Felix is an Online-only Telco. Should You Go With an ‘Online only’ Telco?

Felix

About Felix Mobile

Have you heard about Felix Mobile? You probably have. But just in case you haven’t, here’s a quick look at who they are:

Felix is TPG Telecom’s fully digital sub-brand phone company which was launched last year. The telco resells the Vodafone 3G/4G network, and offers only one prepaid SIM plan with a very unique feature – unlimited mobile data. 

Felix isn’t the only telco that’s fully digital these days – Telstra’s Belong also announced their intentions to do the same last year, and Optus launched Gomo which is also a fully digital telco.

Just in case you’re wondering – ‘fully digital’ means that all of your interactions with the teclo takes place online, either through their website, their self-service app, or email. If you’d like to get in touch with such a telco over the phone, or walk in to a physical store, you won’t be able to because such options simply don’t exist with an online-only telco.

With that knowledge in mind, should you go with an online only telco like Felix, or a traditional telco that provides all of the contact options that you’ve become accustomed to? In this post, we’ll discuss the most common reason for getting in touch with your telco, and answer whether an online-only telco like Felix can handle that issue adequately.

How does customer support work for an online only telco?

Most of the time you spend interacting with a phone company is in the ‘support’ stage. It might take you a month to decide to sign up, but then you could stay with them for 3 years, for instance, and the only time you interact with them during that period would be to seek support for any issue you may encounter. 

There are really 3 tiers of support available to you from a telco:

  • The minimum is online only. You use the app to interact with your telco. 
  • Then the MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) have call centers you can actually call.
  • Then the 3 major phone companies (Telstra, Optus, and TPG Telecom/Vodafone) have retail stores you can also go in to. 

Some customers will find it difficult to get support from an online only telco, while other customers might prefer digital support

People tend to prefer to have access to all of the tiers of support we mentioned above, because it makes them feel safer. Imagine having an absolutely urgent issue with your telco’s service that you need to resolve immediately. An online resolution might not be able to get that done instantly, so having other options that allow you to interact with an actual human immediately – like walking into your telco’s store or giving them a call – will certainly come in handy in such a situation.

There are some customers who need this level of reassurance. Typically, such customers are elderly people who simply cannot resolve their issue efficiently online because they don’t fully understand the fundamentals of how phones and the services associated with them work, and might have difficulty navigating the plethora of options available in a self-service app. 

For everyone else, online only is just fine. Thnk about it – you’re never going to have a super urgent issue anyway. What could it possibly be? Even in cases of fraudulent transfers being undertaken in real time, online self-service facilities allow you to temporarily pace a hold on your plan or cancel it all together. 

A digital telco’s online support isn’t much different from how you interact with Google when you need to resolve an issue. You have almost certainly used Google services like Gmail or Hangouts or search for a number of years, and you’ve never had to call their call centers because they don’t exist. If and when you didn’t get the support you needed from Google, online resources probably helped you resolve the issue yourself.

The Google example paints a picture that is the same as a fully digital, online only phone company like Felix Mobile. Online only means your interactions with the telco will be online – not in stores or through a phone call. Given the nature of the service you are taking out with them, you will likely be discussing any support issues you have with their customer service staff using their app or website. 

Felix Mobile offers live chat, so you really don’t need a call center

Who cares if an online only telco like Felix doesn’t have call centers? That is, by no means, a deal breaker, and here’s why.

Even beyond the bevy of self-service options on their app – everything from subscriptions, to bill payments, to pausing or canceling your plan, and more – Felix offers live chat so you can interact with their support staff in real time to get your issues resolved.

And one of the best parts about it is that Felix Mobile online support staff are right here in Australia, unlike some telcos which have call centres in foreign countries, speaking with thick foreign accents that leave you more confused than satisfied.

Felix Mobile’s online live chat is available 7 days a week, 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays, and 9 am to 6 pm on weekends. You can also interact with Felix through their social media channels on Instagram and Facebook, and you’ll find a ton of resources like FAQs and tech help on their online support page.

What is ‘tethering’ and should you do it with your Felix plan?

Now we’ll leave you with a tip that’s somewhat unrelated, but we think it should be quite helpful.

Remember we mentioned earlier that Felix Mobile’s SIM only plan includes unlimited mobile data. This puts the telco alongside Vodafone as the only two telcos in Australia that offer real unlimited data in a phone plan right now.

However, although Felix Mobile’s SIM only plan comes with unlimited data, your speeds can’t exceed 20Mbps while using the plan. That’s actually quite fast – enough to stream HD videos all day long on your smartphone, but you might run into some issues if you plan on tethering other devices to your phone’s Felix plan.

Tethering refers to connecting to a mobile hot spot. Your smartphone can set up a mobile hot spot while you’re using your plan data, which creates a WiFi network that other devices can connect to. If you want to learn how to do that, read our guide for setting up a mobile hotspot.  

Even though Felix Mobile’s plan includes unlimited data, the telco won’t stop you from tethering your other devices to your smartphone while using your Felix plan. But there are two things you need to know about this: 

  • Because the plan has a speed cap of 20Mbps, you will likely experience slow speeds if you tether multiple devices.
  • Also, Felix has a fair usage policy and they prohibit tethering devices that belong to other people like your friends, family, colleagues, and so on. Violating the fair usage policy could result in your account being terminated, suspended, or your service (or any features) being limited for whatever period of time that Felix deems reasonably.

Summing up

If you think about it, almost all of the support you get from most phone companies these days is through the telco’s app and or other self service digital channels. It’s only complex activities like leaving the phone company (and probably trying to negotiate a better deal!) that cause you to have to contact the call center via voice calls.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.