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Amaysim – Mobile Plans, Done Simply

  • Local customer service and support
  • 4GB of data included
  • $40 - Calls, SMS, MMS, Tethering - all unlimited
Written by Adam Wajnberg
30/01/2013

Why does Amaysim’s pricing model make so much sense? A better question might be why it took so long for a company like Amaysim to come along and make the offer it did. Australia is a mobile nation- the tyranny of distance is more tyrannical here than in any other advanced country. But this is also a place where the idea of a ‘fair go’ – even in the rough and tumble of capitalism – is still resonant. It’s also a place where simplicity is embraced as a value rather than as a drawback.

sim only plans amaysim

Click here for more details, or call Amaysim on 1300 302 942!

What is Amaysim?

Amaysim is part of a growing number of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) – firms acting as a mobile service provider, but without building new networks that duplicate infrastructure already in place. To date, most MVNOs have partnered with Optus, who have demonstrated a fair hand as a wholesaler and allowed scope for these firms to offer plans that compete heavily with their own retail brand. But Amaysim were the first to really change the status quo.

Amaysim’s flagship plan is their $39.90 Unlimited plan, which sounds too good to be true to weary Aussies who have paid billions in unexpected ‘overuse’ fees in the last few years
. At that price, you get unlimited calls, text and picture messaging to any network in Australia. There are no tricky exclusions; 13, 1300 and 1800 numbers are included, which has been a massive boondoggle for the majors. Customers used to paying little or nothing for these ‘info’ calls on their landlines (including calls to technical support and service teams, which can take hours) were dismayed to find huge bills for calls they must have assumed were included in their ‘cap’ value. Numbers starting with 15 are included as well, but this is still a rarity and doesn’t impact users one way or the other.

For smartphone users, the plan also includes 4GB of data, which is where the plan starts to smell fishy. With mobile data rationed severely on cap plans from the major providers, 4GB may as well be unlimited data. How can Amaysim get away with undercutting the majors like that?

Data                             mobile data

When a customer uses their phone to access the web or to access data applications like Google Maps, some amount of data will be consumed. This might be 200 kilobytes, the amount needed to load the page of your favourite news websites. When the user closes the browser and puts the phone in their pocket, the data session will end – the phone’s software essentially disconnects from the web.

This is done to protect the battery life and the customer, since all around the world data services are limited on smartphones. If your phone was on standby but the page kept refreshing anyway, then this would keep consuming precious data from your plan, putting you at risk of getting a huge overuse bill.

But this condition can be used to the advantage of providers, who can impose data minimums. This usually means rounding up the actual amount of data consumed to a minimum of 1000 kilobytes, or 1 megabyte.

Vodafone got into a lot of trouble last month when they announced they would be changing from 25KB minimum sessions to 1MB; the backlash was so severe that they did a complete about-face and instead changed to 1KB minimums, which makes them extremely fair.

Meanwhile, Amaysim has been charging 1MB minimums the whole time. This means a simple web request (like asking Siri to call your wife, which sends and receives a little data to Apple’s servers) might burn through 20KB of data; Vodafone would tally exactly 20KB. Amaysim would tally a megabyte, which is an astonishing 5000% markup! By this reckoning, Vodafone’s 1000 MB (1 gigabyte) of data on plans around $40 would seem to be far more generous than Amaysim’s 4GB.

And yet…consumers don’t seem to exceed Amaysim’s limits very often at all.
This suggests that a) data sessions are usually closer to 1MB or several MB, meaning that customers extract greater value from their Amaysim plan, and that even if data sessions are small, the 4GB on offer is enough to cover the discrepancy most of the time.

Excess Data

bill shock

If you do exceed Amaysim’s 4GB, you pay 5 cents per megabyte in excess – or about $50 per GB. This is expensive, but not ruinous; Vodafone, Telstra and Optus all charge around 25 cents per MB (or $250 per GB) for overuse. Now we’re getting into heart-attack territory.

