Independent OVO Mobile Review
OVO Mobile won award in the 2018 WhatPhone Awards
Best for entertainment – OVO Mobile
We 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.
This year’s 2018 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 out more about the 2018 WhatPhone Awards.
Introducing OVO Mobile’s 2018 plan range
OVO Mobile are relatively new. They launched in 2016 and are already one of Australia’s largest and fastest growing phone companies. OVO appear to upgrade their price plans 3 or 4 times a year. Since their prepaid plans first came to market, OVO have improved their plans several times. Included in those revisions were changes of a sort we’ve never seen or reviewed on this site before.
Here are the headlines of what we’ve seen from OVO so far :
- More data per dollar :
OVO have improved the amount of data included at particular price points. OVO price plan refreshes have doubled, and in one case tripled, the data they offer at each of their voice price points.
- New product introduction:
They’ve also introduced new products, including a ‘pocket-money plan’ plan aimed towards children which includes parental lock software.
- New data plans :
They’ve entered the new market which is developing in fixed line alternatives : mobile broadband plans, offering 50GB data plan for a tablet and / or computer. These large data bundles have since been replicated several times by the competition and are now becoming the norm.
- Innovative features :
Finally, they extended their price match promise, something we’ve never seen any phone company do before. More on this below.
We expand on each of these points and what they might mean for you, the shopper, below.
So, who are OVO Mobile ?
OVO’s is a totally new way of looking at a phone company. Their plans are, in our view, some of the best value in market. But on top of the usual voice calls, SMS and data allocations that come in all phone plans, 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.)
The basics of what you’ll get with OVO are :
- They’re a prepaid SIM plan provider :
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 plan information on WhatPhone, you’ll know we love prepaid plans. The key benefit of any prepaid plan is the completely predictable pricing so you’ll get that with OVO.
- Reasonable pricing :
OVO’s rates for core plan inclusions – the voice, SMS and data we’ve already talked about – are comparable with the competition.
- OVO are a smaller phone company:
These smaller phone companies or ‘network resellers’ are also known as MVNOs and we’ve written about them extensively. They often provide more for your money than the big phone companies.
50% of people now buy phone plans from smaller phone companies, just like OVO.
- Australian based customer service and support?
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. I signed up with OVO when they first launched. 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. There’s more on this aspect of their service, below.
- You can buy extra data for yourself :
Can be bought and is charged at $10 per GB which is almost an industry standard now.
OVO’s key feature is the free video content they offer
OVO offer access to a number of sports content packages as part of their phone plans. When you buy your phone plan from OVO, you’ll be invited to download the OVO play app. You can then use that app to watch the sports you’re interested in. OVO are the only smaller phone company to offer this value add and it’s the feature of their service which makes them unique.
OVO Mobile’s key differentiator is their content.
They key types of video sport content you’ll get with OVO are:
OVO provide live streaming of all national and international gymnastic events. They also provide video replays and highlights from those events.
- 400 Thunder Drag Racing:
You’ll get live streaming of the entire 400 Thunder Drag Racing series.
- Water Polo:
OVO offer live streaming of the national Water Polo League, the aged champs and other international Water Polo games.
- World Superbike and formula drift:
OVO provide video highlights for every event worldwide, as well as access to historic classic races.
- Radio streaming:
You’ll be able to listen ‘data free‘ to Triple M and Hit FM stations nationally
Features of OVO’s content
- 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 relevant regulatory body.
- Historic Footage :
You’ll have access to a sizable back-catalog of races. OVO makes available to stuff from earlier in the season and historic races.
- You’ll get immediate access to the content they offer :
OVO know that 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 for their prepaid service.)
Remember, you get access to all of this content in your phone plan – you don’t have to pick between the different sorts of content. They’re all covered in your monthly fee.
Access to the video content they provide is free:
Their streamed video content (SVOD) does not come out of your data bundle. If you watch the video 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.
In the industry, the practice of providing free access to content from a known source is called ‘zero rating’. Some call it ‘data free streaming’. 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 the data consumed providing you the video, while you view 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 and then watching TV on their phone.
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. Both Telstra and it’s major competitor have spent big winning the rights to sport which can be watched on phones to try and secure their customers.
OVO’s foray is different though. Optus, Telstra and Vodafone are phone companies first. OVO is, in many ways, a streaming content provider before they’re a phone company. OVO’s model encourages you to ask yourself FIRST whether you like the content and then to get a plan which fulfils your phone or tablet usage needs.
So, who likes content like OVOs?
WhatPhone ran a survey in late 2017, in which we asked people precisely this question. Phone plans adapt all the time. We were interested to know what sort of things Australians would like see in those developments.
The most common answer we got, when we asked people what they wanted in a phone plan was ‘unlimited data’. Others included free roaming and a facility to upgrade their phone contract earlier. Only 10% of people said they wanted to have a phone plan with free video content – of the sort OVO offers.
If you’re one of the 10% of people who want mobile sports videos on your phone, OVO are a company to consider.
Obviously, it’s early days for video in phone plans and the proportion of people who want it will rise over time. Like any new technology, it takes time for people to first, find out that it exists and it’s possible and second to imagine it as part of their lives. If you think about it, you probably felt this way about your need for a mobile phone when they were first released 20 years ago.
