The future of mobile phone and internet service in Australia is now in doubt after the Federal Government announced that it would be scrapping the $10-a-month ‘unlimited’ mobile data allowance, known as 2G, for businesses.
Key points:The Federal Government will scrap the mobile data unlimited allowance in 2020The move will save customers $5 on their bill in 2020This is the biggest change to mobile phone prices in more than two decades The Federal Government is now calling the move ‘a win-win’ for businesses and consumers.
The Government’s decision to scrap the unlimited mobile data cap, known colloquially as 2Gs, came after months of negotiations between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and telcos, which had been negotiating over how the allowance should be structured.
As a result of the deal, Australians will be able to get unlimited mobile broadband from Telstra for $10 per month from June 1.
The move was welcomed by the industry and the Coalition Government, but the decision has left many consumers scratching their heads.
“The Government is taking action that will save consumers billions of dollars in their 2018-19 bills,” said Mark Brown, general manager of communications at the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
“[The Government] is putting our phone customers first, so that’s a win-lose situation.”
Mr Brown said it was a win for consumers, but he said that many consumers were not happy with the move.
He said that it was unclear how many people would actually benefit from the decision.
Mr Brown says the decision to stop unlimited data was not a ‘win-win’: ”Many consumers will see their monthly bills go down but the telcos and the Government will benefit from this decision.
“It’s a very good result for consumers.
I think they’ll see savings and some of those savings will be reinvested into them.”
However, he said some customers would likely lose out, with some telcos having to lower their prices.
“I think we’re seeing some very negative comments from customers who’ve had to lower the price on their broadband because they can’t afford to,” he said.
It was a ‘sad moment’ for many Australians, but for many consumers the changes are a “win-loser”, Mr Brown said.
“If you were to look at the numbers, a lot of Australians are happy with this, but many others will have to lower what they pay to access the Internet, because they’ll have to pay more for their phone.”
So, I think that’s going to be a very sad moment for some of the smaller businesses that have been hurt the most.
“The NBN will still be a benefit to Australians in 2020As for who would benefit from having a lower price for their service, Mr Brown explained that the Government had already invested $1 billion into the NBN, which would still be in place in 2020.
Under the agreement, Telstra will have the right to increase prices to cover the cost of upgrading the network and to offer discounts to businesses, such as discounts on their phone bills.
However Telstra has been able to negotiate a lower monthly rate, which Mr Brown says will be less than what is offered to businesses.