As social distancing becomes the norm for many and local supermarkets suffer at the hands of panic buyers, some of Australia’s biggest mobile carriers and ISPs are implementing special measures to deal with the increased demand for connectivity in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s everything you need to know about how Australia’s ISPs, NBN providers and mobile carriers are reacting to coronavirus.
The Big Three
As widespread self-isolation sets in, Telstra are looking to give existing customers a little bit more bang for their buck.
Specifically, the telco will be offering consumer and small business broadband customers unlimited data at no additional charge until the 30th of April.
Meanwhile, post-paid mobile customers will receive an extra 25GB of data to sue over the next 30 days while prepaid customers (with an active recharge of $40 or more) nab themselves an extra 10GB.
Finally, eligible pensioners with a Telstra home phone plan will be able to make unlimited local, national, 13/1300 and calls to Australian mobiles from their home phone in Australia for free until the 30th of April.
Optus are offering eligible postpaid mobile customers a one-off bonus of 20GB of data for the month of April.
In addition, prepaid customers that recharge ($40 or more) during April will receive an extra 10GB of data.
Annoyingly, these digital provisions won’t kick in automatically. You’ll have to activate them manually through the My Optus App.
Vodafone’s response to the coronavirus crisis is a bit of a mix of what Telstra and Optus are doing.
To begin with, all Vodafone customers who have talk time capped with their current plan are getting a free upgrade to unlimited standard national calls until the end of April.
Then, Vodafone are giving an extra 3GB of data to all prepaid customers on their next recharge and an extra 5GB of “high-speed” data (essentially, the amount of data that Vodafone’s unlimited data plans offer before the telco kick you down to 1.5mpbs) to postpaid customers.
Lastly, accessing select health and government websites (such as the Department of Health) will also no longer count against your data allowance if you’re a Vodafone customer.
In response to the coronavirus crisis, Circles.Life are giving all existing customers access to hereits International Calls Add-On for free from the 1st of April. once actives through the Circles.Life app, this gives you 300 minutes of international calls to 15 countries. More information about the scheme is available here.
Amaysim are giving customers on their $10 mobile plan an additional 10GB data, customers on their $20 mobile plan an additional 20GB of data and customers on their $30 mobile plan an extra 30GB of data. This will last until April 15.
In addition, Amaysim customers on mobile plans worth at least $40 will receive unlimited mobile data for use until 15 April 2020.
Goodtel already offer unlimited data, contract-free NBN plans as standard - so there's actually not a huge amount of room for them to move in terms of responding to COVID-19.
Nevertheless, the ISP have decided to automatically bump the NBN plans for residential customers to the next speed tier at no additional cost.
Essentially, if you're signed up to one of GoodTel's NBN 25 plans, you're now getting the service of an NBN 50 plan and so on.
At this stage, GoodTel say that the free upgrade will last until the end of April. However, they tell us there's potential for the promotion to be extended depending on how the crisis progresses.
From the 18th of March, Aussie Broadband will be offering unmetered data usage between 6am-6pm for all customers on limited data NBN and ADSL plans.
They'll also be stopping all service suspensions due to late payments and enabling customers who aren't finding their 12mps/2mpbs plan fast enough to work from home to easily upgrade to a 25mpbs/5mpbs plan.
Announced earlier today via Facebook, Superloop has suspended all data caps on all metered plans.
According to COO Michael Blake, “We are essentially making all of our plans unlimited (fixed wireless and NBN); this will remain in effect until April 30th when we will re-assess.”