Prepaid phone plans are about to get more interesting, as the supply of data becomes a little more endless for people on prepaid.
Even though phone plans are becoming more competitive in Australia, there are still two approaches: prepaid and postpaid.
Folks on postpaid know the deal: you pay a monthly fee and get granted whatever normally arrives every month for that amount, typically delivering unlimited calls, texts, and then a varied amount of data. You have to keep paying to have service, whether or not you use it.
Prepaid is different. While you pay to make calls and spend data, folks with a prepaid account only typically need to spend for the amount of time they’re using the service. It means they can take a call when the prepaid amount has run out, but they can’t call out until they recharge.
Typically, postpaid customers get the best deals on download amounts and other features, such as use of the 5G network and unlimited download overage, thanks to their continued spend.
But prepaid is beginning to get more compelling, and Vodafone might have a hand in that.
One of Australia’s big three telcos, Vodafone has announced this week that select prepaid plans will have access to the unlimited data overage that some of its postpaid plans have, essentially providing unlimited downloads at a fraction of their regular speed, but for no cost on top of what the prepaid plan costs.
It’s a first for an Australian telco, with the unlimited data only previously being applied to postpaid plans, and means if you’re a Vodafone Prepaid Plus subscriber with either a $30, $40, $50, or $60 plan, you’ll soon have access to unlimited downloads even when your prepaid download amount is hit, providing unlimited downloads at the ADSL-like 1.5Mbps maximum Vodafone uses for its unlimited downloads on other plans.
Before you hit your limit, however, you’ll get the downloads at whatever 4G speeds your phone can hit, with the Vodafone Prepaid Plus plans using the 4G network, and offering 15GB on the $30 option, 30GB on the $40 option, 45GB on the $50 option, and 60GB on the $60 option. After you hit those amounts, however, the unlimited data will kick in, but at the slower 1.5Mbps speed.
While capped, the move to get prepaid accounts onto unlimited may be celebrated. Parents, for example, may not have to worry so much about their kids using a prepaid account, and once the download limit has been hit, won’t risk charging up extra downloads simply to get back on the web.
“Our new Prepaid Plus range is giving Australian prepaid customers better value than ever before by allowing them to keep using data at no extra cost before their next recharge,” said Ana Bordeianu, Chief Customer Officer for Vodafone.
While unlimited is now part of the package, one way Vodafone hopes to keep people recharging before those unlimited downloads kick in comes from the data bank, with extra recharges allowing Vodafone prepaid customers to bank up to 200GB of downloads that won’t be limited by speed, offering the capacity of the 4G network without the same 1.5Mbps limitations afforded by the unlimited downloads being added.
One thing worth noting is that while the Vodafone unlimited downloads does apply to select Prepaid Plus plans, the $10 and $20 options are not included, and neither are the 185- and 365-day options. For the former, Vodafone offers 28 day prepaid options at $10 and $20 that include 4GB and 8GB of downloads respectively, while the half-year and full-year plans for $150 with 80GB and $250 with 150GB respectively, are also not part of the offer. It means if you want Vodafone’s unlimited downloads, you’ll either need to opt for a prepaid plan between $30 and $60, or switch to something of a more regular postpaid variety.