The big data offers are over, so it seems and Amaysim remains the only prepaid offer in the market with anything close to huge at the moment.
Over the past 12 months we have seen Kogan come and go with its 5GB offer, Aldi Mobile was also at 5GB at one stage but has since revamped its mobile plans and now offers 2.5GB for 30 days access, and Boost is scheduled to reduce its data offer from 3GB to 2GB.
This leaves Amaysim which runs on the Optus 3G network with the best data offer in the market $40 prepaid. Amaysim have been running this offer (I believe it launched with 3GB) for several years now, so it certainly is no special offer. So has the offer runs its course and is there internal or external pressure to either increase the price or reduce the value?
Australians are certainly becoming hungrier for data. In a recent poll I ran looking on this very topic, the results were:
How much data do you use each month on your mobile phone?
- Under 500MB: 15%
- B/w 500MB – 1GB: 15%
- 1GB – 2GB: 17%
- 2GB – 3GB: 15%
- 3GB+: 37%
The total number of votes was in the order of 350, with over 50% of respondents saying that they used over 2GB of data each month.
Whilst all of these respondents were not prepaid users, the fact is that people want more data and it seems the unlimited offers rather than increasing the data offered are looking to reduce it and then charge you more for any extra you want. If revenue per customer is the issue, then why are we also seeing a reduction in allowances for Calls, TXT or even MMS rather than data. Aldi Mobile is the only one that actually did both. Smells a little opportunistic to me.
This has always been an issue of mine with unlimited offers. They groom you for excessive use and then once trapped, they can change plans and you have no choice but to spend more and more. At the moment your options to switch to a cheaper alternative are almost over.
In a recent article published by Vodafone which talked about data usage over the holiday period, Vodafone stated the average 3G data usage (per month) as 650MB, double for 4G.
In a survey by Galaxy Research published today, two-thirds of all customers across all networks say they expected to use more data over the Christmas holiday season. This was higher among Gen Ys with almost 75% of younger people saying they expect their data usage to go up. Our own smartphone customers are on average currently using 650MB of data a month and this keeps going up. Our 4G customers can again use on average double this figure! When we look more at our our own network traffic we’ve seen an extraordinarily increase in our customers’ appetites for data over the past year and we expect this to jump again this Christmas and New Year’s period. Looking back at past years, Christmas Day in 2012 data usage increased by almost 65% on the previous year. By comparison the number of SMS’s sent was up by 13% on Christmas Day in 2011, with a trend towards customers using smartphones to send messages.
Original article is here
What this all leads to is that if you are likely to want more than 2GB data on a prepaid plan, you will need to pay PAYG rates for it or to purchase data add ons (using your credit allowance or with additional credit purchased).
Looking at it another way, Vaya Mobile (traditionally a low cost provider) is currently charging $57 for its unlimited month to month plan with 3GB (4G speeds). Month to month plans usually offer better value and are cheaper than their prepaid equivalents. If this is what they need to charge to make a profit, then maybe this is where prepaid unlimited plans are heading unless changes are made.
Another option is for services like Yatango which allow you to build your own plan, to begin the unsettle things a little more. Rather than the trend being for unlimited calls, TXT and MMS, maybe users actually get a choice of what they want and only pay accordingly. Maybe we will see more of this in 2014, or maybe customers will smarten up and want better control of what is included in their mobile plans.
This will certainly be a hot topic for 2014.
As an update and to rock some of my own thinking, Hello Mobile has bucked the trend and launched their own Unlimited offer for $39.90 with 30 days access and 4GB of 3G speed data. You can compare all unlimited prepaid offers here.