A free mobile plan?
We’ve told you all about Australia’s cheap phone plans, but there’s something new in town. Zero Mobile just launched, offering Australia a free mobile phone plan. Yes, free – a first for the country.
You’ll get a generous 1GB of data free of charge from Zero Mobile, along with other freebies. You can also build your own plan off this basic plan with a range of add-ons.
But it’s not all great with the free plan. As you probably guessed, there are some things in the fine print that you should be aware of before signing up. We’ll tell you all you need to know about Zero Mobile.
More about Zero Mobile
Zero Mobile is a new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) based in Melbourne, reselling part of Telstra’s 3G and 4G network. This means you should get coverage pretty much everywhere, or 98.8% of the population.
Zero Mobile claims their free plan is similar to Freedom Pop and Tesco mobile, both of which are in the United Kingdom. The comparison isn’t far fetched, but it isn’t entirely accurate. For instance, where Freedom Pop offers some free airtime for outgoing calls, as well as some free outgoing SMS; Zero Mobile only offers free incoming calls and texts.
Nevertheless, by offering any kind of 0$ phone plan, the new Melbourne-based telco is certainly doing something that hasn’t been done in Australia before.
Between the lines of Zero Mobile’s free mobile plan
There are some things to be aware of about the free plan. In exchange for paying nothing, Zero Mobile will show you locally targeted ads through their app. According to their CEO, Glenn Mohammad, “On the free plan, we send out deals on our mobile app and that is how we make our money.” There are also some sign up fees, and you’ll have to maintain some credit, even though you’re not required to use it.
Here’s a closer look:
- You’ll need to pay $10 for a Zero Mobile SIM card and shipping and handling.
- You’ll need to pay a $20 sign up fee to join in.
- You’ll need to maintain a $10 credit on your Zero Mobile line for any calls you make or text you might send. You must maintain this $10 credit even if you don’t plan on using it.
- None of their plans offer roaming
- Your plan renews every 28 days, but you can cancel whenever you want.
What you get for free:
- Free incoming calls and text
- Free 1GB of data
- Free 13/1300 outgoing calls
- Free 1800 outgoing calls
- Free voicemail
What is not free:
- You pay for making outgoing calls – deducted from your credit.
- You pay for sending outgoing texts – deducted from your credit.
So, in essence, Zero Mobile’s free plan is a pay-as-you-go plan. You start off with the free plan as the base, and then use your credit whenever you make calls or send texts. And if your $10 credit get used up, you’ll automatically get billed another $10 to stay with Zero Mobile.
Zero Mobile offers add-ons to their free plans if you don’t want to pay as you go
You don’t really have to stay on the PAYG plan model with Zero Mobile. You can just purchase add-ons to build your plan to your needs:
- $8 for unlimited standard national calls, SMS, and MMS
- $2 for unlimited international calls to 10 select countries (you can’t call any other country if it’s not on the list)
- $18 for an additional 5GB of data
- $28 for an additional 25GB of data
- $35 for an additional 40GB of data
MVNOs make up nearly 50 percent of all mobile connections in Australia. There are so many to choose from, which means the competition is fierce. This is great news for consumers as each MVNO tries to outdo the last with some great value-driven deals.
The latest is Zero Mobile, and they’ve entered the Australian market with a free plan – something we haven’t seen before. Despite what’s in the fine print – the fees and balance requirement – it’s still a very unique offer that no other telco has. Let’s see how other telcos respond.