Spark has followed rival Vodafone into 'endless' mobile data plans - as predicted by analyst Peter Wise in February when he said Vodafone's move would "force a competitive response".
As with Vodafone's plans, you get maximum mobile speed until a certain data limit is reached, then get service for the rest of the month at a chopped back speed.
Spark refused to disclose its throttled speed but said it was "not lower than the market" - a reference to Vodafone's speed reduction to 1.2 megabits per second. That limits you to standard definition rather than high definition video (a full-tilt 4G connection can hit 50 megabits per second or more, and 5G can hit five times that bandwidth).
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The other catch is that Spark won't let you hotspot or tether (share your phone's internet connection with another device, like your laptop) unless you buy a "hotspot extra" add-on for $10 a month (for 3GB, 10GB or 40GB of shared data at full-speed, depending on your plan - see pricing below).
That's also the main point of difference with Vodafone's 'endless' data plans, which all include hot-spotting at no extra cost.
Vodafone also has the edge on pricing - or at least how much data you get for your money - on most tiers, though Spark throws in various offers for free or discounted Spotify Premium.
Wise said the inclusion of hot-spotting at no extra cost on Vodafone's endless data service was "a big improvement" on previous plans.
You say endless, I say endless
Outwardly, at least, Vodafone doesn't seem miffed that Spark has copied its "endless data" meme.
Consumer director Carolyn Luey said, "Endless data plans have been super popular with Vodafone customers, so it's not particularly surprising that Spark has now decided to copy our plans and slogan".
"Since we launched Endless Data plans just over two months ago, Vodafone customers have told us they appreciate the transparency of knowing clearly what and how the max speed caps work plus being able to hotspot for free – particularly during lockdown when data certainty has been even more important."
2degrees has yet to join Spark and Vodafone in introducing across-the-board endless data plans, but does have an $85 "unlimited" data plan that gives you 40GB before throttling to 1mbit/s. It includes hotspotting, though subject to speed limits if there is network congestion ("unlimited" data plans for power users were the rage last year).
In the fixed-line market, all of the major players have introduced unlimited data at no extra cost as a Covid-19 relief measure.
Spark's endless mobile data pricing
Spark's Endless Pay Monthly Mobile plans start at $39.99 per month for 3GB of data (roughly, one Netflix movie in high def) at maximum speed; $59.99 for 10GB at max speed and $79.99 for 40GB at max speed.
The latter includes Spotify Premium, while the two lower-cost plans offer the option to add-on Spotify Premium at half price.
Up to four people can join a $99 per month plan with 40GB of data at max speed per person in addition to a subscription to Spotify Premium.
A pre-paid endless data plan costs $79 per four weeks for 40GB at max speed.
Spark has no option to buy extra data at full-speed.
Vodafone's endless mobile data pricing
For $40 a month, you get 4GB of data at maximum speed, or around enough to stream one high def movie before the throttling kicks in.
$60 buys you 12GB of data at maximum speed.
$80 gets you 40GB at full speed and $100 buys you 100GB at full speed.
If you bust your data limit and don't want to be throttled, you can buy another 1GB at full speed for $7 or 5GB for $25.