Add up the add-ons

As com­pe­ti­tion in­ten­si­fies, tel­cos are of­fer­ing ex­tras in their plans, but beware the costs, writes So­phie Elsworth

The Western Star - - MONEY SAVER -

TRA­DI­TIONAL mo­bile phone plans are be­com­ing a thing of the past as telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies ramp up their of­fer­ings to con­sumers who can add items to their plans.

In an Aus­tralian first, Op­tus last week launched mo­bile broad­band plans on the lat­est Ap­ple Watch de­vice and more of these cut­ting-edge deals are ex­pected to hit the mar­ket.

Tel­cos are mov­ing to­wards be­ing a one-stop shop for con­sumers, lur­ing them in with more goods on top of a typ­i­cal hand­set plan. This in­cludes tack­ing on iPads, airPods, drones, phone cases and charg­ers to a phone con­tract.

Com­pe­ti­tion has been fierce among busi­nesses vy­ing for a big­ger slice of mar­ket share, and con­sumers are ben­e­fit­ing.

Op­tus’s lat­est smart­watch of­fer­ing gives cus­tomers the abil­ity to sign up to an Ap­ple Watch on the 4G net­work and take out a 3GB or 10GB plan start­ing from $35 a month.

Op­tus head of prod­uct Shawn Van Graan said the com­pany was work­ing hard to boost value for cus­tomers “whether it be con­tent, data in­clu­sions or de­vices”.

“Cus­tomers are time poor; they don’t want to go around from shop to shop, they want to have the abil­ity to pur­chase prod­ucts rel­e­vant to them in as few des­ti­na­tions as pos­si­ble,” he said.

Telco com­par­i­son web­site WhistleOut’s spokesman, Joseph Han­lon, said cus­tomers should ex­pect more of­fer­ings on top of their ex­ist­ing plans.

“The more that our gad­gets be­come 4G and 5G-ready, the more we can ex­pect to see them sit­ting side by side with smart­phones in our lo­cal telco stores,” he said.

Lat­est data from Tel­syte’s smart­phone and wear­able de­vices study found about

15 per cent of smart­phone users are now us­ing a smart­watch.

Mr Han­lon warned that be­fore con­sumers signed up to any smart­phone or smart­watch deal with ex­tras, they should be mind­ful the costs would add up.

“You have to make sure you are get­ting a good deal,” he said.

“And the same thing goes for hand­sets – can you go to another re­tailer and buy a phone out­right for cheaper?”

Tel­stra has ramped up its add-ons, al­low­ing cus­tomers to throw in any­thing from Ap­ple airPods to iPad key­boards to wire­less phone charg­ers.

Tel­stra act­ing group ex­ec­u­tive of con­sumer and small busi­ness Michael Ack­land said this would give “cus­tomers the per­sonal choice to add fea­tures they value to their ser­vice”.

Voda­fone also has ex­tras for cus­tomers and has launched ac­ces­sory-spe­cific cat­a­logues to get cus­tomers to spend up.

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