Circles.Life Australia plans review

The Silicon Valley-backed telco continues to offer buckets of value Down Under.
Circles.Life Logo
Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Circles.Life is all about offering a straightforward selection of SIM Only plans with stacks of data and competitive pricing.

Our verdict

Circles.Life distils its straightforward plan offering into a simple equation: competitive pricing + lots of data. If you want bells and whistles with your SIM Only plan, Circles.Life isn’t the telco for you. But if you want regularly recurring promo pricing, great monthly pricing, as well as bonus data on the pricier plans, Circles.Life has you covered.

Good stuff

  • Great value pricing
  • Loads of data

Bad stuff

  • Light on features
  • Archaic post-cap pricing

Circles.Life value for money

Killer value for 100GB of data, and competitive on its other plans.

Circles.Life quickly made a name for itself in late 2019 when it hit Australian shores with the incredible pricing of its 20GB Mobile Plan (then $18 a month) and 100GB Monthly Plan (then $28 a month). Fast-forward to more recent times, and while the prices aren’t as mouth-watering, they’re still low and there’s a new plan in the mix. All Circles.Life plans are SIM Only offerings that include unlimited standard talk and text to Australian numbers, plus they’re month-to-month offerings with no lock-in contracts so you can come and go as you please.

These days, Circles.Life is also competing with the cheaper end of SIM Only town with its 8GB Monthly Plan, which is normally priced at $18 a month (though it was discounted to $14 at the time of updating this plans review).

Compared to competing SIM Only plans with at least 8GB of data, the Circles.Life 8GB Monthly Plan has the best first-year value ($168) when priced at $14 a month, even if you can get better pricing with the iiNet Mobile 8GB Plan for the first six months, or more data for a cheaper monthly fee with the iiNet Mobile 16GB Plan. Assuming that iiNet promo pricing isn’t a temporary thing, the iiNet Mobile 8GB Plan has better first year pricing when the Circles.Life 8GB Monthly Plan has regular $18-per-month pricing. You can see popular SIM Only plans with at least 8GB of data below that don’t cost more than $20 a month.

Next up is the Circles.Life 20GB Monthly Plan, which is normally priced at $28 a month but had a $22 monthly fee at the time of writing and 30GB of bonus data (for the first 12 months).

This is where pricing gets more competitive in the SIM Only space. If 20GB of data is sufficient for your monthly needs, Moose Mobile’s Moose 19.80 SIM Only Promo plan and the Spintel $24.95 Mobile Plan both offer better first-year pricing compared to the 20GB Monthly Plan’s regular pricing. Similarly, the iiNet Mobile 40GB Plan and Mobile 55GB Plan offer better pricing in the first six months as part of ongoing promo pricing. Below is a daily updating list of popular SIM Only plans with at least 20GB of data that don’t cost more than $30 a month.

Finally, the Circles.Life 100GB Monthly Plan is meant for those who want a stack of monthly SIM Only data without a high cost. It’s normally priced at $38 a month, but it was reduced to $30 per month for the first year at the time of writing.

This is the plan where Circles.Life blows the competition out of the water in terms of monthly value. The nearest competitor is the Vodafone $55 SIM Only Super Plan, and that’s assuming it has a $10 monthly discount for the first year. After that, you’re paying more for the $59 Optus Choice Plan or $65 a month for CMobile’s C Blue $65 plan. Below is a daily updating list of popular SIM Only plans with at least 100GB of data.

Student and family discounts

Circles.Life also offers ways for students and those on family plans to save extra dollars a month, including outside of promotional periods. Eligible students can get a 20% discount off the usual monthly price of the plan for the first 12 months, which aligns with the recurring Circles.Life discounts available to everyone. This same discounted logic is available to those bundling Circles.Life SIM Only plans under the one account, though it’s targeted specifically at the 100GB Monthly Plan and you need to have at least five SIMs to nab the full 20% discount, otherwise you’re dealing with 5% increments.

Circles.Life features and perks

Light on the usual features, but 3GB bonus data is a nice touch.

If you like your SIM Only plan with a side of perks, Circles.Life likely isn’t the telco for you. That lean, mean pricing above is evidence that Circles.Life is focused on providing plenty of monthly data at a competitive price. In fact, the main perk that Circles.Life does offer is 3GB of “bill-shock protection” for the 20GB Monthly Plan and 100GB Monthly Plan, wherein the telco throws in 3GB of bonus data if you go over your monthly allocation.

That’s a killer perk, but it’s held back by the archaic reality that if you burn through that extra 3GB, too, you’ll be stung with a fee to the tune of one cent per megabyte. For context, that’s $10 for each extra 1GB of data. The only way to stay out of Circles.Strife is by using the Circles.Life app to manually top-up.

For other perks, you can pay an extra $50 a month for 300 minutes of international calls to 15 countries, which isn’t great compared to SIM Only competitors that include international allowances. There’s also international roaming, but it’s all pay-as-you-go, which means it’s not as affordable as competitors like Vodafone. Below is a list of daily updating popular SIM Only plans with at least 8GB of data, which also include international calls.

Circles.Life data add-ons

There are two types of Circles.Life data add-ons available. One offers 3GB for $6 data boost that can be added as many times as you need throughout the month. Then there’s the 10GB for $10 add-on, which used to be $10 for 20GB.

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 one-cent- per-megabyte excess fee.

Circles.Life customer support and satisfaction

Speedy customer support options with decent reported satisfaction.

While the support options aren’t as varied as other telcos, Circles.Life prides itself on getting back to you fast. The Circles.Life app, for instance, 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 a 100GB promo (so you could imagine they would have been flat chat).

You can call Circles.Life on 1300 863 004 and if you don’t have time to wait or 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 AEST Monday to Friday and between 8am and 5pm AEST on weekends and public holidays.

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 happinessau@circles.asia or simply lodge a ticket over on the telco’s website. Once again, Circles.Life claims you will have a response within the day.

Alternatively, 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 AEST Monday to Friday and between 8am and 5pm on weekends and public holidays.

In terms of customers satisfaction, it depends where you go to read about it. The Circles.Life website, for instance, lists “98% customer satisfaction”, while Google has a four-star rating
from more than 650+ reviews.

That’s impressive initial feedback, but consumer review websites Product Review and Trustpilot have lower ratings. Product Review has a 2.7-out-of-five rating from 440+ reviews, broken down to 3.2 for value for money, 2.7 for customer service and transparency, and 3.5 for local reception. There are noticeably fewer reviews on Trustpilot, but the majority of those are one-star ratings, which puts the overall score at 2.1 out of five.

Averaging out all the transparent scores leads to a satisfaction score of around three out of five, which puts Circles.Life in the top 10 of the 25+ telcos we track.

How to sign up for Circles.Life

Pick which of the three Circles.Life plans you like the look of the most below and click on the ‘Go’ button to be taken directly to the Circles.Life website. Click ‘Get a SIM’ on the plan to confirm your plan selection, then check whether a relevant promo code is entered to get the costs down (and, potentially, the data up). From here, you can choose to transfer your number or get a new one, then punch in your details to complete the sign-up process.

Circles.Life plans

Below is an easy view of the three available Circles.Life SIM Only plans.

Does Circles.Life have 5G plans?

While Circles.Life operates on the Optus network, it services around 97.3% of the Australian population with 4G Plus and doesn’t currently offer 5G mobile plans. At the time of writing, Spintel is the only Optus network MVNO to offer 5G plans. Below is a daily updating list of popular 5G plans across SIM Only and Prepaid.

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Additional information from Brodie Fogg https://www.reviews.org/au/author/brodie-fogg/ (including that killer Circles.Strife gag).