Your Telco’s Mobile Phone Plan is Broken

February 18, 2011

Like most others in my generation, I’ve grown up with a mobile phone and have accepted the fact that SMS and outbound GSM calls cost what they cost.

The way the Telco’s advertise their plans and rates, they are able to ‘brainwash’ the public into thinking whether the cost of an SMS or a GSM phone call is cheap or expensive.

Here are a couple of offerings from 3 Australian Telcos.

‘Bonus $100 on your first recharge each six months’

Woah, I get $100 just by recharging? Hang on, its not $100 in cash is it?

No. Its $100 worth of calls where the cost of each call is determined by an internal company committee whose main agenda is to deliver higher profits to the company and its shareholders.

What if your committee decides to bump the cost of a single call to $100? Do I get a grand total of 1 call if I recharge every 6 months?

‘I pay $149. I get $1,250 flexible credit + $1,250 telco to telco credit which equals $2,500 of total value. Plus I get 5GB and social networking.’

Holy smokes Batman. $2,500 of total value for $149. I’ll take 5 thanks. I’m sure I can sell these to 5 friends making a handsome profit of $11,755.

No. The $2,500 of value is made up of SMS, calls and data which can only be used on your network. The value of each piece of data, call and SMS is determined by your company.

‘$99 Plan includes $1,000 of standard national calls & SMS/MMS to any network + 2GB of data’

OK, I’ve already been burnt by the first 2 plans.

I know that your company dictates the cost of a ‘standard national call’ so I’ll just use $1,000 of SMS.

At $0.25 for each SMS, I can get a total of 4,000 SMSs on this plan for $99. That’s way more SMSs than I need.

As long as I use the GSM 7 bit character set, the SMSs I send will have a maximum of 160 characters which compressed takes 140 bytes.

140 bytes multiplied by 4,000 = 546 kilobytes.

For $99 a month I get to send 546 kilobytes of data to any phone on any network.

Where do I sign up?

image by liam-manic

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