Independent OVO Mobile Review
OVO Mobile won two awards in the 2017 WhatPhone Awards
The Best Of the Best – OVO Mobile.
We gave them ‘Best of The Best Plans’ ( our overall best of the best award ) for 4 reasons.
- Their pricing is competitive.
OVO are up there with the best value plans on the site. That’s especially true for their data inclusions.
- They have a price match promise.
When they drop their pricing, it is applied to all of their customers’ plans automatically. They recently did this with their $59.95 data plan. We are not aware of another telco which offers this yet.
- They have led the way with the biggest trend of 2016 – content. Content is also known as ‘Entertainment’ in some quarters.
They seem to genuinely love their petrol head and gymnast head. OVO just keep adding new entertainment content to their plans.
- Finally, OVO innovate more than any other telco we’ve seen.
OVO have a $9.95 monthly plan with pocket money 1GB data inclusions for kids : And it comes free with parental locking software.
OVO is everything a telco should be. Fair, good value, offering entertainment options and devoted to its customers. There was no other contender which hit all of these important points.
Best for entertainment – OVO Mobile
We also awarded OVO Best For Entertainment.
OVO do three things amazingly well when it comes to the entertainment they offer in their phone plans. First, they have a growing range of entertainment that a certain group of fans love. Second, they offer that entertainment free (that’s free for the content and free of data charging) to their customers. Third, they do this on plans which are substantially cheaper than the bigger phone companies.
Only OVO have made a clear statement that their Water Polo / Superbike / Audi Racing / Gymnastics content is pivotal as a differentiator to what they’re selling as a telco – AND offer that content for free.
Find out more about the 2017 WhatPhone Awards
This year’s 2017 WhatPhone awards reflect the changes coming about in the mobile phone world. Entertainment and streamed audio options are going to become more prevalent in the 12 months ahead. Data pricing and management is the critical plan component we hear most about from our visitors. Every phone company has to consider both and the best in class deserve a mention.
Find our more about the 2017 WhatPhone Awards.
Phone Plan Features OVO Mobile have that others don’t
Just need the highlights ? Here are the key changes OVO made to their plan range in August 2016.
OVO are one of the most, if not the most disruptive phone companies in Oz. They released their first plan range in Australia a few months ago. They have redefined the Australian market in some ways. What OVO have done different is they’ve added content to the list of things you can buy from a phone company – on top of data bundles and voice minutes you usually get when you take a SIM. From the beginning of August 2016, they’ve made some more, amazing changes to what they have in market. Here is a summary of the key changes they’ve made.
- More data for not as much $:
As you’ll see in the table on this page (which now reflects OVO’s latest pricing) they’ve gone through and increased the data allowances for every plan they have in market. You will not find better data inclusions anywhere. (With the possible exception of Boost Mobile – if you count their weekend bonus data.)
OVO Mobile use the Optus network.
ALDI Mobile use part of the Telstra network.
OVO Mobile use the Optus network.
ALDI Mobile use part of the Telstra network.
- Unique Price Match Offer:
OVO are first in market, anywhere in the world (so far as we know) to offer this. They will be passing along the pricing reductions they announced at the start of August to existing customers, as well as offering them to new customers. OVO’s stated intent is to continue doing this. If you go with OVO, you know that whenever they drop their pricing, you don’t have to do anything, your bill will just go down.
- You still get content:
OVO are famous for their content. At launch, they offered exclusive access to V8 Supercars races. (This has changed since, they no longer offer V8 Supercars, see below for details of the content they do provide.) They’re constantly adding new partners and have already included two new ones. Sign up now and as well as the V8s, you’ll see Audi Customer Racing and a huge array of Australian Gymnastics content, too. We have much more on this important, unique, set of inclusions, below.
- Access to the content is still free:
Their streamed video content (SVOD) does not come out of your data bundle. Unlike most telcos, if you watch the content OVO Mobile provide you as part of your plan – the Gymnastics or Audi Racing video, audio and telemetry information – it will not count against your plan’s data inclusions.
Both use exactly the same Optus network.
Both use exactly the same Optus network.
- There’s more on the way:
We don’t know what’s coming precisely, but we know they are adding more content all the time.
Who are OVO ?
