Exetel cuts NBN prices, limits quota to 150GB


news National broadband provider Exetel has radically slashed the number of National Broadband Network plans it offers customers, as well as cutting prices and limiting the total monthly download quota on any plan to 150GB.

The company first published commercial prices for NBN services in late July last year. At the time, its prices were seen as significantly undercutting the only other major ISP at the time to have released NBN pricing, Internode. Exetel’s prices started at $34.50 a month and topped out at $99.50. At the time, Exetel’s download quota inclusions were pretty small compared to many current ADSL broadband plans — with the company offering only 200GB in total downloads on its top plans.

However, in plan changes quietly released this week, Exetel has cut its prices and available download quotas even further, as well as eliminating a number of plans completely. With its new plan structure, Exetel only offers between one and three options for each of the four tiers of download speeds (12Mbps, 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps) which the NBN allows, as well as an additional two plans for a 25Mbps plan with higher upload speeds (10Mbps).

In general, all of the plans have received price cuts. At the low end, the cuts aren’t that significant — taking a 12Mbps 50GB plan from $39.50 a month to $35, for example. However, at Exetel’s top-end, the price cuts are significant. For example, a 100Mbps 150GB plan used to cost $89.50 a month, but will now cost just $60 a month, amounting to a minimum total cost saving of $474 over a year.

However, many customers will not be happy with the total download quotas which Exetel is offering customers. The company previously offered a 200GB download quota on its top plans, but it has simply deleted that tier of its pricing plans, with customers now being offered a maximum of 150GB quota per month. Customers who exceed their quota each month will have their connections shaped to 1Mbps speeds — which can be as slow as 1 percent of their normal speeds, if they’re on a 100Mbps plan. That limit will apply until the customers’ next monthly billing cycle commences.

The limitation comes in stark contrast to plans offered by other ISPs, with Internode, iiNet and Optus all offering terabyte packages and other tiers with multiple hundreds of gigabytes of download quota. It’s common now for ISPs even when it comes to ADSL or HFC cable broadband to offer plans with several hundred gigabytes for prices under $100. iiNet, for example, offers a 100Mbps NBN plan with a download quota of 500GB on- and 500GB off-peak.

It appears as if Exetel may have also recently chopped its normal ADSL broadband offerings, with the company’s site currently listing only two ADSL2+ broadband plans — at $39.50 and $49.50 monthly price points, and with 50GB and 200GB of quota respectively.

There are several noteworthy aspects to Exetel’s plan changes unveiled this week.

Firstly, they represent the fact that Exetel has now completely abandoned the heavy downloader market, in both the ADSL and NBN markets. Put simply, no self-respecting geek would settle for a download quota of just 150GB, when they are able to access NBN speeds. For most households of three to four people, and many solo technical individuals or small businesses, signing up for an NBN plan will necessitate a quota of several hundred gigabytes per month.

At the moment, Exetel is offering higher download quotas on its ADSL services than it is on its NBN plans … which is, quite frankly, ludicrous. Australians will download much, much more than they currently are, when they’re switched onto the NBN. I can only imagine that Exetel is trying right now to avoid high-level or even high mid-level customers and go instead for the entry level and low mid-level broadband market. Perhaps it thinks it can make more profits from that market.

Secondly, the plan changes represent the fact that NBN pricing has again become cheaper than it previously was.

Exetel’s NBN price cuts are the second round of NBN price cuts we’ve seen, after Internode chopped its initial commercial prices last year, to bring them more in line with the market. And that’s just within the past few months since commercial services were first launched on the NBN.

Not only does this — yet again — invalidate the Coalition’s argument that broadband prices will be more expensive on the NBN than in the current ADSL broadband market (how many hits can Malcolm Turnbull and his colleagues take on this issue before they admit they’re wrong?), but it also illustrates that the NBN market will be an extremely dynamic one, with ISPs changing their broadband prices regularly. We have yet to see a better outline of its more stable, eventual shape, and likely won’t for another several years.

Image credit: Robert Linder, royalty free


    • Having worked for an ISP. Thats the most people need or will ever use for internet

      • I maintain a small network for some serviced offices, catering to lawyers. I can tell you, our link has been nudging over-contention recently (just completed our upgrade yesterday yay), and we would regularly get complaints about speed.

        Some weeks were particuarly bad and speedtest would yield 3-5 megabits per second.

