Optus has unveiled a new logo, new mascot and new consumer plans which change to billing minutes rather than flagfalls, although some plans offer less data for new customers.
Out with the animals, in with the slightly cartoonish — it faintly reminds me of Barbapapa — logo for Optus, along with a desire to, in Optus’ own words, “become the most loved brand in the industry”. Most loved in the telco industry… hmmm. Apparently, you’ll also see a lot more branding around “Yes” in Optus-land, along with an animated mascot who is, for now, called Ollie. Presumably he has a skateboard.
Optus will also pitch 4G hard, with logos declaring “May the 4G be with you” and “OM4G” and such. Again, it’s branding — and this isn’t a marketing blog — but… yeah. You’ll either think that’s cute or naff, and that’s up to you.
Optus is also re-engineering its mobile phone and SIM plans under the “My” brand. So, “MyPlan”, “MySIM” and so on and so forth. The base level MyPlan works off set data and phone quotas, but with equally set pre-set add-ons if you go over your calling minutes or data. It varies tier by tier; the entry level $50 plan will shuffle up tiers based on your calling minutes, with a $5 slug at first for up to 600 minutes, then $10 for up to 800 minutes, then $10 again for unlimited minutes; the other tiers work off straight $10 calling minute increments. Yeah, it’s somehow simpler and yet not so.
On the data side, the baseline $50 MyPlan charges $5 for the first 500MB of excess quota and then $10 per GB thereafter, while the other plans simply bolt on $10/GB for each excess usage gigabyte.
The core idea is that while you’ll still pay for excess usage, you’ll pay a lot less than you would have for that additional usage at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, if you’ve got a phone you’re happy with and just want a SIM, the MySIM offerings run at $25, $40 and $65 per month. That gets you 100, 200 or unlimited calling minutes, along with 200MB, 1GB and 2GB of data respectively. The excess usage costs are different on MySIM, with the $25 plan charging $10 for 50 additional minutes (which accumulates up to a maximum of $100 which will tip you over to unlimited minutes) or $10 for 100MB more data. At the $40 tier, that same $10 buys you 100 minutes (up to $60 to tip over to unlimited calling minutes) or 500MB of data, while at the $65 tier the calls are already unlimited but $10 will buy you 800MB more data allowance.
The shift to calling minutes rather than call “costs” is an interesting one, but one that mimics the calling plans you see in other markets worldwide; it’ll be interesting to see how that stacks up in a data sense, and whether Optus will offer better call “value” against the existing (and, to be fair, often terribly confusing) call cap marketplace.
The new entry level plans (which will come into effect on July 1st) do have a slight sting, however. If you signed up for a $50 or $60 plan with Optus right now, you’d score 1GB and 1.5GB respectively per month as part of your standard agreement. Sign up for a new MyPlan from July 1st, and you’ll only get 500MB or 1GB per month included. You’ll pay less for excess usage, but you’re more likely to hit that excess a little more quickly. Optus representatives stated that if you’re an existing $50/$60 Optus customer, you apparently keep your old quota, even if you do switch over to a new account. The other big catch here is that it appears that there’s no really low tier contract plans; if you want an Optus contract phone, you’re looking at $50 as the entry level price point.
ACANN — that’s the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, if you’re being formal — ididn’t waste time putting out a statement regarding the new plans, with spokesperson Asher Moses stating
“We’re encouraged by Optus leading the industry in ending high breakage fees and simplifying included value offerings. Measuring included value by minutes is great for consumers as they can now get an idea of how many calls they can get from their monthly allowance without a confusing flag fall.
However we’re disappointed the new plans don’t come with more included data given the booming rates of data consumption. Virgin for instance offers 3gb of data for around the same price as the Optus 1gb plans. Separately, Optus has also changed prices on its mobile broadband plans recently and reduced included data. According to ACMA mobile data usage nearly doubled in 2011-12 and this trend is expected to continue.”