Seniors Broadband Plans: How to Save without a Pensioner's Discount

One of the great things about getting older – aside from having a lot more time to do the things you want to do – is the Seniors Card which the various state governments issue to older Australians, usually from the age of 60. These cards give a range of benefits ranging from cheaper public transport to discounts at various businesses. But when it comes to broadband, the discounts are fairly scarce (perhaps not surprising in what is already an incredibly competitive market).

The only provider prominently offering a broadband plan especially for Seniors Card holders is Westnet, a provider owned by TPG but operating as its own entity. They offer seniors a $39.99/month plan on NBN (at the lowest speed, 12 Mbps) that comes with 50GB of data, 24/7 support, a free wi-fi modem and spam protection. It’s a $20/month discount on the cheapest NBN plan available to all from the same ISP – though that plan offers ten times the monthly download limit.

So can we do better than that without the Seniors Card? You bet we can!

Telstra brings simplicity

Telstra has been a mainstay for all things telecommunications in this country. They have a long history of providing quality services — both in terms of delivery and support. All backed up by having the biggest network in the country. Chances are they’re the ones already providing your phone line. So it makes sense to bundle your internet and your phone line rental with a quality provider — at least until the NBN becomes available.

On that front, Telstra offers a simple deal — $69/month for 100GB of data, with pay-as-you-go calls included. This bundle is NBN-network-ready, so when the time comes to make the transition, Telstra will make it as seamless as possible.

While they don’t offer discounts on broadband, Telstra does offer discounts for seniors on eligible home phone services. If you have a Centrelink Pension Card or a Veterans’ Affairs Pension Card, Telstra can offer discounts on connection charges (in some cases), home phone calls, and fee waivers for credit card processing fees and paper bill fees.

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Don’t Forget Your Mate!

Relatively new company Mate Communicate has some pretty keen pricing for its ADSL customers, of which there are still plenty; their unlimited-data City Mates plan is only $49 a month, or for those living further out from the cities, Country Mates provides that same unlimited data for $59. For these, you’ll need the have your home phone line already connected to the Telstra network – which most people already do. There are no contracts and no setup fees, making this one a good starting option if you’re wanting to try out a new provider without locking yourself into an expensive contract. On top of that, their call centre is located in Australia, so if you do find yourself needing to chat with someone about your internet connection, you know your call won’t get shifted overseas.

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Belong = Flexibility

Another relative newcomer in the Australian broadband landscape, Belong aim to deliver high-quality flexible internet services at low cost, letting you customise your broadband plans to suit your needs. For example, a Basic nbn plan with unlimited data on a basic speed plan (12 Mbps) is just $55 month for 12 months. Want contract-free? That’s just another $5 a month. How about a faster connection? The Standard Plus speed tier (50 Mbps) is just $10 more per month, while the Premium (100 Mbps) is $30 more.And it’s similar with ADSL2+, where the prices start at $55/month for 100GB. This lets you build an internet package that gives you what you want, and helps you avoid paying for what you don’t need.

Get control of your internet with iPrimus

Already know what you need from your broadband or nbn plan? Want control over what you’re getting and how you use it? Then iPrimus is the option for you. iPrimus delivers well-balanced ADSL2+ and nbn plans, with entry-level plans start at $70 per month for 100GB of data. But  it’s the extras that really make them stand out. All iPrimus plans come with the ability to pause the internet connection — great for getting people off their devices at meal-times. Or if you’re going away on holiday, you can pause your bill until you come back. What if you have family coming around? You can turn up the speed on your nbn plan, or increase the data cap and pay the difference for that period. Running low on data? Once a year you can get unlimited data for no extra cost for an entire month. This makes iPrimus a great option if you want to keep costs down, but also want to provide for family and friends over the holidays.

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Budget Conscious? Try Southern Phone

If you’re focusing on keeping costs down, another great option is the range of NBN plans offered by Southern Phone. This local company has offerings starting at just $45 per month for 100GB at 12 Mbps – a great data allowance at that price point. A wi-fi modem is included, and for $5 more per month you can bump that data allowance up to 200GB, or $10 more for a whopping 500GB. Southern Phone is a completely Australian-based company that not only employs Australians in all their customer-facing departments but is also owned entirely by regional local councils.  All of their profits go right back into the community – there are no private shareholders to worry about.

If you’re in a remote regional area that’s not serviced by the NBN, you can access Southern Phone’s “Skymuster” satellite plans which offer 12 Mbps speeds with data allowances starting at 70GB for $38/month, or 120GB for $45/month. You’ll need to supply your own WiFI modem (or buy one for a one-off $99 cost) but the satellite dish and installation is all done at no cost to you.

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Remember to Compare for the Best Prices

As the examples here show, while there’s not a lot of interest from Internet providers in doing special Seniors Card discounts, the prices of their regular plans can get so low that you’re ultimately going to be saving more money anyway. The key to pensioners saving more money is to shop around – if you’ve got any questions about a particular provider’s service, give them a call – you’ll get a good sense of what they’re like when you chat to them, too. And if you’re relatively new to the Internet, go for a plan with no contract – that way, if you find out you need more data each month, or a faster connection, you can jump onto that without having to pay a penalty.