C Mobile: Phone plans for an older generation

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C Mobile isn’t your average mobile service provider. For starters, it has a Managing Director who not only takes calls from customers, but even gives out his own mobile number. It’s also one of the few carriers that intentionally markets its plans at older Australians.

The majority of you reading this article will be customers of Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. If not one of the big three, then perhaps Virgin, amaysim or Vaya. Still not got it? Let’s try iiNet, TPG or Dodo?

If you’re getting a great service, at a good price, there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing one of the big boys. After all, it’s human nature to seek safety in numbers and stick with what you know. But what you might not realise is there are more than a dozen other providers out there all equally, if not more desperate for your business. And that could mean a better deal for you.

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In this article we take a close look at C Mobile – one of the newest mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in Australia, promising a fresh approach and better value for money.

To compete against the likes of Telstra and Optus, or even some of the leading challenger brands, mobile service providers need to offer an entirely new proposition – something consumers haven’t seen before. They need to appeal to a group of people who feel taken for granted by the bigger telcos.

Numerous MVNOs have sprung up in recent years – most of which seem to be tailoring their services to fit a youthful customer base. They are appealing to the data-driven young Australians who, Canstar Blue research shows, are more likely to switch service providers. They’re trying to be cool and maybe even a little whacky. However, C Mobile is taking a rather different approach by deliberately aiming its plans at an older demographic which isn’t so data hungry.

“One of the reasons we started was that we saw a need for simple, low cost plans providing great value, choice of networks and expert Australian based service,” said Peter Huxley, Managing Director of C Mobile. “We find that the older demographic are not so much concerned with huge data allowances, but they really value straight forward, easy to understand plans, a choice of networks, excellent, friendly Australian based service, and all at a low cost.

“We have quite a few thousand customers now, but I still man the phones often enough to be on a first name basis with many of our customers. We will stick by these principles as we grow.”

C Mobile was launched in 2013 and isn’t shy about admitting its modesty, declaring on its website “you probably won’t see our ads on prime time TV because we don’t have a multi-million dollar marketing budget… We run our business tight so we can provide the value to you, our customer”.

Mr Huxley said C Mobile’s customer base is predominantly people aged 40 plus or families looking for better value. It gives customers a choice of plans on either Vodafone’s or Telstra’s 3G networks. Those on the Vodafone network are known as C Red plans and those on the Telstra network are C Blue plans.

“The C Red plans contain more value, and are a great option for those living in metro areas, whilst the C Blue plans are a great option for those living in regional and rural areas, where the extra coverage the Telstra network provides is a must,” said Mr Huxley.

The C Red plans start with a pay as you go option and then go to $9.90, $19.90 and $29.90 per month, with increasing amounts of minutes, texts and data. There are also $39.90 and $59.90 per month options with unlimited talk and texts and 2GB or 4GB of data respectively. A feature of both the Red and Blue plans is that C Mobile bars mobile data when the limit for the month is reached.

“We get great feedback from parents,” said Mr Huxley. “It provides them with peace of mind. I don’t believe there is another post-paid provider that does this. The data comes back on automatically when the new month starts. Of course customers can opt for the non-barring option, where data continues, but we find most people like the data stopping.”

The C Blue plans start at $14.90 per month and are structured similarly to the Red plans with increasing amounts of minutes, texts and data.  

“There isn’t as much value in them as the C Red plans, which reflects the additional cost we pay for Telstra,” said Mr Huxley. “Realistically, Telstra is by far the biggest network, so you would expect to pay a bit more. We still believe they are great value, and you would struggle to find a lower entry point to the Telstra network – especially one backed by our level of service.”

Mr Huxley promises that his small but expert Australian support team will offer friendly, fast and efficient service. In fact, you can even call up and ask to speak with him personally.

“Our customers can pick up the phone and talk to me any time they like. Many of them even have my mobile number,” he said. “We pride ourselves on service, and we know that as a small player it’s a big point of difference for us from the big guys.”

And if you’re wondering what the ‘C’ in C Mobile stands for, Mr Huxley says it represents all the things they want the company to stand for.

“When we started the business, we looked at the sort of things we wanted to stand for, and a lot of them started with C,” he said. “We offer a choice of networks, great coverage, we support the community, we are clear, we care, and we have no contracts.

“It’s a little bit corny, but that’s how we named ourselves. Since then we’ve realised the name presents a few hurdles, especially with radio advertising – you have to explain it isn’t sea or see mobile, but overall we’re happy!”

Mr Huxley and his team certainly seem to have a genuine passion for their business – and the industry. The challenge is convincing more consumers to share that feeling.

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