Mate Communicate and Barefoot Telecom are two local Internet providers that have ventured into the mobile marketplace. So now they offer ADSL and NBN connections with unlimited data, home phone services, and mobile plans. They’re evenly matched across the board. So which one deserves your hard-earned cash? Read on to find out how these two mobile plans compare!
Mate and Barefoot Go Mobile
The telco universe is a competitive place. Providers can offer everything they think their customers might want in an attempt to capture and retain a broad market share. Or they can aim for the niche market, delivering a specific set of products and services aimed at particular market segments.
Both Mate communicate and Barefoot Telecom seem to have chosen the niche route. Their speciality? Being known for straight-up broadband deals with no lock-in contracts.
Mate was founded in 2015 and seems to want to communicate with market segments who are comfortable shopping around. Mate Communicate offers an array of mid-range consumer ADSL and NBN plans with no penalties for leaving or switching, plus the option to get unlimited local and national calls.
On the other hand, Barefoot launched earlier, in 2009, starting out by offering personalised landline and Internet connection plans. They appear more focused on customers who just want hassle-free plans, and offer month-to-month contracts for ADSL, NBN, and home phone bundles. Their site reflects this, with clear options to differentiate between the services they provide.
Both Mate and Barefoot made a big splash in the home broadband market when they launched. So how does this translate to their mobile offerings?
We have all heard horror stories about getting in touch with a telco. Hours spent on the phone calling an overseas call centre trying hard to be understood over a crackling connection. The frustration involved can be one of the key points of difference for any telco. And the customer service experience can really make the difference between winning a loyal fan or turning a paying customer into an avenging spirit.
Both Mate and Barefoot have learned this lesson well and have truly exceptional customer service options. Their first big move was to make their call centre numbers clearly available on their sites, so they’re easy to find. The second — and it’s a big one — was to keep their call centres local. That’s right. Both telcos proudly boast that their service centres are “Aussie-based” with “no offshore support”. So you know that, should you need their help, your call will end up being answered by someone here in Australia. The flipside of this is that the operating hours for these centres is just 8:30 AM to 7 PM, Monday to Saturday. These are generous hours for sure, but the difference is that you can’t call whenever you want.
But you can still get in touch and leave a message anytime. One way is to use the “Leave us a message” option that’s present on every page on both their sites. This lets you leave a quick question or query for the service centre staff to read and reply to. You can also ask questions via both Facebook and Twitter. From our research, it seems that Mate is the more active of the two, posting new statuses daily, as well as responding to customer enquiries on both channels.
You can also get in touch via email, with addresses displayed clearly on their Contact pages. Or, if you’re more traditionally minded, you can send snail mail to their PO Boxes. Which are interesting when you look at them side by side — but more on that later.
Both Mate and Barefoot offer SIM-only mobile plans for a decent rate. For just $29/month, you can get unlimited national calls, SMS, and MMS to both landline numbers and Australian mobiles. These plans are month-to-month so you can try one out for a bit and if you don’t like it, you can drop it without penalty.
You also get a generous 10GB of data per month. If you do go over, no big deal — you can get bolt-on data in 1GB increments for just $10. The original 10GB is more than enough to scroll the day away, but like most consumer plans this stops short of offering a true mobile data package.
Is 10GB enough for your mobile data usage? Mate and Barefoot think so. Photo: Supplied
Speaking of remote, the plans are both fixed to the Telstra network. As the country’s largest telecom provider, this means your more likely to have reception where and when you need it.
There’s just one caveat. These plans are not available as standalone options. They are only available to broadband customers, and neither Mate or Barefoot will ship you a SIM card without an active account on file. Both Mate and Barefoot make it clear in their critical information summary (CIS) sheets that if there is no internet service “active on your account at the time of billing” then they will charge you a minimum monthly rate of $59.
It should also be noted that both Mate and Barefoot charge $10 for the SIM delivery.
As mentioned before, both Mate and Barefoot offer unlimited calls, texting, and even picture messaging as standard. For $29/month on the Telstra network, that’s almost unheard of.
If you’re thinking of switching to either Mate or Barefoot’s mobile plan and want to keep your number, you can do so via the online SIM activation processes both companies make available through their websites.
The 10GB of data each month is also a nice perk, letting you watch a title or two before you run low.
On top of that, both Mate and Barefoot offer 120 minutes of international calls every month. These are for both landlines and mobiles in selected countries, with only Canada and the USA restricted to landline-only calls.
Again, both Mate and Barefoot are neck-and-neck. Not only do they both offer unlimited data —– their prices are evenly matched across all the services they provide.
Choosing Between Barefoot and Mate
It’s clear to see that these two offerings are evenly matched, with both Mate and Barefoot offering the exact same mobile plans at the same rates. They both keep local call centres, which keep the same operational hours.
Have you guessed why? A quick look at the PO Box addresses mentioned earlier might help.
Both Mate and Barefoot share a PO Box. Because they’re owned by the same company.
So should it matter if you go with Mate or Barefoot?
In our view, there’s no obvious disparity between the two offerings. According to our review, the only clear points of difference are that Mate appears more active on social media while Barefoot was founded earlier.
When it comes to these two mobile offerings, they are almost identical. Which means the question is less about picking a company, and more about deciding if these deals are worth your time.
On the face of it, these plans are both great deals. But the fact that you need to be a broadband customer to access them makes these mobile plans less of an impulse purchase and more of an optional extra for new or existing customers who plan to stay with these companies over the long term.
Want to see how Mate and Barefoot stack up against other mobile providers? Check out the table below!