ALDI Mobile is continuing its long history of reducing its data allowances while charging the same amount of money for its prepaid plans. From 1 April (no joke), its $35 prepaid plan will include just 1GB of data each month — less than half the current 2.5GB allowance and just one-fifth of the 5GB it originally launched with.
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Here's a comparison showing what you get for $35 a month under the old and new plans:
|Old $35 Plan||New $35 Plan|
In other words: a little more SMS, far less call minutes and far less data. You can add a 1GB data pack for $10, but you can only do that after you have used 70 per cent of your "main allowance", which would be 700MB. $45 for a plan with 2GB of data is not a good deal in the current market — you can get almost twice as much data on Telstra's 4G network for that money. (ALDI Mobile uses Telstra, but only its older 3G spectrum).
ALDI is also adding three new cheaper plans. Here's the full range of new "value packs" on offer. Note that for the S and M plans you receive a fixed amount of credit to spend, rather than a set number of call minutes and texts — so we've quoted the maximum number of call minutes in the table. Every SMS you send will reduce that amount. Again: these are not good value plans.
|Plan||Cost||Call minutes||SMS||Data||Data pacl|
|S||$10||100||-||-||100MB for $5|
|M||$20||300||-||300||300MB for $7|
|L||$30||650||2200||1000||1GB for $10|
|XL||$35||1250||2200||1000||1GB for $10|
The change comes just two weeks after the company signed a court-enforceable undertaking with the ACCC to market its plans accurately. It changed the name of the $35 plan from Unlimited last November.
According to ALDI Mobile, the most recent change is because "we have been listening to our customers and analysing how people use their phones and we discovered that people use a lot less than is included in our current $35 plan". The company used the same line when it cut the data allowance to 2.5GB last October.
ALDI Mobile will continue to offer its existing pay-as-you-go plans, which have a 365 day credit expiry — potentially useful for people who hardly ever use their phone, but relatively expensive for data (5 cents per MB, with calculations per MB which means charges mount up quickly).
There is one tiny improvement in the new plans: they eliminate the clause in ALDI's acceptable usage policy which says you can use no more than 1000MB in a single day. Then again, doing that would mean you'd have used your entire allowance anyway.
ALDI's tablet-oriented data-only plan is also changing. Previously, it offered 2GB of data for $15. Now it offers 3GB of data for $30 — which includes more data but is actually more expensive ($10 per GB rather than $7.50). Again, since ALDI Mobile calculates usage on a per MB basis, this is not a wise choice.
If you really don't use much data and can survive on $10 of calls a month, then there's no point paying more — but in the smartphone era, that's a relatively uncommon scenario. There are much better value prepaid plans out there if you do need data — check out our recommendations.
The bottom line? We wouldn't be surprised if the $35 plan is offering 500MB in six months, given the ongoing rate of attrition. If you're a current $35 plan customer, it's time to start looking elsewhere.