“Jiva”: iiNet’s new $79 unlimited quota plan



news National broadband player iiNet has revealed it will challenge cut-rate ISPs TPG and Dodo with a new $79 broadband and telephone package offering “unlimited” broadband quota and to be marketed under a new brand dubbed “Jiva”.

Historically, iiNet has been situated at the premium end of Australia’s broadband market, with its broadband plans featuring less quota than those of rivals like TPG and Dodo, while also costing significantly more. iiNet has also not previously offered an “Unlimited” quota plan as its cut-rate rivals have, preferring to set discrete quota limits and then rate-limit customers’ broadband connections when they go over those limits.

However, in a media release issued this morning, iiNet unveiled a revamped strategy to deal with what it said was “growing consumer demand for a simple, high-value Internet service”. “Jiva will be ready for new customers from September 2013, selling under the simple proposition: ‘One plan. One bill. Always.’,” the company said. “For $79 per month on a 24-month plan, Jiva customers will get an ADSL2+ broadband connection, unlimited broadband data, all local and national landline calls, and a wireless modem.”

In his company’s statement, iiNet chief executive Michael Malone said the Jiva initiative was designed to attract new customers to the iiNet group who are looking for a simple, all-in-one connection, and didn’t want to compromise on quality.

“It’s really all about value,” Malone said. “Our research is telling us there is a section of the market that wants high-quality broadband that they can just set-and-forget. Jiva is targeting those people – by having one simple product we can streamline human contact and offer a quality connection at a great price.”

Though offering an inexpensive service, Michael said Jiva was definitely not ‘budget’ iiNet. “Jiva is not about cost. It’s about simplicity,” he said. “Over the next 12 months I want Jiva to prove that an innovative, high-quality Internet and phone offering can successfully compete with the low- value offers in the traditional ‘all you can eat’ space.”

Jiva customers will sign up online as part of the brand’s streamlined self-service approach and the company will have its own team of support staff to help out if customers need it. “It’s a simpler product offering, so Jiva customers will need less support and, of course if they need help our staff will be right there for them. Jiva support staff have been selected from within iiNet’s award-winning customer service team and customer interactions will meet the same high service standards we insist on across the business,” Malone said.

The news comes just a year after iiNet chief technology officer John Lindsay published a high-profile article on the company’s blog arguing that the pay as you go quota charging system used by most Australian ISPs was fairer than the ‘unlimited’ quota models popular in regions such as the United States and Europe.

In Australia, the majority of ISPs, including Telstra, Optus, iiNet, Primus, Exetel and others, only offer broadband plans with so-called ‘quotas’. Each pricing tier comes with a certain amount of download quota per month, and customers can increase their quota by moving to a higher tier. Usually the quotas top out at around a terabyte of quota.

However, in the US and Europe, it is popular for ISPs to instead charge customers on a different basis, offering different speed tiers or other features coupled with an ‘unlimited quota’. Some Australian ISPs such as TPG and Dodo do offer such plans locally for a competitive flat rate — and they are highly popular, as they avoid any potential for users’ monthly quota to run out.

Lindsay claimed that if Australia was to switch to an unlimited model for broadband consumption, just 3 percent of users would account for 50 percent of all downloads. “Quotas are designed to be an effective pay-as-you-go system to ensure users only pay for what they use and for most Australian consumers, this is the best business model for the Internet,” he added.

“Operating a quota based business model ensures we’re not responsible for policing activity online – our customers pay a fair price for the services they receive and we can focus on more important issues than where their traffic is coming from. While US providers argue about a two-tier system, our priority is to provide awesome customer service and ensure our customers enjoy a seamless experience online, whatever it is their Internet connection means to them.”

Sorry for dragging up that old article, John ;)

Why is iiNet launching this new single price, unlimited broadband plan, and why is it doing it through a new brand it’s come up with? I think it should be fairly obvious. The company sees a market opportunity at that price point, especially with respect to taking on the TPGs and the Dodos of the world, but it doesn’t want to impact its existing, very successful business by merely launching such services through its iiNet brand. It believes that with a new brand (and, we can assume, a massive associated marketing campaign to launch that brand), it will be able to attract new customers to the iiNet fold — customers who are very likely with one of its competitors right now.

