Aldi has enjoyed some success in the Australian technology market, selling its range of Android tablets through their discount supermarket chain as “Special Buys”. It appears they’re preparing to branch out from just selling Android tablets, as they’re preparing to move into the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) space with a new AldiMobile service according to the above scanned image which comes from this weeks’ Aldi catalog.
The AldiMobile site is currently displaying a countdown timer that ends next Wednesday – March 6, 2013 at 8.30am.
This isn’t the first time Aldi has operated in this space – they run a similar service in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands named Aldi Talk, and in Switzerland as Aldi Suisse Mobile. Notably, some of these services seem to be run in partnership with Medion AG, a brand which would seem familar to Aldi catalog afficionados.
We know little about the AldiMobile service at this stage. As with Aldi’s other MVNOs, it appears to be a joint venture between Aldi and Medion Australia. The WhoIs lookup for the domain lists Medion Australia – specifically, Managing Director Greg Aschoff – as the registrant.
The move echoes the recent Kogan Mobile launch which saw them offer pre-paid plans on Telstra’s wholesale network with their own branded handset. Kogan’s network does not offer the full NextG speeds that Telstra offers to its own customers, instead offering data speeds in the realm of 550kbps-3Mbps with upload speeds of 300kbps-1Mbps. There’s no information provided as to the network AldiMobile will use.
Customer experience will be key for Aldi in launching the service. New customers on Kogan have had varied results, with a number of customers reporting a smooth transition while others appear to have had trouble porting their existing mobile number or adding credit to their pre-paid accounts. Kogan recently sent some customers gift vouchers to apologise for these issues.
Aldi will initially be offering two handsets as part of their launch, a basic feature phone from Onix and a Bauhn Smartphone – the 4.5″ Bauhn ASP-4500Z, selling for $199.
The Bauhn handset features a 4.5″ screen and comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It’s worth remembering that Bauhn hasn’t made any real statements on updates for their previous Android offerings, so it seems likely it’ll stay on Jelly Bean. The phone is listed as unlocked, so it should run on any network and with GSM network bands are listed as 850/900/1800/1900MHz, it should work on any 2G network in Australia.
On the 3G front, support is on the 850/2100MHz bands, meaning the phone can be used on Telstra’s NextG network, and the 3G metro networks provided by Optus and Vodafone. The inclusion of 850MHz 3G support certainly hints at Aldi’s MVNO using Telstra for carriage services, just as Kogan has done following Telstra opening up segments of their NextG network up for resale partners.
The rest of the device’s specs seem reasonable for a $199 smartphone:
- 1GHz Cortex A9 Dual-Core MTK 6577 CPU
- 4.5″ qHD (960×540 resolution) IPS LCD Screen
- 512 MB RAM
- 4 GB internal Storage with microSD Card Slot
- IEEE 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS/AGPS
- 5.0 MP AF Rear Camera and 0.3 MP Front facing camera,
- Dual SIM :2G/3G Module – 2G: GPRS/EDGE, 3G: WCDMA Dual SIM/Standby: WCDMA (850/2100), GSM (850/900/1800/1900)MHz
- 2000mAh, 3.7V Li battery
The phone comes with a charger, USB cable and earphone in the box, and is covered by a 12 month warranty and a 60 Day satisfaction warranty in which you can return the phone.
The Onix-branded feature phone is a basic model offering Bluetooth, camera, micro SD Card slot and FM Radio. Software-wise, the phone has a video and music player as well as Alert Clock, Memo Function, Calendar, Calculator and supports multi-language. The Onix phone will also be covered by a 12 month warranty and 60 Day satisfaction warranty.
We’ve contacted Aldi Australia for comment, and will advise as soon as we have any further information to share.
Update: Several users on a Whirlpool discussion thread are claiming to have knowledge that AldiMobile will use Telstra’s wholesale network.
Are you interested in a prepaid service run by Aldi? Let us know in the comments!