Australia will have unlimited data mobile plans within 12 months: Boost

16 February 2017

Australians could get their first taste of unlimited mobile data within in the next 12 months according to Boost Mobile Founder and Director Peter Adderton.

"In my opinion we'll see everyone move to unlimited in less than 12 months, I honestly believe that," said Adderton, talking to media in Sydney this morning. "It's going to take one [provider to offer unlimited] and the rest will follow at 100 miles per hour."

His comments come off the back of Verizon introducing its first unlimited plans in the United States. Verzion's move has been considered somewhat of a milestone that could have ramifications around the globe, due to the carrier's insistence that it would never offer an unlimited service. In fact, Verizon even had an ad campaign dedicated to telling people they don't need unlimited data

T-Mobile was the first American telco to kick off the current unlimited data trend in a last-ditch effort to save itself, and in turn, ended up forcing the entire industry to follow suit.

While Adderton would like for Boost to pave the way for unlimited data in Australia, whether the telco can will depend on Telstra, Boost Mobile's retail partner in Australia. He's optimistic though.

"Carriers are starting to look at brands like ours and understand that [we're not going to] cannibalise them," said Adderton.

"We're going to make changes in the market place."

Adderton also sees unlimited plans as an opportunity to help simplify a somewhat complicated industry, pointing to the US telcos like T-Mobile who now just have a single post-paid plan.

But while these plans might look simpler on paper, the US' unlimited data plans are typically rife with fine print. Some charge extra for high definition media streaming, there are restrictions on how much data you can use when tethering, and heavy users get their data deprioritised during congestion.

Cheaper unlimited plans from the likes of the US arm of Boost Mobile and Sprint have stricter restrictions in regards to network speeds. Video is limited to 480p, music to 500kbps (which only stops you streaming loseless audio on the go), and gaming to 2Mbps.

Even if Australia does see unlimited plans spring up in the next 12 months, it doesn't mean that plans with set inclusions will necessarily go away. For example, T-Mobile's unlimited plan goes roughly $90 per month before factoring in any handset fees. As such, most American telcos still offer more affordable prepaid plans with a fixed cap.

In the meantime, Boost is looking at unmetered services as an interim measure. The telco recently made Apple Music data-free and is considering other options.

"I would love to see something like YouTube unrated, I'd like to see things the kids are using, these are the discussions we're having internally."

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