Assorted News 18 – A Mobile Game-changer :)

Assorted News 18 – A Mobile Game-changer 🙂

In this edition:

Just a short one…

Generic News
Mobile Game Changer: $20 for approx 5 hours mobile plan.

Australian Broadband Guarantee vs Wireless Internet.

Almost new printer for sale.
$80 to pronounce it dead?

A Mobile Phone Game Changer

Well, after all that effort last newsletter explaining about how to use VoIP on a mobile, it has suddenly become more or less irrelevant.

As you probably know, I mostly represent Exetel for Internet stuff because they usually have the best pricing and reliability. However, their nearest competitor, TPG, (which I have no relationship with by the way) has come up with a new mobile phone offering that blows Exetel; and all other mobile phone plans that I know of, out of the water!

They have a plan that roughly equates to 5 hours on the mobile, spread over multiple calls for just $20 a month

Of course, there has to be a trick; and that trick is that if you exceed this 5 hours, it’s about $55 an hour thereafter; so you need to keep an eye on your phone’s “All Calls” timer each billing cycle, or watch your usage on the website. (Example of online usage account at )

The technical details are $20 a month for $300 worth of calls at the rate of 40 cents per 30 seconds and 35c connection fee. It’s the usual ‘Monopoly Money’ rubbish, and like Monopoly it’s a game; but easier to win 🙂

It’s provided by the 15+ year old company TPG. They provide it via their purchase of Soul, who in turn resell the Optus mobile phone network.

Now, of course, this is Optus we’re talking about, and just like Vodafone their coverage is not as comprehensive as Telsta’s. So if you really need to be contactable (like me!) then I recommend you carry two mobiles – the Telstra one for incoming calls and your other one for outgoing. (You can get a $10 per month NextG plan for this purpose.) The one caveat is Telstra’s messagebank fees so if you really need MessageBank too, it might still be worth getting a mobile with an answering machine built in as per last newsletter.

I have ordered and received a TPG SIM card for my old LG phone, and it is working well.

You can find out more about this plan at

Really, with something like this (or the next plan up) it is becoming quite feasible to dump your landline. Oh, and if you’re an out-of-towner like me who normally gets no coverage, the same antenna used for Wireless Broadband may also help you get mobile coverage at home provided your handset supports it. (See my example here: and the coverage at

Australian Broadband Guarantee & Wireless Internet.

I’ve had some good success stories lately with Wireless broadband. I’ve been able to get it to work in places that would appear to have no coverage using various outdoor antennae.

Wireless broadband is so much better than Satellite – faster, cheaper, and normally more reliable. However one the customers I trialled about 30km from a tower rang me up after I’d set up the trial to ask if she was covered by the Australian Broadband Guarantee. (The ABG allows you to get your internet installed for free if you have no alternatives faster than satellite.) I didn’t know the answer at first, but further research shows that since she was able to get a city-equivalent broadband connection via wireless and lives in an Optus coverage area; she’s not eligable. (Interestingly this doesn’t apply to Telstra wireless internet customers because their prices are too high to qualify as an affordable solution under the ABG.)

If you’re on dialup at the moment, and are looking to get broadband, you may need to check first to see if you’re shown as being in a coverage area. If not, you can apply for satellite. If you are, but you can’t get it to work I might be able to help.

For more information about wireless internet in an easy to read format try here:

For more information about the ABG, click here:

Cheap Second Hand Laser Printer for sale.

I purchased this printer for a customer who had two networked computers; but because of the unique setup of their network – a modified XP machine that allows three simultaneous users – the printer software couldn’t cope well. I solved the problem by installing a Samsung instead; leaving me with a two month old, but rarely used HP laser printer. Purchased new from DSE for around $90, hoping to get $60 for it.

For more information about this printer. click here:

$80 to pronounce it dead?

A customer advised the other day that she had a problem with her modem, and another family member took it to a competing computer store. They were apparently charged $80 to report the modem as dead. I guess they have to charge these kinds of rates to keep up with their advertising budget, staff and vehicle expenses; but it still grates with me a bit – especially as it appears their diagnosis was wrong too. It seems most IT stores charge you just to look at things. Something modest like $10 or $15 might be fair.

Quite often with me it’s free if I can’t fix it; or if it requires me to learn about something new then I don’t charge for that time.

Aah well that’s the end of another short newsletter. The Kingswood is still resting. In the interim I am experimenting to see what economy I can get from the bluebird. At best I’ve had 12.7K per litre. (8 Litres for 100km) If I can regularly get this sort of economy it might be wiser to use the Bluebird as the primary vehicle. If I do this, I’d like to find someone who does the type of pixelated see-through signage you see on city bus windows rather than just the plain lettering type. If you can recommend anyone let me know – as far as I know the Armidale businesses are not capable of this type of printing.

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