Vaya has made good on its price beat guarantee by unveiling the nation’s cheapest phone plan.
The budget telco, which resells access to the Optus network, announced last week its new 30-day prepaid Unlimited S plan, which offers unlimited calls, unlimited text messages and 1GB of data for $16.
This appears to beat its nearest price competitor, Kogan, which runs on the Vodafone network. Kogan’s comparable 30-day prepaid plan offers unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of data for $16.95.
The cheapest comparable 30-day prepaid plan offered by the big three telcos is Virgin’s $30 option, which offers unlimited talk, unlimited text and 1.5GB of data. Vodafone also offers a $30 plan with unlimited calls and texts and 0.5GB.
A phone comparison expert told The New Daily it was no surprise Vaya had trumped the low-cost market, given its recent price beat guarantee.
“Vaya’s been heading in this direction for a while,” WhistleOut editor Joe Hanlon said.
“Because it’s the cheapest on the market, it’s a great place to start, especially if you are escaping a really high-price contract plan.”
The Unlimited S plan could be most appealing to first-time users of prepaid plans, or parents paying for their children’s plans, Mr Hanlon said.
“With unlimited calls and messages, you can give it to your kid and you don’t have to worry about if they can be in contact with you. And then, if they run out of data, they run out of data.”
Australians seem to be flocking to the freedom of prepaid plans like those offered by Vaya. Sydney-based analyst firm Telsyte calculated in June that 51.7 per cent of Australian phone users are on non-contract plans. These require the user to bring their own phone, but do not lock them in for long periods of time.
But for those who care more about price than freedom, Vaya has an even cheaper option. Customers can prepay the Unlimited S plan for 12 months for an upfront fee of $174, which drops the average monthly fee to $14.50.
The reason for such low prices is that Vaya is a “price fighter”, a spokeswoman told The New Daily.
“With our price beat guarantee, we’ve gone out to Aussies to let them know we’re really serious about prices and great value plans,” Vaya marketing manager Jennifer Snell said.
“When we were looking at our plans suite, one of the things we noticed is that there are some people who want the freedom and safety of having unlimited calls and texts, but they just didn’t necessarily want data.”
The Unlimited S is a repackaged plan. To get its price down from $20 to $16, Vaya cut its data allowance from 1.5GB to 1GB.
Customers who exceed the 1GB threshold are automatically charged $10 for every additional gigabyte.
If an Unlimited S customer were to pay for an additional 1GB, they would be getting less value than Unlimited M customers, who receive 2GB and unlimited calls and texts for $22 (or $19 for the first three months).
WhistleOut’s Mr Hanlon cautioned potential customers to be wary of these excess data charges: “It’d be really easy for that plan to become $26 in the first month if it doesn’t work out to be enough.”
The Vaya spokeswoman confirmed that customers can call its customer service hotline on 1300 008 292 to ask for the automatic data renewal feature to be switched off. She also said customers receive usage alerts when they use 50, 85 and 100 per cent of their data allowance.
The back story
Vaya is the Sydney-based subsidiary of Amaysim (listed on the ASX as ‘ASY’), which bought it out in January 2016 for $70 million.
Amaysim triggered a price war with its entrance into the market in 2010. It was modelled on Simyo, a budget telco that disrupted the European market. Amaysim’s trademark offer of unlimited calls and texts inspired similar products across Australia.
Amaysim CEO Julian Ogrin told The New Daily at the time of the takeover that his strategy was for Amaysim to compete with “the big guys” like Telstra and Optus, while Vaya took on other “price fighters” like Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and TPG.
The New Daily approached Kogan, previously the cheapest telco, for comment.