Amaysim's Unlimited prepaid plan is one we often recommend at Lifehacker. From 1 September, the plan is changing. The good news? The data allowance will increase from 4GB to 5GB. The bad news? The price is also going up, from $39.90 a month to $44.90. Plus: Amaysim's plans for 4G.
Amaysim says the increase in the data allowance reflects the increasing use of data by Amaysim customers. According to managing director Julian Ogrin, data usage is up 85 per cent over the last 12 months. "We're seeing more unlimited voice and text plans coming in but the entry points are around 2GB of data. These plans are not really reflecting the appetite of the customers and what they're experiencing. Our customers like the security of having a full wrap of services."
Whether they'll like higher prices remains to be seen. "People will appreciate that we've held steady for three years," Ogrin said. "This particular new price position is really about revamping and providing more data." It's the first price rise or change for the Unlimited plan since it launched in June 2011.
During that period, several other bargain-priced MVNOs have bitten the dust, including Kogan Mobile, Pennytel and Red Bull Mobile, while the allowances for others (most notably ALDI Mobile) have been slashed.
One other change to both the Unlimited and Flexi plans: access to social networking sites will now be counted as part of the data allowance rather than offered for free. According to Ogrin, the typical Unlimited customer only uses around 200MB a month on social sites via the free plan, and hence shouldn't notice a difference. While free access to Facebook and Twitter was once widespread, Amaysim is following an industry trend here; Optus, which provides the Amaysim network, dumped free social site access for postpaid plans back in December 2012.
Bottom line? No-one else we know of is offering 5GB a month for $45 on a prepaid plan with unlimited Australian calls and texts, so this still seems a very good deal. Existing Unlimited customers will be rolled over to the $44.90 plan on their next renewal after 1 September -- if you'd prefer to switch to Flexi or jump ship altogether, you can do that, as there's no contract involved.
The obvious question for the future: will we see 4G offered by Amaysim, which right now remains a 3G-only service? When we asked last November, we were told that would probably require different pricing and was some way off, but the plans do seem to be advancing. "We've always said that we're very interested in going on 4G, albeit it's still a small component of our audience," Ogrin said. "We are in active discussion with Optus right now. The reason why we're holding back is we want to make sure when we go to 4G that the timing's right, the product's right and 4G is mainstream, and the majority of customers will have compatible handsets."
Ogrin also hinted that while the prices might be different to the 3G-only plan, they would be lower than what's in market right now. "The current pricing that you see on 4G is really attributed to the first mover or early adopters," he said.