Woolworths has made data users big winners in a quiet rebrand of its mobile products that will see users get 5GB quotas for under $30.
The retail giant said it would shut down the 2G Everyday Mobile service launched in August 2009 sometime in the first half of 2012.
It would be replaced by a 3G service called Woolworths Mobile that, like its predecessor, was underpinned by Optus.
A Woolworths spokesman told iTnews that user appetite for mobile data drove the revamp.
"We have recognised that an increasing number of customers are now looking to use the internet on their mobiles so we have introduced Woolworths Mobile, a 3G prepaid service, to meet this customer demand," the spokesman said.
"With the launch of Woolworths Mobile it made sense to consolidate our mobile brands and migrate our existing Everyday Mobile customers onto this new 3G service."
The old Everyday Mobile plans charged $2.50 a megabyte for GPRS data usage.
The new plans - a $29 and $49 prepaid 'cap' - included 5GB of mobile data in Australia. Excess usage fees were $2 a megabyte.
Call rates rise
Call rates under the capped plans were substantially higher than those offered under the superseded Everyday Mobile products.
Under Everyday Mobile, standard calls cost 15 cents for 30 seconds with a 15 cent flagfall. That made a two-minute call cost 75 cents.
The new plans charged 89 cents a minute with a 39 cent flagfall. A two-minute call on the new plans cost $2.17.
The cost of sending an SMS on the new plans also almost doubled to 29 cents.
The capped plans attempted to compensate for this with substantially higher included call value amounts for each recharge.
The $29 cap came with a $500 call credit. The $49 cap gave users a $1,000 credit, the Woolworths spokesman told iTnews.
Previously, the included call value was the same as the recharge amount. For example, a $30 recharge provided only $30 of call credits.
Credit expiry cut
Cap value was tempered somewhat by a recharge expiry period on the new plans of 45 days.
Previously, the Everyday Mobile service had a 'simple saver' product that offered a 100-day expiry period for bought credit.
The combination of fatter included value amounts and faster expiry signalled a shift in Woolworths mobile strategy away from the low call volume, low margin users that were attracted to Everyday Mobile by $20 recharges that lasted 100 days.
Woolworths' spokesman said that Everyday Mobile customers had until "the first half of next year" to either move or cancel their service.
"Customers will be able to used any existing credits until the end of their current expiry period," the spokesman said.
"If a customer decides to move their service prior to using their credits they will lose those credits."
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