Amaysim $hock: Gives Data, Takes It Away
Unlimited pre-paid calling pioneer, Amaysim, has taken its popular $39.90 plan and raised it by five dollars to $44.90, taking free social browsing data away while adding 1GB of additional data to the plan.
Amaysim notified its customer base by email earlier this morning, before an embargo on the changes was lifted for general publication.
The plan is set to come into effect on the 1st of September 2014, and boosts the former 4GB data inclusion to a 5GB total, while removing free access to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn even if you had already used up the rest of your data plan.
Free social browsing on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn due to the rising costs of offering free access to the popular sites, with Amaysim saying it has kept on as long as possible, well after competitors ceased their own “free social” deals.
Amaysim has naturally sought to spin the changes in as positive a manner as possible, noting that the low data inclusions from competitors are causing consumers to waste nearly $400 million per year in “mobile bill shock”.
This “shock” is no longer centred around high call costs but a “new wave” of mobile data blowouts, which now account for more than half of the current bill shock issues – 51pc of the 5.6 million Australians who have been hit will excess charges in the last 12 months.
Promoting the changes, Amaysim MD, Julian Ogrin said his company is “in the business of giving our customers more of what they need, which is why our ‘Amaysim Unlimited’ plan will as of 1 September include 5GB of data, along with unlimited standard national talk and text – enough for the average Aussie to comfortably enjoy using their mobile device without any worries.
“To make this possible, the change will be accompanied by a small $5 monthly price increase on the plan, to $44.90 per month. That said, when you combine it with our low excess usage rates and simple online customer support, we still see it as one of the best value-for-money propositions in the Australian mobile market”, said Mr Ogrin.
While removing free access to social browsing is going to chew through some of the extra 1GB newly on offer from Sept 1, the rise in “excess data bill shock” charges is a serious issue for those experiencing it.
Amaysim MD Julian Ogrin blames low inclusion data plans from many carriers, as well as plans that start with double or triple your data deals for the first part of a contract but then later switch back to a smaller amount – well after users have already accustomed themselves to higher data usage.
Ogrin said: “Some of the mainstream plans recently released include high amounts of data for the first month or two at no extra cost.
“Once people are hooked on high data usage, in my opinion they run the risk of ending up on high-cost plans that do away with the data buffet they enjoyed at the beginning of their contract, proving there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
“So while these new plans look generous, for many people they could end up being little more than a delayed version of data-driven bill shock.”
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) figures show excess data charges have increased 30pc in the three months to March 2014, with the “customer who is ultimately being left to foot the bill”.
Mr Ogrin said: “It’s hard for people to manage their data usage when the overwhelming majority – in fact up to 88pc – say they don’t fully understand how much petrol most common tasks take out of the data tank.”
“The research shows us that only a fraction of people (15pc) have a good understanding of the cost per megabyte when they exceed their data limit, while nearly half of Australians (48pc) say they’ve increased their data use in the last 12 months.”
“What’s more, a majority of those that exceed their included data value regularly (57pc) claim they were not given a thorough explanation of what their limit would allow and the cost of excess data when they signed up for their current plan.
“We know Aussies don’t want to be worrying about their data when they go about their day-to-day activities, which is why we’ve added an extra gigabyte to our Amaysim Unlimited plan,” he said.
“We’re calling on all Aussie telcos to up their game on educating customers around data use, and ensure they’re not setting up mobile users for a sting in the tail when it comes to these new plans,” Ogrin concluded.
The stats come from a study conducted by Galaxy Research for Amaysim during May 2014 among a nationally representative sample of 1,030 Australians, aged 18-64 years old.