iiNet has reversed its previous standing against unlimited download plans, today launching a new ISP with a single plan that contains unlimited data.
The internet service provider (ISP), to be known as Jiva, is a separate company set up under iiNet, and will begin signing up new customers from September. The ISP will only have one AU$79 per month on a 24-month contract for an ADSL2+ service with unlimited data, local and national calls, and a wireless modem included.
iiNet CEO Michael Malone told ZDNet that the name Jiva was first registered in the 1990s for a completely different purpose.
"It was going to be our online hosting division. Not just web registrations, but managed hosting services," he said.
Jiva will have different staff members, and Jiva customers will be unable to seek support from iiNet directly. Malone said that Jiva would have its own billing system, which iiNet built from the ground up. Customers will need to sign up online and the level of customer contact is expected to be much less than that between iiNet and its customers.
The move is clearly targeted at ISPs like TPG that still offer unlimited plans, but allows iiNet to do so without damaging its own brand.
When iiNet purchased AAPT in 2010, the telco moved to axe its unlimited broadband plans. iiNet's chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby said at the time that unlimited plans didn't fit with the iiNet model, while CEO Michael Malone said that unlimited users were "leeches".
"Think about it, who is going to pay a high rate for unlimited when they only download a few gigs a month? They'll take a low price, reasonable volume deal from someone else instead. So all you end up with on unlimited are the leeches," Malone said at the time.
Today, Malone said that Jiva is able to offer unlimited download plans by limiting it to places where iiNet has DSLAM infrastructure and access to dark fibre.
"It's only on 200 exchanges, all of which are on-net and all of which are on dark fibre. In that case, there is no incremental cost for the delivery of data over the copper or on the dark fibre. That then leaves the bottleneck of our international links, and the price of international capacity has come down close to 95 percent," he said.
Malone said that Jiva will not be able to offer a similar unlimited plan on the National Broadband Network (NBN) while the connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) capacity charge at AU$20 per Mbps is in place.
"There won't be an unlimited NBN plan until that CVC charge gets addressed," he said.
iiNet still has no plans to release an unlimited plan.
Malone also said today that the launch of Jiva was not to create a "budget" iiNet, but was designed to compete with those low-cost telcos in the market today.
It comes after iiNet swooped in and picked up Adam Internet this month for AU$60 million, after Telstra's plan to turn Adam into a budget ISP fell through.