Telstra kicked off its T22 strategy this week launching a bunch of new plans, including an unlimited data behemoth, and introducing its new 'Peace of Mind' data bolt on, designed to save you from excess data usage fees.
The Peace of Mind Data add-on costs $10 per month and is available for all post-paid mobile plans, except the unlimited plan, which doesn't need the option. Once activated, your data service is throttled to 1.5Mbps when you hit your data limits, rather than paying $10 per extra gigabyte of data they use before the end of the month.
Telstra has launched a bunch of new mobile plans as part of the company’s T22 strategy. The new consumer mobile and tablet plans are the first in a series of changes Telstra is introducing to simplify products, eliminate customer pain points and create all digital experiences. Along with the new plans, the Telstra 24/7 app has been given a facelift.
The end of excess data fees is something Australians have been crying out for, and throttling plans seems like a fair way to deal with the problem. But is paying for the privilege of slowing down your data worth the extra expense?
The real difference here is that with excess usage charges you only pay for extra in the months when you blow past your data limit. With Peace of Mind data you pay the same $10 every month regardless of whether you need it or not.
To be honest, Peace of Mind data sounds like a lot like the peace of mind offered by smiling seniors in funeral insurance ads. For the cost of a couple of coffees a month, you can avoid the stress and concern about going over your data allowance. Peace of Mind data is basically a form of insurance: a fee you pay to offset the cost of a bad thing that may happen.
This isn't necessarily a bad idea; it just isn't something you'll need if you buy the right plan in the first place. The alternative, of course, is to just get a plan with as much data as you need. For example, when I check recent phone bills I've used between 8GB and 10GB of data each month over the past six months. If I want to stick with the Telstra network, and I want a small data buffer, the plans below are good for me.
Telstra Network Plans with 12GB or more
There's a few standouts in the table, like Woolworth's $50 plan with bonus data, and the Telechoice 12-month plan with 13GB for $35 per month.
Woolie's deserve an extra mention too for having a 'zero bill shock promise', where they pause your data access when you reach your data limits rather than charging excess usage fees. Though you probably don't need the safety net when your plan includes 25GB.
And a few more options on the other networks…
The Think Mobile plans are the showstopppers, as they have been since Think changed its prices recently, and both Optus and Vodafone have great plans at $45 per month.
The point is that data is much cheaper if you pay for it in advance, and if you spend a minute figuring out how much data you need before you start looking for a plan, you won't need a plan bolt-on to give you peace of mind.
Joe Hanlon is Publisher at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website. He’s been writing about phones and plans for far too long.