Will the strategy work? Yes, to a certain extent I believe it will. Overall I believe iiNet is right in that there is a large separate audience out there interested in “set and forget” unlimited plans at the price point it is offering, and I believe quite a few customers of cut-rate ISPs such as TPG would find it attractive to migrate to iiNet, if they can get a similar plan at a similar price, from a brand with the technical and customer service strengths of iiNet.

The main issue for iiNet will probably be managing churn from its existing customer base. Speaking as a previous long-time iiNet customer (I recently moved onto Telstra HFC cable), I can say that I personally find iiNet’s ‘Jiva’ offering quite attractive. All your local broadband and most of your telephone calls for $79 a month? That’s pretty decent. iiNet doesn’t offer ‘unlimited’ plans right now. With Jiva it will, and I’m sure quite a few iiNet customers will want to migrate across. iiNet will need to manage this carefully — it wants to attract a new audience here, not cannibalise its old one, migrating them to lower-profit-margin plans.

The one question I have about the Jiva service is to do with customer service and contention ratios/network quality. Cut-rate ISPs like TPG have had notoriously bad customer service in the past, and their customers have, in the past, regularly complained to me about the poor quality of the company’s broadband network, especially during peak periods. Will these same issues apply to iiNet’s ‘Jiva’ brand? If not, it sounds like a great offering. But if they do, then the brand could end up being a millstone around iiNet’s neck. The company won’t want to sacrifice its current good reputation for a bad one. That would be a terrible outcome for the broadband powerhouse.

Image credit: iiNet


  1. I wonder if Jiva will have the same network quality as iiNet in terms of backhaul contention etc. Those cut price ISPs like TPG and Dodo tend to have dodgy aspects like transparent proxies or underprovisioned backhaul in an effort to keep overhead costs down for the ISP.

    Also it’s worth noting that TPG has been doing some interesting stuff with unlimited calls to mobiles — interesting because it doesn’t have a mobile network of its own like Optus and Telstra, so it must be relying on customers not making too many calls. This offer isn’t included in iiNet’s Jiva unlimited.

    • There’s a bit more from Malone in an ITNews article on this: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/353875,iinet-looks-to-new-brand-for-unlimited-adsl2-product.aspx

      Particularly he says that international capacity is now “95 percent cheaper than in 2010” (which I take to mean it’s 1/20th of the cost) and they’ve got lots of it now. Also that Jiva will only be available on-net in the 200 exchanges that have dark fibre backhaul (and therefore presumably lots of cheap bandwidth) to the iiNet core network.

      .. and Pandyman has a point. Given a sync speed of 12mbit, you could download about 3TB in a month – which isn’t that different from the 1TB plans already available.

        • Which is precisely the reason they’re offering it :)

          IF they truly wanted to offer an “unlimited” plan, they’d be doing it on the NBN as well at 100Mbps. That’s a possible 56.25TB per month…..ouch.

          But of course, like all decent businesses, iinet are in business to provide a service and make money off it. The easiest way to do that is offer a package that provides value to certain customers by the attractiveness of the offering, but you know that while the profit margin will be low or non-existent for the top users, a good portion of the bulk of users will provide a steady profit because they don’t use the full extent of the service. That’s guaranteed on ADSL- even on the 200 exchanges it’ll be offered, you’d be lucky to see and average 15Mbps across the possible users. So it inherently restricts the users to a reasonable, if high, usage pattern.

          I think iinet will be quite successful with this because of the still small average usage per month of users overall and the inherent restrictions of speed on ADSL. Whether they transfer something like this to the NBN though, in whatever capacity it continues, I think is very dubious. It’s simply too expensive so far. But hey, if it leads now to better “value” plans (and by value I mean perceived value to the customer) for those who want it and are lucky enough to be able to get it, great. Less people on Telstra’s overpriced ADSL can only be a good thing I say :P

  2. Nooooo! Even Malone said a few years back, very scathingly I might add, that he didn’t want those sort of customers. Something along the lines that you do what you have to to make them switch to the opposition.
    I’ve been on a couple of ISPs that either went unlimited, or offered the best bang for your buck plans that would appeal to leechers. The network quality for all other customers dived over the next 6 months and tool about a year to recover as slowly the leechers moved off onto new best value plans.
    I am on Internode, currently great quality network. Never slow, great low ping gaming of an evening.
    I’d hate to see that be deminished by attracting these customers. It’s not just the Jiva brand that will suffer, it’s usually all the other customers performance that suffers too.

