How does Telstra’s new excess data charges stack up?

07 March 2014

Telstra introduced sweeping changes to its mobile phone plans this week, including a 70-percent reduction in the cost of excess data usage. So, how does it compare with the competition now?

As part of it’s new Mobile Accelerate plans, Telstra customers will now pay 3-cents per MB in excess data charges, down from 10-cents per MB previously.

Next to its nearest competition, this is a much fairer rate. Vodafone currently charge 10c-per MB for additional data on post-paid plans, while Virgin Mobile charges a whopping 20.5c per MB.

Optus does things slightly differently. When you reach your data limit, Optus adds an additional chunk of data for a fixed price — typically $10 for 1GB of additional data. This is a fair more generous rate, but it could be a lot to pay if you only need a small amount of extra data in a month.

Let’s take a look at how these compare:

As you can see, Telstra’s new excess data rate is pretty fair. It’s more than double what you’ll pay Optus for an extra GB, but it is actually cheaper if you go over you plan limit for any amount up to about 300MB.

Virgin is the real killer here, despite it being one of the telcos with the most generous data inclusions in its plans. Once you go over your allotted bits and bytes, you pay through the nose. That said, we have it on good authority that this might soon change for Virgin customers -- so watch this space.

Throttle me, throttle you

One major change we’d love to see implemented by the telcos is the idea of throttled data, where your speed is slowed to an unusably slow speed when you reach your limit until the end of your billing month.

This would element excess usage altogether, while not cutting off customers from the web entirely. The slow speeds (typically under 100kbps) would be sufficient for checking emails, but way too slow for watching videos or streaming music.

This is a common concept in ADSL broadband plans, and a part of most mobile plans in the US, and it would be a great thing for Aussie mobile customers if introduced by the telcos here.

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