Hey Optus? What's the catch?

No seriously, what is the catch? Announced today, is a new prepaid mobile phone plan from Optus called ‘dollar days’ that is so good, I can’t help but wonder what the catch is. It works like this; there are three prepaid price plan options to choose from. $1 a day, $2 a day and $3 a day, the value details of each are here, but as you can guess, the higher the price plan the more value you get. With the $3 a day plan you get unlimited data and you are not charged for using the service on the weekends, so you save the $6 for the two days.

A couple of things I couldn’t believe were this; if you don’t use your phone for calls (or calls and data if you are on the $3 a day plan) then you are not billed. So if you go away on holidays and turn your phone off, you are not charged because you are not using your phone. This makes so much sense to me that I am feeling a little faint at how much money we could all be saving. When I go overseas, I change my voicemail alert to tell people I am overseas and also give them my international SIM phone number. My phone stays off, and I save money on international roaming through the global SIM card service. Now I can also save money on my home mobile service by not paying for the days I don’t use it!

The other thing of benefit is with voicemail. It’s free. If you turn your phone off, don’t consume any outgoing calls and data, and people leave messages on your voicemail, you are not billed for the days. If you retrieve your voicemail, well that is most likely counted as a day (and if it is not, then Optus, seriously how do you make a living from this offer?).

Finally we turn our attention to credit. The nature of prepaid is that you pay money into your Optus service, and then use it up. Under dollar days this does not change, however Optus prepaid allows unused credit to roll over at the end of the month. Modern smart phones running android or iPhone, have Optus apps where you can credit your account easily and track use, so this part of the prepaid equation is getting easier and easier to deal with.

Optus has created a prepaid service cheaper than the cheapest postpaid service I can find. Under the current offer I would be paying around $60 a month for dollar days, and less if there were days in the month when I didn’t use my phone. I am expecting a call from the MD of Optus any minute now, asking if there is any odd jobs I need doing at my place where his team could earn some extra cash to make up for the tight profit margin this new prepaid offers brings.

Seriously though, and with all jokes aside, dollars days is a prepaid offer that not only offers amazing value, but flexibility to mould to your phone use. And this is a true sign that competition is alive and healthy in the Australia phone market.