Woolies returns to the world of mobile telcos with Telstra 3G

It’s been some time since we saw Woolworths offer mobile access to phone and smartphones, but it’s back and it has Telstra’s 3G network with it.

This week, the company that calls itself “the fresh food people” is getting into more than food that is fresh, returning to the product that is delivering service to mobile phones with the unveiling of Woolworths Connect, a budget mobile service specifically for prepaid customers.

It’s a return to mobile service for Woolworths, and indeed mobile broadband services, which we last saw from the company back in 2013 before Woolworths ended the service a year later when its Optus-connected service ended and it moved its subscribers to Optus.

This week, however, Woolies is back with Telstra on board, delivering a strictly 3G service for $30 per recharge, which will including unlimited SMS, unlimited calls from Woolworths Connect customers to Woolworths Connect customers, $650 worth of calls for everyone else, and 1.5GB of data monthly, though a bonus of 1GB will apply until July 31 on the first recharge. The included time and data is valid for 30 days, like most other telcos, and there is also a $45 option that increases the call value to $1500 and the data to 3.5GB.

Interestingly, Woolies appears to be doing its best to bring in current customers of the supermarket, offering a discount for people with the Everyday Rewards card, cutting $3 off the cost of the $30 plan and $4.50 off the cost of the $45 plan.

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“Our customers want a trusted network at a great price and we are excited to deliver this with Woolworths Connect,” said Jason Hair, Head of Telco at Woolworths.

“We’ll also reward our valued Everyday Rewards customers by offering an additional discount every time they recharge. We are excited that we’ll be growing Woolworths Connect over the coming months, with additional services to be offered later in the year.”

One of these services will be support for mobile broadband, meaning you’ll be able to grab a Woolworths Connect SIM, throw it into a tablet or wireless dongle, and connect online. Right now, Woolies is only saying that these will cost $15, $30, and $100, though suspect the data allowances will be your regular assortment of 1GB, 3GB, and 10GB respectively.

Mobile phones and tablets, however, are not part of what you’re buying, and Woolworths is offering the SIM only. If you need a new phone, this isn’t the service for you, though we wouldn’t be surprised if Woolworths starts selling phones (or does so already) since we’re seeing mobiles in other supermarkets.

That said, the Woolworths Connect service is live and working on Telstra’s old school 3G network from this week. It isn’t likely to be terribly fast, maxing out at between 5 and 8Mbps, and probably offering closer to between 2 and 5 for most people. Then again, some 4G networks pull speeds like that, too, so if you’re not bothered, it might be an ideal way to save money on your mobile.

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