Are Telstra's Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband Data Passes Good Value?

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Telstra’s added new data-only options for prepaid mobile customers, surprisingly in line with what contract customers pay for data.
The new Mobile Broadband Data passes do, as they say in the classics, what they say on the tin, which is to say that they’re data-only provisioned SIMs, paid for on a prepaid basis.
Prepaid can be a great way to manage your overall spend, because once you use your quota up, you can’t be stung for any more cash, although conversely you do lose access straight away. The usual sting with prepaid is that because telcos can’t keep you on the hook for up to two years, you usually get a worse deal in terms of data prices.
It’s interesting, then, that all of Telstra’s broadband data passes use essentially the same kind of pricing as its recently announced $10/1GB contract plans.
Whichever data plan you opt for, it’ll cost you $10 per GB, whether you opt for the $10 plan or the $50 plan. It’s actually a little more generous if you’re prepared to part with $140, at which point Telstra will provision you with 16GB of data usage.
So, I hear you cry, what’s the catch? It could be — and this depends on your needs and usage — in the expiry times for each of these plans. If you’re a contract customer and you go over your data provision, Telstra now slugs you $10 and gives you up to an extra GB of data to use within the rest of your monthly contract period, which could be up to 30 days if you’re particularly heavy on usage on day one of a given month.
The entry level 1GB/$10 plan only lasts for three days. Here’s the full pricing schedule:
[table]
Telstra Mobile Broadband Passes,,,
Plan,Cost,Data,Expiry
3 Day Pass,$10 ,1GB,3 Days
Week,$20 ,2GB,7 Days
Month,$30 ,3GB,30 Days
Annual,$50 ,5GB,365 Days
2 Year,$140 ,16GB,730 Days
[/table]
Naturally, there’s no calling or text ability built into these plans. Data is said to roll over if not used as long as you recharge within your expiry period.
There could be some decent value here, more in either the 7 day short duration variety if you’ve got a short term need for mobile broadband but don’t need a contracted device, or in the higher tier if you just want a peace of mind style offering while on holidays. As always, though, it would pay to consider where you’ll be using the device — the data itself is for Australian use only with no international roaming built in — and whether other options such as tethering from a contract mobile or sniffing out locally available free Wi-Fi might be a better deal.
Source: Telstra

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