crazy John's used to offer a range of shared caps between phones.
Is this a useful option for you? Is that usefulness tempered by the relatively high prices Telstra charges for data? Tell us in the comments.