For the 10% of people who want video content, however, OVO offer a unique and compelling product. Many of the sports they provide are simply not available for viewing elsewhere. Gymnastic, for example has a sizable following in Australia and is currently not televised. It’s is not as popular as, say the NRL, but, for half million Australians (largely women, particularly younger women) gymnastics is sport they pursue with a passion. If you are one of this 10% of people and OVO have sports you’re interested in, they’re a natural choice.
What else is unique about OVO’s phone plans?
- 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. Usually, when you sign up to a phone company you’re trapped. When your phone company pricing improves, you don’t ever hear about it. The better value offer is marketed to ‘new customers only’, not existing customers. OVO have turned that on its head. 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. In this regard, OVO’s treatment of data in a phone plan is fair a trend we’re starting to see in Australian plans.
- You’ll get immediate access to the content they offer :
OVO 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.)
- 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 prices.
Comparing OVO Mobile and the competition
OVO operate on the Optus 3G and 4G network. There are a few other notable phone companies which also sublet access to Optus’ network in this way. In this section, we compare OVO, Yomojo and Moose Mobile, their major Optus competitors.
- OVO Mobile :
OVO offer prepaid plans. Their primary focus is content and community : Doing it for the fans. OVO provide subscribers with value prepaid plans, large data allowances and exclusive access to exclusive Australian sports action, as we’ve covered above. OVO Mobile is part of their parent company, My Mobile Data, which has an extensive history operating in the Telco space.
- Yomojo :
You can buy both prepaid and postpaid versions of Yomojo’s plans. When it comes to customization it’s hard to beat Yomojo and their detailed plan choices. Yomojo allow you to build your own plans. You can pick and choose what you need, perfect for budget users or people that don’t need a lot of mobile data. For users which need a high level of customization on their prepaid plans, Yomojo offer much more than OVO Mobile in this regard. Additionally, and, again, you won’t get this with OVO, Yomojo let you select from three types of plan. Pay As You Go or Unlimited voice and SMS plan options or data plans. With Yomojo if you can select your monthly mobile data allowance. If you are a light users you can select a lower amount or pay per MB, for heavy users a larger monthly number can be selected.
- Moose Mobile :
Moose Mobile are another relatively new phone company which use the Optus 3G and 4G network. Their key point of difference to both OVO and Yomojo is that they sell only postpaid plans. Moose tend to offer better value on their lower end plans (i.e. more data) at a lower cost than OVO. Moose’s reviews are also very good, because, like OVO, their customer service is based in Australia and people seem to like that. Moose do not offer configurable plans in the way Yomojo do, they don’t have a PAYG option and they won’t provide you the content OVO offers.
You can compare OVO with Yomojo and Moose in our summary infographic.
3G or 4G – Comparing OVO with alternatives on network
Yomojo, Moose and and OVO Mobile both operate on the same Optus 4G Plus network, giving subscribers access to fast 4G connectivity. The Optus 4G Plus network covers 98.5 percent of the Australian population, giving users faster data speeds in even more places. As always, when looking at which of the two companies is best, you need to look at your personal usage needs. See more detail on Australian coverage.
For users which live in a remote or rural part of Australia, at Whatphone we recommend that you review Boost Mobile, or Belong, both Telstra 4G network MVNOs.
Who offers the better customer service?
The first thing to say is that our 2018 survey results (you’ll find them towards the bottom on our homepage) indicate that those who pick a smaller phone company tend to prefer the customer service they get.
OVO Mobile’s customer service is likely better than their bigger alternatives.
When it comes to which provider offers the best customer service, it’s really a choice between Moose and OVO Mobile. Yomojo’s call center is overseas and that gives the domestically centered Self Service providers (here, Moose and OVO) a nose in front. Our experience, having tried both is that there’s nothing between them.
For customer enquires, both Yomojo and OVO Mobile can be contacted by phone, email and live chat support on their respective websites.
So, summing up how does OVO Compare to the rest ?
The choice of OVO vs competitors really comes down to the brand and the sport you prefer. With generous mobile data allowances, unlimited calling and texting and unlimited Australian sports action, OVO Mobile is the one we think is right for most people. That’s why we awarded them the best of the best.
Both Yomojo and OVO Mobile offer consumers competitive priced prepaid plans with all the usual calling, texting and mobile data. The plans on offer from both come with large data allowances, with the higher end plans aimed at heavy users. But for fans of Australian and motor sports racing and / or the other content OVO provides, in general, selecting OVO Mobile is a no brainer. For people that don’t need extras such as this and want specific plan details, Yomojo or the alternatives, including Moose will do just fine.
So, all in all, should you go with OVO Mobile?
Would we recommend OVO Mobile ? Without hesitation.
OVO are building a community as much as they are a phone company. You can see their hashtag everywhere – #ForTheFans.
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. If you’re in to the sports they offer, e.g. Australian Gymnastics or Audi R8 Racing, get a SIM from OVO.
OVO are an exciting new player and they seem to be constantly expanding. They’re already becoming an established part of the Australian market. No other phone company ( 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.
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. OVO operate in 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 narration. 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.
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 want a data bundle for your mobile broadband access, check out their big data 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.
This year is going to be an exciting one with the eSIM adding a new level of dynamism to the market, on top of the content discussion OVO have started. Let’s see what OVO do next.