Saturday, August 27, 2011

Best Value Unlimited Broadband

Two years ago, I stupidly signed a 24 months contract with a Telstra telemarketer for a very low value Bigpond plan that only offers ADSL1 at a download speed of 1500Kbps and monthly data allowance of 12GB. I was excited when this plan expired in June this year. Learning from this unhappy experience, I vow to be wiser this time, do more research and become very wary of plans that tie you for a long duration of time.

I am a heavy internet user so I was searching for the best value unlimited broadband plan on the market. TGP often advertises its $29.99 ADSL2+ Unlimited Plan in the MX newspapers. However, this plan is not offered for the Altona area. It does offer a ADSL1 Off-Net 8Mbps Unlimited Plan for $69.99 a month. Dodo also offers an unlimited ADSL2+ Plan for $39.90 a month. However, this is too unavailable for Altona. I finally settled on Clubtelco which offers an unlimited ADSL2+ Plan for $50 a month. A great attraction of this plan is that it is on a month to month commitment so you can leave the ISP at any time. When bundled with its home phone, you get a 5% discount off the total bill. I had switched over to Clubtelco for about a week and I am so far happy with the service. I was delighted that it only took about 3-4 days for my landline and broadband to be ported and churned over to Clubtelco.

When I compiled the table below, I realized that you may also consider Optus Home Phone & Broadband bundle, which costs $64.94 and includes $30 of value for its home phone. However, this plan does not offer unlimited data and is on a 24 months contract. I guess 120 GB is sufficient for most people. What I have read is that Cable broadband is more reliable in speed than ADSL2+, which depends on the distance between your place and the exchange.

You can check your internet speed by using this site1 or site2. I have obtained vastly different speeds from the 2 sites and I do not know which gives a more reliable result.

I find the home phone rental silly as you are paying around $30 a month even if you do not use the home phone much. You could save this cost by opting for what is called the Naked DSL, in which you can have a standalone ADSL broadband without a landline service. However, I believe that Naked DSL is not being offered in Altona. 

BigpondOptusTGPDodoClubtelco
PlanElite 200GB LibertyHome Phone & Broadband $64.94 PlanADSL Off-Net 8M Unlimited
ADSL2+ Unlimited Regional
Club Unlimited
TypeADSL2+/CableNot written on website. Cable?ADSLADSL2+ADSL2+
Speed20/1Mbps (ADSL2)
30/1Mbps (Cable)
Not written8Mbps/384KbpsADSL2+ADLS2+ or ADLS1Max
Data200GB (no peak or off-peak)120GB (50GB peak + 70GB off-peak)UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
ShapingSlow to 256kbpsSlow to 128kbpsNoNoNo
Contract24 monthsMonth to Month (Standalone)
24 months (Bundled with Home Phone)
6 monthsMonth to Month (+$99)
12 months (+$69)
24 months (no setup fee)
Month to Month
Monthly Price (Standalone)$99.95 (12 months contract)$89.94$69.99$69.90$50/month + $50 annual fee
Monthly Price (Bundled with Home Phone)$99 (includes home phone rental)$64.94 (includes home phone rental)Not available$59.905% discount on total bills
InclusionT-BoxModem + Handset-Modem-
Phone Monthly RentalHomeLine Budget Plan $14.95 Home Phone Plan with $30 of included valueNot available$30$30
Total monthly cost (broadband+phone rental)$99$64.94$69.99 + Home phone rental$89.90$80.20

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cheapest Prepaid Mobile Plans

I have been trying to reduce our living costs, including telecommunication expenses. As my mobile usage is low, I have been using the Optus "Long Expiry (6 months) Prepaid Plan". Only recently after doing some market research, I switched over to Amaysim "As You Go Plan" which offers a much better deal. However, I soon discovered an even cheaper option, the "Savvy Lite Plan" offered by a company called Savvytel.

Savvytel has another plan highly suitable for people who make occasional calls. This is called the "Call Credits Never Expire" plan, which I believe is the only Australian prepaid mobile plan in which you do not lose your credits if you do not recharge or make a phone call.

Amaysim offers a highly-acclaimed Unlimited Plan which includes unlimited calls, SMS, MMS and 4 GB of data for $39.90 a month. With a 30-day commitment, you are not locked into a long-term contract. Amaysim is currently not offering handsets so this is a SIM-only plan in which you need to bring your own mobile.

The table below shows the comparison between the 3 plans, which all use the Optus 3G network.


OptusAmaysimSavvytel
PlanLong Expiry CapAs You GoSavvy Lite
NetworkOptus 3GOptus 3GOptus 3G
Standard Call89c/min12c/min10c/min
Standard SMS29c/SMS12c/SMS12c/SMS
Standard MMS75c/MMS49c/MMS35c/MMS
Data$2/MB5c/MB5c/MB
13/15/18 numbersNot sure 29c/min10c/min
Flagfall/Connection Fee 39c/call00
Voicemail Retrieval89c/min
+ 39c flagfall
15c/min10c/min
Expiry Period186 days90 days90 days
Minimum Recharge$30 (gives credit
$50 any network +
$100 Optus mobiles)
$15$10
Credit RolloverYesYesYes
ContractNoNoNo
Free Social Network AccessNoFree unlimited
access to Facebook,
Twitter, LinkedIn,
MySpace, eBay & Foursquare
No


I will discuss about landline, ADSL, VoIP and postpaid mobile plans, with particular emphasis on the Altona area, in future posts.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Free Admission to Melbourne Zoos for Children

From 1 July 2011, children under 16 years old has free admission to Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo on weekends, Victorian public holidays and Victorian school holidays (Ref 1).

This is the delivering of part of a $10.7 million election promise to subsidize zoo entry fees for an estimated 266,000 kids (Ref 2).

This constitutes considerable savings to families with kids as the normal ticket for a 4-15 years old child will cost $12.60 (Ref 3). You can also join the annual "Friends of the Zoos Membership" which allows unlimited entry into the zoos and reciprocal free access to interstate zoos (Ref 4).

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Seeking Job Opportunities

Today I have been informed by my employer that due to budgetary constraints, my contract will not be renewed at the end of the year. This means I have slightly less than 5 months to seek a new job or less since December is a switched-off period for most employers.

As I am doing this blog as a hobby during my spare time, I guess I will now use most of my spare time to search and apply for jobs. Hence, it is unlikely I will be able to add new content as frequently as the past. Though this is something that I will miss doing, I now have a more important and urgent priority. I hope to be able to find a new job quickly, to settle in it and to have the spare time to post again. I may still post occasionally if I need a break from the job search. Otherwise please be patient for new content as I am not forsaking this blog.

Anyone who knows of job openings, I will be very grateful if you can inform me by emailing me at anton.ang@gmail.com. For those who are following my posts, you will have gathered the management of this blog and its content creation requires considerable writing, communication, research, planning, design, conceptual, organizational, analytical, problem-solving, creative, aesthetic, thinking and IT skills.

I consider myself good in researching, organizing, collating, processing, analyzing and presenting information. I am pretty resourceful and can view things from different perspectives. Hence, I should be able to perform well in those positions requiring such skills. I am flexible and open to the categories of jobs. Remuneration is not a very important consideration. What is important is the job should provide opportunities for growth and career progression. I will provide my resume and referee details upon request.

Last but not least, wish me good luck! Thank you very much.


Best regards,
Anthony Ang