Kogan Mobile launched with a publicity blitz late last year, promoting itself as Australia’s cheapest mobile phone service provider. It’s just raised prices substantially. Is it still compelling value?
There’s an interesting piece by Ben Grubb at the SMH at the moment detailing some consumer outrage over the price hikes (disclaimer; I’ve written for Fairfax in the past, make of that whatever you like), talking up alleged “bait and switch” tactics on the part of Kogan Mobile.
I’m not sure I entirely buy that premise; Kogan Mobile’s selling a pre-paid service offering with no lock-in to speak of. You don’t have to renew each month, so there’s little in the way of commitment, but that works both ways; Kogan’s comittment to its customers lasts as long as its monthly contract terms, and you’re free to take your business elsewhere.
The question is whether you should or not. With that in mind, I thought it’d be interesting to look over the alternatives sitting on Telstra’s network right now. Yes, there are other networks with different offers, but I’m working on the basis that you’ve got at least passable Telstra signal, or that you are (or were) a Kogan Mobile customer. So what’s on offer?
Telstra-based Prepaid Offerings,Cost,Calls,Texts,Data,Expiry
Access 30,$39 ,Unlimited,Unlimited,6GB (Max 400MB/day),30 Days
Access 90,$99 ,Unlimited,Unlimited,6GB (Max 400MB/day),90 Days
Access 365,$329 ,Unlimited,Unlimited,6GB (Max 400MB/day),365 Days
Data 30,$14.99 ,N/A,N/A,2GB (Max 400MB/Day),30 Days
PAYG $15,$15 ,12c/min,12c/TXT,5c/MB,365 Days
PAYG $30,$30 ,12c/min,12c/TXT,5c/MB,365 Days
Unlimited Pack,$35 ,Unlimited,Unlimited,5GB,30 Days
Mobile Internet,$15 ,N/A,N/A,2GB,30 Days
$10 UNLTD,$10 ,Unlimited,Unlimited,500MB,5 Days
$20 UNLTD,$20 ,Unlimited,Unlimited,1GB,15 Days
$40 UNLTD,$40 ,Unlimited,Unlimited,3GB ,30 Days
What’s interesting here is how they’re essentially targeting different market segments. There’s a single cent between Aldi and Kogan when it comes to a straight data pack, and both work on “parts” of the Telstra network where Boost, as a Telstra subsidiary has the whole system to play in.
Update: Some confusion about the ‘parts” issue here; Both Kogan and Aldi are actually getting Telstra access through a third party reseller (ISPOne in Kogan’s case, as came out in the court case). As such, their coverage maps are *slightly* different; if you look at Boost Mobile’s coverage in far north Queensland, for example, it goes further than Kogan or Aldi’s maps of the same spots, because Boost is directly owned by Telstra. If Telstra covers it, so does Boost, but Kogan/Aldi have slightly smaller maps. Again, that comes down to your own usage and travel plans, and, naturally, whether the coverage maps accurately reflect reality in the first place.
Still, Kogan’s got some interesting offers if you’re actually a heavy phone call user; the same isn’t entirely true of data due to that 400MB/day cap, which isn’t mentioned as far as I could see in Aldi’s T&Cs. The interesting point of direct comparison, I’d say, would be between the roughly-$30 unlimited plans.
Kogan’s still slightly cheaper than Boost, and you get more data, but can’t use as much per day, and the network is slightly smaller. Aldi’s the cheapest in the land right now, but again with slightly less actual data provision. All this does leave out Optus and Vodafone’s offerings, as well as their many MNVO partners, most of whom resell Optus capacity.
Value is, as always, relative. I don’t call out a whole bunch, so unlimited calls has little value for me, but I value every last kb of data I can get my hands on. You may be a talk junkie, in which case data inclusions might be meaningless. As always, a little research and shopping around, especially in the prepaid space where, as long as you’ve got an unlocked mobile you should be able to shift networks, you can chop and change as quickly as you like.