        This is at work, where the most downloading these people do is theage.com.au, and even *they* couldn’t stand 3 megabits. Let alone 1 megabit.

  1. I’d like to know what these terabyte users are doing with all their quota? I watch my fair share of HD content on YouTube and I’ve never crossed the 100GB mark. And surely these people don’t store the content they download, I mean who wants to buy a new 2TB hard drive every couple months?

    I for one am quite impressed that I could go from 14/0.6 this morning (320 metres from the exchange) to 100/40 for the same quota I currently have, at a cost of $3 per month extra (Internode Easy Naked S or something from last January).

    Now if only they’d start laying those damn cables around here….

    • I’d like to know what these terabyte users are doing with all their quota? I watch my fair share of HD content on YouTube and I’ve never crossed the 100GB mark. And surely these people don’t store the content they download, I mean who wants to buy a new 2TB hard drive every couple months?

      Those with 1Tb quotas could also be using them to accomodate the needs of a youngish family, with teen children. I know from personal experience, 200Gb per month doesn’t go far in my house, with 6 people using the net. We also have to juggle who gets access to the net and when because the line is in poor shape, and ADSL only just reaches out here. Telstra won’t do anything because it syncs above 1500kbps.

    • I know what you mean. The most I have ever used is 60G in a month. The only people I know that use terabytes or those with torrents going 24/7. One guy has multiple machines crammed with HD full of movies, he downloads way more than he could ever watch. It’s like a sickness.

    • “I’d like to know what these terabyte users are doing with all their quota?”

      For me, I work from home 3 days/week…I must download massive files, edit them, and then upload them.
      My monthly d/l is around 750GB…

    • I have personal experience with one-off downloads that can consume a lot, but I agree with you, as a fairly heavy user I rarely use more than 50gb.

      But I’m certainly not working from home. (which sees regular back and forth of 200mb files, and sometimes some DVD editing I do around the office would see 2gb+ files hitting my desk and back).

      If I had the NBN, I could see myself working more from home and actually doing the same things as I do being on-site.

  2. Sure some of us store everything they download, dont you remember dialup and 500mb quotas?
    Apart from that It’s easy enough to hit 100-200GB just streaming HD content from youtube/hulu/foxtel.

  3. Ahh the old “what can you use it all for? “.

    Anyone that uses offsite backups/ shifts data around, has more than a single user in the household, etc can easily chew through quota.

    Never mind the increasing number of video and music services are starting up in AU, for youtube content to be HD in the majority of cases.. and the eleventy billion other perfectly legitimate reasons where rich media isn’t unmetered by an ISP.

    It’s the same reasoning that brings Turnbull to the conclusion that we don’t need fast broadband. And why Abbott has no clue what the internet actually is.

    I think the quota choices presented by Exetel act as an interesting bookend to some of the comments expressed not so long ago about how ISP comments regarding NBN scale are “rubbish”. Perhaps. Perhaps not.

    Either way, the pricing makes a complete mockery of Turnbull’s ongoing claims of NBN expense to the end user. Reality is fast overtaking Mr Turnbull, and his policies.

    • Ahh the old “what can you use it all for?“ [ insert pirate assumptive reasoning here ] chestnut (comment system chopped the line for some reason).

  4. And yet again we have another company releasing amazingly competitive Fiber plans that kick the crap out of almost all services available today, only TPG and Dodo challenge this mob on price:


    Points of interest:
    15GB @ 12Mbps for $29
    100GB @ 12Mbps for $59
    1TB @ 12Mbps for $79
    2TB @ 50Mbps for $104
    1TB @ 100Mbps for $104
    2TB @ 100Mbps for $114

    These prices include a phone service ($10 p/m) with the following;
    – 10c untimed local/national calls
    – 30c/min mobile

    I can’t wait to see what TPG pull out of a hat when they draw up prices, if a small company like SkyMesh can do this, imagine what TPG can do.

    • Just a update – those prices _do not_ include a phone service, my mistake – those are the unbundled prices, and said phone service is $10 extra.

      Still amazing prices!

