Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Telstra MBB sharer plans are a damp squib

Back in March I reported that Telstra would be launching sharer plans for mobile broadband. I think these have a lot of mileage, initially for SMEs but increasingly for households, particularly as we get more embedded modules and sharing a USB modem, or even a home hub, becomes less appropriate. I'm expecting sharer plans to drive a lot of the growth in "connections" (if not spend) in future. So, it was interesting to see what pricing they come out with.

According to IT Wire there will be three plans:
  • 5GB for $89/month
  • 9GB for $119/month
  • 20GB for $199/month

In addition to the traffic-based charges, each additional user (and you must have at least one) is charged at $40/month for a 24 month contract or $50/month for a rolling contract.

This doesn't compare favourably with the individual plans, where users pay $45/month for 5GB and $65/month for 10GB (both 12 month minimum contract). Furthermore, on the sharer plans all out-of-bundle usage is billed at $0.25/MB. For the individual plans there are no OOB charges on the 5GB or 10GB plans.

I can see almost no reason why a SME would choose to take these plans. There is some flexibility in the ability to add no-commitment users at $50/month, but this slim benefit is massively outweighed by the huge price premium. Assuming a SME has 5 users, all generating 1GB of traffic per month on average. If they all take a 5GB plan (just to be sure they don't go out of bundle) it will cost $225/month. To have 5 users on a 9GB plan (so with much less leeway built in) it would cost $279 and the users would be tied in for 24 months. With no tie-in it would be $319/month.

This is all a bit disappointing. I'd hoped for rather more from the first sharer plan. But, this is just the first attempt and they will try to skim the market with a high initial price point. It will come down substantially over the next 12 months, I'm sure.


  1. I hope Pacman wins! I will wait for your updates in! :p

  2. Thanks for an informative post on the new Telstra NextG plans. It doesn't surprise me, as Telstra is rarely competitive with their pricing.

    The concept of having sharer plans is brilliant and I hope other mobile broadband providers in Australia take it up!

    Great post! keep up the good work :)