      • I wish people (especially CEOs) wouldn’t use such derogatory words. Name-calling is childish, inflammatory and frankly offensive. The so-called ‘leeches’ clearly pay their dues as TPG has been happily serving the unlimited market since 2010.

        After burning all the unlimited users from the AAPT acquisition, it is very amusing to watch iiNet come groveling back into the same segment.

        Having said all that, another ISP offering a competitive unmetered service is good news for data-hungry consumers. In the day and age of youtube, iView and now foxtel play, data demand will only increase and unlimited internet services will eventually become commonplace.

    • Ive been on the Club Telco $50 a month ADSL 2+unlimited plan for years now and i love it, always awesome speed (excatly the same as Internode – actually a lil bit faster) and only ever had to call the technical support line once a long while ago for a speed issue that turned out to be a failed piece of equipment at their end and they had many calls regarding the issue.

      Gaming pings awesome (same as internode) and always full speed when uncle torrencing files.

      Am interested in this offering from iinet tho. Will wait and see what happens i guess.

  3. I don’t like this idea at all. With the Internode-iiNet backhaul network and DSLAM network completely merged, people on Jiva downloading terabytes of pirated content will be sharing the same network as me. It’s impossible to separate them out, the backhaul from the exchange is shared.

    • True it’s shared, but I’d be surprised if iiNet / Node didn’t have a packet prioritisation capability to ensure the “premium” brand remains unsullied.

      Though whether they’ve extended that sort of capability to every DSLAM is interesting, I’m not up enough on the networking capability in the exchanges, curious if there’s enough TEBA space to host this type of gear or whether it can be centrally located.

      Either way, given iiNet’s public commitment to customer experience / NPS I can’t see them destroying that to grab a few (lot?) of TPG or Dodo’s customers.

    • It’s not impossible at all. How do you think backhaul is sold in the first place to ISPs? Certain capacity to individual ISPs. Down one fibre you could have ISP1 have 10%, ISP2 20% etc. All iiNet is doing is using that free capacity and selling/giving it to Viva to generate extra income for the whole iiNet corp. I’m sure they have heaps and they’ve let customers stress test it for years on quota free days, free zone etc. Possibly iiNet customers get their packets tagged but I bet they just move the allocation around to suit both businesses. The other difference is the customer servers. Be realistic please.

  4. I see it as the download limits have raised to a point that unless you have a large family including teenagers or are in a share house , are so large that they are effectivley unlimited anyhow.

    If your user base is only downloading on average 100Gb per month it wont cost much more to let them downlaod what ever they want . Until streaming video for Tv/Sport becomes more mainstream what else are people using their quotas on — youtube and “linux isos”.

  5. The real problem with this debate Renai, about contention ratios, quality of service and network utilisation is the fact of the matter is this country has so much fibre that intranet traffic (traffic between you and your state megapop) is basically so cheap its worthless.

    We’re talking fractions of a cent.

    Nonetheless the Carriers like Telstra, AAPT, iinet(Chime), Optus and TPG artificially keep wholesale back haul prices high through claiming that rollouts are expensive and that the business case isn’t there.

    Its an outright lie. There is so much dark fibre (unused capacity) that every man and his dog could have 1:1 domestic internet.

    That 24/1 mbps ADSL2+ service you got, you’re sharing with 100 hundred other people.

    They do this because of greed, outright greed.

    Worse is how they oversubscribe these networks and soak up under utitlised networks with these “budget” brands.

    There this really amazing telco out there that is so oversubscribed that its a joke with those in the know.

    I applaud the ACCC’s recent moves into measuring network performance. Though it’ll be rigged, the providers will cry poor when the MRTG’s show congestion and claim there isn’t any money to fund network expansions althewhilst knowing there is so much dark fibre waiting for them to light up slowly, so as to not destablise the wholesale bandwidth market.

