Unlimited mobile data is now well and truly a thing, with Vodafone the latest telco giant to provide the holy grail of phone plans – and they’re available to EVERYONE.
Australia’s third mobile carrier has announced that it will offer unlimited data plans from just $60 a month. It comes after telco rival Optus became the first to provide an unlimited data plan to selected customers back in March.
Telstra has also launched its own unlimited data phone plan costing $69 per month on a 12-month contract.
After first releasing its ‘Unleashed’ plan, Optus quickly withdrew the offer inside 24 hours. However, it went on to re-release the deal in April.
Vodafone’s three plans are priced at $60, $80 and $100 a month.
While technically coming with unlimited data, users will get access to a set amount of ‘full speed’ data, which will then be slowed to 1.5Mbps. This effectively removes excess data charges.
“We’re excited to once again shake up the market with Australia’s first widely available unlimited data plans and to drive real change for customers that are fed up with paying too much,” said Ben McIntosh, Vodafone’s Consumer Business Unit Director.
The $60 plan includes 30GB of full speed data, while the $80 plan takes it up 80GB and the $100 plan brings up 100GB. All plans also come with unlimited calls and texts, plus some international credit for calling and texting overseas numbers.
Despite Optus being the first Aussie telco to launch an unlimited data deal, Mr McIntosh is confident that Vodafone will prove the real game-changer.
“Our unlimited plans give people more choice and the peace of mind that they won’t be left without data or stung with extra costs once their data limits are up,” he said.
He also suggested the plans will reveal consumers’ genuine appetite for mobile data, with capped data plans resulting in users limiting their usage through fear of excess charges.
Plans are available either as a SIM-only proposition, or as part of a phone plan. The plans by themselves come on a 12-month contract, while device repayments can span 12, 24 or 36 months.
The Vodafone unlimited data deals will be available to all customers, while Optus’ Unleashed offer remains ‘invite-only’ to selected existing customers – something that Mr McIntosh said will set Vodafone apart from the competition.
He also cited the set amount of full-speed data as notable in the market, with the 1.5Mbps speed thereafter also adequate for music and video streaming.
“Australians have an insatiable demand for appetite – the days of bill shock are over… unlimited means unlimited,” Mr McIntosh said.
Is there a need for unlimited mobile data?
Unlimited mobile data may be a sign of things to come, and in the United States, propositions similar to Vodafone’s have been commonplace for a couple of years.
Mr McIntosh said that Australians’ mobile phone use is similar to that of North Americans’ and that there will be a growing need for unlimited data.
“Most customers restrict themselves (in mobile data usage) out of fear,” he said.
Mr McIntosh cited a Deloitte study that found Australians spend close to $313 million per year in excess data charges.
Canstar Blue research has found that the most common excess data charge is $10 per gigabyte, with some carriers charging in excess of $100 per gigabyte, but with data billed by the megabyte.
Vodafone found that average data usage per person, per month was about 9GB.
Tests for the unlimited deal were carried out with staff members, restricted to the 1.5Mbps speed, while 100 additional staff were also placed on the plan like a normal customer would be.
All of Vodafone’s six million customers will be able to switch over to the new unlimited deal, with new customers also welcome to apply.