Add up the add-ons
As competition intensifies, telcos are offering extras in their plans, but beware the costs, writes Sophie Elsworth
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.