|ALDI Mobile has entered the market with a new range of prepaid mobile value plans.|
|Product||Call rate1||Flagfall||TXT||Expiry||MMS||Data||Call Cap/Credit||Voice mail1||Extras||2 Min Call3||More|
|$5 Starter Kit||12c||12c||365||35c||5c||$5 Credit||12c||Incl 13, 1300 1800 numbers||24c/20 Calls||Buy ALDI Mobile|
|PAYG $15||12c||12c||365||35c||5c||$15 Credit||12c||24c/62 Calls|
|PAYG $30||12c||12c||365||35c||5c||$30 Credit||12c||24c/124 Calls|
|Data Pack $30||30||3GB||Add for PAYG plans|
|Value $10||10c||10c||30||30c||$10||10c||Valid from 1/4/14|
Excess data at 5c/MB and other call charges come from PAYG Balance
|Value $20||300MB||$30||20c/150 Calls|
|Value $30||1GB||$65 + 2200 TXT||20c/325 Calls|
|Value $35||1GB||$125 + 2200 TXT||20c/650 Calls|
|Prepaid Mobile Review – ALDI Mobile (April 2014)|
Having a retail distribution network should make buying yourself a $5 Aldi Prepaid Sim card pretty easy. I tried two stores and couldn’t find one but was directed online. The location on the website isn’t quite obvious because it mentions buying from a retail store. This is the link to buy the sim card online.The online sign-up process is quick and easy. The cost of the sim card is $5, and this buys you $5 of actual PAYG credit which is a great way to trial the service. The life of the credit I can only assume is 365 days given it is PAYG.
One thing I didn’t notice during the sign-up process was “credit card verification”. It is actually on the first screen and the statement reads “As you are ordering your SIM card online, we need to sight the payment card you use to pay for your SIM starter pack. We will send you an email with instructions on how to do this. Once we have received your document; we will despatch your SIM starter pack to you.” It took Aldi over 4 weeks to send me this email and the validation process was nothing but painful. I don’t quite understand why they need to site your credit card, this is really overkill for such a low risk service. Anyhow, I completed the order and waited and waited. Over 4 weeks later I received an email advising me that they had not validated my credit card and that I would need to submit an image of it. This could be completed online (login – instructions and login details provided) or via MMS. Who wants to send images of their credit card through any mobile network. I logged in and uploaded. The process was quick and shortly after I received a confirmation email advising me that they had received the image. Within 24 hours I received another email advising me that the image I had uploaded could not be used to validate my card. The image was actually a high res image and very clear. I decided to test their phone support service and called them midday on a weekday. One ring and it was answered. Call Centre is overseas but the lady on the other end was easy to understand and polite. They advised that I needed to upload two forms of ID, Drivers License and Credit Card.
The email communication I received only states the credit card.“You should have received an email from us confirming your SIM card order with instructions on how to do this. In case you didn’t, it is very easy, simply head to the website and log in to My ALDImobile using your account number (1xxxxx) and password (Fxxxxxx). Once logged in you’ll be able to find your order and instructions on how to upload a picture of your payment card. We have a team of dedicated authorised representatives who will then be able to check your document and remove the flag from your order.”So I obliged and updated both forms of ID. Within 24hours I received another email advising me that my Aldi Mobile sim card had been dispatched. With 36 hours I had my sim card. The envelope was a plain white envelope with no branding. This is either a cost saving measure or Aldi are playing the security card so that they don’t have sim cards stolen (seeing as they are so hard to get).
The activation process requires that you login to your account (login details provided in the letter that comes with your sim card). The process requires that you re-enter all of your personal details again (even though your are securely logged in). Your are also required to provide your Drivers License and Medicare Card Number. Once you complete these steps, the activation is pretty much over. Unfortunately for me, I received an error screen advising me that my Credit Card details had not been validated and that the activation process could not proceed.
So, at about 10pm on a Thursday night, I called their customer support centre again and within a minute or so I had my call answered. The lady on the other end was once again polite and went through another round of security checks. My account was checked and it was confirmed that my credit card details where in-fact validated. I was advised that the activation process had in-fact kicked off and it would take up to 24 hours to kick-in.
