What happened to Kogan’s customers when they closed their mobile business in 2013 ?
They were taken care of and refunded their money by Kogan. Remember, a lot of the problem back in 2013 was caused by factors outside Kogan’s hands. At the time, Kogan Mobile was buying minutes, SMS and data on the Telstra 3G network through an intermediary – ISPOne.
Telstra took exception to ISPOne deciding which companies could be on their network ( rather than just deciding for themselves ) so they rebalanced things in their own favour. ISPOne went to the wall and, with them, Kogan Mobile.
Kogan are now back on the Vodafone 3G +4G network but they’re going direct. The deal was announced in coordination with Inaki Berroeta, the Vodafone Australia CEO. Seems like Kogan has learned his lesson. He and his company now appear to be on good terms with the mother-ship.
Is there anything unique about Kogan’s plans ?
Yes. We were extremely impressed when we saw Kogan’s new plan range. They are the only multi-month prepaid agreements we know of. Kogan will sell you a prepaid plan which lasts 30 days, 90 days or 365 days. Data allocations are replenished every 30 days and, as long as you’ve got the SIM, you can make unlimited national calls and send unlimited SMS.
Multi-month contracts give you the best of both worlds. You get the benefits of prepaid. And there are plenty of those. We once counted 26 prepaid benefits. First among them is predictability of cost. You always know where you are with a prepaid plan. There are never any nasty surprises cost wise.
But, paying for 3 months in advance means you can’t get caught out with no credit during that time – the only downside of prepaid. And they work out cheaper, per month if you pay for more than one month upfront.
Are Kogan’s 2016’s plans prepaid or postpaid ?
They’re all prepaid.
How come Kogan is so cheap ?
Kogan Mobile is an MVNO. MVNOs are smaller phone companies who lease access to the networks they use. At the moment, Kogan resell the much improved Vodafone 3G +4G network. By reselling an existing network, companies like Kogan avoid the costs of network build and maintenance.
Can I keep my phone number if I want to move to Kogan ?
Yes you can. You wouldn’t believe how common this question is. We have written about it extensively.
Which phone network do Kogan use ?
These days, Kogan Mobile use the Vodafone 3G +4G network. It is much improved from days gone by. In fact, independent evidence suggests that it’s on a par with Telstra’s for 4G coverage and speed these days.
Which of Kogan’s plans do you recommend and why ?
We recommend Kogan’s 90 day plans. You might also like to consider their 30 day plans.
We recommend the 90 day plans because you get an effective discount of more than 10% for paying three months up front ( compared to the cost of buying the same service, each 30 days, 3 times. ) In our view, it would be too hard to go through the hassle of reviewing every plan in market, manually, each time
We recommend the 30 day plans because they’re good value. They have unrivalled data inclusions at the $30 price point on the Vodafone network.
Which of Kogan’s plans don’t you recommend and why ?
We would probably recommend against the 365 day plans at this stage. Some people had some bad luck with Kogan last time. We’d like to see them bed themselves in and prove the business model before we recommended that people spent $300+ with them. If you’re considering any of the others, go for it. Kogan are great value and are especially generous with the data inclusions.
Who else should I consider if I am looking at Kogan ?
Well, there are a lot of MVNOs or smaller phone companies which offer good value. On the Vodafone network, you could consider Cmobile Red, Lebara ( especially if you make international calls ) or Think Mobile.
On the Optus network, we recommend Amaysim, OVO and Bendigo Mobile.
- Innovative 90 day and 365 day prepaid plans
- Kogan now offer 4G data speeds
- Multi-month deals have discounts built in
- Some of the best data pricing of any operator
- Easy to understand 'Unlimited' calls & SMS plans
- Consider Lebara if you need international calls
- Avoid the 365 day plan ( see review )
- CMobile's pricing is better under $20
Kogan offer something innovative to the prepaid market. Multi-month contracts give you the best of both worlds : prepaid control without the need to recharge every 30 days, But we don’t recommend all their plans. Read on to find out why.
