Mobile Costs

Reporter: Helen Wellings

Get ready for yet another bill shock -- the two major mobile phone providers, Telstra and Optus, are sticking the knife in.

Optus's mobile phone charges soared in April. Now Telstra -- on their new Everyday Connect plans -- call costs were 90 cents a minute are now 99 cents, a 10% increase; connection fees were 35c, now 40c a call; a 10-second call to leave a voicemail message, charged by the minute, will now cost $1.39.

So, who has the best deals to save you money? "If the smaller service providers can sell the same service at much cheaper rates, why can't someone like Telstra because there's no difference in the service it's the same network", said Doug Purdie of PhoneChoice, an independent mobile phone cost comparison site.

Doug says look further than the big providers if you want to save money. "You can shop around because the networks are very, very similar in the metropolitan areas. There's always black spots but you can usually get a better deal by going with some of the smaller service providers that are just reselling Optus or Telstra's network anyway", Doug added.

First: study your bill, look for hidden charges. "It's outrageous that I've been charged for calls that I have not even connected and I don't even talk. They're not even connecting, just two rings", said Tejas Pandya.

Tejas was shocked to find Optus was charging him $1.14 every time he made a call, but hung up before it was answered. "That's about $360 a year you're being charged and these calls are not even to connected", he added.

"I spoke to Optus and they said you're using our facilities to make a missed call and that's why we'll charge you", Tejas said.

But Doug says, "You're only using the network if the calls actually connected. If you're making a couple of rings and hanging up that's not connecting to anything, so that shouldn't able a chargeable call".

Phone Choice has crunched the figures: The cheapest deals are when you bring your own phone. Amaysim's Unlimited plan is $39.90 for 30 days unlimited calls, voicemail, SMS, 4 GB of data. With Lebara, its Mega Plan is also $39.90 for 30 days, unlimited calls, voicemail, SMS, 3 GB of data and $10 credit on international calls. "TPG has got a good plan as well. It's not an all you can eat plan but it Is quite a competitive plan and again it's a monthly contract", Doug said.

If you want to go with the bigger providers, make the most of perks. For Telstra new customers there's a free call deal: on a $60 a month plan, you get $800 worth of call and texts, plus unlimited free talk at night from 7pm - 7am plus unlimited texts and 1.5 gig of data. On the $80 a month plans, $900 worth of calls and texts, unlimited free talk at night from 7pm - 7am and all weekends plus unlimited SMS and 2 gig of data.

With Optus, new customers get unlimited SMS and access to social networking sites, also free calls Optus to Optus.

"Don't sign up to any long term contracts because plans change and are generally becoming cheaper so you can get a better deal. Everybody when they look at their plans, are scared to switch providers or think it's going to be a big hassle. It's not, it's easy", Doug said.

 

For further information:

www.amaysim.com.au

www.lebara.com.au

www.tpg.com.au

Doug Purdie: www.phonechoice.com.au