Over the past few years, everyone who uses mobile phones, home phones and broadband has seen first-hand the benefits that true competition brings. Providers all want your business and hard-earned dollars. But what if you live in an area where you don’t have that much choice when it comes to providers? Southern Phone is trying to fix that.
Competition works out brilliantly for customers, needless to say. Just a few short years ago, the idea of having unlimited national calls and texts – and even unlimited international calls – on a mobile service would have been unthinkable. These days, it’s almost universal. Data caps on mobile have increased, and broadband data limits have similarly gone upwards towards true “unlimited”. It’s a great time to be a communications customer.
Unless, that is, you happen to live outside of Australia’s big cities with their vast populations. In smaller centres and across regional Australia, the story hasn’t been quite so earth-shattering. With Australia’s vast land mass to contend with, most providers either don’t bother providing services in regional areas at all, or re-sell services from the few companies that do – at a price premium. It’s why you’ll see two prices for ADSL services from some providers, for example – one for the city-dwellers, and another, higher price for those outside of the “big smoke”. It’s understandable if you look at the big picture, but residents in regional areas don’t care about corporate bottom lines. They just want access to the phone and broadband services the cities take for granted – and they want it at a price they can afford. Fortunately Southern Phone offers mobile and broadband solutions from coast-to-coast.
Southern Phone makes getting online in remote areas simple. Photo: Shutterstock
What makes Southern Phone different?
While it’s a name that will be unfamiliar to many (especially you city-dwellers), Southern Phone was formed way back in 2002 after the government of the day set up a scheme called Networking the Nation. A quarter-billion-dollar fund designed to help grow telecommunications in regional areas, it allowed Southern Phone to get started with a unique charter. The only shareholders in Southern Phone are local government councils – the actual representatives of the regional customers the company was set up to serve. All dividends from the company’s profits are paid right back to the communities they serve – something that’s got to make your phone and internet bills feel a lot less painful!
Sixteen years down the track, Southern Phone provides a comprehensive range of services for people right across the country, reaching to the most remote areas as well as the big regional population centres. Whether it’s home phone, mobile, or any flavour of broadband (ADSL, satellite, mobile and NBN) Southern Phone can offer it. They also provide business services for both phone and broadband. Because yes, business does happen outside of the cities, including some of Australia’s most famous brand names!
Southern Phone’s NBN Plans
Obviously, the ideal partner for a telecommunications company that wants to service regional Australia is the NBN – the national broadband network that was designed from the beginning to give Australians everywhere access to fast broadband, no matter where they live. Southern Phone’s own philosophy clicks perfectly with the NBN’s design, and unsurprisingly they offer a full compliment of NBN connection options – including the SkyMuster satellite service for people in remote regional Australia.
If you’re in an area serviced by the more conventional forms of NBN – whether that’s fibre to the home or to the node – Southern Phone has a range of plans that start at $45 per month. That’ll only give you 100GB of data – but if you’re a light internet user that doesn’t stream Netflix or download huge video games, it’s a lot more data than it sounds. You can bump that up to 200GB for $50, 500GB for $55 – or go all the way to unlimited data for $60.
This is actually a brilliant pricing structure, as it lets you really fine-tune your monthly spend with the amount of data you’re likely to use. And unlike a lot of NBN providers, the hump to the higher tiers is not particularly punishing, either.
Now, all of those prices are for the slowest possible NBN speed – 12 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up. If you’re looking for anything but the most basic internet access, you should factor in the extra cost for a 50/20 speed plan – which will add a perfectly reasonable $10 per month to the bill. You can also go for the fastest option – 100/40 – but that speed doesn’t offer an unlimited plan, which is capped at 50/20.
As for contracts, it’s nice and simple. For month-to-month there’s a modest fee for the wi-fi modem, while for a 24-month contract you’re connected up with no fee at all.
Southern Phone’s ADSL2+ Plans
Good old ADSL is still the go-to option for many Australians. Southern Phone broadband has that covered with four plans at $50, $60, $70 and $80 a month for 200GB, 500GB, 1000GB and unlimited data respectively. They run at up to 20/1 Mbps; depending, of course, on how far away you are from the nearest phone exchange. All plans come with a Wi-Fi modem/router to make sure you’ve got everything you need to get all the devices in your home connected and online.
Southern Phone Broadband Plans
Does Southern Phone Offer Satellite or Mobile Broadband?
If you need SkyMuster satellite NBN, then Southern Phone’s got that covered – starting from an impressive $38/month for 70GB (30 peak, 40 off-peak). That’s plenty for non-streaming, non-downloading users. If you want more data, you can go up to 300GB – though it’ll cost you $95. The SkyMuster plans start costing substantially more as your data allowance increases. Not surprising, since the satellite has a finite capacity. A sweet spot between price and data would be either the great-value 70GB plan for $38 or the more data-generous 180GB plan for $55.
All those SkyMuster plans are at 12 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up. We’d highly recommend spending the extra $5 a month to double your download speed and quintuple your upload speed – it’ll make a huge difference even with regular web browsing.
If you’re looking to get your tablet or laptop connected, Southern Phone’s got you covered with four 4G data-only SIMs running on the unequalled Telstra 4G network – 5GB for $30/month to 30GB for $85/month, with no contract. Not only will those plans get your devices online when you’re on the move, they’ll also let you easily get online when you’re somewhere where there’s no other option – and the no-contract plans make that especially painless.
They also offer “Green” mobile broadband plans that run on the Optus 4G Plus network, offering slightly more data for slightly less money per month, heading all the way up to a massive 140GB for $77.
Southern Phone customer service and support
With a locally employed customer support team operating out of regional Australia, Southern Phone is just a phone call away to help with any questions you may have about plans, as well as technical and account support. You can call them on 13 14 64 from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. You can also head to their web site to chat online when it’s most convenient to you, or grab their app for iOS and Android for a huge range of account utilities and a direct link to customer service.
Southern Phone can put you in touch with customer service staff based right here in Australia, who can solve anything from connection issues to billing questions without hassle – simply contact Southern Phone for:
- New account enquiries
- Technical support
- Plan changes
- Billing questions
- Setup info for your home network
- NBN plan speed boosts
Does Southern Phone Offer a Home Phone?
Yes, you can get a conventional landline home phone connected through Southern Phone as well. After all, they’re a company that covers everything! $24.95 gets you your basic landline, or you can upgrade to unlimited local and national calls for $39.95 a month; or add calls to mobiles and 13 numbers for $69.95/month.
Everything You Need, From the Company with Everything!
Of course, many people aren’t just interested in one service or another – they need phone and broadband, and maybe a mobile service as well. For that exact reason, Southern Phone offers a range of keenly-priced bundles, which we take a look at in our overview of their bundle offers here. Give it a look if you’re interested in a keenly-priced package of services.
But if it’s just broadband you’re after, or just getting your phone connected, Southern Phone’s got you covered with a great range of plans to suit all usage types and all kinds of budget – no matter where you are across Australia, from Broome to Bondi (and everywhere in between!).