This is the most you’ll ever pay for a mobile plan

The fix is, as they say, in.

The cap has been put on mobile plans, for all time.

We now know, with some certainty, that we’ll never pay more.

That’s because our most dominant telco, Telstra (ASX:TLS) (and for the record, I own shares) today unveiled the biggest most-all-you-can-eatest mobile plan we’ve ever seen. Eat your heart out, TPG Telecom (ASX:TPM)!

For $199 a month (yes, a month), you can have unlimited data on your phone. No, not ‘unlimited’ in the sense it was used a few months ago, in which case it was kinda unlimited, but if you used more than a set amount your Netflix was slowed to a crawl.

Properly, seriously, unlimited.

You can use your phone as much as you want, to download, stream or otherwise consume as much data as you want, without a care. As long as you’re not contravening the company’s ‘fair go’ policy, which stops you doing things like becoming a virtual ISP, or hosting Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) entire Cloud on the mother of all SD cards, you’re sweet. (I own Google shares, too, if the court so pleases.)

And here’s why this is a big deal: in the past Telstra and its peers have held or raised prices by a nice little sleight of hand: as data became cheaper and cheaper to download, and speeds got faster, they just gave you more of it for the same price. And we liked it, so rather than downgrading to cheaper plans that offered the same data, we willingly kept paying the same freight for more of the good stuff.

It worked, like a charm, for years. For $50 a month, you used to be able to get 500Mb of data. Then 1GB. Then 3GB and then 7GB. And you — and I — did. We lapped it up.

But now, there’s Unlimited. And try as they might, the telcos won’t be able to sell us 2 Unlimiteds. Or 5 of them. It’s hard to sell More Unlimited or Unlimited Unlimited.

And, thus far at least, there’s no sense that Telstra is planning to throttle speeds, so it’s also unlikely to be able Double-Unlimited speed either.

So, unless they pull a rabbit out of the hat, Telstra’s new plan means that we’ll never pay more than $199 each month for a mobile plan. And, if competition does what competition usually does, in short order we’ll be paying less. Maybe even a lot less, as data keeps getting cheaper to transmit and its competitors see a chance to undercut the Big T.

Then again, the telcos have never struggled to find a way to charge us more. I mean there’s going to be 5G, then 6G, and content, and roaming, and new handsets and…

And maybe, just maybe, this isn’t the most we’ll ever pay, after all. But I think it’s a good bet.

If I’m wrong, though, don’t call me. And I won’t call you. I’m too cheap to pay $199 a month for that plan.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Scott Phillips owns shares of Alphabet (C shares) and Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Telstra Limited and TPG Telecom Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Alphabet (A shares). We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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