Telstra’s free data day: What does it mean for MVNOs?

Alex Kidman 12 February 2016


Telstra is making up for its outage earlier in the week by making all data usage free across its mobile network this upcoming Sunday, but what does that mean if you’re on a Telstra MVNO?

It wasn’t good news for Telstra earlier in the week with the company’s 3G and 4G network collapsing in on itself leading to nationwide voice and data outages, and not a small amount of outrage and online mockery. Even telco Kogan Mobile got in on the action touting its current mobile offer, which it had only coincidentally launched that morning.

Telstra’s response to the outage was to announce that this Sunday 14 February, it will make all data usage free for all Telstra mobile customers. Use it however you want, and Telstra won’t charge you extra, although as we’ve noted there are a few traps to be aware of.

What though, if you’re on the Telstra network but not with Telstra itself? That’s a relatively small number of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), including Boost Mobile, Woolworths Mobile, ALDIMobile, MeU Mobile and some Southern and CMobile plans.

Boost has already indicated via its Facebook page that it will mirror Telstra’s offer, with data free for Boost mobile customers:

"On Tuesday voice and data services on the Telstra Mobile Network were disrupted for several hours.
Boost Mobile is a service provided on the Telstra Mobile Network and so customers using boost Mobile were impacted by these disruptions.
We apologise if you were inconvenienced by the outage.
In order to compensate customers for any inconvenience Telstra will be providing all customers who use their network free data usage within Australia this coming Sunday 14th February (Valentine's Day), this includes all Boost customers.
Free data is available from midnight to midnight (in your local Australian time zone) Sunday 14 February 2016.
You don’t need to do anything to receive the free data, we will make it available to you automatically across all Australian states and territories.
So please post, browse, share and stream on us this Sunday.
We hope it helps make up for any inconvenience you experienced."

What if you’re on another Telstra MVNO, however?

We inquired with Telstra what the state of play was for those networks, which all utilise services sold by Telstra’s wholesale arm. A Telstra spokesperson told that:

"We have made the free data offer available to our wholesale Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). Where the MVNO’s billing arrangements are managed by Telstra Wholesale we expect their customers will automatically receive the free data benefit. Where the MVNO’s manage their own retail billing systems we will apply the free data offer to their wholesale account, but it will be up to those MVNO’s to apply the offer to their end users. We have suggested to our wholesale MVNOs that they advise their end users of how this free data day will apply to them."

There’s nothing of note on Woolworths Mobile’s or MeU Mobile’s site at the time of writing, but ALDIMobile has a prominent message on its site indicating it’s passing on the free data savings:

"You may know that due to circumstances beyond our control, there was a nationwide outage on our carrier's network on Tuesday 9th February.
This outage impacted some of our customers for a short period of time and you may have been unable to make or receive calls, SMS or use data.
Whilst the outage was outside of our control we want to make things right for our customers that were impacted which is why we are giving free data (within Australia) to all of our customers this Sunday.
The free data will apply to you regardless of which plan you are on - if you have Pay As You Go, or a Value Pack, you will not be charged for data this Sunday.
The free data on Sunday will apply from 12am AEDT this Sunday morning until 3am AEDT Monday morning, this will allow for our customers in WA to also enjoy free data until midnight on Sunday local time in WA."

If you’re a customer on a Telstra MVNO -- which outside Boost means you’re on parts of Telstra’s 3G network only -- other than Boost or ALDIMobile, it would be a very good idea indeed to inquire with your provider about free data usage before going nuts on your downloads or streaming this Sunday.

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