For those who are wondering who Optus is, they are the second largest telecommunications network in Australia and a subsidiary of Singtel. But wait, don’t tune out if you are from somewhere else in the world! There is definitely something interesting here that pretty much anybody who has a phone and a phone plan will wish they had. And obviously, if you’re Australian, you’ll want to hear this…
Optus is poised to launch their new Optus My Plan phone plans on July 1st which include some unprecedented features in this era of phone plans. Optus is hoping to deliver to customers the “assurance and honesty they have been waiting for” and the primary drivers for this change are the simplification of billing, usage control, unlimited SMS and the removal of ridiculous excess phone bill charges.
The simplification of billing is a relatively small change, making what’s available in a phone plan each month be seen in minutes as opposed to a dollar amount. And along with this change is the implementation of usage control, which are a series of SMS alerts sent by Optus to users when 50%, 85% and 100% of their inclusions have been used. Whether you think this may get irritating or be helpful, it is a good indicator of your phone usage and we’ll find out why that’s so important in a minute. My Plan will also feature unlimited national SMS and MMS, which is always nice.
Now, you might be thinking, “these features are nice, but there plenty of networks that offer one or more of these services already”. Well, you would be right, but in addition to these previous features, Optus intends to change the excess phone bill charges game as we know it. Yes, excess charges: the things that we dread when we read our phone bill to find that we overstepped our plan inclusions and have to pay a ridiculous amount as excess charges. I’m sure one or two of us would have called this blatant “money gouging” at some point. Well, Optus intends on making this a much more logical and painless process.
So what happens when you go over your cap on the Optus My Plan? Let’s say you are on the $50 plan which gives you 450 of call credit. Naturally, you would receive SMS updates to let you know you have reached 50% and 85% of your call limit. At 85%, there are two things you can do: stop calling people, which is what many of you might do, or you can continue calling past 100% of your limit. While this would normally end with enormous excess charges, My Plan will only charge you $5 extra dollars and give you another 150 mins of call credit. Likewise, if you were to reach this new limit of 150 mins, another $10 would give you an extra 200 minutes of call credit. If you somehow manage to use more than that (which is a total of 800 minutes in a month), My Plan will grant you unlimited minutes of call for another $10.
If you do the maths, that’s $75 for the month whilst making all the calls you need to, and crucially, once that month is over, My Plan will return you to your nominal plan of $50. Essentially what this does is gives you a safety blanket choice of whether to go over your limit and pay a pretty fair price of $10, or to limit your use for the rest of the month. And like calls, data has exactly the same plan: $5 for an extra 500MB and $10 for an extra 1GB, up to a maximum of 20GB.
That might have been quite a lengthy explanation, but the key point is that Optus is essentially forfeiting the ridiculous excess charges in favour of giving customers “genuinely new plans that offer actual fairness, flexibility and transparency”. It’s a pretty revolutionary move for a telecommunications company not only in Australia, but probably the world, and puts Optus’ focus wholly on the customer, which I think is an ideal we can all get behind.
More interesting will be whether Telstra, the largest telecommunications network in Australia, and indeed, networks around the world, will follow in Optus’ footsteps. I daresay that unless T-Mobile announces the same sort of plan at its press conference on July 10th, it might look a bit limp-wristed compared to Optus’ move to My Plan.
What do you think about the Optus My Plan? Let us know what you think about this move in the comments.
Source: Optus My Plan