Wednesday, 23 September 2020 12:13

Optus flexes its prepaid muscle, challenging MVNOs and competitors alike


While competitors have all kinds of unlimited talk and text plans with varying levels of data for any type of customer, Optus hopes its newfound flexibility fulfils its promise of "prepaid, remade".

Optus has added to its existing range of prepaid plans with a flexible new option unsurprisingly dubbed Optus Flex.

The marketing department at Optus naturally says this "takes flexibility and value to a whole new level", with the real flexibility being that you can choose from a 1 day plan, a 7 day plan, a 14 day plan and a 30 day plan, with the $1 plan giving you unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data... for one day!

Optus doesn't say this but presumably this plan is geared towards those seeking the value and flexibility of being able to turn their plans on and off whenever they want or have spare money to activate their plans again.

The plans are based on an auto-recharge scenario, done through the app (and not via vouchers you buy in store), but you can cancel the auto-recharge and thus the plan at the next allotted recharge time at any time.

Phone plans generally still let you receive calls for quite a while, at least a couple of weeks or more, if you haven't paid to activate your being able to call, text or use data, so this would be a very friendly plan to certain segments of the market.

I asked Optus how long its SIM would continue to receive calls once a plan was not renewed, and there's a very healthy 186 days where calls can still be received - and when you can renew your plan for as little as $1 per day, that's plenty of time.

A counter example is Kogan Mobile on the Vodafone network allowing SIMs to receive calls for just 20 days after a plan has expired, which is why I wrote "at least a couple of weeks or more above". A relative took advantage of one-time 99c deal for new customers only giving 40GB of data and unlimited calls for a month - after which he moved to some other plan, which we did before the 20 days was up after the plan expired. 

In addition, the My Optus App will continue to work over those 186 days, so you don't have to go into a store or worry about not having an active plan to be able to reactivate your plan, and as Optus tells me, the plan activates immediately upon payment - so the Flex plan lives up to being flexible!

It's also important to note Optus has its existing prepaid plans, too - Flex is in addition to those four other ranges of prepaid plans, all with different inclusions to cater to just about anyone.

Also, as usual, it's 100% worth your time and effort to check out the inclusions from all of the other MVNOs and telcos, because there has never been greater competition and diversity in the offerings out there, and some plans will suit more than others, so please do your homework, whether it is for your kids, yourself or others.

So, what does Optus have to say about this plan?

Well, we're told that it is "conveniently managed via the My Optus App" and that it "paves the way for the prepaid market with subscription payments on a daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis as well as all unused data up to 200GB automatically rolling over onto the next recharge.

"Customers are put in control of choosing, switching and adding features to their plan, whether it be Unlimited Data Day, Optus Sport or international talk to stay close with family and friends."

Optus’ Head of Prepaid, Vidur Rattan said, “With Optus Flex, we have taken what we know our customers already love about our Prepaid plans and enabled greater value, convenience and flexibility, all in one place via the My Optus app. It’s prepaid remade.

“We know our customers all have different needs, which is why we want to give them cost effective options that suit them. Customers can certainly expect to bag a bargain with plans starting from just $1 along with unlimited calls and texts.”

Optus tells us its new Flex prepaid plans follow on from its "recently launched Unlimited Data Day $5 add-on (for selected plans in the non-Flex plan range) where customers can activate unlimited mobile data for 24 hours and satisfy all their bingeing needs."

Rattan added: “These plans offer customers the freedom and great value they are searching for, suiting their specific needs, with all features able to be easily added or removed whenever they like."

More information on Optus Flex is available here

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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