Quick Intro to Kogan Mobile’s plans
- Kogan are a huge Australian electronics reseller who are moving in to phone plans.
- They now, resell the Vodafone 3G +4G network.
- That means they compete directly against Cmobile Red, Lebara and Think Mobile.
- Kogan had some trouble, undertaking a similar venture, back in 2013.
- At that time, they were reselling the Telstra network.
- But their new mobile phone plan offering seems more sustainable.
- And their range of prepaid plans add something unique to the Australian market.
- Kogan’s plans offer multi month inclusions.
- That is, ( for example on the 90 day prepaid plan ) you pay once to recharge your service / SIM and can use it for 90 days. Data is topped up each month.
- Multi-month plans get an 11% discount on the usual monthly fee.
- In addition, they have a 12 month contract option which is also discounted.
- We recommend Kogan’s 30 day and 90 day plans.
- We explain why, we don’t recommend the 265 day plans below.
Introducing Kogan Mobile Version 2
We covered the launch of the new Kogan mobile plans a couple of months ago when the news hit market. At the time, we spoke of some of the problems Kogan had, three years ago. It’s so relevant to what they’re doing this time and such an understandable concern for people considering taking a plan with them that we’ve rehashed the key points here (below.)
Kogan himself is a ‘crazy’ Russian known for hating affiliates ( this website, WhatPhone, is an affiliate. ) Whatever his view of the world, there is no denying that Kogan’s website and distribution methods Innovative. They’ve brought a significant amount of competition in electronics to Australia and shifted business from more standard Australian places like Harvey Norman and JB HiFi to his online empire.
Kogan Mobile is an obvious next step for the retailer. Kogan wants to leverage what he’s learnt by way of ingenious ecommerce business with a complimentary set of products. When he sells a phone or a tablet computer, he wants to use what is now a household name – Kogan – to add a SIM and plan to the transaction.
When it comes to Mobile, Kogan offers similar innovation. Kogan have set their stall clearly : Their plans are among the cheapest for data if you have a 3G or a 4G phone.
So, should you trust him to take the Kogan SIM. We consider the answer to that below starting with the lessons he learned a couple of years ago.
So what happened with Kogan Mobile last time ?
The trouble started with Kogan bought Telstra 3G network access through ‘ISP One’, an intermediary.
- Concerns over ‘illegal’ disconnections :
The first piece of bad news for Kogan was when it was discovered he was barring some individuals from his ‘unlimited’ plans. If Kogan thought you were using ‘too much’ on their unlimited plans, he would simply stop your service and prevent you buying another. Advertising in the world of telco has to be very clear and the regulator is stringent. Suggesting in marketing materials that a plan was ‘Unlimited’ and then barring people who wanted to use it a lot was seen as, at best, deceptive and at worst, potentially illegal. As a result, this behavior hit the headlines and caused quite a lot of bad PR.
- ISP One collapses :
Then, in August 2013, Telstra took a dislike to the ISP One model. It appears Telstra wanted to decide itself who was and was not on it’s network. As a result, industry insiders suggest that Telstra raised it’s pricing to ISP One. That made the pricing model it ( ISP One ) had given Kogan economically un-viable. Kogan couldn’t sign a follow on deal with Telstra and had to get out of the game. The collapse led to between 120,000 and 300,000 customers ( depending on who you listen to ) being left out in the cold depending on who you listen to. Kogan claims he too care of every customer and repaid their money.
- Yatango went in to administration :
Kogan endured more bad luck when it came to mobile plans late in 2015. As an interim attempt to partner and satisfy their need for SIM sales, Kogan entered a slightly successful partnership with Yatango, a 4G MVNO which operated on the Optus network. Yatango, unfortunately, went bust in late 2015. They actually owed us money.
