Supermarket giant Aldi to launch budget phone plans
Who's saying what
Words: Glenda Kwek
Mobile phone users hunting around for a better deal are about to get another option with Aldi preparing to take on the major telcos with a budget service.
The German supermarket chain, which has stores across Europe, the United States, Britain and Australia, will launch ALDImobile on Wednesday, an Aldi spokeswoman confirmed.
ALDImobile will reportedly use Telstra's mobile network, joining Kogan Mobile as yet another "mobile virtual network operator" - a telecommunications provider that does not have its own spectrum.
The spokeswoman was unable to reveal further details about the pricing plans, but Channel Nine's A Current Affair reported that there would be two plans - a $15 plan with $30 of credit, including calls for 12 cents a minute, voicemail and SMS, and a $35 plan with unlimited calls, voicemail, SMS and 4GB of data.
Kogan uses Telstra's Next G's primary 850 MHz network, with 97 per cent coverage. Telstra offers its direct customers 99 per cent coverage.
Telstra also supplies its network to Boost Mobile, another pre-paid mobile provider that used to be on the Optus network.
Foad Fadaghi of technology analyst firm Telsyte said Telstra's strategy of bringing people to its network through resellers, without directly competing on price with providers such as Vodafone, could prove to be effective.
"There was talk many years ago of Telstra introducing a budget brand, but this sort of strategy of going through a reseller is a clever one, in that they don't need to dilute their own brand, yet they can still attack their competitors from up high," Mr Fadaghi said.
Mr Fadaghi said the growth in the network operator space - which has also seen the likes of Woolworths and Australia Post join in - has come as Vodafone struggles and loses customers.
"In this sort of marketplace, a lot of companies are rubbing their hands and seeing an opportunity to sweep in, particularly if they are reselling Telstra," he said.
Mr Fadaghi added that as more customers move over to the 4G network, the burden on the 3G network would be lifted, opening up opportunities for such resellers to tap into Telstra's capacity.
The article initially appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.