We used to recommend the old version of Telstra's prepaid Freedom plan as one of the best options for mobile phone users, until a change in the conditions earlier this year eliminated the ability to add extra data without having to pay a king's ransom. Now Telstra has increased the available data on its Freedom plan, is it worth revisiting?
Phone picture from Shutterstock
A little background: Freedom used to be known as the Encore Cap. It was (and is) sold with a range of recharge values, but the one we've usually singled out was the $50 a month deal.
For that, you received $950 of calling credit, as well as unlimited calls and texts to Australian numbers between 6pm and 6am. The plan only had a measly 800MB of data, but you could use your recharge credit — $50 you were allowed to spend on other services without paying anything extra — to buy a 3GB top-up for $49. Until the middle of this year, that was easily the best prepaid deal for customers wanting the Telstra network.
Unfortunately, in August this year Telstra changed the name of the plan to Freedom, and eliminated the ability to spend recharge credit on data. Damn. As a result, we ended up recommending the Beyond Talk plan as the best way to get a prepaid deal with a decent data allowance on Telstra. Using the same approach, the $50 Beyond Talk scores you 3.4GB of data, unlimited texts and 500 minutes of calls. Not quite as good, but still a reasonable balance.
This week, Telstra has upped the data allowances on its three Freedom plans. The $30 plan has 800MB, the $40 plan has 1.5GB and the $50 plan has 2GB. The call and text options remain the same on each plan.
Is that a better deal than Beyond Talk? On the whole, I'd say not. 2GB is still less data than 3.4GB (which itself is less generous than what you can score from rival prepaid providers on other networks). If you spent every cent of the $950 call credit on calls, you'd score 742 minutes (and have no money for texts, other than those you send during the "free" 12 hours of the day).
If you need to make a huge number of calls, then Freedom might be more appealing. But are you really going to make more than 500 minutes of calls across a month? If not, Beyond Talk at $50 still has the edge for overall prepaid value on Telstra — enough calls, unlimited texts and a decent wedge of data.