I guess it is possible that a telco being more likeable than hateable is debatable, but it certainly is no bull that Circles.Life wants to round out its launch with a clear attitude that I'm assigning the company, which is the obvious message: don't be a square.
I mean, Huey Lewis and the News did sing that it was "hip to be square", but given that single launched in 1986, quirky circles are clearly back in fashion, as are competitive deals that will help shake up the Australian MVNO telco market.
So, what is Circles.Life launching as its offer in Australia?
Ben Murray, the GM of Circles.Life Australia said:
We’re stepping up the game by offering a premium customer experience and we dare Australians to like their telco.
"Hence, we’re offering a bill waiver for the first four months during the launch period - so they don’t just have to take our word for it but can experience our service themselves, risk-free. We are proud to partner with Optus and we aim to set a new benchmark for customer satisfaction in the country.”
The company says it is "giving power back to the customers", as it offers a "premium digital experience, no long-term contracts and a flexible plan that can be adjusted to meet customers’ needs".
The company also promises that "real people (no more bots!) will respond within seconds to customer queries through its in-app Live Chat, ensuring customers are treated like people rather than numbers. This excellent customer service has been proven to be a success in Singapore and Taiwan where the response time is 20 to 27 seconds - one of the fastest in the industry".
Circles.Life also proudly boasts of having "the highest customer satisfaction score in Singapore via a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 50", and is one of the reasons why it believes it is "set to introduce a telco experience that Australian customers are sure to love".
So, what are the plan details in more detail?
Ok, so Circles.Life starts off with a single, simple plan, dubbed a Flexible plan with Bill Shock Protection: 20GB for $28/mth".
The detail is that the Circles.Life Monthly Plan offers 20GB data + unlimited standard national talk & text for $28/mth, and if you exceed the allocated base data of 20GB, the company provides provides 3GB or $30 worth of bill shock protection (based on $0.01/MB excess data charge) at no extra cost.
That means your 20GB plan is really a 23GB plan, but of course, if you need even more data, you have great options.
For those who want even more data than 20GB, Circles.Life offers the option to add an additional 20GB for $10 as a once-only monthly add-on, or you can also boost your data allocation with an extra 3GB for $6 as a one-off purchase, as many times in a month as you like. You can also "do nothing" just pay 1c per megabyte if you go over the 23GB, but it would be much better value to get one of the add-ons.
The service has rolled out in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, and The Australian Capital Territory, and will be expanding to other states in the next few months.
Circles.Life is also talking up its "Digital experience"
The company says it "offers a digital experience that enables customers to simply sign up online and have their SIM card delivered as soon as the same day. After receiving their SIM, customers can activate or transfer their number on the Circles.Life website.
"Customers can also tailor their experience through the Circles.Life app, selecting add-ons and boost features, contacting customer representatives through the in-app Live Chat function, and monitoring their data usage at any time."
So, Circles.Life says it has gone "Beyond telco"
Unlike a traditional telco or MVNO, Circles.Life explains that it has "eliminated all proprietary hardware and appliances and moved the entire architecture to a software-based cloud environment, Circles-X. Circles-X is a tech stack that delivers a highly flexible digital customer experience across the entire customer journey.
"It enables Circles.Life to measure its innovation in weeks, resulting in rapid product development that is closer to other technology companies like Netflix and Uber than traditional telcos. This allows Circles.Life to create meaningful product differentiation within the telco space and outside of that. In Singapore, Circles.Life has already expanded beyond the telco space, creating digital lifestyle and insurance products with more in the pipeline.
The Optus MD of Business and Wholesale, Ben White added:
"We're proud to support the launch of an exciting new service that like Optus, embraces a culture and mindset of putting the customer first.
"Our premium network coverage and connectivity makes Optus the ideal MVNO partner. By leveraging the strength and breadth of our Optus network, Circles.Life can deliver an exceptional customer experience along with fast data downloads.
"Since 2015 we have invested over $6bn to improve our network reach, capacity and quality, and our MVNO partners will benefit from this investment directly.
"Our leadership in the MVNO market gives Australians more choice of services that are personalised to their needs, and we look forward to supporting Circles.Life's success in Australia."
I also wrote about the pending launch of Circles.Life in Australia back on August 26, 2019, where I used some digital mischief to work Disney's The Lion King graphics into the mix, as well as rewriting the "Circle of Life" song to reflect Circles.Life instead of animated lions and other animals, which you can read and sing along to here.
More information and info on how to sign up to Circles.Life is here.
Here's an infographic on the company: