Who is Tangerine Telecom? Can they be trusted?
Absolutely. Tangerine Telecom was launched in 2013 by two brothers, Andrew and Richard Branson (not Virgin Mobile’s Richard Branson). They are more known for selling NBN plans on Vocus Infrastructure, which has garnered some positive customer reviews on several online platforms.
Tangerine Telecom now offers mobile SIM plans as well, so we can apply similar trust standards considering their decade-old NBN services.
How good is Tangerine’s mobile coverage?
Tangerine resells the Telstra Wholesale network. That means you’ll get the same coverage as users who purchase SIM plans from telcos like Belong Mobile, ALDI Mobile, and Woolworths Mobile. Tangerine’s Telstra Wholesale Network covers 98.8 per cent of the Australian population, which is excellent. To put this in perspective, Optus and Vodafone cover only 98.5 per cent and 96 per cent of the population, respectively.
We also like Tangerine’s 5G plans for the same reasons. Those plans are also on Telstra’s network, which has the widest 5G coverage in the country.
Is Tangerine’s 5G plan any good?
If you’re looking for 5G coverage, Tangerine’s 5G plan is a good deal because they resell Telstra’s 5G network. Telstra 5G reaches around 75 per cent of the population for now, the best coverage in Australia today.
Are Tangerine SIM plans postpaid or prepaid, or both? What should I know about their offers?
Tangerine advertises its plans as postpaid – meaning you pay for your plan inclusions at the end of your billing cycle after they expire. However, we found that Tangerine charges users before using their plan inclusions, similar to prepaid plans. A close look at Tangerine’s Customer Information Summary revealed the following as the telco’s policy:
If you’re okay with Tangerine’s postpaid plans, which are really prepaid, then consider their offers if you’re shopping for cheap, straightforward plans with decent data inclusions and unlimited talk and text. Tangerine plans are also no-lock contracts, so you can cancel anytime if you’re unsatisfied. Tangerine also have some useful extras that are not typical for small phone companies, including a generous data bank and International inclusions on some plans.
Tell me more about Tangerine’s data banking
Data banking allows users to store unused data and roll it over to the next billing cycle. All Tangerine SIM plans include data banks, so you don’t have to worry about wasting unused data. This is a huge plus as it indicates fairness in a phone plan, which is a key factor for Australians, according to our Mobile Services Report.
What about Tangerine’s International inclusions?
Four of Tangerine’s five SIM-only plans include unlimited calls and texts to 15 selected countries. Keep in mind that the smallest plan does not have any International inclusions. If you’re on a Tangerine plan that doesn’t include International minutes, or you’ve exhausted such inclusions, you can purchase an add-on pack for International calls.
Tell me more about Tangerine’s International, roaming, and data add-on packs
As stated, Tangerine users can purchase three add-on packs of 60 to 300 International minutes. Note, however, that two of the same pack type can’t be active at the same time, so be sure not to purchase what you don’t need because your add-on inclusions will expire at the end of your billing cycle whether they’ve been used or not. You can, however, have two different types of packs active simultaneously.
Tangerine also offers two roaming International roaming packs that can be used in over 60 select countries. The travel packs come in 5- and 10-day expiries, costing $25 and $50 for 50 and 150 minutes, 50 and 150 SMS, respectively. They also include 1GB and 2GB data, respectively. Tangerine roaming packs are one-off, not recurring, and they expire at 11:59PM (Australian Eastern Time) on the last day of your roaming pack expiry. Once expired, all unused inclusions will be lost.
Tangerine users can also purchase data add-on packs for more data. They offer a generous 3GB add-on for just $12.50, which can be a recurring or one-off purchase. If you choose a recurring data add-on pack, it will renew as soon as you exhaust it, up to 5 times per billing cycle. Note that if you don’t finish all the data in your add-on pack before your billing cycle restarts, it will not be added to your data bank, meaning add-on data will never roll over.
How fast are download speeds on Tangerine plans?
Many telcos keep mum about their download speeds, but Tangerine has posted theirs for all to see, and we commend them for this. We also like their download speeds, so here’s a brief look at the relevant parts:
Tangerine 5G plan download speed: 10Mbps to 250Mbps
Tangerine 4G plan download speed: 10Mbps to 100Mbps
Tangerine 5G plan speed when downgraded to 4G network: 5Mbps to 180Mbps
Is there a Tangerine self-service app?
Self-service apps help manage your SIM plan’s inclusions, usage, payments, and more. While many telcos now offer self-service apps to ease their customers’ experiences, we couldn’t find one for Tangerine Telecom SIM plans.
