Optus Launches Usage Alerts A Year Before They Become Compulsory

Optus has become the first major carrier to meet up with the alerts requirements of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code, sending text alerts when you have used 50 per cent, 85 per cent and 100 per cent of your plan value. That's impressive, given that the leisurely schedule for the code meant that this wasn't a requirement until a year from now.

Picture by Alpha

These are the key elements of Optus' alert scheme:

  • You'll receive a text message within 48 hours of reaching one of the thresholds. (Real-time would be nice, but 48 hours is what the code requires).
  • You'll also receive a text message if you spend more than $100 on services not included in your standard plan value, such as international calls.
  • When you're overseas, you'll be sent an SMS within an hour of using up your international roaming credit. (In practice, you could spend a small fortune even in an hour, so I'd still recommend switching roaming off before going overseas.)

The change doesn't apply to all Optus postpaid plans, though it should be in place if you're on a current plan. Customers who are eligible will be sent a text message telling them they are part of the scheme. (You can also log into your account online; if you're eligible, you'll see a series of usage graphs.)

Optus will also "soon" introduce one-off top-up options for customers who have used most of their plan value. You can pay $5 for $40 of call and text credit, or $10 for $100 of credit. Data top-ups cost $2 for 100MB, $5 for 500MB and $10 for 1GB. (That pricing is yet another example of the decoy effect: most people will tend towards the $10 deal.)

Optus has offered basic 80 per cent usage alerts since August last year, as has Telstra since last November.

Update: An Optus spokesperson tells me "soon" for top-ups means "within a couple of months".


    I had a colleague who was on their old Optus alert system - which was receiving a bill for over $2,000, followed by a scathing broadcast email from our global CFO, followed by a nicely worded 'suck a fat one' from Optus customer service, and then the purchase of a second handset and prepaid SIM from another provider, followed by the placement of the Optus phone in a drawer until end of contract. 'yes' LOL - NO!!!

    I was under the impression Vodafone already did these alerts for overseas and for exceeding your plan spend. Not the % spend though?

    Vodafone/3 sends alerts. I recently received one because I was approaching the limit of my (local) data cap. It was nicely timed too. I've never come close to using up my call cap, but I imagine I'd get a text in that scenario too.

    Telstra also sends alerts good work life hacker....

      Telstra's existing alerts are mentioned in the article, good work commenter . . .

    within 48 hours??? sounds timely.

    Optus unfortunatly after a good run, started to suck lately.

    So this begs the question, why was the due date set so far forward???

    Well their website had a huge facelift a few months ago JUST before i moved over to live connected. They had 12 hour updates on your accounts. I miss that. Now back to 2-3 day updates with liveconnected.. Cant complain for a cheap service.

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