Telstra will be wholesaling its 4G network to mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Belong, with the latter on Friday announcing its mobile plans providing 95 percent of the Australian population with 4G and 98.8 percent with 3G.
Launching services on October 1, Belong will offer two SIM-only plans: AU$25 for 5GB of data and a 5GB one-off welcome gift for those signing up by December 31; and AU$40 per month for 15GB of data plus a 15GB welcome gift.
Customers on both plans have unlimited data banking, with all unused data rolling over to the next month; unlimited data gifting, which allows customers to give their data to other Belong customers in increments of 1GB; a voice-to-text service, and 2GB of data for top-up at a cost of AU$10 each time, instead of customers being charged for automatic top-ups.
In addition, all customers can pay an extra AU$5 per month for unlimited national voice calls and SMS, or AU$10 per month for unlimited national and international voice to 10 countries and SMS to 23 countries, with accounts to be managed through a self-serve app.
"We've been very deliberate in our approach of offering calling and text services as add-ons, turning conventional SIM-only plans on their head by providing mobile plans that just include data," Belong MD Antony de Jong said on Friday.
"In the spirit of making it really easy to use the Belong mobile service, customers will be able to download our new Belong app to self-manage their accounts, gift data to another Belong mobile customer, and purchase or cancel any extra features as needed."
SIM cards can be ordered through the Belong website to arrive within two to four business days, or purchased at Coles supermarkets and JB Hi-Fi stores.
The MVNO market has been growing, with market research company Kantar reporting that while Telstra fell by 2.3 percentage points to hold 39.5 percent of the total Australian mobile market as of June 30, other MVNOs grew by 1.4 percentage points to account for 6.9 percent of the market.
MVNOs jumped from holding 5 percent of the prepaid market to 7.7 percent, and from 5.7 percent of post-paid up to 6.5 percent as of the end of June, according to Kantar.
Telstra, which made its 4G service available to wholesalers in April last year, also provides services for MVNOs Aldi Mobile, Woolworths, Telechoice, and Better Life.
Telstra will add virtualised customer premises, pre-designed templates, managed services, and dynamic real-time control of IP VPN networks to its programmable network over the next few months.
Telstra's 5G NR trials with Ericsson and Qualcomm are going well, Telstra CEO Andy Penn has said, with Telstra to host a 3GPP standards meeting in a year after a live trial of its 5G network in April.
Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, and Huawei have all been included in the government's 5G working group, which will meet twice yearly with five government departments.
Telstra's transmission network between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth has been upgraded to optical transport technology capable of supporting 8.8Tbps and of scaling above that in future.