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I’m about to sound like a very old person, but let me tell you: if you weren’t a teen in the noughties having to run to the corner store for phone credit, then you don’t even know hardship.

Picture this: you’ve just managed to convince your parents that actually, you really should be able to spend all the pocket money you’ve saved on a phone, because you’re definitely old enough now (remember having to be “old enough” to have a phone? I think people just grow one with them in the womb now). The phone in question is a small brick, because you definitely couldn’t afford the fancy flip phones.

Ok no, I’m not THIS old, but you get the vibe.

You’ve exchanged numbers with your five friends who also just got their own mobile phones, and you have a very long text chain going on with each of them. There’s no such thing as unlimited texts yet, and your $20 credit recharge is rapidly running out.

THEN. Your bestie drops some delicious tea (which at the time was just called gossip), and you desperately need to respond with those old-school text emojis — you know, like ‘:O’ — but you’ve just used all your credit.

Your mum has the landline tied up and yes, sure, you could just wait until school on Monday to respond but this tea was JUICY. First kisses were involved. Your only option was running to the corner store (yes, running, because you only had your L-plates) to buy more phone credit.


PLUS, once you secured this new credit, it came in the form of a receipt from which you then had to type a whole bunch of numbers into your phone to actually apply the credit. And yes, it got lost more than once before you had the chance to do so, so you may as well have thrown $20 in the garbage.

This whole scenario was all too common, and a huge pain in the butt, I tell you what.

These days, we’re all spoiled. So spoiled I’d almost blocked out the entire memory of having to take a big old trip every time I needed to buy another $20 credit (again, I was working with pocket money and one shift a week at the local bakery, I wasn’t going crazy on the $50 recharges).

Now, prepaid phone credit is all kinds of flexible, and you can even recharge online or set up a subscription through an app (you know, with the type of internet that doesn’t take 10 years and a lot of noise to connect).

In fact, Optus plans to make your life easier with its prepaid Flex Plan complete with 5G access, to make your phone credit life even easier (and your web sleuthing a tonne faster).


Basically, it gives you the choice to jump on a daily, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly plan, then you can decide what you do or do not want to add to it — like an Unlimited Data Day, Optus Sport or international talk plan. Plus, now that it has 5G access you have the option to take your streaming, scrolling and downloading to the next level.

You can cancel anytime, so it’s as open as your prepaid phone credit plans of yesteryear, just 1000 times more convenient — especially as up to 200GB of data will automatically roll over on an active plan. Back in the noughties, it was a total ‘you snooze, you lose’ sitch.

Do you see what I mean? Phone life was so much harder as a teen in the noughties.

Image: Lizzie Maguire