Virgin Mobile Increases Data Allowances In The Most Confusing Manner Possible

It was only last month that Virgin Mobile increased the data allowances on its postpaid plans. It is now offering additional data on its more expensive contract plans -- but deciphering what has actually happened is needlessly tricky.

Like almost every other provider, Virgin Mobile is working hard to make its data allowances as confusing as possible by adding "bonus data" of varying sizes and with strange restrictions.

Let's take its $80 Plan as an example. The basic data inclusion on that plan is 4GB. Under the bonus data scheme announced last month, which was due to run until May 31, you would score an extra 2GB of data on that plan if you bought in store (for a total of 6GB), and an extra 3GB if you purchased online (for a total of 7GB).

That scheme will change from tomorrow (May 14). Between then and June 30 (note the one-month extension), if you sign up for the $80 Plan, you'll get an extra 4GB if you buy in store (for a total of 8GB), and an extra 5GB if you buy online (for a total of 9GB). There are upgrades for some contract-plans too, but strangely those offer the same bonuses regardless of where you buy them.

The confusion doesn't end there. Virgin's announcement makes no bones about the fact that it is responding to recent data increases from Vodafone. It says that any customers who signed up on April 14 onwards will be eligible for the new bonus offer, not the old one. However, Virgin Mobile announced the previous plan on April 10. Anyone who signed up on the April 11, 12 or 13 is this presumably stuck with the previous deal. If you fall into this category, we advise you ring up and politely suggest you're entitled to the better inclusions.

Here's a full roundup of the plans which have expanded data inclusions, and what you'll get for an in-store and online purchase between now and June 30. All these plans offer unlimited calls and texts to Australian numbers.

Name Monthly cost Min total cost Data in store (MB) Data online (MB)
$60 SIM Only $60.00 $60.00 9000 9000
$80 SIM Only $70.00 $1,680.00 13000 13000
$80 Plan $80.00 $1,920.00 8000 9000
$100 Plan $100.00 $2,400.00 12000 13000

We're not massive fans of signing up for a contract deal; you can often do better with prepaid. And we're really not impressed by structuring plans with constantly changing conditions, shifting closure dates and confusing "bonus data" inclusions. Every single local telco is guilty of this consumer unfriendly behaviour. Note to you all: can do better.

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