Review: Telstra Every Day Connect Data Share Package

Telstra’s new Every Day Connect Data Share Packages are aimed squarely at a particularly narrow niche in the consumer market, namely those who enjoy long plan names, want to share their mobile data, and don’t mind paying rather too much money for the privilege. They must also not be aware that their smartphones can function as a Wifi hotspot.

Every Day Connect plans are Telstra’s basic consumer level mobile phone plans, based around the standard cap model. You know the drill: you pay a monthly fee, for which you are given a bunch of credit in imaginary money and a pool of mobile data. The new Data Share Packages are then added on top of that. Here’s a video in which someone who absolutely wasn’t cast for her looks explains it:

The crux is that by paying an extra $10 per month you can unlock the data included on your plan, such that it can now be shared. Unfortunately there’s nothing to share it with until you spend another $10 to add a second device, like a tablet or another phone. Thus the very modest amount of data included on a standard Telstra plan can be spread between two devices for an additional $20. Up to three devices can be added, for $10 each. Each new device comes with an additional 100Mb of data, which at LTE speeds can be devoured in seconds. If you sign up before December 31 this year, you get an extra 1Gb, which almost makes it worthwhile.

Making it less worthwhile is the fact that there are already ways to achieve same outcome without cost, since most smartphones can be easily turned into a Wifi hotspot, which you can then connect a number of tablets and laptops. This is all free, and simple. The downside is that you must have your devices all in close proximity, whereas Telstra’s new shared package allows somewhat more flexibility.

These new plans are, I’d imagine, aimed at users who use minimal data, yet really want to have that modest amount accessible on multiple devices, and are willing to pay for it. If you have, say, a Nexus 7 4G that you’re currently paying for a second Telstra data plan on, then these new shared plans would conceivably represent a saving. But the amount of data included is paltry: the idea itself is worthy, but the cost is unreasonable.

The lowest existing Every Day Connect plan ($60) was already very poor value by industry standards. There are many cheaper plans on rival carriers offering ‘unlimited’ talk and text, and larger data allowances. Of course those plans don’t use Telstra’s LTE network, and Telstra customers have always understood they’re paying for a premium product. But there are limits, and this is looking like a return to the bad old Next G days of $89 1Gb data plans.

There was a time when Telstra were the only player in town for mobile data, but no longer. Both Optus and Vodafone both have LTE networks now, and the former resells its services through MVNOs at very budget rates. Optus has also said they are looking at providing a way of unlocking consumer mobile plans for sharing.

Our advice is to steer clear of the new Every Day Connect Data Share Packages: they're expensive, limiting, and mostly redundant.