iBurst signals mainstream shift

Personal Broadband Australia (PBA) has launched new entry-level plans for its iBurst wireless broadband service as part of a wider campaign for the mass market.

The company has changed several of its plans, including cutting its entry-level iBurst laptop plan by $20 to $49.95 (512Kbps/300MB month), and cutting its desktop plan by $5 to $34.95 (256Kbps/300MB month). But while costs have fallen, the previous entry-level plans had offered higher monthly data usage.

The set-up fee for laptop users is $509.85; $369 for desktop users.

Last week, Chilli Internet dropped the entry level price for its iBurst products, with its plans now starting from $49.95 per month for 300MB of downloads at 512Kbps.

The new pricing, which competes with traditional DSL models, is a result of the growth and evolution of the company, according to PBA marketing director John Filmer.

"We tried to market iBurst as a different product. That was the original strategy," he said.

PBA CEO Jim Cooney has previously told media that iBurst would not be priced at similar levels to competitors such as Unwired, to differentiate the product.

iBurst uses smart antenna technology to deliver Internet services across a 1.9GHz spectrum band, providing more mobility than modem-based services.

"Now, as we've increased our subscriber base, we felt the time was right for this," Filmer said.

"The differentiation still holds true of the mobile product."

PBA has begun a three-month advertising campaign that has seen full-page advertising for the products in major metropolitan newspapers.

"It's primarily in Sydney, but will go out to other capitals [later]," Filmer said.

"We're also doing some other things behind the scenes."

PBA sells iBurst through its reseller channel, and recently signed its first retail partner, Harvey Norman. Other resellers include SecureTel, OzEmail and Techex.

An expanded retail presence is expected later this year.

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