Australian retail giant Catch has thrown its hat into the telecommunications ring. See how its prepaid plans stack up right here.
After finding success in the online retail world with its Catch.com.au initiative, Australian ecommerce organisation Catch Group has set its sights on a variety of other industries, the latest of which is mobile phone services.
Operating as Catch Connect, the young telco offers prepaid mobile services on 30-, 90- and 365-day plans. Delivered over Optus' 4G network, these plans all come with unlimited standard national talk and text along with data caps ranging from 3GB all the way up to 240GB.
Catch Connect offers four 30-day prepaid plans. They are:
- $15 plan, which includes 3GB of data
- $25 plan, which includes 6GB of data
- $35 plan, which includes 15GB of data
- $49.90 plan, which includes 24GB of data
While the first three plans come with unlimited standard national calls and texts, they do not include any international calls or calls to premium numbers. The 24GB plan does, however, bundling in 200 international minutes to 32 selected countries. You can also purchase separate call pack add-ons to add more international inclusions to any of the four plans. For more information about the call packs Catch Connect offers, click here.
You should also be aware that Catch Connect's 30-day prepaid plans are set to automatically recharge every 30 days by default. If you'd rather handle recharging manually, you'll need to deactivate automatic recharging through the Catch Connect Dashboard on the provider's website.
Much like its 30-day plans, Catch Connect's 90-day prepaid plans come in four varieties:
- $39 plan, which includes 6GB of data
- $69 plan, which includes 15GB of data
- $89 plan, which includes 45GB of data
- $119 plan, which includes 65GB of data and 400 minutes to 32 countries
Unlimited standard national calls and texts are included with each plan, but if you want to make calls overseas or activate international roaming, you'll need to purchase additional call packs for your service. You can read more about those by clicking here.
By default, Catch Connect's 90-day plans will automatically recharge with the same value every 90 days. You can deactivate this via the Catch Connect Dashboard on Catch's website.
For those looking to get the most out of their every dollar, Catch Connect offers long-term pre-paid plans that work out cheaper on a month-by-month basis than either its 30-day or 90-day plans. The caveat, of course, is that you need to pay a larger upfront cost to take advantage of the lower overall cost, and you lose the freedom to switch or cancel your plan whenever you want – unless you're happy with forfeiting the money you've already spent, that is.
Like its shorter pre-paid plans, Catch Connect's 365-day plans all come with unlimited standard national talk and text. Three data options are available, with pricing as follows:
- 40GB: for $199 upfront ($16.58/month)
- 80GB: for $270 upfront ($22.50/month)
- 180GB for $340 upfront ($28.33/month)
- 240GB for $410 upfront ($34.17/month)
Unlike many competing long-term plans, Catch Connect's 365-day plans don't limit how much data you have access to on a month-to-month basis. Instead, the entire allotment of data is available to use from day one, giving you the freedom to portion it out over the 12 months in whatever way you choose. This is especially handy for those with irregular data usage patterns, as it means you don't have to worry about monthly data going to waste if you don't use it.
On top of the standard inclusions, Catch Connect's 365-day plans support a number of call pack and data add-ons, which you can read more about here.
Alongside its standard prepaid plans, Catch Connect sells add-on packs with extra call and data inclusions.
For additional call credit to use on standard international calls and texts, international roaming and select premium phone services, Catch Connect offers $5, $10, $20 and $50 recharge options. International call and roaming rates vary from country to country, though standard international texts are fixed at 12c per message.
Any extra credit you add to your service will expire after 30 days, but if you top up with more credit before the 30 days are up, any unused credit from your previous recharge will roll over to the next 30 days, up to a maximum of $500.
If you only call a select few countries, Catch Connect also offers two international call packs you'll want to check out:
- $5 International Extras, which includes unlimited SMS/MMS and up to 100 minutes to 32 select countries
- $10 International Extras, which includes unlimited SMS/MMS and up to 300 minutes to 32 select countries
The 32 countries included in both packs are: Austria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, mainland China, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, the United States of America and Vietnam.
Both international call packs expire after 30 days, but by purchasing another international call pack before those 30 days are up, any leftover minutes from the first pack up to a maximum of 500 minutes will rollover to the next 30 days.
