[Edit: More on Telstra's Rip Off here...]
Given the current state of the Optus network, I have purchased myself a Telstra pre-paid Wireless Broadband Card. Supposidly offering 7 megabit downloads and great coverage all over Australia.
I will admit, that the card does actually work, in places where Optus doesn’t offer coverage. It doesn’t however offer speeds any better then 1 megabit (as far as I have experienced in Brisbane and Sydney so far) and latency is quite a bit of an issue (over 150ms most of the time).
The thing I am most concerned with however is the ongoing over charging of my account. Every single time I have had reason to use the card, I have been fantastically over charged for my data. The first day I recharged the card with $100. That was meant to offer my 6 gigabytes of data transfer. I managed to download only a couple of hundred megabytes before I was disconnected.
So, I recharged with another $100 and after downloading 6mb only had $80 left. That roughly works out at 33 cents a Kilobyte ($3.33 a Mb). I called Telstra and their offshore call centre was most helpfull. After 49 minutes on the phone, I was credited back with my original $100 (I was happy to loose the $20 just to get it fixed up).
Last night, I used 60 megabytes, and was charged $4.88. That is roughly 8 cents a megabyte. That is a lot better then the $3.33 per meg that I was paying the day before, but still nowhere near the 1.6 cents per meg that I was meant to be paying.
Another call to Telstra this morning, and after 45 minutes of presenting my case, I was offered a credit of $3 as a compensation for my “inconvenience”. This insensed me a little, because it’s not for my invonvenience – it’s because I was overcharged. I know I am getting a little annoyed over $4, but ultimatly – its about the almost $400 that I would have to spend to get the full 6Gb of data that I should receive on the plan.
My recommendation to anybody wanting to use Telstra’s pre-paid offering… Check your usage… very, very closely. On the current plans you should be paying about 1.6 cents per Mb you download. To check take your usage on the site (it’s listed in bytes) and divide it by 1048576. That will give your usage in megabytes. Take what you were charged (in cents) and divide it by how much you downloaded. So – if you downloaded 63872136 bytes and were charged $4.88 your math would be…
63872136 divided by 1048576 = 60.91
488 divided by 60.91 = 8.01 cents per Mb (almost 500% of what should be charged)