Beyond Missed Calls: Navigating the Aftermath of the Optus Outage

Beyond Missed Calls: Navigating the Aftermath of the Optus Outage

In the age of today, a single disruption to our phones and internet connections can have far-reaching consequences beyond just one or two missed calls. 

The recent Optus outage is a prime example of this. Last week, when Optus services went down, people found themselves unable to call for help during emergencies. Businesses couldn’t process payments. Hospitals, which depend on seamless communication and data transfer, struggled to operate efficiently. And most notably, the entire Melbourne metropolitan train network came to a standstill.

Graeme Hughes, the director of the Business Lab at Griffith University, said it was fortunate from an emergency communication perspective that the outage occurred when it did. “Had the outage occurred a week earlier in the peak of raging bushfires, the impact would have been catastrophic”.

This incident, following on the tail of last year’s major data breach, has left many Optus customers feeling frustrated and concerned.

So, what’s next for affected customers? Let’s explore the options available for seeking compensation and, if you’re still unsatisfied, how you might be able to end your contract with Optus early. 

Claiming Compensation

1. Mobile & Tablet Customers

Customers on eligible postpaid mobile SIM and mobile data plans will receive at least 200GB of extra data. If you activate before 31 December 2023, you will receive 100GB per billing cycle for three billing cycles. 

Follow these steps to activate:

  • Open My Optus app and log in with your username and password.
  • Go to the Service tab
  • Click Add-ons, go to Data
  • Select ‘100GB’ option for $0.

Your extra data will be applied for three billing cycles and will be added within 15 minutes to 4 hours.

2. Business Customers

All businesses are unique and have been impacted in different ways. Thus, Optus encourages businesses to contact either their Optus Account Manager or the Optus Business Centre, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

The telecommunications industry ombudsman recommends the following:

  • Keep all receipts, bills or bank statements that prove what you spent.
  • Work out how much compensation is needed based on the money you lost during the outage — this could include missed work, lost business, or other expenses you incurred.
  • Then contact Optus directly and make a claim.

If you’re unhappy with Optus’s response, the ombudsman might be able to help you reach a solution.

3. Prepaid Customers

Customers on eligible Prepaid mobile plans will receive unlimited data on the weekend for the rest of the year. Unlimited data will be applied automatically to eligible prepaid services starting from 18 November. Starts 12.01am Saturday to 11.59pm Sunday.

4. Home Internet Customers

  • nbn Internet: Internet Turbocharge for $0 for December. Eligibility subject to nbn line speed capability at your address. Add via My Optus app from 1 December.
  • 5G Home Internet: Uncapped 5G speeds at no extra cost for December. Will be automatically applied from 1 December.
  • 4G Home Internet: Upgraded plan speed at no extra cost for December. Will be automatically applied from 1 December.

And if you still want out?

Unfortunately, this will depend on your plan and device.

1. If you’re a prepaid or month-to-month mobile customer

You can request to transfer your number to another provider or start afresh with a new sim and number.

2. If you’re on a long-term internet plan or paying off a phone

If you ask Optus for compensation, part of your claim could be cancelling your contract early without incurring a penalty.

However, most contracts will have a clause saying you need to pay out the remainder of your contract period if you want to terminate it early.

Moving Forward

As we navigate the complexities of our increasingly connected world, incidents like these remind us of the need for robust and resilient communication networks.

A good tip moving forward is to use different companies for your phone and internet services. For essential services, it would be wise to have connections with more than one network.

Sources: ABC News & Optus
Compiled & Edited by Tailored Accounts

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