A curious feature addition to Optus services might just let you stop calls and notifications, but you’ll keep paying for the services.
Even though we live in an age of constant connectivity, where we are pretty much always able to get calls, messages, and check something online at a moment’s notice, it’s not something everyone is a fan of.
You might be trying to have a nice dinner with the family, and a call or message comes in, disrupting that dinner. It might even be a period of writing or reading or working, because our mobiles and online lives might interrupt your life in ways where you wish you could just disconnect.
Well perhaps bizarrely, and almost like an April Fools prank, Optus has come up with a solution to that.
Called Optus Pause, it’s basically a feature found in the My Optus app that allows customers to hit a pause button of sorts to temporarily cut off connectivity on its services to stop the devices from being connected. Think of this as kind of a digital version of those “phone jail” boxes some families use, except on a larger scale. As such, Optus Pause will work with both mobile and broadband services, allowing a pause button to be triggered on both Optus postpaid and prepaid mobile phone plans, as well as Optus home broadband plans, with the option of a timer or a button to turn it on and off.
“As a technology company, we know the positive role that connectivity plays in the everyday lives of Australians, but we also understand that sometimes our love of staying connected 24/7 can create distractions for ourselves, our families, our friends, our work colleagues,” said Clive Dickens, Vice President of TV, Content & Product Development at Optus.
“Optus Pause empowers our customers to balance their connected time so a face to face business meeting can be social-media-update-free or family dinner time can be about the conversation not missed snaps, or sleep time can be absent ‘pings’,” he said.
While Optus Pause seems like a curious way to create a digital version of “phone jail”, there’s also a catch: you won’t be paid for the time your service is cut off.
We asked that question, and Optus came back with:
Customers who use Optus Pause will not be charged differently.
Essentially, if you hit the Pause feature on your Optus plan, you’re basically blocking the service from going through to the keeper for you at your convenience. However, it’s not a pro-rata thing, it seems, because even though you can cut off the connection for a period of your own designation, you won’t gain any money back at all. And that means the Optus service will keep on charging you for any time that has been paused and stops tracking data or access through its network, even if you’ve decided to switch off for a longer period of time than an hour or two.
It means if you were thinking of going away for a week, and you wanted to pause your Optus broadband subscription by switching on Optus Pause to save a few bucks, it wouldn’t actually pan out that way. Rather, you’d just be turning on Pause to stop internet connectivity at your home. It’s much the same if your use of Optus pause is to regular that it manages to accumulate as serious hours eating into your plan: you’ll still be charged for those hours, you just won’t be connected.
Frankly, we’d just prefer to throw our phones into phone jail, or maybe use a device made to stop people from bothering you while you’re doing something. That might be better in the long term, though for Optus users keen to try the Pause concept, it will be rolling out gradually across the service soon, it seems.