Kogan Mobile actually offer something genuinely new
We think Kogan are worth considering if you have a 3G or a 4G phone. Kogan’s plans are prepaid, a common type of Australian mobile plans. We explain what a prepaid plan is or you can see all prepaid plans.
- They’re on the Vodafone network :
Having a phone on the Vodafone network used to be an embarrassment. People would mumble in response to enquiries as to who their phone company was if it was big red, even 5 years ago. Let’s be clear though. things have changed. The Vodafone 4G network is on a par with Telstra for coverage and speed. Don’t believe us ? Check the network review – we have covered Vodafone’s investments and improvements in some detail over the last 2 years. The news they had matched Telstra for 4G coverage was a big deal and was reported heavily in the national news. Google it and you will see.
- 30 day plans are best data value :
The improvements in the Vodafone network mean something pretty special. You can get deals from Kogan which are even better than Vodafone’s own. If you have a 3G or a 4G phone then Kogan’s plans on the Vodafone network are the among best value you’ll find. The key to their success when it comes to value is their data inclusions. Kogan have set their stall out clearly. Their data inclusions are hard to beat for any spend level.
- 3 month plans are discounted :
You’ll get an 11% discount for signing up to a 3 month plan if you choose the Kogan 90 day plan. The plan is good value in the first place and an extra 11% simply for paying up front is worth having.
- Speeds are fine :
For 3G / 4G phone users. Kogan’s speeds are up just as fast as you’ll get from Vodaofne direct. And, unlike Telstra, Kogan / Vodafone do not throttle the data speeds they offer their customers.
- It’s a no risk option :
Signing up to even a 3 month plan does not leave you exposed. Even if the Mobile aspect of the Kogan empire fails and we consider this likely, they are unlikely to fold within 90 days of the announcement. You’ll get your money’s worth.
- We don’t recommend the 12 month plan :
You’ll also get an 11% discount from signing up to the 365 day plan. A 12 month prepaid ‘contract’ just doesn’t feel right. The whole point of prepaid is that you have the flexibility to move to a new phone company when you want to. Usage behaviors change dramatically over the course of a 12 month agreement, People are doubling the data they use every year. Add to this the historic track record of Kogan and his 12 month plans and we don’t think it makes sense.
Who does Kogan’s customer care ? Vodafone do
This is a strange component of the Kogan Mobile service. One of the things MVNOs tend to do themselves is offer their customer support ‘in house’. That is, most MVNOs provide customer support direct, themselves. Kogan outsource theirs to Vodafone.
Summing Kogan’s new offering up
When it comes to low cost mobile carrier, unusually, you often get more than what you pay for. Many are staffed with friendly telco experts. Kogan, not so much. For my money, there are better, more friendly brands out there. Kogan himself is renown for ‘slightly dodgy practices’ in my view. Cutting high usage users off an unlimited plan as he was accused of in 2013 is one example. Much of his success comes from selling things on the grey market – and that’s another. He’s usually the cheapest in market and owning that part of the market sometimes involves compromises in other areas.
Kogan’s Mobile Plans address the needs of a very specific segment. If you want a lot of data, you probably value it a great deal and if you value it, you’d likely have a more modern 4G phone.
Having multi-month options does add something to the Australian market. In fact, it’s an innovation we haven’t seen anywhere in the world. It’s funny when you think about it. Multi-months give you the best of both worlds. You keep the total cost predictability of Prepaid and avoid the inconvenience of running our of recharge when you need it most. Something that happens to all prepaid users at some point or other. Because of the problems they’ve had in the past and the imminence of 4G for Vodafone network resellers, we recommend the 90 day but not the 365 day plan.
Kogan also uses the Vodafone network. One of the strengths of Vodafone and Optus network resellers is that they get access to the entire network. As we have shown resellers such as TeleChoice, Boost ( 4G ) and Woolworths who use the Telstra 3G network don’t get to use the full extent of Telstra’s mobile tower infrastructure.
