I read somewhere today that Vodafone will introduce flag fall to their No Plan customers at 25 cents per connection, starting from 28th of July 2003. Well. It annoys me but what can I do? I switched from the dying Dingo Blue to Vodafone No Plan this March because I see it having a better value. Most my calls are short (I don't talk much), and with no flag fall plus billing on per second increment, it was a good deal for me at the point when I signed up. It does not seem to be the case anymore. The old Dingo Blue account did not have flag fall either, but it is charged on 30-second increment. Now if I am paying 30 cents, I can talk for the whole 30 seconds on my old Dingo Blue account, but only 5 seconds on the Vodafone No Plan after July! I don't talk much on the phone, but 5 seconds feel a bit constrained...
And from their FAQ, ridiculously they suggested sending SMS (TXT messages they called) is the way to save cost. 160 character one way text-only communication that might take 5 minutes to type up on my 4 years old Nokia 6150 would cost 25 cents per message. To compensate the disappointing customers who now have to pay flag fall on connection, Vodafone has "kindly" given us 5 free SMS messages that will expire in 30 days. And this flag fall also applies to Vodafone to Vodafone customers, where Vodafone does not have to pay to other carriers, because Vodafone tried to apply simplicity to its No Plan customers. And ironically, this news is under the "What's Hot" section of their website. The customers have certainly been heated up by this announcement.
Okay. I am turning off my ranting mode now. It is Friday... Any good cheap plan out there for someone who makes short calls?
Updated at 4:01pm: some price comparison between pre-paids from Vodafone, Optus and Telstra. Vodafone is still considered the cheapest provider, without considering the free time, etc. I don't like free times. The Optus signal drops to nearly unbearable in the Kingsford area after 8pm because of their Yes Time. Maybe I'll still stick to Vodafone for a while.
Updated on 23 June 2003 at 9:30am: Just got an email from Dingo Blue, and apparently they are also adding 22cents GST inclusive flag fall to all out-bound calls as well. I've finished up with them a few months ago, and I have no idea why they still emailed me. However, I think it is pretty much the end of it - no flag fall on mobile calls is no more. Sigh.