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Telstra targets bill shock and Boost offers a bonus in new data deals

As data usage becomes the new battleground for telcos, Telstra has announced a simplified way to tackle excess data charges, while Boost Mobile is offering its customers a Sunday freebie.

Image by Jorge Gonzalez, CC BY-ND 2.0

As Australians move away from counting voice minutes and text messages to hunting out where they can get the most data for their dollar, telcos are starting to come to the table to win customers over where it counts -- on data inclusions.

After announcing bonus data allowances for new customers signing up to their Accelerate plans, Telstra is now introducing cheaper pricing for excess data, meaning customers don't have to pay per megabyte for data use above their monthly allowance.

From May 12, Telstra will launch an Extra Data feature allowing customers to pay AU$10 for each 1GB block of data they use above their monthly cap. The feature will be available to all new and existing consumers on a smartphone, tablet or mobile broadband data plan (as well as eligible business customers) and will give them the option of adding an additional 1GB block (or part block) for a flat fee.

Once customers opt in, either through the Telstra 24x7 app or online, their plan will be automatically topped up with the Extra Data once they go over their monthly data limit. Customers will also receive an SMS or email alert when they receive a data top up, and the following month their allowance will return to normal (though unused Extra Data will also expire).

Telstra isn't the only telco appealing to data-focused consumers, with Boost Mobile also announcing Bonus Data Sundays for its prepaid customers.

As of the first Sunday in April, customers recharging on Boost Mobile's AU$20 Ultra plan will get an additional 500MB to use every Sunday, while customers on a AU$40 Unltd plan will get 1GB of bonus data each Sunday. In addition, customers who recharge on the AU$40 Unltd plan are now being bumped up from a 2.5GB data inclusion to 3GB of data for use within the 30 day expiry period.

The new offerings from Telstra and Boost Mobile follow Virgin Mobile's move last month to offer customers data rollover in Australia. Saying that customers were tired of having data that they've paid for "snatched away" after a month, Virgin Mobile said it was all part of a plan to win over new customers and keep those currently with the telco satisfied with the way they access data every month.