Okay, this is weird. Optus is offering prepaid customers free mobile data if they use their Android phone's lock screen as an advertising platform. No, really. You can also bag extra call credit. Here's how it works.
Developed in partnership with New Zealand-based start-up, Postr, Optus Xtra is a free Android app that grants the user 1GB of extra data or $2 of extra credit every 28 days on a range of Optus' prepaid plans. To get the freebie, you need to have ads displayed on your phone's lock screen which are delivered through the app.
The 1GB deal is available on My Prepaid Ultimate, My Prepaid Ultra Plus and My Prepaid Ultra plans, while the $2 of extra credit is available on My Prepaid Daily Plus and $2 Days 4G Ready plans.
The ads - which include videos - can be tailored to match your interests, with a choice of beauty, employment, fashion, politics, health, money, technology and travel.
If you don't care about being a walking billboard for a bunch of Optus affiliates, this could be a good way for budget conscious customers to get through the month without resorting to a data top-up. On the other hand, the videos played through the app will incur normal data charges, which could eat into your bonus quite quickly.
"If customers tap to visit an ad's website or to watch a video, the data used will come out of their balance as normal," an Optus spokesperson explained. "Customers will also use mobile data to download the Optus Xtra app if they do so while connected to the Optus data network".
Thankfully, you are under no obligation to actually watch the videos or click through to visit the sites being advertised. (And you can naturally use Wi-Fi if an ad does take your fancy.) According to Optus, customers who don't click on anything will incur a maximum download of 20 megabytes per month, which means you're ahead 980MB.
Postr has developed similar screen advertising apps for mobile network operators in New Zealand and South-East Asia, but this is its first partnership with an Australian telco. You can download the app here.