OVO’s is a totally new way of looking at a phone company. Their plans are, in our view, some of the best (if not the best) value in market. But on top of the usual calls and data, OVO’s include exclusive access to a variety of domestic sport including Australian Gymnastics, Superbikes and Audi Racing content (we tell you specifically what you’ll get below)
OVO is a new, well funded (read: reliable) Australian phone company with something interesting to say. The Australian market is crammed to the gills with phone companies offering much the same thing. Need proof ? Check out our prepaid plans page. OVO’s is a totally new way of looking at a phone company. On top of the usual calls and data, OVO’s include exclusive access to a variety of domestic sport including Australian Gymnastics, Superbikes and Audi Racing content (we tell you specifically what you’ll get below)
Whether you’ll like them and choose to pick them for your SIM used to come down to your view of the content they provide, Since their August 2016 price plan update, however, their price plans stand on their own even without that content’s appeal.
The concept of content as part of a phone plan is not entirely novel. The tier 1 (big) phone companies have, recently, tried to differentiate themselves from each other with some unusual value adds. Optus threw in a free Netflix subscription to it’s mobile plans last year. Telstra have played with their own content provider ‘Presto’ along the way.
OVO’s foray is different though. Optus, Telstra and Vodafone are phone companies first. OVO is, in many ways, streaming content efore anything else. OVO’s model encourages you to ask yourself FIRST whether you like the content and then to get a plan which addressees your phone or tablet usage needs.
Australian Gymnastics, Superbikes and Audi Customer Racing is their thing
Pick an OVO plan and you’ll have access to historic race videos, interviews with key drivers, live in car telemetry, live trackside commentary and behind the scenes gossip – check it out on the OVO site. And now, you’ll get access to every Australian Gymnastics event and Audi Customer Racing.
Alongside the TV rights both free to air and subscription, parallel content is now available through OVO Mobile. Pick an OVO plan and you’ll have access to historic race videos, interviews with key drivers, live in car telemetry, live track side commentary and behind the scenes gossip.
Specifically with OVO, you’ll get:
- Free OVO’s Sports Content:
Nothing’s free, clearly. The price of the content Included in the monthly line rental charge you pay OVO for your prepaid plan. But then OVO Mobile only charge around what Optus charge for very similar inclusions in their plans. ( See examples on this page. )
- Live In Car Telemetry :
Up to 160 sensors all around the car provide real time access ( during races ) to data that you can see visually on your phone. Pick the cars you’re interested in ( see screenshot ) and you can see how hard drivers are breaking, what speed they’re doing and the track they’re playing on the radio ( not the last one. )
- Live Track Side Commentary:
If you don’t have Foxtel, or you just prefer to listen to the radio broadcast – the trackside commentary team are streamed live on OVO. A bit like listening to the cricket during a long drive it’s entertaining and makes those boring Saturdays at the kids sports a little more enjoyable listening to the live race on the sidelines
- Exclusive Interviews and Behind The Scenes Content :
OVO offer unique pictures, video, and access to stars of the sport including some in depth interviews with Chaz Mostert – one of the sports most exciting drivers and OVO’s ambassador.
- Fully licensed and agreed with the governing bodies :
This is the real content deal. You’ll see OVO at the events, on the TV as a sponsor. It’s official content from the official relevantregulatory body.
- Historic Footage :
You’ll have access to a sizable back-catalogue of races. OVO makes available to stuff from earlier in the season and historic races.
Below: The experience of picking the cars you want to watch telemetry from, during a race is surprisingly easy.
Other content which might appeal
OVO are constantly adding to the list of included content they offer. The plan is clear. They are picking specific areas of interesting content about which people care so much, they are prepared to move phone companies to get it.
Soon after their initial launch, OVO added Australian Gymnastics to the list of content they made available to their customers. It’s not as popular as v8 Supercars but for half million Australians ( largely women, particularly younger women ) gymnastics is a big deal. Similarly, the agreement with Audi to show their customer racing channel is more incentive for people in to their motor sport now have even more motivation to move across. Remember, you get access to all of this content in your phone plan – you don’t have to pick between them.
- Australian Gymnastics :
OVO are the exclusive phone company partner of the Australian Gymnastics team. If you’re in to gymnastics ( and around 200,000 Australians are signed up members ) you’ll be able to watch live streaming of Australian Gymnastic events with OVO. On top of that you’ll get access to exclusive training and performance content.
- Audi Sport Customer Racing :
Audi are the 2015 Australian GT Champions. You can watch all their races on OVO’s content service. Audi run 5 x R8 LMS race cars out of Melbourne. You can watch every race and get exclusive in car telemetry with OVO.