Sometimes dealing with people is much easier than dealing with systems.
It did in-fact take a few hours for the activation to work but what Aldi did that others don’t, is send me an email letting me know that it had worked. “This email is to let you know that your new ALDImobile Prepaid service has just been activated and is now ready to use.”
Recharging can be completed by purchasing a Voucher from instore or using your credit card to recharge online. When using your credit card online you can purchase a $15 or $30 PAYG recharge voucher or a Bolt-On which includes a $35 unlimited bolton or a $15 Data Bolt-On with 2GB data.
This is Telstra 3G coverage and covers 97% of the Australian population covering more than 960,000 square kilometres. Outside the 3G coverage footprint, customers will revert to 2G coverage and speeds. The combined 2G and 3G footprint covers 98.5% of the Australian population.
My testing of calls and TXT on a number of phones was fine. PAYG rates are 12c/min with no flagfall. TXT rates are 12c each and data is 5c/MB, charged per MB.
Similar to what I have done with my review of Boost and Kogan, data testing is based really upon speed. What I have found with most providers though is accessing the internet on a newish smart phone is usually instantaneous. If you have a smartphone which is 3years old (eg iphone 3 or 3GS), you might need to adjust your settings.
The fastest speeds I could achieve using a Huawei Ascend on a Friday night was 2Mbps download and 0.76Mbps upload. This really isn’t great but these tests can vary wildly from minute to minute so I wouldn’t take this as exactly what you will achieve. It does depend on location, phone and time of day. I also tested my Optus sim at the same time and found that Optus achieved less than 1Mbps download.
- These are great value for money plans and if you hardly use your phone having 365 days of credit is great.
- Having a retail footprint should assist you to get access to the starter kit. Buying online is also available but the validation process is annoying.
- The activation process (less the credit card validation) is simple and it is great that they send you an email telling you that you are now up and running.
- Customer support is great and available every day. On Thursday/Fridays it is available till 11pm and 8.30pm weekends.
- Tested sim in Telstra Wifi modem and as with Kogan it worked fine, first time.
- It can’t take 4 weeks to send you a sim card. I seriously thought mine was lost in space.
- The credit card validation process is seriously a turn-off and it would be easier to open a bank account than it is to complete the validation process. Aldi Mobile really needs to review this.
- Calls and data used takes some time to be reflected online. Whilst you do see a current balance which reflect usage, you can’t actually instantly see what your spend is on.
- This is 3G and not 4G.
Aldi Mobile’s plans have undergone lots of change this year with the PAYG rates surviving buts its Unlimited and $35 plan being given the flick, replaced with 4 Value Plans starting at $10 and increasing to $35. The biggest impact from the plan change is data and it is evident that not only was the pricing far too aggressive but Telstra isn’t happy being undercut any longer. Today the $35 Value Plan buys $125 in Credit (10c/min calls), 2200 TXT and 1GB data. For the same money you can buy Boost UNLTD and receive 2GB of NextG data and unlimited calls, TXT and MMS. You can also try Amaysim with similar value to Boost but with 4GB of Optus 3G data and even Hello Mobile which now also has a 4GB offer for $40.
Would I move to AldiMobile?
If I was after a low use plan, then Aldi PAYG would certainly be a consideration. Having tested it in metro Melbourne calls quality was good and data speeds were great. Venture into regional Australia and the network thins out a little so call quality is not so great. Telstra offers Telstra Simplicity with very competitive rates of 15c/min and 10c/MB but a $20 recharge will only give you 30 days credit. You need to recharge $100 to get 180 days. Aldi has 365 days on either $15 or $30.
Note new daily limits have been released: 480 minutes of calls, 500 TXT, 100 MMS and 1GB data.
|Summary||PAYG Plans and Unlimited|
|Calls within network||12c/min|
|1300 & 1800 numbers||12c/min|
|Credit Rollover||Not Available|
|International Roaming||Not Available|
|Phone||1300 989 000|
1 – rate per 30 seconds. ^Charged in 1 min blocks
2 – expiry period in days
3 – cost of a 2 minute call. Number of 2 minute calls made using credit provided to any network (excludes calls within network). Where no minimum credit is indicated, $20 is used.