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iPhone on Telstra NextG Cap Plans – Why there is no customer loyalty

I bought the iPhone 3G in July 2008 on a 24 month contract with Telstra. At the time they refused to allow iPhone users to utilise their “Cap Plans”, and as such became the only carrier in Australia to offer iPhones without Cap plans. I signed up to the $80 per month “iPhone plan” and that includes $70 worth of calls.

As of June 26th 2009, the iPhone 3GS was released. Telstra now offer iPhones (the new or old model) on the original plans, but you can now sign up to the Cap plans. Comparing these plans at the $80 per month spend level shows:

iPhone PlanNextG Cap Plan
Minimum Monthly Spend$80$79
Included Call Value$70$450
Bonus Mobile call credit$0$100
Call rate per 30 seconds26c35c
SMS Rate25c25c

Note: For data usage you need to pay an additional cost per month if you don’t want to incur AUD$2 per Megabyte of data. This is the same for iPhone or Cap plan, so I wont compare these in this post.

As can be seen from the above data, the original iPhone plan versus the NextG Cap plans now offered on the iPhone differ significantly. Discounting the flag-fall:

  • With the iPhone plan you get 259 minutes of talking time, roughly 4.3 hours.
  • With the Cap plan you get 608 minutes of talking time, roughly 10 hours. (Not including the extra $100 credit to Telstra Mobiles).

Hopefully you can see now why the Cap plans are better value. What does one do in this situation? One would think that you could call billing, change plans to a practically exactly the same priced plan – and change over.

With the hope of a changeover, I called billing. I wouldn’t mind taking the hit of having to sign up for 24 months again, and I learned that this would be required – BUT – and there is always a but with Telstra, this wasn’t all. If I wanted to change my iPhone plan to a Cap Plan I would have to agree to the following:

  1. Sign up to the Next G cap plan for a full 24 months again
  2. Pay out my current plan (in other words pay off the iPhone)

Paying off the current plan would cost me $850 upfront, or $70 per month for the next year.

Telstra – where is the incentive to keep customers. This is not a way to show it. Had you allowed a plan change to one now offered to newcomers to the iPhone on your network, I’d still be a paying customer for another 2 years (an additional year on top of my current obligation). Money grabbing to “pay out” my current plan and THEN signing up to a full new contract is a customer loyalty killer. Next G speed and coverage be damned.

iPhone – Vodafone Australia leaves it too late

If Vodafone Australia don’t release their iPhone pricing/data or respond to my Pre-registration ASAP (and I mean by midday Wednesday only 48 hours before launch) I’m going to unfortunately have to go elsewhere.

What is the point of their pre-registration when:

  • One hears nothing back from it except a “Watch your inbox”
  • One goes into a Central Melbourne Vodafone shop and they say “We are not owned by Vodafone so don’t know about pre-registration or when the pricing is available”
  • One rings the Vodafone Connect number and can NOT find any option – menu – or area that will answer your iPhone questions
  • Optus and Vodafone 3G offerings outside Metro areas will use 900Mhz – WTF Carriers!

In fact their automated Phone system hung up on me twice and I gave up calling.

It looks like I’m going to have to go Telstra or Optus. Hmmmm. It may have to be Telstra since:

  • they have Nationwide 3G coverage using 850Mhz – iPhone supported
  • They will offer free WiFi access at their hotspots (aka any McDonalds)
  • It’s that easy to port my mobile numbers away from Vodafone

I know Telstra have yet to list their data usage pricing; but it can’t be as any worse than their previous offerings.

I will take this moment – for the first time – to note here that although I’m not a Telstra employee I currently work on their IT Transformation. So it may be in my best interest to “show company colours” around the office – and have my phone continue to work as I travel the lifts of the many Melbourne buildings.

Come on Vodafone – you will be losing a customer and $2000 a year in money spent on your services. As other bloggers and news outlets have mentioned, they are cutting it too close.

Telstra has rights to Sell iPhone on Australia

Telstra have now announced they will be selling the iPhone as well. According to the Age, since Telstra’s NextG network covers 99% of the population the iPhone will get good coverage due to it using the 850Mhz 3G frequencies.


Additionally the Age have reported on the pricing Telstra will offer on their bundles:

The cheapest monthly plan will be $30, paying either $279 upfront for an eight-gigabyte iPhone or $399 for a 16Gb model. Customers who do not want to pay upfront could sign up to an $80 plan for the 8Gb model or a $100 plan for the 16Gb model.

I’ll still opting Vodafone for now, but lets see what the Vodafone pricing and data usage policy will be compare to Telstra’s. If they are almost the same (and I doubt it) it could prompt me to jump carrier. The coverage that NextG have is unrivalled in this country – but has been pricey to use for data so far. SMH Blogger Adam Turner correctly speculates that even though the pricing is out, there is no mention of data usage. Don’t get too hyped about Telstra’s offering just yet. Despite the fantastic infrastructure they are usually the most expensive.

Just to show I’m not entirely biased, Telstra are taking pre-registrations at their website. Thanks to @IdleThoughts for the heads up on this.