There's a new battleground in the mobile data wars: telephone companies are allowing customers to access a single mobile internet allowance from several devices.
Optus stole the march on its competitors on Monday when it announced products where a single allowance accounts for the mobile internet usage across multiple SIM cards. It means that a customer could access the internet using their smartphone, tablet, and mobile broadband dongle without the need for establishing and managing several accounts.
Neither Telstra nor Optus allows a home internet data plan to be shared across mobile devices.
In the six months to May 2013 nearly two-thirds of Australian adults used three or more devices to access the internet, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Optus' new products aren't available until June 10, allowing Telstra to steal its thunder by launching data-sharing plans for business customers on Tuesday.
Now it's left for Vodafone to join the pack. According to a spokesperson, at present Vodafone doesn't offer data-sharing.
Plan cost and inclusion:
Optus: BYO-phone plans range from $30 to $60 a month. A $30 plan includes 300 minutes of talktime, unlimited SMS/MMS, and 500 MB of included data.
Telstra: BYO-phone plans range from $55 to $105 per month. A $55 per month plan includes $550 talktime, unlimited SMS/MMS, and 1GB data. Free voice calls between eligible mobiles on the same account.
Optus: Two SIMs included but one-off $5 activation charge for each additional device.
Telstra: Data sharing SIM costs $10 but one is included on plans costing more than $85 a month.
Excess usage charge:
Optus: $10 per gigabyte (charged per gigabyte).
Telstra: 3c per megabyte or $30 per gigabyte (charged per megabyte).
Optus: Month-to-month, no contract.
Telstra: 12 or 24-month contract.
Optus: From June 10.
Telstra: Now. Requires an ABN.