Circles.Life Australia Review
Circles.Life has entered the Australian mobile market with some astonishing deals but is the service worth the generous pricing?
Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) are a dime a dozen these days. They offer budget alternatives to the big dogs (Telstra, Optus and Vodafone) with affordable SIM-only plans that piggyback on the networks of Australia’s biggest providers. However, Circles.Life isn’t just another provider offering a slightly cheaper SIM plan, this newcomer has entered the market with some, frankly, absurd deals. But as we know all too well, there’s no correlation between value and quality of service. So we’ve put Circles.Life’s plans and deals under the microscope to figure out whether the company’s knack for value extends to its coverage, customer support and perks.
Circles.Life in short...
- Cheapest plan: $18 p/month for 20GB
- Network coverage: Optus 4G
- Prepaid plans? No
- Phone contract plans? No
- Customer support: Phone, email and live chat
Price, data and inclusions breakdown
Circles.Life kicked things off in Australia with a staggering 100GB for $28 promo. Unfortunately, that deal expired on 17 November 2019 but there’s still a lot of value to be found in the provider’s remaining deals and standard suite of plans.
First up, there’s the 20GB for $18 deal (expires 30 November and reverts to $28 per month). It comes with all the unlimited inclusions we’ve come to expect from almost every SIM plan on the market: unlimited standard calls, SMS and MMS. It’s also month-to-month and has no lock-in contract.
Next, there’s the $28 deal. That gets you all the same call and text inclusions but with double the data with 40GB to use every month.
Those deals are pretty tidy in and of themselves but another unique value offer from Circles.Life is its Bill Shock Protection feature. Normally, telcos will sting you an additional $10 for an additional 1GB of data if you go over your included data. Circles.Life blows that standard out of the water with an additional 3GB to get you by at no extra charge. There is one small, but important caveat to that feature.
While you receive an additional 3GB at no charge, you will be charged at 1c per MB once you go over that additional 3GB and don’t remember to add a data “boost”. On one hand, Circles.Life’s additional 3GB life raft is a generous addition to an already top value plan. On the other, you can still find yourself with a pretty whopping bill if you have to pay the archaic 1c per MB charge.
Again, you do have the option to add another 3GB data boost for $6 but you’ve got to remember to activate that in the Circles.Life app, otherwise you’ll find yourself in Circles.Strife.
Circles.Life data add-ons
There are two types of Circles.Life data add-ons available. One offers 3GB for $6 data boost which can be added as many times as you need throughout the month. Then there’s the 20GB for $10 add-on which can be used once a month. The 20GB add-on is also quite generous in terms of pro-rata pricing. Say you add it halfway through the month. You will only be charged half (well, roughly) the add-on price but still get access to the full 20GB add-on.
Technically, you could just remind yourself to slap it on in the last couple of days of the month and burn through some data while paying next to nothing. Just remember to switch it off before the month is up, otherwise, you will be charged the full price for the add-on when the next billing month rolls around.
It’s also important to remember that, as we noted above, forgetting to add your data boost when you go over your included data will result in 1c per MB excess fee.
How to check data usage on Circles.Life
Credit where credit is due. Circles.Life’s service management app for iOS and Android is one of the most responsive and user-friendly mobile management apps we’ve ever used. It’s super straightforward. At the top of the screen, you’ll see exactly how much data you’ve used that month and just underneath that you’ll find the option to “Boost” your data if you’re running low.
The app also features bill tracking, billing and payment settings (if you need to update your payment method), an opportunity for free data if you refer a friend and a live chat feature. Circles.Life boasts a 60-second response time in its live chat feature and you’ll be speaking to a real person immediately (rather than an annoying robot).
We tested Circles.Life’s live chat function and can verify the 60-second response time and that was during its recent 100GB promo (so you could imagine they would have been flat chat).
Which network does Circles.Life use?
In Australia, Circles.Life uses the Optus 4G network. Optus boasts the second-largest mobile network in Australia, second only to the coverage Queen, Telstra. Optus covers 98.5% of populated Australia (so not 98.5% of the entire country). It might not be ideal if you’re living in the outback but most metro and regional areas are covered by the Optus 4G network.
Here’s a quick look at Optus 4G/Circles.Life coverage in Australia.
Circles.Life international roaming and international calls
You can certainly make international calls and text on Circles.Life, you can even take your SIM overseas with international roaming but it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. International inclusions just aren’t Circles.Life’s forte. You can find rates for both international calling and roaming over on the Circles.Life website but, to be honest, if you travel a lot and/or make a lot of international calls from Australia, Circles.Life just might not be for you.
If you need an MVNO who can give you what you need for international calls, we recommend checking out Lebara.
Circles.Life customer support phone number
You can call Circles.Life on 1300 863 004 and if you don’t have time to wait, you can leave a voicemail and the support team will return your call within a day (according to Circles.Life’s website). The customer service centre operates between 8am and 8pm AEDT Monday to Friday and between 8am and 5pm AEDT on weekends and public holidays.
Circles.Life customer support email
If you prefer to avoid talking over the phone at all costs (because, same) you can shoot off an email to the Circles.Life customer support team at email@example.com or simply lodge a ticket over on the telco’s website. Once again, Circles.Life claims you will have a response within the day.
Circles.Life live chat
There are also a couple of live chat options for new and existing customers. If you’re an existing customer, you can get in touch with the customer service live chat team via the iOS or Android app. Otherwise, if you’re a new customer, there’s a web chat service for new connections and questions here.
As with the call centre, the live chat team operates 8am to 8pm AEDT Monday to Friday and between 8am and 5pm on weekends and public holidays.
Here are a few more questions people are asking about the fresh-faced MVNO.
Who owns Circles.Life?
Great question. Circles.Life is a privately owned company from Singapore that launched in 2016 and has since become the fastest-growing telco in the country. When the company reached 5% market share in Singapore early 2019, it announced plans to launch in five new markets across the world, starting with Taiwan and, of course, Australia.
In Singapore, the company has struck some high-profile partnership deals, most notably with WhatsApp and EZ-Link (essentially Singapore’s version of the Opal card). Circles.Life customers in Singapore get unmetered messaging and calls via WhatsApp (meaning it’s not counted against your included data) and additional data for travelling with EZ-Link. For every 10 EZ-Link rides, Circles.Life customers get 100MB free. That’s an interesting concept and we’re hoping to see something just as innovative from Circles.Life in Australia once the telco gets a foothold in the local market.
Are there Circles.Life prepaid plans?
Not at the moment. Circles.Life is only offering postpaid SIM-only plans locally but it’s important to remember these are no-contract (just like prepaid), the only difference is you get a monthly bill instead of recharging.
Can I get a handset through Circles.Life?
No, it doesn’t provide handsets. To be fair, few MVNOs in Australia do, with the exception of Woolworths Mobile and Southern Phone.
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