    • @1984

      Its an outright lie. There is so much dark fibre (unused capacity) that every man and his dog could have 1:1 domestic internet.

      Sorry, I think that in itself is frankly an outright lie. Yes, there’s alot of dark fibre around in a small number of exchanges. Probably some 1000-1200 that cover about 70-80% of premises. So for a start, dark fibre to regional areas would be significantly less. But secondly, I think you underestimate how much data people would download if you gave them all unlimited quota and speed (even on ADSL). Quotas inherently manage speed- you specifically police your own downloads to ensure you don’t slow your connection at the end of the month.

      Now, you might say, with 100Gbps WDDM no working its’ way into networks, there’s plenty of capacity available. Well, if we took urban areas where there is dark fibre “abundantly” available (about 70% of premises, so about 7 million) and their average connection speed (Australia’s overall average is 4.5, so removing what would be much lower end speeds in regional areas overall, you might start pushing 8Mbps) at a single exchange (7 mil divided by 1000 is 7000 premises) and takeup of ADSL (about 65%) you’d have 4500 premises at about 8Mbps or 36Gbps. Fine. Even the current 40Gbps modules can handle that for a single competitor…..but what about international backhaul? Cross-ISP transit? Business SLA connections (which have high background base loads)?

      Your premises that dark fibre would allow us to all have 1:1 contention might work from the exchange to the core network. But that’s as far as it would get before needing to be massively contended to go overseas or between ISPs etc. So, if you can save the money by offering high contention to exchanges as well when the data is going to be contended regardless…why wouldn’t you? It saves us money, even dollars a month.

      Don’t get me wrong, I object strongly to contention where it grows above a threshold and then never gets decreased. But contention is a way of life in networks. Even fibre networks. To offer a 1:1 contention to ordinary consumers is far beyond the realms of pricing validity in the marketnow because it’s not just the exchange contention that matters.

  6. While I like the idea of iiNet launching a “simple” ISP to challenge TPG and Dodo, given that Jiva will be using iiNet’s equipment, it won’t make it easy, or possible, for some people to change over.

    I am currently with TPG, and while I have been looking to change to Internode/iiNet for a while, my local exchange does not have any free ports on either Agile/Internode, or Chime/iiNet, so I can’t change to any ISP other than Telstra, Optus, or anyone using their equipment. Unless iiNet adds new equipment in my exchange (which is highly unlikely), I’m stuck…

    • Yea but according to Telstra (who own the exchange and have the sole decision on upgrades) if there are free ports on Telstra equipment, that means there is no problem with port availability in the exchange (spent years beating my head against the brick wall that was Telstra & Helen Coonan’s office when living in South Perth – iiNet even offered to pay all costs of upgrading the exchange there but Telstra declined, of course).

      Bring on the NBN and don’t let the LNP f&#@ it up, I say ;-)

  7. The only reason why I think they would do this is to suck up to their shareholders, as they have no more acquisition targets left. When you have hungry shareholders to feed, the customers on the iiNet/Internode brands are the ultimate losers.

  8. I’d be very nervous about signing up to a 24 month contract right on the eve of the election. Especially if you’re in the 3 year rollout coverage map. If the government changes, then all that’s going to change.

  9. Jiva’s a risky proposition, but it does open up another subscriber base that has traditionally eschewed the iiNet Group in favour of the TPG’s/Dodo’s.

    I’ll be watching the quality of my “premium brand” connection pretty closely. If it starts to go the way of “non premium” networks, I’ll probably start looking around for other options. I don’t need support, I’m paying for contention and network stability. If Jiva can live up to its promise of low support requirements but decent network, it’ll be a winner.

    I am, however, super reluctant to sign up on a 24 month contract with all the uncertainty about the NBN at the moment – rollout plans could change significantly *if* the Coalition wins and goes ahead with a FTTN offerings, and there’s no indication there as to whether or not I’d be allowed to break contract if I’m able to obtain NBN product, which Jiva does not offer at this point.

  10. Didn’t iiNet offer an unlimited plan many years ago and had to embarrassingly cancel it?

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