In the intensely competitive Australian mobile market, the battle for superiority over value for money in voice calls and text has long reached a kind of truce. Almost all providers now offer unlimited calls and texts on some plans – and in some cases, on all of them. Where the real difference between mobile providers lies is an area that has arguably become even more important to our mobile lives than ever before – data. So which is better in this department, Yomojo or Boost? We investigate.
With smartphones and tablets almost as powerful and flexible as the computers, we’re relying on mobile data more than ever before. It could be the mundane everyday sort of usage, such as connected apps – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat etc – constantly pulling down data from the network via push notifications. It could be the mobile web browser that we turn to for increasingly complex and data-hungry interactive web pages. Or it could be the new frontier of entertainment, streaming video and audio from Netflix, Apple Music and Spotify. Cloud storage means that every time you take a photo, your phone automatically sends a copy to the cloud for safekeeping. The list goes on and on. If you ever found yourself without any available data on your device, you know how restrictive and painful that can be.
While we probably caught your attention with those three words, the reality in Australia is simple. Unlimited mobile data plans do not exist – and for the foreseeable future, they probably never will. In the US, where “unlimited data” plans have become something many companies advertise, the fine print tells the real story. You’re actually dealing with a data connection where streaming video quality is limited unless you pay extra. Where your connection is “de-prioritised” in favour of customers on set limits. And where you’re rolled back to 2G speed once you pass your “high speed allocation”. If you’ve never tried 2G mobile data, think about how fast things were back when you had dial-up internet.
In Australia, our three fast 4G networks remain fast because everyone using them has a limit on how much of the total available capacity they can use. You tend to think twice before doing something truly data-hungry on your mobile connection. But you don’t want to feel restricted, either. Ideally, you should look for a mobile plan with a data limit that’s big enough for your needs, yet still affordable.
That’s where budget providers like Boost and Yomojo come in.
Operating for many years in Australia, Boost Mobile is a brand that’s earned recognition through their customer-friendly mobile lineup. An identical-looking Boost Mobile exists in the US, but they’re a completely separate company. However, it’s only relatively recently that Boost has changed their game plan and moved over to the Telstra 4G network. They’re now one of only a handful of third-party providers to use the network that’s considered by many to be Australia’s best. Boost’s array of plans distinguish themselves by one major metric – the amount of data they offer per month. And the way they offer it is unlike other providers, too.
Yomojo does things a little differently as well. Running on Optus’s excellent 4G Plus network, they market themselves on the amount of choice you have. This can go as far as letting you personally tailor your mobile plan by using sliders to pick the amount of calls, text, and data that you pay for each month. Unlike Boost, though, they offer dedicated mobile broadband plans in addition to conventional voice/text plans with an associated data cap. These can be extremely handy in some cases.
Let’s take a look at what each company has to offer for the data-hungry but value-conscious consumer.
One thing’s clear right from the moment you land on Boost Mobile’s site – they’re keeping things extremely simple. There are only five Boost prepaid deals to choose from. Unless you only need a mobile service for a week, we can eliminate the cheapest plan – a $10, 7-day offering that’s more suited to travellers who are after unlimited calls for a short time.
So your choices here are between plans priced at $20, $30, $40 and $50. They have banner headline data inclusions of 3GB, 6GB, 15GB, and 30GB, respectively. But that’s not quite the end of the story – you need to recharge actively every 28 days with the data allowances going down from 3GB to 2.5GB, 6GB to 5GB, and 30GB to 20GB. Meanwhile, the 15GB data under the $40 plan remains the same.
Data rollover is also available — meaning you can save any unused data to use on your next recharge, but this feature only applies to $30, $40, and $50 recharges. Moreover, there are two Boost Add-ons ($5 and $15) you can use to purchase extras that are not included in your recharge, like calls to non-standard numbers. An active recharge between $10 and $50 is required to use Add-on.
Is it a bad thing? Absolutely not. Remember, you’re getting access to the Telstra network here, without a contract and with unlimited calls. The $40 Boost plan actually outdoes Telstra’s own contract plan at the same price point, for example. It has the same data inclusion (though Telstra often includes bonus data) and unlimited calls, not to mention unlimited international calls to 15 countries.
For the time being, there aren’t any dedicated Boost data plans, but we’d love to see them do something in that department for tablet and laptop users in the future.
Oh, and one other thing – for Apple Music subscribers, streaming music through that service on Boost is completely data-free. Listen as long as you want and you won’t use up a single byte of your data allowance.
Being able to grab some sliders and hand-tailor your mobile plan to suit your personal needs sounds very appealing. But as someone who’s looking for a plan with a decent data allowance at the best price, you’d be best off ignoring those options entirely. Instead, head for the Yomojo mobile plans and their unlimited calls and text with the exception of their lowest plan. That takes care of basic communications and lets you focus on the data you need.
Yomojo’s generously distributed unlimited plans come in six flavours, starting at a tiny $9.90 for 30 days and ramping up to $89.90. Yomojo’s plans are postpaid and auto-renew until you cancel. You’ll want to keep an eye on that to avoid being billed again if you no longer want to use the service.
At the bottom end of the scale, the $9.90 plan provides a fairly meagre 1GB of data. Plenty for the casual mobile user, but quite easy to chew through if you’re into anything a bit more data-hungry. Move up to $15.90 and that jumps to a still measly 2GB. You’ll need to get to the next plan, the $29.90, in order to get a comfortable 8GB data allowance. More than enough for most moderate users. And remember, unless you’re doing potentially data-chewing things like tethering your phone to your laptop or binge-watching Netflix on the train, you’re unlikely to be able to easily go through 8GB in a month.
Next on the lineup is the $34.90 plan delivering 15GB. Now that should give you peace of mind while browsing on the go. For those champion data users that can easily hit 15GB, the two highest plans are the place to be. At $59.90 you get a hefty 30GB. And if that’s still not enough, you may as well throw in an extra $30 to triple the data to a whopping 90GB. No more worrying about pesky limits! However, it’s also important to note that both plans run on 3G.
These plans are all very well priced for the amount of data you get. But if you want even more, Yomojo has another option – data-only mobile broadband plans. These are SIMs designed for use in a tablet, a laptop computer or even plugged into a 4G-capable wi-fi router. They are dedicated solely to data. There are no calls included and even though you can stick these in your phone to make use of the data, the voice and text features of the phone won’t be able to do anything with them.
If a data-only SIM suits your needs, though, the value is astronomical once you hit the $45.90 price point. You get a chunky 15GB to play with – and it goes up from there. $69.90 increases that to 50GB, and an extra $16 on top of that takes the limit up to 70GB. That’s a lot of data for one month, and should be sufficient to satisfy even the tablet or laptop power user as the main broadband plan where there’s nothing wired available. But if you don’t need much for an extra, you can settle on the $15.90 plan with 3GB of data.
Which one fits your data needs?
There’s no doubt about it – for sheer volume of data versus price, Yomojo’s got the upper hand. But don’t write off Boost just yet. For one thing, if you’d rather be on the Telstra network, Boost is one of the few options outside Telstra themselves. Plus, it’s also price-competitive with the telecommunications giant. If you’re looking for a decent amount of fast data and you’re into streaming music, like all the time, Boost’s plans could be a perfect fit.
If it’s sheer data volume you’re looking for, meanwhile, Yomojo’s certainly got that covered with some very well priced mobile plans. And if you’re connecting something other than a phone, the range of Yomojo data plans is hard to beat, with a price point to suit almost everyone.
One thing’s for sure, though. Getting access to fast mobile broadband in Australia no longer costs a fortune. In a data-driven world, that’s very good news indeed.