Catch Connect has add-on packs for data-lovers, too. Adding an extra 1GB to your balance will set you back $10, while $15 will get you an additional 2GB. Like Catch Connect's call packs, the extra data expires after 30 days but can be rolled over to the next 30 days by purchasing a new data pack before the first one expires. Data rollover is limited to a maximum of 20GB.
Despite lacking the experience of many of its competitors, Catch Connect distinguishes itself as one of the most attractive prepaid mobile providers currently on the market.
At the budget-friendly end, Catch Connect's 3GB 30-day plan beats out similarly-priced 1.5GB offerings from Jeenee Mobile and ALDImobile, as well as Kogan Mobile's slightly more expensive 2GB plan. In fact, the only provider to present a truly compelling alternative is Boost Mobile with its 2.5GB $20 plan. It's more expensive and only features a 28-day expiry but it comes with full access to Telstra's 4G network, meaning greater coverage and potentially faster speeds than the Optus network Catch Connect uses.
There's a little more competition for Catch Connect when comparing its 6GB plan, but the fresh-faced provider still delivers some of the best value in the business. Cohorts like amaysim and OVO Mobile charge more per month for the same amount of data, while ALDImobile offers less data for the same price. Jeenee Mobile does gain a slight edge here, though, including 5.5GB of data and $50 of international credit for the same price as Catch Connect.
For data-lovers, Catch Connect's 15GB plan is hard to top. OVO and Jeenee Mobile bundle in two-thirds of the data for the same price on their plans, although both come with international call inclusions you'd have to pay extra for with Catch Connect. Once again, only Boost Mobile presents a potentially superior option with its 15GB plan, offsetting its higher price with the speed and coverage benefits of Telstra's full 4G network.
Long-term prepaid plans are a relatively niche product, with only a handful of mobile providers offering them. On the one hand, this gives Catch Connect an edge since there are fewer options for it to compete against. On the other hand, it also makes comparing Catch Connect's plans difficult, since many other providers opt for 180- and 365-day expiries instead of Catch Connect's 90-day terms.
Nevertheless, by calculating and comparing the equivalent monthly cost and monthly data inclusions on these long-term plans, it's clear that Catch Connect offers some of the best value-for-money plans on the market.
Take its $39 plan, for instance. In monthly terms, it offers a rate of $13 for 2GB, which is a fair bit cheaper than Kogan Mobile's equivalent 6GB 90-day plan. It's also significantly cheaper than Jeenee Mobile's 6-month Large 7GB plan, which works out at a rate twice as expensive as Catch Connect's for just a smidge over half the data. If you're after a longer expiry, however, Coles Mobile's 365-day plan is a tempting alternative that gets you even more data at a similar rate.
Catch Connect's 15GB plan is equally impressive. It edges out Kogan Mobile's Medium plan with a lower equivalent monthly rate, though you do get slightly more data with Kogan Mobile's offering. Even Lebara's 12-month plan doesn't deliver the same relative value, though the advantage of having a full year in which to use your data might be worth it in some cases.
There are even fewer options to consider if you're after a bigger data cap. Here, Kogan Mobile and Lebara both offer solid bang for your buck, but once again it's Catch Connect with its 45GB plan that represents the most data for your dollar. Unless you prefer the added flexibility of Lebara's 180-day expiries, Catch Connect is hard to top.
Catch Connect has hit the ground running with its prepaid mobile plans. Whether you're looking for a quick 30-day fix or the added freedom of a 90-day expiry, few other mobile providers can match the raw value of Catch Connect. If cheap prepaid plans are what you're after, you won't do much better anywhere else.
It's also worth highlighting how useful Catch Connect's 90-day expiry plans can be. Since you can portion out your data use however you like over the three months, it's especially handy if your data needs aren't so predictable. For instance, you might barely touch your mobile data on a typical day but then burn through a couple of GB on a work trip or weekend away every couple of months. Rather than continuously switching between low-data and high-data 30-day caps, a more flexible 90-day cap could save you both time and money.
Unlike most other prepaid mobile providers, Catch Connect does not sell prepaid top-up cards at retail. Instead, the only way to recharge your Catch Connect plan is via your account dashboard on the Catch Connect website. There you can either choose to have your plan recharge automatically when it expires by debiting your preferred payment method or recharge manually at your leisure.