Redbull Mobile are a new player in the mobile space and have yet to develop a reputation in the market, but I can now tell you from my personal experience, they’re worth a very close look!
Chris did some testing a while back in Sydney and found that (due to the hilly surrounding areas) much like Vodafone, Redbull was a bit hit and miss with the supplied handsets, though the reception was notably better in his iThing.
In my testing, despite the fact that Red Bull is reselling the Vodafone network I’ve actually found that their data speeds were consistently higher than Vodafone. Using voice was an
apples oranges to oranges comparison, neither service offered anything over the other.
ProsThe good news:
- The plans are great value for money
- Data allowances are very generous
- Redbull Mobile Portal is fantastic!
ConsThe not-so good news
- They’re running off the Vodafone network
- Poor range of phones to choose from: Samsung Galaxy S II is the pick of the range
- Lack of information regarding your account at sign up
Frankly there’s a lot to like about Redbull Mobile, their plans are way out there with the value for money stakes over the bigger names. They’re pushing the boundaries and blurring the lines between post and prepaid customers where other carriers simply offer different plans depending on which way you go. Redbull are offering the same plan with the same inclusions, with the only option being whether you pre-pay, or receive a bill on account. This approach offers people the flexibility of changing plans if their needs change or the knowledge that they just roll over from month to month.
I also found that Redbull Mobile’s support via email was outstanding. I sent in a support email and had a response that was laid out in a coherent way with the information I asked for, written so that a “less technically inclined” person than myself could understand it, but not so as to offend people who know what’s what.
You can SMS the word BAL to 126 172 to receive a free SMS with your current account balance. Or You can call us on 1300 475 475 and our Automated system can tell you your balance Or You can log into your account online here: https://securea.redbullmobile.com.au/CRMRBM/
The mobile portal available to Redbull customers is really well delivered. It’s been setup so that you’re working on your screen with a one-touch interface, and the portal has special offers available to you that are either not available outside the Redbull Network or are early access exclusives for Redbull mobile customers.
Being honest though… Vodafone (being the underlying network carrier that Redbull uses) don’t have the best reputation going right now. They are working hard to improve this though and recently while testing the Redbull network, I had coverage in an area where Telstra customers did not! I don’t know who was more astounded by this, the Telstra customers I was with at the time or the Vodafone social media team. Overall, for metro-dwelling mobile users who seldom venture into the wild it’s certainly going to offer you a coverage to suit your needs, but nothing more.
ConclusionTelstra have the widest coverage, and there’s no disputing that. The combination of the work that Vodafone are doing on their network and using an 850Mhz handset (Galaxy Nexus) I found that even through the Barossa Valley I had reasonable coverage when close to the major towns out there as well as some coverage through the Adelaide Hills which historically speaking has been a total deadspot for anything other than Telstra. Add to this there has been some reasonable data speeds up to around 9Mbps downstream to the device I’ve been using.
Vodafone have some good consumer plans, and Optus are somewhere in the middle with decent coverage and decent pricing for consumers. This in mind, there’s certainly room for another smaller carrier in there shaking things up and Redbull are doing it. The biggest issue for my mind is that they don’t appear to be actively pursuing current phones to offer clients, as contrasted with the major carriers that subsidise handset costs to bring you to their network.
This can be a bit of a sticking point for some – do you
- Stick with your old handset and save for a new one outright?
- Contract to a major carrier who can subsidise your device over 24 months?
- Wear the cost of a new handset immediately? (not viable for many people)
There’s no easy answer, but there is one thing to bear in mind — while you might have to purchase a current-model handset if that’s what you’re after, you’re likely to make some real savings with the low cost of Redbull’s plans, so a bit of up-front pain might be a longer-term saving anyway.
So while Redbull are making a splash and certainly worth a look if you spend 90% or more of your time in Metro or fringe areas and want good value for money, until they establish themselves with a good supply of current devices to offer clients they’re not going to be a big player.