For years mobile users were stung with hefty bills if they exceeded the data limits of their plan. Those paying attention would add data packs for a fixed price to avoid the expensive overages. All that is about to change.
Telstra have announced they are killing off data packs from the 12th of May this year. From that date, a new program called ‘Extra Data’ will mean users who exceed their data caps will automatically have an 1GB added to their account at the fixed price of $10.
Telstra says that Australians are amongst the highest in the world and our thirst for mobile data is doubling every 18 months. They also say the change is a response to customer feedback. As someone who has been through adding and removing data packs month-to-month, the process has never been a simple one and definitely could be improved. Thankfully that improvement arrives next month, use what you need and get charged a reasonable amount automatically.
There will be people that complain about the bulk charge for 1GB even if they go 50MB over, while that is true, on balance, this is a much better arrangement than manually managing data. In reality, you almost never go, just over, especially with phones receiving an almost constant stream of data like notifications, app updates and emails. Having the protection against going way over your cap and paying $0.03 per MB for excess data usage, is just a better place to be.
$10 for 1GB is a significant saving from current data pack prices at the lower end, but the same price at the higher end. Currently Telstra customers buy additional data in the following blocks:
- 250MB = $5pm
- 1GB = $15pm
- 3GB = $30pm
- 6GB = $60pm
The way this works is the first time you go over your limit, you don’t pay per MB anymore, you pay for 1GB. If you exceed that, you automatically get another 1GB added for another 1GB. This makes it great for people with fluctuating data usage per month. Personally a month at home on WiFi means I burn through a couple of GB per month, but if I’m away for a week or at an event, I’ll easily push 4-5GB.
To activate Extra Data, wait for a link from Telstra around the launch of the service. Follow the link and you can update your account, this means you don’t need to wait to sign a new contract for this to work.
More information at Telstra.