Coming to Australia meant a world of extremely expensive telecommunications, and this is a small snippet of my experience in getting connected.
Since I’ll be here for a significant period of time, and also because of the accommodation screw-up that isolates me in an apartment a block away from the rest of my team, I figured that I would need a way to be contactable, as well as to call back home.
I’m not much of a phone chatter, so am primarily looking at international calls back to Singapore, and decent call rates within Australia. Some suggested getting pre-paid calling cards, but when I explored the fine print, the charges goes something like this:
- $0.05 per day, every day after first use
- $0.25 per connection
- Some cheap per min rate (which is often the only thing advertised), e.g. $0.008 per min
- Another $0.XX after A mins
- And another $0.YY after B mins
- And yet another $0.40 upon disconnection.
I hope to support something more open and honest, and with luck, Vanessa passed me a pamphlet for Lebara Australia. Advertised rates are $0.01 per min (to Singapore), with a Flagfall (connection fee) of $0.25, without any other fine prints. Moreover, they claim that there is no need for complex access codes and pin, just dial direct to your destination.
I decided to give them a shot, and a payment of $12 at a friendly 7-11 outlet along Elizabeth Street got me a $2 Lebara SIM card and a $10 recharge voucher.
I made a quick call to their Activation Hotline, where some of my details were requested, and my line was activated in 10 mins. Recharge was also done rather effortlessly through their hotline.
I made test calls to my apartment, and my Singapore Mobile. Both rang, all seems good. I made 2 calls home (call quality was very good) and send 2 SMS announcing my new numbers. I logged on to check my usage some time later.
Hmm… Interesting variant of my name… I tried poking around the website to see if that could be changed. No luck. Oh well.
Next, call history. Seems that Lebara sticks pretty closely to their claims . $0.15 cents is decent for the SMS (in the context of Australia, at least), but you’ll not see me sending too many of them.
I’m still not sure how good their deal is, and I do see my phone hopping to Telstra, Vodaphone and Optus when I’m walking about, but back in the apartment where I would be making the majority of my calls, it locks on to Lebara.
I’ll update this again as I use more of their services, but so far, it looks pretty good.