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Telstra 4G Advanced Wifi Modem

Earlier this week Telstra launched their latest 4G Wifi Modem – the Advanced Hotspot. Telstra is the first Australia Telco to launch a wifi modem which can connect up to 10 devices at the same time.

The Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G Advanced features a colour touch screen for managing settings without having to log into a PC browser and a data meter linked into the Telstra billing system. Battery life is 10 hours (up to 250 hours on stand-buy).

Key features of the Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced:

  • Allows customers to connect up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices to fast mobile internet.
  • A 2.4-inch colour screen displays information such as data usage, Wi-Fi name, signal strength, number of devices connected and battery level at a glance. The touch interface allows owners to read SMS notifications and change setting such as Wi-Fi range and band direct from the device without having to connect to a PC interface.
  • 4G Category 4 and 3G Dual Channel technology ensures owners are connected to the fastest speeds available in their area, across the Telstra Mobile Network.
  • Features dual-band Wi-Fi capable of providing Wi-Fi coverage on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
  • Battery supports up to ten hours’ continuous use or up to 250 hours/10-days standby.

What about the price, well it isn’t cheap at $218 if purchased outright. You can also purchase it via a Telstra mobile broadband plan for $6/mth ($50 Telstra Mobile Broadband Freedom® Plan)

Bonus Data with Vodafone Prepaid

Vodafone recently turned on 4G for their prepaid customers. In addition to have a compatible phone you also need to live or work pretty close to the CBD of your capital city. 4G coverage will expand under 4G but it probably won’t reach the Telstra or Optus’ coverage map. This only really matter if you live in the outer suburbs. In that case you might also have issues with Telstra and Optus.

This week, Vodafone added some fuel to the 4G race by doubling the data on offer with its $30 prepaid cap. This prepaid offer for $30 and 30 days, normally comes with $450 in calls, unlimited TXT and 500MB. If you activate before 31 January 2014, you can enjoy 1GB rather than the 500MB.

Whilst it is bonus for most, remember that if you are using 4G, you are likely to experience a boost in your usage and the added 500MB will likely give you some relief from seeing your 500MB depleted in a few days.

An added bonus with Vodafone is that data use is counted in per KB increments not per MB. This is a huge help. Why? When your phone access data and the data session you have started ends (you or network disconnection) your mobile provider will look at how much data you used during that session and then either round it up to the nearest MB or the nearest KB. Eg if you have used 5300KB during the session, your usage would be converted to either 6MB or 5MB and 300KB. The later is much better.

Aldi Mobile Introduces Daily Limits

Aldi Mobile has followed the late Kogan mobile to release new daily limits to its unlimited mobile plans. This is as expected and will make many who moved over from Kogan rather annoyed given many will have already ported not expecting these limits. The daily data limit is now 1GB. 

The new acceptable use document date 14/9 (access here) details the following key limits:

5.2. We will monitor your usage on a rolling 30 day basis. The following is deemed to be unacceptable use where your service is used to do any of the following over a 30 day period:
i) make more than 2,500 minutes of voice calls;
ii) send more than 2,000 SMS;
iii) send more than 500 MMS;
iiii) download or upload more than 400MB of data on your 2GB data bolt-on on a single day on three or more occasions.
We will attempt to contact you and give you warning notifications to let you know when you are close to breaching these limits.

Use your mobile a lot making loads of calls/TXT and data, then these are the daily limits you should be aware of:

5.3. We will monitor your usage on a daily basis. The following is deemed to be unacceptable use and a severe breach of this Policy where your service is used to do any of the following per day:
i. make more than 480 minutes of voice calls;
ii. send more than 500 SMS;
iii. send more than 100 MMS;
iiii. download or upload more than 1000MB of data

I signed up to Live Connected almost two years ago (27/10/11) and the experience so far has been great. The savings have actually been even better. For under $12 I get $450 in calls, $450 in calls to LC and 1.5GB. The contract is month to month, which means I can leave whenever I want to and just have to pay out what I owe. Works fine for me. On the flip side, LC also have the right to adjust my pricing should they decide that they don’t want to offer my plan anymore. In fact they only need to give 21 days notice (where the contract term is month to month) should they wish to make changes to the service.

Earlier this month, Live Connected launched a new range of 4G mobile plans which you can read the review about here. They are competitive but the value is slightly below that of Vaya Mobile (their new owners), however Live Connected does have one major plus and that is per KB data billing. Along with this launch there was a message about existing users continuing to  enjoy their existing pricing. This message was posted on their Facebook page.

This week I received a message from a Twitter follower advising me of communication he had received from Live Connected advising him that as his mobile plan anniversary was approaching 24 months and that Live Connected would be making changes to his plan following this date. The message read like this:

As you may be aware, one of the great advantages of the Live Connected mobile plans, besides the low cost, is that you get to enjoy your low rates for a period of 24 months – even on a month to month plan. Your pricing is always subject to change as per our 21 days written notice policy but we work hard to make sure we offer you the best pricing possible with little to no disruption. Now that you’re reaching your 24 month mark with us, we’re very pleased to announce that your mobile plan cost per month, calls and SMS inclusions will remain exactly the same PLUS we’re giving you access to the new 4G network as well as the existing 3G, but the flip side to this is that, with the increased cost of providing mobile data, we’ve had to reduce the amount of data included on your plans and discontinue offering free social access. As you can see, the new plans are still very generous and we believe we are still offering you the best value plans available in Australia.

What are the changes:
Live Connected New data allowances

The trends across the prepaid and month to month mobile plan market this year has been for data allowances to drop. Our phones however are getting faster and hungrier for data, we have a new 4G data network, the Telcos want us to use more data and have up until this year been throwing it at us but now they are saying you can have it but its price has risen. What is worse is that if you have had the pleasure to experience the 4G network via any of the three 4G providers, you will have realised that your average monthly consumption of 4G data is higher than what your 3G data is even though your actual usage patterns have not necessarily changed. I personally have found (though my limited trials) that the phone itself is hungrier for data and seems to suck it in (as though it has spend the last month in the desert looking for water).

A lower data allowance and a hungrier phone spells disaster and more bill shock for many. The one saving grace with Live Connected however (over other providers and even their parent Vaya Mobile) is that their data billing increments remain per KB. This atleast means that if your data session gets cut off (on purpose or accidentally) the amount you are charged for is rounded up to the nearest KB. Others round up to the nearest MB. Remember 1MB is made up of 1024KB. The difference is fundamental in terms of calculating your data usage. This difference was one of the key reasons why I started promoting Live Connected on my website close to three years ago.

To be fair however, there other providers now offering per KB data billing. Vodafone for one, does across the board on all of its plans, prepaid and postpaid. Optus offer it on its 4G plans including its Prepaid Social plan. Telstra also offer it on its BYO plans and its Prepaid Encore plan (all of which offer 4G speeds). There are however others that don’t. Vaya Mobile  plans are one and so is Spintel with its 4G offer.

So over the next month, I have a decision to make, I either stay on my current plan and watch my data very closely or I upgrade to a new plan with more data and a higher monthly charge.