Ordinarily, this would be a negative in our book, but Tangerine remedies this drawback with an online self-service portal. Online self-service portals perform the same functions as self-service apps, and even more in many cases. The only difference is that online self-service portals are on the web, while apps are downloaded to your device.
- Telstra Wholesale 3G, 4G, and 5G network
- No lock-in contract
- 5G mobile plans
- Data banking
- Generous data inclusions
- International inclusions at $19.90 and up
- International, roaming, and data add-on packs
- Online self-service web portal
- Confusing “postpaid” plans are actually prepaid
- No self-service app
- Unusual terms and fees
- Straightforward plans for basic users
- Great coverage on the Telstra Wholesale network
- 4G and 5G plans
- No lock-in contracts
- No entertainment content
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Tangerine Telecom has been around since 2013, when brothers Andrew and Richard Branson (not of Virgin) launched the telco in Melbourne, Australia. If you’re familiar with Tangerine Telecom, then you might only be aware of the telco’s NBN plans on the Vocus infrastructure. However, Tangerine Telecom now offers mobile SIM plans as well.
Having been in the telco space for a decade, Tangerine has proven itself a valuable company in Australia, winning awards from several bodies for its NBN services. The telco’s website boasts of its recent ranking as “Australia’s 5th and Asia Pacific region’s 28th Fastest Growing Companies for the 2023 Financial Times High-Growth Companies Asia-Pacific List”.
But again, Tangerine Telecom’s reasonably new entry into the mobile market means there is much to learn about Tangerine’s SIM-only plans and how they compare to other telcos. We’ll cover it all in this review. So here’s a summary of what a Tangerine SIM-only plan has to offer:
- Tangerine is an MVNO reselling SIM plans on Telstra’s wholesale 3G, 4G, and 5G networks.
- Tangerine offers postpaid plans.
- The telco’s SIM plans are straightforward and affordable
- Consumers can choose from a wide range of data inclusions
- All Tangerine plans include unlimited standard national voice and SMS
- Some plans offer international and roaming inclusions
This review will cover these and more in detail.
Tangerine offers the basics in a phone plan, so you don’t get confused by too many extras.
- Telstra’s network means comprehensive coverage
Tangerine SIM-only plans resell the Telstra Wholesale Network. While this means their coverage isn’t as wide as Telstra’s, Tangerine still has a significant reach of 98.8 percent of the Australian population.
- Tangerine sells 5G plans
Tangerine does not only resell Telstra’s wholesale 3G and 4G networks – the telco also uses parts of Telstra’s 5G network, which is currently the widest in Australia, covering 75 percent of the population. So if you’re searching for a small phone company with 5G mobile plans, Tangerine is a great place to look.
- Postpaid plans with no lock-in contracts
Tangerine offers postpaid plans without contracts. SIM plans are purchased alone and plugged into your device so your phone doesn’t get locked on Tangerine’s network. Tangerine’s month-to-month plans mean you can move telcos without worrying about early termination fees.
- Tangerine offers a variety of plans for all users
We also like how Tangerine’s SIM-only plans target many Australian consumers. The telco offers four 4G postpaid plans ranging from $19.90 to $34.90 monthly and one 5G plan for under $55. Tangerine’s plans include 10GB to 120GB of data, so both casual and heavy data users can fit into at least one of their plans.
- 500GB/1000GB data banking means you won’t waste any unused data. Tangerine also offers data gifting
And if you don’t exhaust your monthly data, Tangerine’s data banking feature means your unused data rolls over to the next month, so it doesn’t get wasted. Data banking feature is included on all Tangerine mobile plans regardless of price point. Keep in mind that data add-on packs cannot roll over. You can also gift part of your monthly data to other Tangerine users, up to 50% of your plan’s included data.
- All of Tangerine’s mobile plans include unlimited nationwide talk and text
Like most Australian telcos, Tangerine plans include unlimited standard calls and SMS within Australia at all price points. All plans also include 1,000 MMS within Australia.
- Some plans include unlimited International calls and texts
Except for Tangerine’s smallest 4G SIM-only plan, all other plans include unlimited International calls and SMS to 15 countries.
- Add-ons – International, roaming, and data
Tangerine also offers a variety of add-on packs for International inclusions, roaming, and data. Customers can choose from three International calling packs with 60 to 300 minutes, all for $5. You can also purchase a 5-day or 10-day roaming pack for $25 or $50, respectively, including 60 to 150 minutes and 1GB or 2GB of data. And if you need more nationwide data, Tangerine offers a 3GB add-on pack for $12.50.
