Cap plans are offered by all the major mobile phone carriers in Australia and have proven to be hugely popular. However do they give you a much value for money as you think?
The cap plans are all very similar between the major phone carriers; Optus, Telstra, and Vodafone all give you $550 worth of calling credit on a $79 cap.
It almost sounds too good to be true, and in some cases it is! The companies make their money by hiking up the call charges and connection costs. In some cases the true cost of making a call is three or four times as much as it would be on a non cap plan! An example of good value would be plan that gave me, say $89 of calling credit for the price of $79 but the call charges remain the same. That would be worth to me $10, instead I am almost tricked into thinking I am getting $471 for free when it could in fact cost me more, a lot more.
On the Optus Business Smart $79 cap the call charges are 30c per 30 seconds with a flagfall (connection charge) of 35c, so to make a one minute call it will cost you 95c. The same call on the Optus Yes Business Smart Plan would cost just 40c (Smart Rate.)
The pitfalls of a cap plan come into play if you are a high user or might use your mobile unpredictably, i.e. if you have a quiet month and your mobile usage is low, then the next month you are very busy and it’s almost glued to your ear. If you are on a Cap plan after your $550 of calling credit has run out you will continue to be billed at the rates above (95c for a 60 second call.) This could lead to a bill in the hundreds if not thousands of dollars!
However there is a market where Caps work, and work well. Caps can be great if you are on a budget; you can opt for a prepaid cap that you need to recharge every month after your calling credit of $550 has been reached, ensuring that you never receive a huge bill. Prepaid Caps are great for your teenage kids, you decide what cap they have $29, $39, $49 etc and when they use up all the calling credit then that’s it until next month (unless you are a soft touch dad like me!)
Other people that benefit from Caps, either Cap plans or Prepaid Caps are those that can guarantee they will not exceed the calling credit amount. They are receiving more talk time for their money and know they will not exceed the limit.
With the Optus Business Smart Cap there are other benefits such as: Free unlimited voicemail, and a choice between SMART FLEET – Free calls, SMS, and MMS 24/7 to other mobile on your business account or BUSINESS TIME – free five minute calls to three number 24/7, either standard fixed line or Optus mobile numbers. You can also receive the first two months free if you sign a 24 month agreement and bring your own phone with you.
Whatever carrier you decide to use, ensure that the sales person gives you ALL the options available to you. There are numerous plans out there and usually one to fit the needs of everyone. Sometimes sales people can be guilty of pushing Caps on to consumers as they are perceived to be easier to sell because the customer thinks they are getting a massive amount of calling credit for free