Optus Dollar Days Are Like A Prepaid Per-Day Cap

Optus Dollar Days Are Like A Prepaid Per-Day Cap

Optus has expanded its prepaid phone range with a new series of “Dollar Days” plans. They’re a potentially appealing option for relatively infrequent phone users, but require careful analysis if you’re going to get the best value from them.

The model for the Dollar Days plans is somewhat different to standard prepaid caps, so I’ll try and explain the logic. As with most prepaid plans, you top up with a specified amount which has a set expiry period (14 days for $10, $15 or $20 top-ups; 30 days for $30, $40 or $50; 60 days for $70 or $100). Credit rolls over if you top up before it expires.

When signing up, you choose whether you want to standardly use the $1 Days, $2 Days or $3 Days option. This is the amount that you’ll get charged on each day you use the phone to make calls or send texts — if you don’t use the phone at all, no charge is made. (Days are based on Sydney time, so users in other states might need to do some slightly messy calculations in that respect.)

For $1 a day, you can make unlimited calls to landlines, as well as unlimited calls and texts to other Optus-connected mobiles. For $2 a day, you can also call or text phones or any other network. For $3 a day, you get unlimited mobile browsing for the day as well. If you spend $3 a day across five weekdays, you get the same deal for free across the weekend.

As with most Optus plans, mobile browsing on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, FourSquare and eBay is free of charge across the range. International calls aren’t included as standard on any of the options, and are charged at set rates.

So what happens if you do something that’s not covered on your standard plan, such as calling a non-Optus mobile on the $1 plan? You’re automatically “bumped up” to the next relevant plan and sent a text message which tells you that has happened, and that you can now use the options available on that plan for the rest of the day. You can change the default plan which you’re charged for once a month.

Part of me thinks this is quite a neat idea for infrequent users, especially if they know most of their regular contacts are also on Optus and so can work with the $1 plan. That said, you’d only have to make one mobile call to a non-Optus phone to double your effective daily charge on that plan.

Someone using the $3 Days option constantly would be spending $60 a month, at which point going onto a contract plan looks like a better deal as you’ll get a phone included for less money. I realise though that for some people, prepaid is the only option available, and a fixed rate of $3 a day is easier to manage than the massive amounts often charged for casual mobile data (though Optus itself has recently improved in this area).

The new plans will go on sale from this Sunday. Like the sound of them, or think it sounds too fiddly/potentially expensive? Share your views in the comments.



  • On the surface this looks like a great plan for the elderly, i remember quite a few years ago, i got my grandparents a $100 credit on virgin mobile back when they had the never expires credit, that lasted for years.

    These days It’s hard to find a decent prepaid plan for people that might use it to make a call only in emergencies, especially for elderly people living on a pension.

    The ability to make unlimited calls to a landline for $1 is great value.

  • The only thing I see as being a problem with this plan is that if your smart or otherwise phone even touches a web link or email outside the free sites, bang you’ve hit $3 for that day even if you didn’t make a call so I’d say this is great for everyone who doesn’t use a smart phone. Would be nice if there was an “Email on 3” style option for Nokia Messaging maybe at the $2 level.

    On the other hand, we need to see the T&Cs first (everything I’ve seen says “mobile” or “web” browsing but what is there to preclude this?), but I can see myself putting this into my USB HSDPA modem and using it for unlimited laptop or home use for $3 a day.

    The other place this falls down is even though Optus promises not to charge you on days you don’t use your phone, your credit still moves towards its expiry date anyway, so you may either eventually accumulate lots of credit (like the 6000 bonus SMS I’ll never use on my Telstra prepaid phone) just to keep the dates ticking over or end up paying some extra anyhow (if you let it expire – say used it for only a couple of days).

  • Am I missing something here?

    If you sign up for $10, which lasts 14 days, on a $1 plan, then the best you will get is 4 “free” no call days. If you didn’t call for 13 days out of 14, you’d effectively pay $10 for that one day. Sure you can roll over, but that just accumulates money you’ll never spend, and unless you have a massive phone splurge, sooner or later, Optus will swipe it. For $2 plan, it’s better, but still best is 9 “free” days (and unless you use more than $2 of calls on the other 5, you lose again). Either way, you end up spending a minimum of $10 per fortnight, whatever you use. Same goes for the other amounts.

    Without the credit expiry (or if it was a long period), this would be good for oldies and emergency phones. But the expiry kills it as an option. Much better to get a post pay, and hardly use it. I’ve got an old voda sim that I keep in my spare phone. Probably spend no more than $20 a year, all on calls I actually use.

  • I think the fear of getting charged a $1 or $2 for accidentally calling someone will scare and confuse older customers. Services that offer 365 day credit like Savvytel and Vodafone are better for them. Simple to understand.

