One.Tel customers: Look before you leap to another telco provider
Leading consumer information provider InfoChoice.com.au warns One.Tel subscribers that they should carefully weigh their options before committing to a new service provider.
Confusion reigns over just what the ramifications are for One.Tel mobile and landline customers who are currently watching their service provider go through its death throes. But just like the collapse of HIH Insurance, it increasingly appears that it's the customer who is going to lose out.
InfoChoice's telecommunications category PhoneChoice has found all the current options for One.Tel mobile subscribers hold some disadvantage for customers.
This applies to the Optus offer currently being put to One.Tel mobile customers who connect via the Optus network, offering the ability to switch across over the next week with out disruption to their service.
One.Tel mobile subscribers are either connected via the company's own Next Generation network (more recent customers) or via the Optus network (older customers). Those who are not sure should call One.Tel customer service to determine their connection status before considering their options.
For those connecting via Optus, PhoneChoice's best estimate of the options are as follows:
Switch to Optus over the next week
You can take your number with you. However, your contract does not follow you – you will stay contracted to One.Tel until it runs out or until the company goes into receivership. You will have to commit to a minimum 12-month contract at Optus.
(A comparison sheet of relevant One.Tel and Optus service plans is attached)
Switch to another service provider
You will not be able to take your number with you if switching to Telstra or Vodafone. For other service providers using Optus as a carrier, it may be possible to switch and keep the same number: B Digital is one provider offering such a transfer within 24 hours, check with others but establish just how long it will take. You will still have to commit to a new contract and any outstanding contract with One.Tel remains in place.
Switch to another service provider temporarily
Currently, Virgin Mobile and Dingo Blue offer plans that don't require a contract. Such a move would allow you to keep your mobile operational while you shop around for a longer term deal. You won't be able to take your number with you at this stage.
Switch to another service provider and go ‘prepaid'
Also to avoid a contract, consider taking up a pre-paid account offered by most service providers. You won't be able to take your number with you.
Do nothing and face disconnection
Optus will disconnect One.Tel customers late next week from its network.
Its is not clear what will happen to One.Tel Next Generation mobile customers – they are not subject to the same ‘switch or be disconnected' offer from Optus as they do not connect via the Optus network.
InfoChoice chief executive Chris Gosselin said: “Customers should understand that, from September 25, all telcos will be required to offer number portability to customers who want to switch providers – this means their primary focus is to lock in as many customers as possible on contracts between now and then.”
“It is also not clear what happens to One.Tel customers who have acquired a subsidised mobile handset as part of their contract and who switch to another provider, Mr Gosselin said.
“Technically, they may be in breach of their contract and could still have a liability to One.Tel for the outstanding value of the phone. But it is doubtful if the administrators would be able to collect on such a liability given One.Tel is not providing the service promised under the contract.”
Landline customers with One.Tel for local or long distance calls have been told its business as usual but PhoneChoice is receiving reports of problems trying connect calls. Similar connection problems have been reported by people making calls to a One.Tel mobile.
PhoneChoice.com.au is currently surveying One.Tel customers about their current experience with results to be published shortly.
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