Telstra's New Bargain ISP 'Belong' Isn't Particularly Good Value

Telstra has quietly launched a no-frills Internet service provider under the brand 'Belong'. It offers no-contract access to an ADSL2+ service — but without too much effort you can find cheaper deals.

Belong offers two simple plans: 70GB a month for $50, or 250GB a month for $65. Given that paying an extra $15 gets you more than three times as much data, the $50 deal looks very much like decoy pricing — an offer that exists mainly to make the costlier option look like better value. (In reality, many people will sign up for a 250GB deal but not use all that data.)

You also have to pay $99 for a modem. (There will be an activation fee of $80 in the future, but that's being waived for launch customers.) Both uploads and downloads count towards your monthly total. If you exceed your limit, you'll be shaped to 256Kbps for the remainder of the month. You can dump the service on 30 days notice.

Right now, the service is limited to Sydney addresses, and you need to have an existing and active Telstra line (that is, a phone line provided either by Telstra itself or via another ISP purchasing wholesale access from Telstra). The absolute cheapest offer for that Telstra itself currently has is $22.95 a month, and finding a provider offering a no-contract line could be difficult.

Those plans are much cheaper than Telstra itself, which will happily charge you $73 a month for 50GB of data on a contract plan. But there are definitely cheaper deals out there. For instance, Exetel offers unlimited ADSL2+ for $49.99 a month on a 12 month contract, or 100GB for $29.99 a month. You're tied to a contract, but the overall cost is much lower.

iiNet has pursued a very similar two-brand strategy with its Jiva brand, but that has one key difference: it offers unlimited broadband for $79 a month. If you're a heavy data consumer, that makes more sense than the Telstra deal (though once again Exetel is cheaper if you don't mind the contract).

Telstra's aborted attempt to purchase Adam Internet was widely viewed as motivated by a desire to launch a low-value brand (a Jetstar to Telstra's Qantas, if you will). That deal hasn't gone ahead, but Belong has. We've certainly seen worse plans (including those from Telstra itself), but proceed with caution and shop around. Simplicity does not necessarily equal better value.

Belong [via TM Watch]


Comments

    Wow!
    Compare that to Adam Internet (who Telstra wanted to purchase as their Budget ISP brand) who offer 200Gb for $50 (plus a half price for half the year promo) and you've got to wonder what they're smoking in the Telstra boardroom!

      Well, consider there's a lot of houses where you have two options due to the DSLAM configuration of the exchange. Telstra, or Telstra wholesale. So you look at all the tasty options from other ISP's, then realise you can only get the wholesale version, and start cursing because they're worse value than Telstra itself, which is already bad.

      Tel$tra have been on and in the weeds for a long time now, I just hope they keep thinking they are still an invincible monopoly and keep treating Australian customers and their competition with disdain

    Well, it's better than what I have, stuck on 16gb a month for $80 and a speed of 256k normally...

    It's cheaper than a lot of the ISP's that sell services via Telstra DSLAMS i.e. "Off-net services". The "small" plan that Belong is offering compares to Telstra's "S" plan but gives you 20GB more per month instead of unmetered bigpond content. Internode & iiNet's comparable plans are much more expensive if you don't bundle and even if you do, they're still more expensive. Exetel seems to one of the few ISP's that offer better value plans.

    I think some of you are missing an important point:

    Belong, unlike Jive, has NO CONTRACT! This is a MAJOR thing as it allows you to try them out risk-free and if you are not happy, or the data allowance is not high enough for you, simply walk away (even the following month if you so desire)

    Also, with their current promotion of free activation and FREE modem (ok, $1 including shipping), it also means there is no cost at all to try them out.

    While I totally agree that their offering doesn't make much sense if one has to pay a connection fee and also obligated to buy their modem for $99, with the current promotion, I'm happy to give them a try...mainly because I just want a free new modem ;)

    You can also read the review we prepared about the current promotion.
    http://spendinghacker.com.au/cheap-broadband-no-contract/

    Last edited 26/03/14 8:28 pm

    I look at these so called deals from Telstra and Shake my head. I hear nothing but ppl crying all day about the poor level of customer service from Telstra and yet they stay with them. I say TPG all the way. In 3 years with them we have only needed help once and they were awesome to deal with to get resolved.

    I joined them only because the activation fee is only 151 (1$ modem (til 1st September 2014) and 150$ for line activation/setup with onsite technician, whereas other companies charge 299$)

    Please don't suggest Exetel as a viable solution. I've been with them for two months and their broadband speeds are so slow, it should be illegal for them to be in business. Checkout this speed test from this morning - http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3978111391

    I'm probably going to churn to Belong and go month-to-month while I evaluate other ISP's.

    Avoid at all costs. We have NBN to the box and getting 5mb down 1mb up less than 10km from Sydney CBD. After close to 1mo going through their rock bottom customer support process I am now having to pay $150 to cancel the contract. Don't make the same mistake.

    Do NOT join Belong!! They are cheap but their service is TERRIBLE. The internet cuts out every few minutes and good luck getting onto their 24/7 support team. The wait is 45-60mins. After a lot of phone calls, being put on hold and emails there has been no improvement. Then after the 1 year contract I had to wait OVER AN HOUR for them to cancel my service!! They wouldn't let me go without a fight!!! What a waste of money and time. Warning to all, DO NOT JOIN BELONG AT ALL COSTS!! THE PRICE IS NOT WORTH IT AT ALL!!!

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