If you’re an e-nomad, on the road full-time and working around Australia as we are, access to data through your mobile devices like phone, tablet and laptop is vital.
We own our phones and use the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) data plan with Telstra. For people reading this outside of Australia, there are only three major telco carriers in Australia: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Telstra has the lions share of the market and is the top choice for coverage if you want to do any travelling outside of the capital cities and in remote areas.
Our mobile data plans had 8GB each and are joined so we can use up to 16GB per month. About three quarters of the way through the month (November 2017) we were already 3GB over our limit with one week left. Telstra charge $10 extra per GB so we went to a Telstra store to see what options we had. We were able to upgrade to a newer plan for $9 per month extra for each phone. So for $59 each gives us 20GB, so 40GB in total per month.
We use Telstra Air and Telstra Hotspots where ever we can to save on data as usage does not count towards your quota, but hanging around a hotspot for hours just doesn’t cut it. You also tend to get moved on after setting up camp near one and firing up the BBQ and cracking open a beer!
Optus had a 200GB per month wireless plan for $70 per month but you needed to lock in for one year so we decided to pass on that for now.
So we will have to ration to about 1.3GB per day between us. We also turn all devices to Aeroplane mode overnight as well and when not in use to also limit data usage and save power, the other lifeblood of an e-nomad! Using the Telstra 24×7 app allows you to monitor your usage. It doesn’t update live so you need to generally wait overnight. One trick Googled was to pause all devices from data activity for a few minutes. This causes Telstra systems to update the information so you can see your usage quicker. It seems to work. Please let me know if there’s a better way.