Australian online store Kogan has officially launched its own pre-paid mobile phone service, Kogan Mobile, which will use part of Telstra's network to provide low cost mobile coverage.
The new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) claims to provide "the best deals on mobile services ever offered in the country". It offers a pre-paid plan of $29 per month which includes unlimited calls, unlimited SMS and MMS messages, unlimited voicemail and 6GB of data per month. The plan doesn't require a fixed contract.
In addition to the no contract offer of $29, Kogan Mobile offers a 90-day commitment for $79 and a 365 day full year commitment for $299, both for the same plan. The company also offers a $9.99 per month data only plan (2GB) for devices like Apple's iPad and other 3G capable tablets.
Kogan Mobile is among the first MVNO's in Australia to use the Telstra network. Most current low cost MVNO's in Australia, such as Red Bull Mobile, Amaysim and Live Connected, use either the Optus or Vodafone networks.
While Kogan uses Telstra's 850MHz 3G network to provide mobile service, however, the company will not get access to Telstra's full 3G data speeds. The Kogan Mobile service uses Telstra's wholesale 3G product, which is capped below the regular speeds of Telstra's 'Next G' network.
Kogan Mobile says it will cover 97 percent of the Australian population over 960,000 square kilometres and offers typical download speeds of between 550 kilobits per second (Kbps) and 3 megabits per second (Mbps). Typical Telstra 'Next G' download speeds range from a faster 1.1Mbps to 20Mbps and cover 99 per cent of the Australian population.
Kogan Mobile provides a "free" SIM starter kit online, but requires a $4.99 postage and handling fee to deliver the pack. Consumers can choose from a nano SIM, which supports Apple devices like the iPhone 5, the 4th Generation iPad and the iPad mini, or a standard & micro SIM which supports all other phones and tablets on the market.
The company also offers free Android and iPhone apps, which are available through Google's Play Store, and Apple's App Store, respectively. The apps allow customers to manage their Kogan Mobile account including checking balance, expiry and data usage and the ability to recharge through the app.
A screenshot of the Kogan Mobile Android app, which is now available in Google's Play Store.
The launch of Kogan Mobile comes at a time where low cost MVNO's are continually lowering their prices. Earlier this week, energy drink company Red Bull added a new post-paid plan to its mobile network that claimed to offer the most competitive rate in the Australian market. The company's Access 365 monthly plan includes unlimited calls, unlimited SMS and MMS messages and 5GB of data per month for $30, but users are required to sign up to a 12 month contract, unlike the Kogan Mobile deal.
Popular Optus MVNO Amaysim offers an unlimited plan with 4GB of data for $39.90 per month and doesn't require a lock-in contract, while Live Connected, which also uses the Optus network, sells an unlimited plan with 3GB of data for $45.
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