          • f2(x) = L{L{g(t)}} = g(t)/(x+t) dt
            So I think you’ll agree the plans are actually much more expensive and also
            f(x) = (k=0..) g(k) x^k
            shows that in fact the NBN eats babies

          • LOL, Oh it is real maths. Not saying it’s got anything at all to do with the discussion, but if I make it compllicated enough no one will be able to dispute it :)

          • It also shows Delimiter comments cannot handle complex maths symbols such as integrals :(

  5. how hits can malcolm take? he’s wearing a fictional vest that can take unlimited fictional bullets

  6. Hate to say it, but people will just ignore these and chalk it up to “artificially low” pricing.

  7. I find it interesting to note that Exetel’s South Brisbane fibre plan has a minimum quota of 200GB for a 8000/384 plan, and a 300GB plan for faster speeds. If Exetel is trying to discourage high quota users, then why the higher quotas for the South Brisbane plans?

    My guess is the higher quota offered for those plans are used to justify the higher connection prices.

  8. >Secondly, the plan changes represent the fact that NBN pricing has again become cheaper than it previously was.
    Or perhaps Simon was right and Exetel are struggling with the usage based VC pricing on the NBN without the required number of subscribers to make it cost effective. If this is the case then the cheaper NBN plans probably represent a back of house increase in contention ratio offset by the lowering of the CAP.

    • I think Simon Hackett is right that only 5 national RSPs will survive being connected directly to the NBN. I think these prices represent a desperate attempt by Exetel to grow big enough. The $100 install charge is a good indicator of this, because the want to be the lowest price.

      • Doesn’t survive imply that 5 national ISP’s actually existed in the first place?

  9. Surprised no-one’s posted this yet. Sure, 150 GB is tiny, but how tiny? This tiny:
    150 GB / 100 Mb/sec = 3.41 hours
    100 GB / 25 Mb/sec = 9.10 hours

    If you can’t afford to saturate your connection speed for more than 6 min a day, it does beg the question if you’ll even notice the difference in speed – both 1 ms and 100 ms loading times for a webpage appear instantaneous to the average user (numbers are purely illustrative).

    • ‘If you can’t afford to saturate your connection speed for more than 6 min a day, it does beg the question if you’ll even notice the difference in speed’

      Of course it still makes a difference.
      I’m on an Optus Cable100/2 connection and I don’t download much at all(my average household usage is only 15Gb/month) but when I do download or upload something I enjoy the fact that it doesn’t take as long.

      • Yep, that’s the key to it. To use your connection at 6Mb or whatever the average is means you about 1.5
        But if that data is your work, or a game or whatever, do you really want to wait 1.5 hours each day for it? That’s more time than most people have free of an evening.

        • I do occasional audio editing ATM it take me longer to get the work to a client via upload to a secure FTP than it does to actually do the work.

  10. While it may prove that NBN prices are cheaper, the usefulness of the plans is very limited given the small quota, particularly as they do not provide quota free services as are provided by many other ISPs.

    To use this as an example of why the NBN is cheap is disingenuous.

    What it does appear to show to me is that there is a cost in backhaul for smaller ISP’s that impacts the cost of delivering decent plans.

    With new services becoming available like $12/month unlimited streaming of movies from providers like Sony, such a small quota on a big pipe is not delivering the future that the NBN should be providing to people.

    • What one simply must do is to compare apples with apples. This means comparing the cost and quota of current plans with the closest NBN plans, from the same ISP/RSP.

      Doing anything else is disingenuous.

      From my understanding, NBN Co have given an assurance that they will a supply similar or better product for the same or cheaper cost. That’s pretty general (to cover most bases) but also pretty conclusive, because they are saying, we will not be worse off.

      But to expect NBN Co to offer, for example, a set of steak knives, because one ISP did so, even after suggesting that the NBN prices may well be cheaper, is clutching at straws to find something new to complain about, in my opinion.

      • Very true. The expected ARPU is for the user spending more for more. Since they are talking increased uptake up IPTV, maybe providing Foxtel style services or on demand movies. More common use of video conference style calls, etc. Yes, they will cost more. But if the user does not more, maybe a little extra speed or quota, it will be the same or less.

      • Oops, forgot to mention speeds as part of the obvious comparison criteria. Considering the exchange distance issues, this is most important and a glaring omission on my part, humblest apologies.

  11. Well given I pay $80 now for about 100gb (well most of it is off peak), because there is no competition on my phone exchange, these plans look great.

    Luckily my ADSL connection syncs at around 6.5 Mbps, so generally its ok, but if i want to do two things at once, i notice the slow down eg downloading and streaming at the same time….. Luckily i’m able to apply QoS to my router.

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