Monday, March 30, 2009

Why some mobile plans are very expensive

(Update: A week after I wrote the following blog, I found that Hutchison 3's $19 plan gives you a free phone but includes only $70 worth of talk/SMS. Another $70 goes towards 3-to-3 calls. Goes to show how easily the brochures and ads can take you for a ride)

I did a quick comparison and the result shows how expensive Telstra really is. (Note that TPG is an internet service provider that has now ventured into mobile phone service.) As you can see from the chart below, although the plans cost $19-20 each, the actual usable time can be very limited. The assumption made regarding flagfall is that in one instance, it is assumed that one third of the calls are shorter than 30 sec, while in the other instance, it is one tenth of the time.

The chart below calculates how many minutes of usage per day you'll get under different providers for a $20 plan. Telstra gives you only 0.6 min per day, which is the equivalent of just one 36sec call per day; beyond that you'll be paying 94c per min plus flagfall! On the other hand, TPG gives you 9.7 min per day. That is nearly twenty blocks of 30-sec calls. Very few people know about TPG Mobile, but it is by far the least expensive. Even Hutchinson 3 is not too bad, in comparison with Telstra or Optus.

TPG, Hutchinson 3, and Optus all give you generous amount of free talk time to certain nominated numbers. Telstra gives you this priviledge for just ONE number. It is about time all of us start moving to lower cost providers to create a downward pressure on prices.

TPG "3" Optus Telstra
Monthly charge $19.99 $19.00 $20.00 $19.00
Included cap $300.00 $140.00 $50.00 $20.00
Call per 30s $0.40 $0.45 $0.47 $0.47
Flagfall $0.35 $0.35 $0.35 $0.27
SMS $0.25 $0.25 $0.25 $0.25
Contract none 24 mths 24 mths (not clear)

Avg min/day:

Flagfall 33% 9.70min 4.13min 1.42min 0.60min
Flagfall 10% 11.49min 4.81min 1.65min 0.67min

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