Bundled pricing is now one of the most common ways to buy your broadband Internet. The monthly Internet fee is usually cheaper than paying for a standalone Internet plan, but do you save money overall when you take into account phone charges?
Our 10-page guide to Broadband Internet deals in the July 09 issue of PC Authority looks at a variety of tips and tricks to buying broadband, including the following advice about bundled pricing.
ISPs that also offer mobile or fixed-line phones will often bundle their services, and you can typically save about $10 a month by going with one of these plans, although you may not end up saving that much at all if the phone line rental plan is substantially more expensive than one you could get elsewhere.
Other ISPs may use different carrots to entice you to bundle. iiNet offers substantially increased monthly download quotas if you also have a phone service with it - effectively iiNet will bump you up to the next broadband plan level. TPG goes the other way, and offers a cheap mobile phone service ($10 per month with a $300 mobile cap value) if you use it for both mobile and broadband.
Optus and AAPT have even taken bundling a step further, and offer combo plans that include fixed line, mobile and broadband services. Optus' 'yes' Fusion plans incorporate home phone line rental costs and broadband costs, and you can also throw mobile costs into the plan as well. AAPT has 3-in-1 plans that are similar.
Unfortunately, when you unpack them, these plans don't really offer a massive cost savings - in fact, the Optus plans don't work out more cheaply at all.
For example, Optus' $89 'yes' Fusion plan incorporates phone line rental and 10GB of downloads on 20Mbit/s Optus cable. But Optus' own $60 ADSL2+ plan offers 15GB of downloads, and can be coupled with a $20 phone service.
That's $9 less for 5GB more. The main benefit of Fusion is actually in call costs, since local and national calls are free, as are calls to Optus GSM mobiles. Similarly, the AAPT plans only really work out if you make a lot of phone calls.
Also in this series:
How to Get a Good Broadband Deal, Part 3: beware pre-paid wireless metering
How to Get a Good Broadband Deal, Part 2: Get a "reserve tank"
How to Get a Good Broadband Deal, Part 1: Naked, bundled, pre-paid
You can read more about wireless plans in our Broadband Buyer's Guide: Fixed vs Mobile
If you're interested in our speed tests of each Australian wireless broadband provider, see our Mobile Broadband Group Test