When something seems too good to be true...
November 2, 2011 7:43 PM   Subscribe

I am looking into an "unlimited" ADSL2 broadband service, offered by TPG in Australia. It seems like an unusually good deal - enough to make me suspicious that there's some kind of hidden catch. I was hoping someone would be able to confirm/refute my doubts.

Personally, I pay $60/month for 150Gb/month from Internode. I've been perfectly happy with their service.

TPG's offer (detailed here) is for unlimited, uncapped, unthrottled bandwidth, plus landline phone service, for the same price.

Reviews of TPG in general, and this plan in particular, that I've come across on various forums seem to be mixed. What I'm asking is: can I take this offer at face value? Are TPG-using MeFites happy with their service? My instincts are all saying something's not quite right here.
posted by chmmr to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
I think you meant this link. This one includes landline phone service. The catch is probably in the call rates, because the plan is only for line rental. Compare that with your current call rates.

I am a TPG user (different plan from a year or so ago), and have been happy with their service.
posted by vidur at 8:07 PM on November 2, 2011

I'm a TPG user who switched to Internode. I found their service to be flaky, and their tech support to be mediocre to poor. On the two occasions I've had to call Internode about issues accesing with their superb service (both at my end, it turned out), they sounded mortally wounded and bent over backward to help me.

Unless you've hammered your 150gb by the middle of the month, I wouldn't think about leaving Internode - even then, I'd sooner up my plan quota than go back to TPG.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:11 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

(Sorry, that was ambiguous. Internode good, TPG bad, don't leave Internode for TPG.)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:13 PM on November 2, 2011

Their service can be a bit flaky, and their support is sometimes poor - but I've put up with TPG for years because of their prices.

I am presently in some sort of limbo/waiting period to get the unlimited deal. The change-over terms are insane.... you have to agree to be phone- and net-less for 10-20 working days, and you have to waive a bunch of your standard rights before they'll sign you up for all this. From what little I understand about the operation of exchanges, I expect this will all be sucky transferring away also.

That said, I'm taking the plunge... at some stage.
posted by pompomtom at 8:32 PM on November 2, 2011

I don't know anything about TPG, but reading the page that vidur linked, this really jumped out at me:
Important : Above Home Phone Line Rental Monthly & Setup pricing is discounted based on new customers agreeing to waive the Customer Service Guarantee (CSG). Any customer who does not agree to waive the CSG will be charged $45 for TPG Home Phone Line Rental per month and a setup fee of $500 for both 6 Month and 18 Month Contracts.
For more information please contact TPG sales on 13 14 23.

What is the CSG? Some minimum standard of service? I'd be concerned.
posted by xedrik at 10:12 PM on November 2, 2011

I've got that exact plan at home. No *catches* as in hidden costs (that I have found), but our internet sometimes drops out - probably about once a week, for about an hour or so. It hasn't been annoying enough yet that I want to give up the sweet sweet low prices.
posted by fresh bouquets every day at 10:19 PM on November 2, 2011

What is the CSG? Some minimum standard of service? I'd be concerned.

Basically it enforces a number of time-limits on services - things like "If no net service for n days, customer is entitled to $y per day until service is restored.

I was concerned, read the CSG stuff, and decided that I was unlikely to chase up for those sort of penalties anyway.

(BTW: If they do stuff you about, the trick is to threaten that you'll call the TIO. A TIO complaint will always cost the telco money - even an insane TIO complaint by an insane person for insane reasonings - it doesn't need to be upheld to bug the telco. The moment the TIO are involved, the telco is footing the bill)
posted by pompomtom at 10:29 PM on November 2, 2011

For more info you should check out whirlpool. The the one stop shop for all of this. Their annual user server is probably your best bet, you can indeed see the difference in customer sat between tpg and internode.

Also, I don't know if you use it (you should!), but if you go with TPG, I believe you'll have to start paying for the awesome usenet, which node provide for free.
posted by smoke at 12:47 AM on November 3, 2011

Thank you all for your answers, they've been very helpful.

I wasn't particularly clear at the get-go. I'm using Internode for my home net access, and I've never had a problem, don't intend to change my access. A friend of mine who's recently moved over from the UK is getting access set up at his home, and while I recommended Internode to him, he's been looking into this TPG deal. I advised him that it looked so good by comparison that it seemed a bit dubious. Your comments have more or less confirmed my doubts.

I didn't know Internode provided Usenet for free. I bought service from a 3rd-party provider a few months back when I was looking for something obscure. Good to know.

Thanks again all.
posted by chmmr at 1:04 AM on November 3, 2011

I have vowed never to have anything to do with TPG since one of their tech support people literally reduced my mother to tears as she was trying to get Dad's TPG account transferred into her name after he died.

Internode, as everybody I know who has ever used them (including me!) says, are an absolute pleasure to deal with in every respect. But you do pay for that pleasure.

My current ISP, with which I have had nothing but positive experiences, is Exetel. Unlike TPG they don't install their own DSLAMs in exchanges, but resell access to Telstra, Optus and AAPT DSLAMs for much less than those organizations charge their own retail customers. They also charge less than most for phone line rental and PSTN phone calls (particularly via Optus).

Exetel's support people are mostly in Sri Lanka but they are not your stereotypical disempowered outsourced know-nothing call centre script monkeys; they're Exetel employees and I've always found them competent and friendly. Recommended without reservation.
posted by flabdablet at 1:13 AM on November 3, 2011

Just to update on this - the 10-20 working days of netlessness I mentioned above seems to have been a matter of expectation management. I got an email today basically saying "reboot your modem please", and I am now on this very plan.
posted by pompomtom at 8:35 PM on November 6, 2011

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