Massive NBN discounts for Aussies
A NEW wave of price cuts designed to make the National Broadband Network more attractive to reluctant users kicked off today as Vodafone slashed the price of its NBN plans by as much as $25 a month.
The discounts, similar to those expected in March, followed customer complaints about paying high prices for modest internet speeds.
And telecommunications experts said more internet providers would likely follow Vodafone's lead and "finally respond" to overwhelming customer dissatisfaction with NBN prices.
Vodafone cut the cost of three of its NBN packages for customers who sign up before March 25, slashing $25 from the cost of its 50 megabit per second plan, to $70 per month, $15 from its top-speed 100mbps plan to $95, and $10 from its most basic, 12mbps plan to $60.
Vodafone fixed general manager Matthew Lobb said the prices were designed to give customers a better experience and to challenge existing NBN providers.
"As a new player, we have the flexibility to launch new offers, promotions, and products that will give people switching to the NBN real value, combined with peace of mind," Mr Lobb said. "That's what we've done today."
Vodafone's changes also follow NBN Co's December announcement that it would drop the wholesale price of some of its plans for 12 months, and add more capacity to prevent slowdowns during peak times.
NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow said the discounts were designed to encourage more Australians to adopt higher speed internet plans as more than 80 per cent of NBN users currently opted for services at speeds of 25 megabits per second or less.
"Without affordable higher speed plans, many end-users aren't seeing the true potential of the NBN access network," he said.
Telecommunications consultant Paul Budde said Australian internet users could expect price drops from many more providers over the coming months, with many discounts arriving after NBN Co's wholesale discounts begin in March.
While some questioned whether NBN internet providers would pass on the discounts, Mr Budde said they would be forced to do so after Vodafone's move as "there is no loyalty among NBN customers".
Mr Budde said the price cuts were needed, and would hopefully put an end to comments that Australians did not want high-speed internet access when they had simply not been willing to pay big dollars to achieve them.
"We've all seen the complaints over the last two years and it's very clear that customers are not happy," he said.
"Now companies are finally responding to those complaints rather than making silly remarks about Australians not wanting higher speeds when they simply can't afford them.
"It's like saying people in Australia don't like Rolls Royce cars. No, it's that they can't afford Rolls Royce cars."
The price cut news comes one week after NBN Co revealed less than one in four homes connected with NBN's fibre-to-the-node technology would be able to receive the network's top download speed of 100mbps by 2020, and after both Telstra and Optus were forced to compensate NBN users for billing them for download speeds the network could not deliver.