Monday, 6 August 2007

Home phone plans.

A few days left

Only a few days left before we start to shift into our new house. There are so many things to look at and to decide upon, especially things that we will have to make a commitment to that will last for a number of years. We have to look at the electricity, gas and phone.

We are currently quite happy with our current service providers, but as I am always looking out for a better deal, I started to investigate other providers.

First off is the phone services. In Australia, there are the two big players, Telstra and Optus. Telstra was the old telecommunications monopoly in Australia, sorta like the AT&T in USA. Optus is one of the early providers when the telecommunications industry was deregulated about 20 years ago.

Optus has several great deals at the moment could suit us quite well. I was looking at their optusOne plans. Currently, we are currently with Telstra and spent about $120 per month on phone calls and services. This includes line rental, mobile phone access and calls and long distance phone calls. Although we get a couple of "benefits" like 50 free SMS, and free 1 hour mobile phone usage, our usage patterns does not really exploit these "benefits".  The lowest our phone bill has been about $100. With optusOne $99 plan and our usage pattern does not change significantly, we are already $20 in-front. If the plan is for 2 years, that is a savings of $240. I think it is time to read the fine print on these Optus plans. Optus also has their basic home phone plans.

Telstra has these home plans to choose from. Telstra plans mainly focuses on the home phone line, and try to not the mix in their mobile phone offerings.  However, they do have some discounts if you have your home phone and mobile phone with them.

Differences between the optusOne plans and Telstra plans

  1. Optus has included phone calls, Telstra does not unless it is the homeline ultimate or homeline advance.
  2. Optus include mobile phone access as part of the plan, Telstra's plans does not.
  3. Optus include line rental. It is not clear with Telstra if line rental is included in the price. Line rental is about $30/mth.
Similarities between the plans

With these plans, to maximise the value of money, the following needs to be considered.
  1. mobile phone access needs to be bundled in with the home phone
  2. if you can provide your own mobile phone, it will be much cheaper as these plans does not provide you with an actual mobile phone. You are a only paying for access to the network for your mobile phone.
  3. there are too many plans on the market, so choose carefully


There have been some discussions around the net about using a purely VOIP phone for a home phone. Personally, I am not too keen on it as I don't have that high confident in ADSL technology yet. Over the years, my ADSL connection has dropped off a couple of times, and for that emergency, I would feel safer if it was connected all the time. Having said that, I don't think that having a land line gaurantee you a connection all the time, but I guess that it is a less likely chance that access is not available via the land line. I'm sticking to the land line for the time being.


Michael said...

If you spend $120 a month with Telstra, then maybe you'd be better suited to their Homeline Advance or Homeline Together plans. Even though these plans don't have included calls, they feature dramatically reduced call rates. All homeline plans have included line rental, which is just branded as an 'access fee'.

Telstra are also the only 100% Australian owned telecom. Optus is owned by the Singaporean government. They also like to lie, they're quickly losing customers, and they're starting to go to extreme measures to keep their customers. They're misleading consumers by claiming their new WiMax network will fix everyone's problems when it's an outdated technology.

Thankfully Telstra beat them for the rights to build Australia's FTTN network otherwise I think we'd be in hell.

Make sure you compare the call rates between the plans and just be aware of how Optus is changing.

Michael said...

Oh, and I also should mention that with VOIP if your internet connection drops out (and it doesn't have anything to do with the phone line) the VOIP phone will switch back to using your landline so there isn't any downtime.

tehnyit said...

Michael,thanks for dropping by.

The VOIP solution that I was referring was something like Skype. I haven't really looked into the other solutions offered by folks like engin or nodephone.

Thanks for the clarification regarding the line rental on the home plans. I need to speak to Telstra again. I haven't had any problems with them for years, so I will be happy to stick with them again, customer service wise.