If there’s one area of technology I find myself lost and confused – its mobile phone prepaid plans.  These things are many and varied across any carrier let alone the entire market.  Optus has today announced a new set of prepaid plans which will hit the market on August 11.

When I met up with Optus’ Vice President of Mobile Marketing Ben White – The only thing I could drag from my memory about prepaid plans was the $1 a day plans that Optus launched some years ago.  As it turns out, those plans are at the heart of this new offering too.

Ben is a passionate man, and if the Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Carrier Market Share Data is to be believed, Optus hold 21.9% of the prepaid market – second place to Telstra and around 6% ahead of Vodafone. So these new plans are Optus’ way of trying to sneak in a bit more share of that market.

Following the recent change in postpaid plans where simplicity was paired with more data – Optus moves from five types of plans today, to three new prepaid plans.

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My Prepaid Daily – these plans are the $1 a day plans of old – renewed for 2014.  You recharge your account and that cash is available to you for 6 months, which is a decent recharge length.  Then, if you don’t use your phone to make calls, send texts or use data on any given day – you pay nothing.  You can receive calls – no cost.  The moment you use a bit of data or send a text, you’re charged $1.  You can then make 30 mins worth of calls, send unlimited texts and use 40MB of data.

If you go over that 30 minutes, or need more data, you’ll pay another 50c and get unlimited calls and another 40MB of data.  After that, every time you go over your data allowance you pay another 50c for 50MB to a maximum of $5 for a day.

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My Prepaid Daily Plus – Choose this plan if you know you’re going to use a bit of data – or make a lot of calls.  For $2 a day you get unlimited calls, texts and 500Mb of data each day.  Again, if you use no calls, texts or data, you pay nothing.

If you need more data, you can add 524MB for $2 – with a max billing of $4 on any day, and 1GB of data available.

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[contextly_sidebar id=”B75q9fvhqy3EnNu09ssYEGWCB6GFEqO9″]My Prepaid Monthly – If a consistent plan is more you go – you can prepay onto a monthly cap plan, with $30 getting you 350 mins of talk time, unlimited texts, 1GB of data and $5 for international calls or other extras.

The $45 recharge will get you unlimited calls, texts and 2GB of data.

As far as consumers go, there are a lot of options in the market.  Outside the top three carriers you’ve got a bunch of options at petrol stations and supermarkets to take your fancy – from Lebara to Amaysim or Aldi and TPG.  In the end though, Optus is confident their 4G speed offering to prepaid customers, combined with the value in these plans will help them attract new customers and retain existing ones.

Kids and the elderly are the most likely users of the daily dollar plans – you see for someone who needs to be contacted by phone the idea of paying nothing but having the option to make calls is a valuable prospect.

Extrapolated out over a month if you were using the $1 plan every day you’re getting 1.2GB of data and that’s a very generous for prepaid users.

The 4G speeds are likely to be the appeal of these plans, and given they are offering a stack more data than comparable Vodafone and Telstra plans (Telstra $30 = 400MB, Vodafone $30 = 500MB and Virgin Mobile $29 = 1GB) it’s going to be well worth shopping around for Prepaid customers in late August.