Optus launched a bunch of new 'Epic' prepaid plans this week, with the most interesting feature being new 42 day - or 6 week - credit expiry for some of the these new plan options. That, and the fact that the plans are totally 'epic'.
But if you keep an eye on phone plans, you'll know that this isn't an entirely new feature. In fact there's a bunch of prepaid options with credit expiry beyond a standard month. Vodafone launched 35 day expiry plans last year, and newcomer Catch Connect has several 90 day plans too.
The benefit is pretty clear. The longer the credit expiry, the less you need to recharge your account. If you can make the credit last, especially the included data, then you could save some decent money over the long term.
Note: Our interactive tables may take a few seconds to generate. Thanks for your patience!
Prepaid plans that last longer than a month
As you go through the table, there's a key difference between the plans. Some of them, like those from Optus, Catch Connect, Coles and Vodafone, have a single data inclusion that you use over the course of the recharge. If you run out of data and need more, you'll need to top up your account.
Others, like Kogan and Lebara, auto top-up every 30 days. These plans are less a long expiry option, and more a bulk buying discount for paying for several months of service upfront.
Both options have pros and cons. Long expiry credit is great for someone who needs the calls and SMS for a period of time and is happy to ration out their data use. With 42 day credit expiry, you only need to recharge you account 8 or 9 times each year, compared with 13 times if you are on a prepaid plan with 28 day expiry. But if you burn through all of your data quickly, you'll be better off with a standard monthly option.
Joe Hanlon is Publisher at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website. He’s been writing about phones and plans for far too long.