Save money — use BigPond maths!

UPDATE | Telstra BigPond’s Peter Habib has got in touch and let us know that the half-price offer is limited to “one discount per customer”. Well yeah we knew that was Telstra’s -official- policy. But thanks for the reinforcement.

Being located in a regional area where the only option for wireless broadband is Telstra NextG I’m constantly on the watch for ways to save on the extraordinarily high fees Telstra charges for access.

The good news is there is a way to save money — by disconnecting and reconnecting every once in a while. I’ve discovered it’s actually cheaper to cancel your service pay the cancellation fee and signup again for another special offer designed to attract new customers.

You see Telstra constantly runs deals offering twelve months of half-price fees if you sign on to a three year contract. This is designed to ease people into Telstra’s ridiculously high monthly fees — the Telstra advertisements and salespeople in Telstra shops focus on the half price monthly fees which seem cost-competitive with other companies. It’s only 12 months down the track that the true price becomes apparent.

Telstra’s latest Wireless Broadband offer is the best it has had so far — probably indicative that sales of Next G might be slowing down in the face of constantly better deals and expanding coverage from the competition. Under the latest deal you receive 12 months half price access (out of a three year contract) as well as a a $299.00 rebate towards the cost of a new modem.

If you signup online at you also receive a $20 online signup credit on top of the other offers.

The cost of the contract is a cancellation fee of $360.00 which is pro rated if you cancel early. So for example if you signed up to this offer it would cost you $240 to cancel after the first 12 months and you could then sign on to another offer with 12 months’ half-price access.

To take advantage of this offer you do need another Telstra service (landline/mobile/Bigpond ADSL) but it does not have to be bundled in to the same bill as your mobile broadband — you just have to give the service number to the person who signs you up.

How BigPond maths works

Let’s see how we can apply this Bigpond Maths to save money…

Person X is connected to Bigpond Wireless Broadband Mobile on the $114.95 3GB plan. They are 12 months into their contract of a 24 month contract (previously offered before Telstra started demanding three year contracts). To cancel their service they would pay $180.00 contract break fee (half of the $360 maximum fee).

They signup for a new account with a new device at a cost of $299.00 have the $299.00 rebated making the device free.

They also receive the $20 online signup bonus. In the first 12 months they get the $114.95 plan at half price saving them $689.79 over 12 months. The total saving would be $689.79 plus the $20 online signup bonus less the previous cancel fee of $180 with a net saving of $529.17 over twelve months.

After twelve months they pay the $240 contract break fee again (pro rata of $360) and still walk away saving $289.17 compared to staying connected!

Obviously this exploits a loophole in Telstra’s billing procedures — but it’s not illegal or breaking any rules. It’s just playing the game against Telstra as hard as they play it against customers.

Telstra is now attempting to tag users who have had one promotional offer (to prevent them from signing up again in the future) against their customer number to stop this happening in the future. But for customers who signed up on a promotional deal previously you will most likely sail though when you do it again.

If something goes wrong and you find you’re not getting the prices you expected you can always use the 14 day coverage guarantee escape clause to cancel your contract with a full refund.

By the way: shops may tell you that you need to buy a new Next G modem when signing up again. It’s not true. The existing modems can be reset by activations on 131 282 and re-used by an existing customer or a new customer to connect a new account (though of course you don’t get a rebate of $299 though if you already have a device.)

This process as described above is a great way for existing customers with “series three” (HSDPA) devices to upgrade to a “series seven” modems (HSUPA) for faster uploads and better performance at a cost of $30.00 after rebates and still receive twelve months half price!

Savings calculator

Signing up to one of the plans below gives you the “total saving” amount in bold. Compare this to your contract cancellation fee for your current deal and it’s pretty clear that everyone on BigPond Wireless can benefit by cancelling their current contract and signing up again!

Monthly Plan Fee $34.95 $39.95 $49.95 $54.95 $79.95 $84.95 $109.95 $114.95
Saving Over 12 Months $209.70 $239.70 $299.70 $329.70 $479.70 $509.70 $659.70 $689.70
Online Signup $20.00 $20.00 $20.00 $20.00 $20.00 $20.00 $20.00 $20.00
Modem Rebate $299.00 $249.00 $249.00 $299.00 $249.00 $299.00 $249.00 $299.00
Total Saving $528.70 $508.70 $568.70 $648.70 $748.70 $828.70 $928.70 $1008.70