Whatever happened to charging us for the data we use?
Optus has launched a new prepaid option for its wireless broadband service, but with the unusual proviso that the data used will be charged in 10MB increments.
This means that if you log on and check your email then immediately log off you will have 10MB deducted from your allocation regardless of the fact you will have downloaded significantly less than this amount.
Confusingly, Optus will charge the first 30MB used each day at 10MB against your remaining data allocation. Thereafter all data used is charged in 10MB blocks.
A prepaid option is an excellent idea and will appeal to many people who don't want to be tied into a lengthy contract period for fixed-line or wireless internet usage. However, while Optus uses this billing system it is conceivable that customers could spend all of their pre-purchased data credit while not actually accessing anywhere near that much data.
Prices for the prepaid service start from AU$30 for 2GB of downloads with a 30-day expiry and include a range of plans with AU$100 vouchers being the most expensive. Prepaid broadband vouchers are available through a similar list of vendors you can expect to buy prepaid mobile credit from including Video Ezy, 7-Eleven, Woolworths and Coles.
Optus is selling a prepaid starter pack for AU$199 featuring a USB modem, a SIM card and 2GB of included data. Full pricing is available on the Optus website.