I’ve found a quite huge savings “trick” using a combination of Australia’s Optus MyTime (FREE minutes to 5 nominated Optus mobile & landline numbers) and PennyTel (a VOIP service provider) call forwarding.
This is only applicable to Australians only who are using Optus as their mobile carrier.
My OPTUS Pre-Paid at the moment
I’m currently on Optus Prepaid (the “FREE CHAT & TEXT” offer) which includes free minutes to any network number, free SMS, credits, and free MyTime minutes).
On a $30 recharge, I get:
- $30 worth of credit
- 50 free minutes to any mobile
- 50 free SMS to any mobile (local SMS only)
- 100 free minutes to 5 nominated Optus mobile and landline numbers (Optus MyTime)
The reason why I chose this offer was because I have a girlfriend overseas and I need that Optus MyTime offer to call a calling card to contact my girlfriend every now and then using my mobile. If you call straight internationally, you’ll be charged a hefty amount no matter what carrier you are using. By using the free MyTime minute to my Bee-Happy calling card, I only pay for the Bee-Happy rate (without the local call cost from a mobile).
Okay, that covers the reason why I switched back from Vodafone to Optus (so that I can call my girlfriend with a cheaper rate using a calling card). Now, we send SMS A LOT everyday. Apart from some mushy-mushy words like “I luv u” and so on, we chat a lot and there are probably some of you in a similar situation. Sending an SMS from your mobile costs you 25-35 cents. If you send 10 SMS internationally in one day, it will cost you at least $2-4 a day.
After doing some research and trials, I’ve found a few sites that can save me heaps of money in SMS. PennyTel is one of them.
PennyTel is a VOIP (Voice-Over-IP) service and provides a cheap call service (using your internet connection) and SMS (free at the moment, because it’s still in beta). I’ve sent numerous amount of SMS with PennyTel. It’s free (at the moment) and manage to send 80% of my SMSes. You see, they give the service for free because they are still having problems to deliver SMSes successfully to every network provider in the world. It depends on the recipient numbers and network. Lucky for me, every SMS has been delivered successfully to my girlfriend overseas (You send the SMS on their site and check the delivery status there as well). What I like about the delivery status, is that if it says “Success”, then the SMS is guaranteed to be received by the recipient. If it’s in “Pending” state after a minute, then you’ll know that something is wrong and most likely the number is “not supported” yet somehow.
I’ve tried to use PennyTel, SKYPE and other VOIP services to call overseas, but it’s just too laggy (I blame the connection that my girlfriend has). So at the moment, I’ve been using the VOIP provider to send FREE SMSes only :)
Due to our (my girlfriend and I) time difference and busy-ness, I rarely have a chance to call my girlfriend often, and therefore I have this massive 200 free minutes of MyTime at the moment (accumulated over a few months). Wouldn’t it be great if you can use these free minutes to call other non-Optus mobile numbers as well? Well I’ve just got the idea this morning and did a successful experiment ^^ . Read on.
Okay, so there are these 2 hints:
- PennyTel gives me my own landline number and a call forwarding service.
- OPTUS gives me a lot of free minutes to a landline number.
Have you found out what I’m trying to say next? :)
Set your landline number that you get from PennyTel (or from any of VOIP provider you are using) as one of your nominated MyTime number.
Whenever you are going to call a friend’s mobile, set a call forwarding at that VOIP landline number to the mobile number you are going to call.
Voila! Free MyTime minutes deducted instead of a mobile call charge ^^ and you only have to pay your VOIP rate (which should be much cheaper than Optus’ rate or even FREE, depends on your VOIP plan and features)
I just did a 36-sec test call to a friend of mine using this trick, and the cost was:
From OPTUS: FREE minute deducted from my MyTime free minutes
From PennyTEL: $0.28880 (around 29 cents). This is because PennyTel has an offer until January 2008, that charges only 28.8c per call to any Australian mobile.
The usual rate is $0.13 a minute, which is still a huge money saver!
If you are calling with Optus’ rate:
$0.29c (flagfall)+ (2 x $0.39 per 30 seconds) = $1.07 !
Feel free to give comments below and share your savings story! Hope this post is useful to you (and I hope that this is not breaching any of the terms and conditions of Optus/PennyTel, which I’m sure it doesn’t!)