Drawbacks


The $39.90 Unlimited plan, even with its caveats, seems bulletproof for almost everyone. But there are still some shortfalls; the question is whether these shortfalls are more important to you than having a basically unlimited mobile phone service for a lower cost than what other providers charge, for plans full of complicated terms and conditions that seem designed to trap you at least once.

-          3G data only. Amaysim seem keen to gain access to Optus’ growing 4G data network, where customers can enjoy higher speeds – but the deal hasn’t come through yet. Arguably, 4G is still novel enough that Optus might be charging a wholesale price that would move Amaysim out of their comfort zone – and arguably, huge speeds are worthless without huge data allowances, which aren’t feasible on a mobile network. So if 4G is essential, Amaysim can’t deliver that yet- but first take the time to consider whether 4G is worth the extra cost.

 

-          1900 calls are barred.
Completely. That includes text messages starting with 19. Most would see this as a WIN; especially those with kids.

 
-          International calls and text not included.
You can add extra credit (either through their smartphone app, website or through rechargeable vouchers) that can be used on these services; their international rates are still fairer than most. International text might seem like small beer with iMessage, Viber and Skype available; but iMessage requires authentication with a text that goes to a number in the UK.

 

-          Of course, this is a SIM only service- so no good if you’re looking to buy the latest and greatest smartphone on a 2 year contract.
You have to already own an unlocked phone, outright (though phones locked to the Optus network will still work).

Other benefits

Amaysim mans a call centre team in Sydney, who are not only friendly, but also don’t have much other ‘stuff’ to sell you. Because their plans are so basic and shock-proof, there’s rarely a need to call them – but when you do, at least you don’t have to sit through the spiel of a nervous salesperson trying to meet monthly targets. This might be worth the cost of admission alone.

Amaysim’s app for iPhone and Android is starkly simple to use, giving a quick update on the amount of data (and bonus credit if you’ve added it) that has been consumed. It also includes a quick widget to add bonus credit.

Amaysim automatically enable tethering, meaning you can turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot to pair with your iPad, laptop or even PC. This allows you to use that 4GB of data on a more comfortable input device – but keep an eye that you don’t use too much. Avoid large file downloads.

Other plans

For those for whom even $40 is still excessive, Amaysim does have 2 plans to compete with supercheap cap plans available from providers like TPG. Neither of these plans charges flagfalls or have any other hidden (or hard to calculate) charges:

-          Pay as Your Go – Amaysim has hearkened back to the early days before cap plans became common, charging a scant 12 cents per minute for all calls, 12c per text, and 29 cents per minute for calls to 13/1300/1800 numbers. Data is charged at 5 cents per megabyte.


This plan is best suited to those who use their phone once in a blue moon. You don’t have to pay any plan ‘fee’- whatever money you put on lasts for 90 days and counts as plan credit. So you might only pay $10 for 3 months service – but this is assuming you use almost nothing.

With this plan, $10 a month could buy you

20 minutes of calls ($2.40)

50 text messages ($6.00)

32 megabytes of data ($1.60)

Perfect for light users, and especially for people without smartphones, who can’t consume that credit with data.

 

-          $19.90 Flexi Cap – Like a traditional cap plan, with some tweaks. The $19.90 is all credit, with calls costing 9c/min, 9c per text, and 20 cents per minute to 13/1300/1800 numbers. Calls to other Amaysim numbers are free, and you get 500 MB of data.

This plan is good for the low user who wants control over their spend, but still doesn’t translate to nearly as good value as the $40 plan OR the PAYG plan. This medium usage type of user is better off looking at plans from TPG, iPrimus or directly with Optus.

Conclusion

Amaysim don’t do everything, but they seem to have locked into the exact thing that many Australians have been wanting for years – a plan that lets them know exactly what their monthly bill will be, for standard usage. Cap plans offered a mirage of this, with huge hidden costs and conditions.

But beyond the bottom line, Amaysim have done what others seem unable to do – they’ve taken all the mystery and nonsense out of purchasing a mobile phone service. And for that alone, they deserve a look-in from anyone who’d rather spend their time doing anything other than scrutinizing a mobile phone bill.

For more information or to get your Amaysim SIM card today, call 1300 302 942

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