GOLD WINNER: TPG
Nine out of 10 Australians own a smartphone and, according to the latest Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey, it’s older generations – the so-called “silver surfers” – who are driving market growth.
Part of the uptake is likely to lie with the steady decline in phone costs. While many regular household bills are rising, the cost of mobile phone services continues to fall year after year.
As a guide, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says the real (after-inflation) price of mobile services has dropped by an average of 7.1% each year since 2014.
If you’re not convinced, last year’s winner of this award, Moose, had a monthly phone cost of $34 compared with $29.99 for this year’s winner, TPG’s T4G Medium plan.
It’s just as well prices are sliding because we’re increasingly turning our backs on landlines and relying on mobile phones for voice calling. In the past 12 months, the number of mobile voice minutes rose by 7 billion, more than offsetting the 3 billion reduction in fixed-line minutes.
Nonetheless, the real drawcard of smartphones is content. Deloitte found a threefold increase over the past year in the number of phone users who stream TV and video on their smartphones.
4G networks and bigger data packages are enabling this constant consumption – but not sufficiently. Close to one in two consumers regularly exceeds their data limit, and it’s costing them almost $313 million annually in extra data. The key lesson here is to choose a phone plan that matches your usage patterns.
TPG is a clear winner this year. New users can take advantage of a special offer that sees the cost cut to $15pm for the first six months, after which it rises to $29.95. Along with 10GB of data each month, the plan includes 100 international minutes per month. Pay $10 for each additional 1GB of data.
SpinTel was runner-up last year also, and this year its mobile plan features a special offer that waives the $10 activation fee for new users. The plan includes a $50 international call credit, and each additional 1GB of data costs $10.