- Growing range :
OVO are releasing new information and new partners regularly. This list looks like it’ll grow.
The data for their streaming services is ‘free’
Probably the most important thing to any fan considering the content is ‘how much will watching cost me’. The answer is that any content you stream to your phone from OVO’s included content is free and unlimited.
It’s not just the content which is provided which is impressive. The package has been put together well by OVO. Probably the most important thing to any fan considering the content is how much will watching cost me. The answer is that any content you stream to your phone from OVO’s included content services is free.
The fact that this is a point OVO make abundantly clear shows how well they understand the fears of normal people using phones to watch streamed and video content. Other examples that they ‘get it’ include :
- Immediate access to the content they offer :
They’re a phone company They’re not stupid. They know if you’re not using the service and quickly turn it off if you don’t activate the service. ( Which is the point from which you will be charged. )
- They give you an extra GB in your first month :
Additionally, OVO offer an extra GB free for the first month of usage. Telstra have a similar scheme where you cannot go over your first few months data inclusions. Vodafone throw a few extra GB in for the first month too. OVO’s offer reflects some of the same feeling if not backing themselves to the same degree. The difference could be that the tier 1 phone companies can ignore (not charge themselves for) data usage on their own network but no MVNO is going to get away with that.
- You can buy extra data for yourself :
Can be bought and is charged at $10 per GB which is almost an industry standard now. The major exception to this rule is Virgin Mobile who charge around $50 per GB of extra data.
Below : As soon as you’ve ordered your SIM, you can get access to the V8 content. You don’t have to wait for the SIM to arrive.
The basics: OVO’s website and phone plan stuff
Remember though, OVO are a mobile phone company.
- They’re prepaid :
Not sure of the difference between prepaid, postpaid or month to month ? We explain it in this article. If you’ve read any of our prepaid content on WhatPhone, you’ll know we love prepaid. The key benefit of any prepaid plan is the completely predictable pricing. And in this context, that is reassuring for the average user.
- Reasonable pricing :
We’ve compared OVO’s pricing with the rest of the market. Since their August 2016 price plan update, they’re hard to beat. Add in the promotions they often have in market and, if you time the deal right, you could get a bargain. That makes them some of the best value in the market on Optus resellers. If you like the content, this alone should certainly entice you to have a go.
- Website is basic and improving :
Like any business they have started with the basics on their website and are now improving the site they have. Don’t expect anything sophisticated. That includes an app to manage your service which is unusual in today’s day and age.
- OVO are a smaller phone company.
These are also known as MVNOs and we’ve written about them extensively.
Below : OVO’s website is a first version. It is functional but don’t expect bells and whistles.
How is their customer service and support ?
The truth is, when customer support is good, you don’t notice it. When it’s bad, you notice it a lot. OVO’s is fine.
Although it’s the biggest bit of the relationship you have with your phone company, people tend to ignore the importance of customer support when they pick a phone company. The truth is, when customer support is good, you don’t notice it. When it’s bad, you notice it a lot. OVO’s is fine.
- Australian based based customer service in North Sydney :
Sick of having frustrating conversations with overseas call agents who don’t understand your accent ? OVO staff have the same Australian twang so if you need to call, at least you can talk to someone who knows what a VB is. We found the team there friendly, proactive, and efficient. I personally didn’t experience any problems dealing with them. There was a delay to my order so I complained. They sorted it out and didn’t make a big deal of the fact that I’d entered my address incorrectly in to the checkout. I thought that was unusually good service these days.
- Good Fulfilment :
OVO use the same delivery company that Amaysim do and they’re the best in the business. You’ll get the usual welcome email and letter.
Would we recommend them ? Without hesitation. If you’re in to the sprts they offer, e.g. Australian Gymnastics or Audi R8 Racing, get a SIM from OVO. Even if you’re not, check out the pricing.
It’s possible I am too involved in following the machinations of the phone companies too much. We run this site to give people the inside track on the best phone plan to buy. It is hard to remember when I’ve seen anything like this. Telcos change plan inclusions all the time. They do not ( so far as I know, anywhere in the world ) offer to price match their own plans. That means that if you sign up with OVO you don’t have to constantly monitor the market to make sure you’re getting a good deal. It’s incredible that OVO would lead the way like this and it shows you where they’re coming from. They want to be genuinely different.
OVO are building a community as much as anything. You can see their hashtag everywhere – #ForTheFans. An increasing range of content options and zero rated data separates them further from the other Australian telcos.
