Optus has launched new prepaid plans with extended expiry times and the option to simply not use your phone for a day and thus not be charged. Plans start from $1 per day, which is a decent amount more expensive than a lot of other prepaid options on the market, but the inclusions and upgrade packs do lend it a certain uniqueness. They will go live on August 11.
It’s clear that Optus is trying to extend its “no bill shock”/upgrade-based SIM-Only and Post-Paid My Plan Plus style to its prepaid plans. Unfortunately, the result is a little more confusing than Optus may have hoped for.
The daily packages
There are now two daily packs: My Prepaid Daily and My Prepaid Daily Plus. Both have a credit expiry of 6 months, meaning that any credit you buy can last up to half a year. Even better, if you have a bunch of credit left and it’s about to expire, all you have to do is top it up even a little to reset the expiry date for the whole lot of it, giving you another 6 months.
As a nice bonus, the international calling rates are quite low. There is zero flagfall and call prices begin at 2c per minute, but vary depending on where you are calling. This is not an included cost. You’ll pay out of your credit for each minute of these calls on-top of your daily/monthly prepaid fee.
These new daily packs have a familiar ring to them. There's a definite focus on “paying for what you use”, which is similar to Optus' recent My Plan Plus switch-over for its Monthly and post-paid plans.
Firstly, if you don’t use your phone for a day on the My Prepaid Daily or the My Prepaid Daily Plus then you won’t be charged at all. To ensure you have absolutely zero usage, you’ll need to go in to your phone’s settings and deactivate Mobile Data. Phones have all kinds of apps and services that send and receive data in the background. If you leave mobile data running then you’ll end up paying just because one of your apps decides to update its news feed.
Secondly, there are bolt-on packs for if you go over your daily limit. Like we already said, though, these are less straight-forward than their post-paid pals.
My Prepaid Daily
Starting at $1 a day, My Prepaid Daily is the cheapest option and will come to $30-$31 each month (disregarding February), assuming you don’t have any usage-less days.
It’s important at this point to note that, while credit you purchase from Optus has a 6 month expiry, anything you purchase with said credit will disappear at the end of the day, no matter how much of it remains unused.
All allowances purchased with your credit are limited to daily use, instead of the more-familiar monthly figures. For the default price you get up to 30 minutes of calls per day, unlimited SMS/MMS and 40MB of included data. If you go over any of these, you’ll be automatically bumped up to a total of $1.50 for the day, and given unlimited minutes and an extra 40MB.
If you then go over this second data limit, it becomes 50c each time, at which point another 50MB is added. There is a maximum payment of $5 for a single day, which will total you 430MB.
To continue using data once you’ve reached the daily limit, you can purchase even more via the My Optus App, or by SMSing “MENU” to 9999. These data packs are $2 for 200MB or $5 for 500MB. Both expire at the end of the day.
So, what does this boil down to? It’s actually not too shabby. $1 per day for 40MB works out to $30 for 1.2GB over a 30-day month. That’s good pricing for 4G access to the Optus network, not forgetting that 30 daily minutes works out to 900 minutes in the same timeframe.
My Prepaid Daily Plus
This option starts at $2 per day with unlimited national calls, texts, MMS and a whopping 500MB of data. That comes to 15GB for $60 over 30 days. If you go over your data, then you’ll automatically be charged $2 more and given an extra 524MB until the end of the day. The maximum for is $4 for 1GB, once again expiring at midnight.
This time if you want to keep using data, you can still buy it through the My Optus App, or by SMSing “MENU” to 9999, but you’ll only pay $2 for 500MB.
Wait, so what bits last 6 months?
Buying credit for the Prepaid Daily packs is kind of like adding to a pool. It is this credit pool that lasts 6 months; not the individual bits and pieces of usage that it purchases. Credit can be purchased in amounts ranging from $10 to $100 at a time.
For each day where you use your phone, even for the briefest moment or the tiniest amount of data, you are charged the minimum default payment: $1 for the My Prepaid Daily or $2 for the My Prepaid Daily Plus. These payments come out of your pool.
Any automatic add-ones also come out of the pool. As do any of the optional Extra Data purchases that can be made through the My Optus app, or any overseas calls.
Any add-ons or usage amounts that are purchased with your credit last only until the end of the day.
It’s unlikely that any credit you buy will ever last the full 6 months without being used by you. After all, if you use your phone once each day with the cheaper My Prepaid Daily package, you would only have a maximum of 100 days from a single payment, seeing as payments max out at $100.
Basically, what this means is you probably won’t ever have to worry about paying for credit and having it disappear simply because you didn’t use it.
However, once you use your credit to purchase a data or call allowance, it’s up to you to make it worth your while because it’ll vanish at the end of the day. Even if you buy extra through the My Optus app.
If all this sounds too confusing and you’d rather stick with the old prepaid monthly scheme then these still exist too. For these packages any credit purchased will expire after 30 days.
The options are $30, $45 and $60. Their inclusions are listed below.
Once again you can purchase an extra 500MB for $5. This time it’ll last you 30 days before expiring. You can also pay an extra $10 for $10 of international call credit for usage within 30 days.