Why OVO’s 100GB Mobile Data Plan is better than NBN
Network retailer OVO mobile has launched the largest mobile data plan in the market – 100 GB data for 30 days at just $70 a month. OVO is pitching the plan as a direct competitor to NBN, presenting the plan as a solution to the NBN woes being faced by customers. If you are considering making the switch to NBN or having been stuck forever on the NBN waiting list, here are a few important factors to consider while choosing between mobile data and fixed broadband.
Mobile Data Vs Fixed Broadband
As everyone knows, mobile data networks are wireless with data being transmitted to us over wireless signals by Telco operators. Fixed broadband networks, on the other hand, are physical, with wires laid out under the ground, with data being transmitted through them. In both cases, your modem acts as a connector to the networks, with it being plugged into the physical network (your telephone line) for fixed broadband and having a SIM card inserted into it for mobile broadband. While mobile broadband speeds so far have been quite fast, the biggest limiting factor on usage was price and monthly data limits. OVO mobile has attempted to remove these barriers and pitch it against the unlimited NBN data plans being offered. So how does this play out? Let’s analyse
NBN contracts and set up headaches
If making the switch to NBN, apart from actually having NBN rolled out in your area, you also need special NBN compatible modems and a technician to set it up for you, The setup costs need to be paid upfront or are worked into 18-24 month lock-in contracts. Lock in contracts lack flexibility, especially if you are a tenant who intends to move houses within a short time. In this case, OVO mobile data gets a point because:
- OVO mobile data plans can move with you if you change address.
- You do not need any special equipment. The data SIM can be used with any regular modem.
- You do not have any locked in contracts. You pre-pay a fixed monthly cost, and if it does not suit your needs, you can walk away at any time.
- You do not have to wait for OVO to reach you. OVO retails Optus 4G+ networks and they already cover 96% of the country.
- You do not have to spend hours with an unhelpful call centre operator troubleshooting your set up or wondering why you get coverage in one room of your house, but not another.
At the same price point as OVO, NBN plans are unlimited while OVO offers 100GB data per month. 100 GB may seem like a lot but is it enough? Here are some factors to consider if the 100 GB limit suits your needs:
- Watching 1 hour of Netflix in HD can chew through 3 GB of data. So considering an average episode to be 45 minutes, you can watch 4 episodes in 3 hours or 9GB. So that is roughly 40 episodes a month for a 100GB limit. Do you watch more videos than that? Uploads are part of your data limit too. Your standard mobile photos are 2-3MB in size while DSLR photos are 5-8MB in size. This means you can upload 300-500 photos in 1 GB of data. Do you upload more than 30,000 photos a month? Do you upload more than 40-50 video hours a month?
- Do you download data intensive files or folders off the Internet? An average movie is around 5-8 GB, an average hour long podcast is 60 MB, and an average text file is 2-5 kb. An average pdf could be 15-20 MB. Do you download more than 15 movies a month? Do you download or upload over 1000 hours of audio lectures or over 5000 pdf files within 30 days?
- Do you play games online? An average game consumes about 60MB per hour. That is 20 hours of game time per GB. Do you spend more than 200 hours a month playing games online?
- Do you engage in video calls or videoconferences? A service like Skype uses approximately 25 MB/hour of data. That is 40 hours of video chat per GB. Do you do more than 1000 hours of video calls per week?
The above analysis indicates that an average data user would safely remain within the 100 GB cap – even for an household of 4 or more members. You can always check your old Internet bills to work out your family’s accurate data usage and see if 100 GB is good enough for you or not.
OVO data plans are not a good fit if you are a heavy data user, especially because they let you recharge only once a month. Top ups are charged at $5/500MB and you can top up as much as you want, but only once in a 30-day period.
Coverage and Quality
NBN is still being rolled out and is expected to reach most areas by 2019 end. But this seems unlikely given the delays and over-budget construction costs. Even the areas that have NBN access are struggling with network outages, dropped connections and speeds so slow that they make video viewing a pain. Comparatively,
- Network operators, including OVO’s Optus, have pumped billion’s of dollars into network infrastructure. This has ensured that mobile networks are incredibly reliable and resilient.
- While coverage reach to a few rural areas remains poor, things are changing rapidly as operators compete with one another to capture market share. TPG’s entry as the fourth network operator in Australia is sure to shake things up and continue boosting mobile network quality.
- Mobile broadband prices have also been dropping over time and are heading towards zero, making mobile data the best solution over fixed line broadband.