Based on price and inclusion alone, everyone should be at least comparing these plans with the plans they were going to buy. They stand out on value even if you are not a sports fan who is interested in the content.
So, how can competitors respond ? OVO are setting a benchmark for the Auzzie market. They’re two steps ahead of the best of the tier 1 competition. They’ve knocked our socks off with these plan variations. Let’s see first how the others react and then what OVO do….
What’s most interesting about OVO Mobile’s content inclusion is that it so quickly and dramatically scythes off such a sizable segment of the Australian population. If live streaming of these sports with telemetry, video and live streaming of track side commentary is content you love, there are almost no other questions you need to ask before you sign up. The same goes for the Gymnastics and Audi Sport Customer Racing content.
Adding in the August 2016 price plan update and you’ll see that every one of their voice and data plans are decent value – compared to the best of the MVNO market, let alone when you stand them alongside to the Optus mother ship and Vodafone Australia alternatives.
OVO launch in to a world where you can watch sport live, download it, time-shift it and catch up on it tomorrow in HD. Coverage of any sport these days includes instant replays, graphical overlays and real captain / commentator parlays. A world used to Googling every whim has ever increasing expectations as to the level of information and insight available to them on every subject, especially competitive sport.
What no one has done yet is to capture the content people want alongside the event. We sit at home, watch ‘The Block’ and play with our phones, researching the things that occur while the program is on. OVO offer something very similar to that for a Gymnastics / Audi racing fan at an event or watching TV at home. They also offer a new type of content opportunity: Watching their included content on the bus or in the car when travelling. Importantly, OVO enable all this and on your own terms. They ( appear to ) really understand the needs of people consuming this type of content. The video and telemetry content you stream is free.
That said, they’ve just started out and at the moment, OVO lack some of the sophistication of more established telco players. It takes time to generate a Self Service app, optimize the website and flesh out your proposition. It takes time to build a brand and a following.
But all that phone stuff is, as we’ve said, in many important ways, secondary. The content is so good, in my view, that it’s worth having a second phone or tablet if you’re in to the sort of content they have, at all. After all, compared to the price of a ticket for an event or a Foxtel subscription, the charge from OVO is incredibly reasonable. As we’ve seen, the calls, SMSs are unlimited and data pricing is comparable to Optus’ ( and you don’t get the content with Optus. )
OVO really have something innovative here. It’s going to be incredibly interesting to see how they tapping a market which already has a phone, loves the content and is prepared to change telcos to get the content bit, effectively, free.
Would we recommend them ? Without hesitation.
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
Overview of OVO’s new plan range – August 2016 update
OVO Mobile updated their plan range in August 2016. The review above covers the full, current range. Here’s what they changed when they last renewed their offering.
- As of August 2016, they’ve now doubled or tripled the data inclusions for their voice and data plan range.
- We cover details of these and other unique OVO Mobile plan features in the article below.
- If you’re in the market for a data plan, they have some literally astounding deals there too.
- Make no mistake – this new plan range by OVO will rock the industry. Every telco in Australia is going to have to react to this and adapt their plans too.
- The result could be a very different market for phones and SIMs. Well done OVO.
Introducing OVO Mobile’s August 2016 plan range
I have worked in telco for the last decade and I try to inform users of this site, of the best deals with ‘insider information.’ I can tell you, even given that experience, what OVO Mobile did in August 2016 was little short of incredible.
OVO released a suite of changes to their price plans back in August 2016. What was significant here is that we’d never seen any changes like the ones OVO introduced before. Their new plans dramatically improved the amount of data they offered on their standard low, medium and high voice plans. They also entered the new market which is developing in fixed line mobile broadband plans, offering 50GB data plan for a tablet / computer. And the pricing is incredible. Finally, they extended their price match promise. We expand on each of these points and what they might mean for you, the shopper, below.
What changed in OVO’s new plan range
- Data inclusions were increased:
OVO have doubled and in one case tripled the data they offer at each of their three voice price points.
- Included a guarantee for existing customers:
Unlike any phone company in Australia. Potentially unlike any phone company in the world (that we are aware of) OVO Mobile have offered to pass on their new pricing to existing customers. They will do the same in the future. Every phone user knows the trap. You sign up to a phone company and you’re trapped. When their pricing changes, you don’t ever hear about it. The offer is marketed to new customers, not existing customers. OVO have turned that on its head. OVO are prepaid and, as we cover below, that means you always have the flexibility to move where you want to. However, plans do change all the time across the industry. Keeping current is difficult. OVO’s offer is not quite ‘set and forget’ but it’s not far off it. When they bump up their data inclusions in the future – and that appears to be a regular thing – existing customers will benefit just as much as new ones.