- Tangerine runs frequent promos to attract and keep customers
Aussies interested in saving money on their phone plans might find value in a Tangerine mobile plan, thanks to the telco’s frequent promo offers. For instance, at the time of this writing, Tangerine offers customers the first two months of any mobile plan for free. After the second month, regular prices kick in. Keep in mind that the current promo ends on 1 May 2023.
- Transparent download and upload speeds
While many small telcos keep their download and upload speeds to themselves, Tangerine shares them with the public. The telco cites download speeds ranging from 10Mbps to 250Mbps for 5G plans and 10Mbps to 100Mbps for 4G plans. Note, however, that while on a 5G plan, your download speeds range from 5Mbps to 180Mbps if your coverage drops to 4G.
- Tangerine postpaid plans aren’t exactly postpaid – they are really prepaid
While Tangerine advertises its mobile plans as postpaid, we don’t understand why. This telco actually bills customers in advance as if it sells prepaid plans. Tangerine’s Customer Information Summary (CIS) states, “We will bill you in advance each month for the minimum monthly charge. We will also bill you in advance for any Add-on Plan you purchase. Non prepaid usage is billed at the end of a month.”
- Data add-on doesn’t roll over
A WhatPhone survey indicates that customers consider fairness in a phone plan to be a determinant of how valuable the plan is. Features like data banking are critical indicators of a fair SIM plan. Tangerine includes data banks on all plans, which is excellent. However, this telco doesn’t allow data purchased as add-ons to roll over to the next month. In other words, if you are buying Tangerine’s 3GB data add-on pack, you better use it all because it will not be added to your next month’s inclusions if you don’t exhaust it.
- Unusual fees
We’re not fans of misleading marketing jargon and unusual fees. While there’s a lot to like about Tangerine’s mobile plans, we don’t approve of some features that seem to be marketed misleadingly, chief amongst them being the “postpaid” claim we discussed above. But it doesn’t stop there. Tangerine also has several questionable fees that we think are unnecessary. For instance, a $3.50 fee is for users who don’t pay their bills using direct debit. There is also a $3.50 fee for customers who request paper bills, a 1% surcharge for VISA/Mastercard payments, and a 2% surcharge for American Express. Customers also face a $10 charge for temporarily suspending their service, and the list goes on and on and on – literally.
- No self-service app, but there is an online customer portal
Self-service apps are a vital addition to phone plans and have become commonplace. However, we couldn’t find a self-service app for Tangerine users. To be fair, though, customers can manage their SIM-only plans on Tangerine’s online customer portal, a comprehensive web self-service platform.
Here are some areas where Tangerine falls short compared to the competition:
Entertainment content is not mandatory, but some telcos offer such inclusions in their phone plans. Entertainment includes streaming apps for music, movies, shows, sports, etc., and some telcos offer data-free streaming. If that’s what you’re looking for, then Tangerine is not for you. For entertainment features, look to major telcos like Optus and Telstra.
Other MVNOs on the Telstra network
Telstra has the widest mobile coverage in Australia, so their MVNOs are in demand. This fact alone is enough to consider Tangerine’s mobile plans as a top contender. However, you might want to shop for other Telstra MVNOs, including Belong Mobile, Woolworths, ALDImobile, Boost Mobile, and more. Our comparisons indicate that Tangerine offers similar amounts of data as other Telstra MVNOs, so you would have to make your determination based on other factors and features which may be lacking in a Tangerine phone plan. For instance, while Boost is also a Telstra MVNO, it uses the full Telstra network, unlike Tangerine, which uses only parts of Telstra’s network.
Other MVNOs on other networks
While Tangerine offers more value against some MVNOs on other networks, some offer better deals. For instance, Dodo, an MVNO reselling the Optus network, offers more data at several price points when compared to Tangerine. Another Optus MVNO, Southern Phone, provides more data at similar price points and even has a $5 plan for light data users, unlike Tangerine’s $19.90 smallest plan.
If you’re searching for value in a phone plan and are not excited by extras like entertainment content, consider buying a SIM-only plan from an MVNO. Also, remember that all MVNOs are not created equal, so choose a plan from a telco reselling a network with broad coverage.
Tangerine Telecom’s mobile plans happen to check these boxes. This small phone company offers basic, straightforward SIM-only plans using the Telstra Wholesale network. Tangerine offers both 4G and 5G plans, with a transparent breakdown of speed caps so you know what to expect from each plan.
However, we found some faults with Tangerine’s offers. For instance, although this telco advertises its plans as postpaid, users are charged before using their inclusions. Tangerine also charges several fees, which can quickly add up. But while we found these drawbacks worth mentioning, Tangerine still offers one of the most valuable mobile plan lineups on the Telstra Wholesale Network.
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