Kogan also clearly want to own the data option for customers, offering more in that area than anyone else at the price. If you wanted this much data you would have to spend another $10 on any other network. People shop by data inclusion as a primary consideration these days. Kogan are likely to win a lot of hearts and wallets with their unlimited talk and SMS plans. Their MEDIUM ( with 3 GB of data ) and LARGE ( with 5GB of data ) options ( and remember, they are always throwing in bonus data on top of those allowances ) plus one, 3 month or 12 month recharge windows model is simple to understand.
Parting with a lot of cash upfront ( especially for the 12 month plan ) for a 10% discount won’t appeal to many. The three month plan is far more attractive. After all, you need to consider just how much flexibility you need. Most people don’t do what we do here and check competitor pricing constantly. Checking once every three months is probably the most you’d do.
Kogan plans are not going to appeal to those who make international calls overseas ( although the data portion of their plan does make that possible through Skype or Apple’s Facetime. ) For that, we would recommend one of Vodafone’s other MVNO partners like Lebara Mobile ( which also use the Vodafone 3G network. )
Early announcements in 2016 relating to Vodafone’s spectrum announcements suggested a reasonably clear strategy from Vodafone. They are making network investments across the country have have now matched the Telstra Mobile Network for 4G coverage and speed. This is in stark contrast to Optus which intended to match Telstra’s coverage and has, for now at least, come up short. For now, if you want data, we can heartily recommend Kogan / Vodafone.
Longer term, through 2016, the strength of Kogan’s offering is in the convenience it offers his existing phone and tablet customers. Matched with a similar focus on having the best data pricing in market and with Kogan Mobile having now movedto offering 4G on the Vodafone network, he could have a success on his hands.
Extra Resources – Articles of use to Prepaid Users
- Prepaid plans now have streamed audio included in them :
You may not be aware of one of the biggest improvements to prepaid plans since they were originally devised. 2016 saw the release of prepaid plans which have streamed audio included in them. If you already have a Spotify, iTunes Music, Google Music or IHeartRadio account, then you might like to find out more about streamed audio in phone plans.
- Entertainment options are becoming common :
You may also have started hearing about the increasing inclusion of entertainment options in prepaid and SIM Only phone plans. We also examine Optus’ mobile phone plan Entertainment options, Telstra’s mobile phone plan Entertainment options and compare the two.
- Prepaid vs postpaid vs month to month :
We’ve given a short explanation on this page but if you want more detail on the types of phone plans in Australia, this is it. In Prepaid vs postpaid vs month to month, we explain and the best value alternatives you have and when it makes sense to use each type.
- Prepaid vs Postpaid –the simple trick to getting the best value :
The tier 1 telcos ( Optus Telstra and Vodafone ) all have both prepaid and postpaid plans. Sometimes they have both types of plan at the same price point.
- Does it make sense to buy a Phone myself and add a SIM ? :
It’s often even cheaper to buy your own phone and add a SIM ( including a prepaid SIM ) to it. We explain how to go Buying a phone outright and adding a SIM.
- Data Rollovers :
Considering a plan with data rollover in it ? We explain why they’re not the real solution to the real problem with prepaid plans.
And, remember, before you buy, read the CIS (that’s the Critical Information Summary–a clearly written definition of what is and is not included in the plans from these phone companies) before you buy. You need to be confident in the plan you choose yourself. You’ll find the CIS on the Vodafone website.
Compare all of our prepaid plans
If you need another network, you might like to check our Best Prepaid Plans Page and compare all the plans ( including every one mentioned on this page. ) A list of best value plans using the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks.COMPARE THE BEST PREPAID PLANS
See all SIM Only plans
If you need another network, for example you’re after an unlimited plan with Telstra coverage, or you live in a city and you’re happy with Vodafone, you might like to check our SIM Only Comparison page and compare all the plans ( including every one mentioned on this page. )COMPARE ALL SIM ONLY PLANS