- Added new content:
OVO offer access to a number of sports content packages as part of their plans. They also offer access to Gymnastics content. Remember, with OVO, unlike many of their competitors, you will not be charged for the data you use watching these sports through their app.
- Gymnastics Australia – live streaming of all the Australian national events & Catch up – this is the same
- 400 Thunder Drag Racing Series – live streaming of all the meets & Catch up
- Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia – live streaming from inside the car + telemetry – this is the same
- Water Polo – live streaming of all the meets & Catch up – to start in September
- World Superbike – live stream audio commentary, video highlights for all events world wide + historic classic races
- Radio streaming of the Triple M and Hit FM stations nationally
- New data plans:
Data plans are hotter now than ever. The proportion of visitors we get to this site interested in data plans is a growing proportion of those who buy. OVO’s look set to steal the market. They’re the best value so you’ll find them right at the top of our mobile broadband data plans page. And they’ve included a new plan in their range which is essentially a home broadband deal at fixed broadband pricing.
OVO’s recent plan changes are significant
- Free data content:
In the industry the practice of providing free access to content from a known source is called ‘zero rating’. To users of OVO’s streamed video content, it means that when you’re watching your Water Polo, Drag Racing, Audi Sport Customer Racing or Gymnastic content you won’t be charged for it. Video content is 90% of everything transmitted over the telco networks. Almost all the data people consume is YouTube videos or streamed video of some sort. Providing huge data bundles for content you want to get from sources other than OVO PLUS free access to their own content removes the fear most customers have about signing up to a content proposition from a telco. Put simply, when bigger phone companies offer you access to streamed video content (SVOD) they often charge you for the data you use watching it. When OVO provide that content, you do not get charged.
- Always their best price :
Part of OVO’s new plan suite release related to a price promise. Others in the industry currently offer a price match on competitors. OVO are the only telco we know which offer a price match guarantee to their customer base. If you sign up with OVO and they cut their pricing or include extra features (like Data or new content) then you’ll get access to it too. It’s far more often the case that when new features or pricing are added, existing customers are denied access. OVO’s approach here is more than just marketing. They feel different in their approach to fairness and treating their customers well. This is actually, in many ways, a startling development.
OVO’s new plans mean it might be time to change
What makes OVO stand out in our range is the fact that these new plans are such a dramatic departure in both pricing and philosophy from what else is in market.
The data inclusions at the price point beat even some of the industry’s best, Aldi and Amaysim. Typically, we compare deals against those two to judge the value and whether what we’re looking at is a big deal. For OVO to top them, means that this is significant news. (It worth mentioning that Boost Mobile offer slightly more data than OVO if you include the Bonus data on weekends that they include.)
Every telco in Australia is going to have to tighten their belts after they see these plans. The changes they’re making are not just incremental – they’re not the small improvements that other phone companies offer. They are redefining elements of telco customer service that have been static for so long they have become the bedrock of our expectations.
Compare OVO Mobile (who use the Optus 4G network) with a similar MVNO – Virgin Mobile – who also use the Optus 4G network. The way OVO has launched, revised, updated and relaunched their entire offer to market twice this year puts Virgin to shame. Perhaps that’s why Virgin is getting hammered in the market.
Markets are disrupted when a new company uses new technology to offer a new product to customers. The new deals disruption creates tend to work best, when customers on the old plans are experiencing a lot of pain and high prices. That’s certainly the case with Australian phone companies. If you’re a ‘normal’ Optus (or Virgin Mobile for that matter) customer, you should be considering OVO on price alone, Australia owned with Australian customer service. If you have a plan from any phone company, big or small, you should be looking at these plans. If you want a data bundle for your mobile broadband access, check out these plans. If you are a fan of the content they offer, for example gymnastics or Audi Sport follower then stop what you’re doing and buy one of these plans.
OVO Mobile are redefining things in front of us. They have at least ‘inspired’ similar activity from Optus. No-one has said it aloud but I know people who have suspicions that Optus has directly lifted their content approach from OVO. We have been informed that there are more exciting features on the way. It makes you wonder what Australian telco is going to look like in a year. It makes you wonder how Optus, Vodafone and Telstra can possibly compete.