  • So for ~$90 per month, I can have unlimited calls and texts to any national phone and have unlimited browsing? They would instantly negate any cap plan with any service provider that is over ~$90 month.

    • Actually, ~$60 a month because of the free weekends. You don’t get tethering though (not sure how this is enforced on a Wi-Fi hotspot but it’s the policy).

  • I don’t see how this new model is better for infrequent users than the current Every Now & Then prepaid optus offers – $30 for 6 months and credit rolls over if you recharge before it expires. I use it together with the $5 data top-up. This usually averages around $15 per month for me.

  • the $3 per day plan with the free days, will work out to be a really good unlimited cap. I dont know of any postpaid plans which even comes close with unlimited data.

    For me, this plan is perfect. I am a frequent user of my phone, but i am also away from Australia for 1 – 2 weeks…so wont have to pay anything for not using my phone. As long as i use the correct recharge options, i should not have any credit expire on me either.

    • I agree completely. I think your comment may be the reason I came to this page.

      I scroogled for “unlimited mobile data” site:au or some such like and this page came up in the results.

      IMO, the Optus $60 per month ($3 per day) prepaid plan ought rightly to be compared with post-paid plans with a 4GB limit from other carriers that seem to cost around $100 a month.

      And don’t forget that “25 cents per MB” excess data charge, eg on Vodaphone’s Infiniti plans, is a whopping $250 per GB!

  • Hmm, I can see it’s useful for people like me who pick up their phone and use it only once every few days. Oldies are still much better served by $20 of Credit which lasts 6 months or a year depending on who you’re with.

  • If you are not a high user of calls, sms and internet but in fact still use these options daily and have friends on all networks, this plan option can turn out more expensive than say the Optus $30 talk and text (with an added $5 top up for data) or a telstra $30 cap plan which gives access to all three ways of communicating. If you can get rid of the homeline and use your mobile solely then the $3 option could save you money for sure. I think it is a great option for moderate to high users who call/text any network or the $1 is great for Optus friends but most people sms so you are on the $2 without question and this is I think $60 odd dollars a month if you use the phone daily.

  • I just changed my pre-paid plan to the $2 one but when I recharged with $30 it took it away with phone calls.
    I called my friend for a while and it took the credit away and now
    I don’t see how they can take $2 out of that if it is not there. This is ridiculous and I’m very disappointed! I have just waisted $30 for nothing!

  • this plan is pretty sweet i txt call and surf the net using my phone as a modem all for less then 15 a week. i understand i may spend more then if i find a good plan but fuck it worth the go

    • 2 questions
      1. does the unlimited data include using apps that use internet
      2 are you able to turn your phone into a hotspot for your laptop without being charged

  • I am on the $2 a day plan,and for me its been great as i buy a recharge card or only $10,but the trick is wait till you run out and need to make a call before charging so it last longer.
    The negative now is Optus has now change things so to even listen to a message because I missed a call will cost me.Every thing now is added on top of the dollar a day plan,so I am thinking hard about staying on this plan.Aslo a plan only last for the dollars you have put in.Eg 10 days $10 up to the 30 days.

  • I love the 2 dollar days plan because you get everything unlimited but optus fails at life. I have lived in 5 different places most of them next to the city and in only one of them i had good reception. Reception wise optus sucks, until i move i cant download anything during the day time because the internet is flooded with other users and cant get a strong enough signal out to me. Some nights it goes about a quarter or the speeds it shud be going. I dont think its worth going with optus if you are a frequent user but when you get full reception its amazing, i tethered my phone to my xbox and ran cod on without a problem, i would either get full bars or 3 which is amazing considering its a phone……………….and considering its optus. I also went in today and asked for a wireless modem, they didnt even know that the one i wanted existed, the lady gave me another modem similar. i asked for an arial. I tiold her that this model didnt accept arials but she kept saying it did. I also asked about the 3 dollar day prepaid plan that i could get but apparently that didnt exist either even tho 5 of my friends have it. So as i was walking home i opened up the box the wireless modem came in. What a surprise, i could connect the arial to it, so i went back to the shop, raged at the lady who sold it to me. Personally i think optus shud be closed down.

  • I have nearly had enough of Optus. Looking at going back to Vodafail. They are supposed to of up graded their network. I had more control over what I was spending with vodafone. I liked the 365 day conection too! Still do not understand this one dollar, two dollar stuff! May be optus does not want anyone to work it out!

  • I’m on $2 a day. It keeps sending me a message 2 days after I recharge that I have less then 25 MB.. I thought $2 a day was unlimited everything apart from international calls?

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