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Review of Optus mobile phone plans

As the second biggest telco in Australia, Optus has long been a heavyweight in the mobile market. It owns and operates a comprehensive network infrastructure that rivals that of Telstra for coverage and speeds, and makes its network available to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to also provide phone services.

Optus has not only kept pace with the fast-moving world of mobile phone plans, but is also one of the most innovative companies in Australia. Besides its traditional rivals, it also competes against the new tiny telcos that piggyback off the Optus network. But Optus itself offers some of the biggest and most attractive mobile plans available in Australia today. With competitive offerings in the prepaid, SIM Only and handset plan categories, Optus has something for pretty much everyone, including some of the best features and added perks around, such as data-free music streaming, data-free Netflix and Stan viewing, as well as access to exclusive sports coverage.

Let’s review the range of plans from Optus and try to determine where you’ll find the best value. You might find yourself saying ‘Yes’ to Optus.

Optus Mobile Phone Plans

Plan Type What’s Included Price
Prepaid 500MB data $2 a day ($10 SIM)
3GB $30 (28 days)
6GB $40 (28 days)
8.5GB $50 (28 days)
SIM Only Postpaid (12-month contract) 2GB, unlimited int’l text $30/month
10GB, 300 int’l minutes $40/month
15GB, 400 int’l minutes $55/month
25GB, 500 int’l minutes $70/month
SIM Only Postpaid (No Contract) 1.5GB, unlimited int’l text $35/month
6GB, 300 int’l minutes $50/month
9GB, 500 int’l minutes $60/month
Bundled Plans (24 month contract) 1GB, unlimited int’l text $40/month
3.5GB, 150 int’l minutes $65/month
8GB, 300 int’l minutes $85/month
15GB, 400 int’l minutes $100/month
30GB, 750 int’l minutes, unlimited roaming calls and 1GB roaming data $130/month
100GB, unlimited int’l minutes, unlimited roaming calls, 1.5GB roaming data $160/month

Source: Optus website

As it stands, all Optus plans have unlimited calls and texts as standard, so you are really paying for extra data and perks like international calls and roaming in the case of the two dearest plans. Let’s break this down to plan type and see which plans stand out as offering good value.

Optus Prepaid Plans

If a prepaid plan is your flavour, Optus may be up your alley. In total there are four prepaid plans, and they can either be bundled with a phone, or had on a SIM Only basis. This freedom is refreshing. There are a few peculiar plans here, so it pays to pay attention. The most interesting is the $2 a day plan, whereby activating your $2 a day trigger (simply by using any inclusions) you get unlimited calls and texts and 500MB of data, which equates to 15GB over 30 days. This is great as it allows flexibility and for people whose phone use is erratic – hectic some days, quiet the next.

There are also a couple of long-expiry plans on offer from Optus that we didn’t mention in the table above. They are pretty standard fare, with expiries ranging from 186 days to 365 days (6 months or a year). These are great for the light user, or for the spare phone that sits in the drawer most of the year.

  • They range in price from $10 to $60.
  • Calls are billed at 20c/minute, texts are 20c each and data is 5c per megabyte.
  • It’s important to note that the $10 option is only available on recharges; you have to start out by paying $30-$60.

As mentioned before, with these prepaid plans you can choose from a variety of eight phone handsets. As expected, there are no high-end, new-release phones here. The most ‘premium’ phone is the iPhone 5S (16GB), for example, and you’ll have to pay upfront for it. This can be handy for convenience’s sake, but you’ll have to weigh up your options.

Optus SIM Only Postpaid, 12 Month Contract Plans

If you fancy yourself as a non-quitter committer, these plans may be more up your alley. There are four plans in total – costing $30, $40, $55 and $70 a month. At these prices on postpaid terms, you can get some serious data for your money, which is especially apparent when you spend $40 or more. You also get a range of international inclusions, with 500 international call minutes coming with the dearest $70 plan. However, you should keep in mind that you get various amounts of extra data if you sign up online. If you buy the plan in any other fashion, you’ll get decidedly less data. For example, you get 25GB of data with the $70 plan, but if you don’t sign up online, you sacrifice 5GB.

Optus SIM Only Postpaid, Month to Month Plans

These plans are kept short and sweet. They start at $35 a month for unlimited calls and texts, as well as 1.5GB data, and unlimited international texts to selected countries. Then you’ll be paying $50 a month for unlimited calls and texts, 6GB data, and 300 international minutes to selected countries. The dearest plan costs $60 a month and boasts 9GB of data, unlimited calls of texts and 500 minutes of international calls. The best thing here is that there are no gimmicks or confusing bonuses, just flat-out value.

Optus Bundled Plans

Optus bundled plans are a different kettle of fish, with six plans in total. They differ in price based on what phone you choose to bundle it with. Basically, the plans start at $40 with unlimited calls and texts plus 1GB of data, and work their way up to $160 per month for unlimited calls and texts, and a massive 100GB of data as well as unlimited international minutes to selected countries. If you bundle these plans with an iPhone 7 (32GB), you can expect to pay anywhere from $0 to $44 extra per month, depending on the plan you choose. Generally, the two dearest plans include the phone at no extra monthly cost. These plans are also only available on a 24 month contract. Below is a snapshot of how the plans look with an iPhone 7 (32GB) bundled in.

How does Optus compare to the competition?

As one of Australia’s premier mobile service providers, Optus is targeted by the competition as a brand to beat. Its own plans, therefore, need to be well-priced and competitive, with lots of added features to keep you interested. Let’s see how its plans really stack up against the competition.

Optus Prepaid Plans Compared

In the prepaid circuit, Optus faces stiff competition but fares quite well against a lot of smaller providers. However, the telco giant is beaten to the post by smaller MVNOs such as Boost, which offers extra data on weekends. If you are willing to pay $5 more per month, you’ll also get heaps of extra value from the likes of OVO Mobile and TPG, which each have hefty data inclusions.

Optus SIM Only Contract Plans Compared

Seeing as Optus’ entry into contracted plans is at the $30 mark, we felt it fitting to compare others around this price bracket. For $30 you get 2GB of data with unlimited calls and texts. What’s evident at this price point is that Optus is outdone by MVNOs such as Dodo, TeleChoice and Virgin Mobile. All offer more data for the same price, or cheaper. However, where Optus shines is its dearer plans, which start with a massive 10GB for $40.

Optus Month to Month Plans Compared

  • 5GB of data, unlimited calls and texts from $35 a month

Optus month to month plans (i.e. no lock-in contract ones) are seeing the fiercest competition in the mobile market. At around the $30 mark, Optus really struggles to compete against MVNOs that offer substantial amounts of data for the money. Jeenee Mobile, for example, offers a massive 10GB for $40 a month, as well as including international call value to top it off. Also keep an eye out for providers like Vaya and Yomojo that also offer good ‘bang for buck’. One perk that Optus stands out for though is data-free music streaming to Pandora and the like, but is that enough to sway you over?

Optus Bundled Plans Compared

Here Optus fits in pretty well, as to bundle the hottest mobile phones on the market, you are pretty much stuck with the ‘Big 4’ providers – Optus, Telstra, Vodafone and Virgin. For 32GB iPhone 7 bundles, the least you can expect to pay is with Virgin, where you pay a $30 monthly phone plan and an extra $32 a month for the phone. Optus, Vodafone and Telstra all make an appearance with 1GB data seemingly pretty standard. Optus and Vodafone seem to compete most directly with one another and it’s hard to separate the two – it could go down to what network you prefer. Here is how the iPhone plan bundle looks:

Big Data, Big Inclusions, Big Price

A special mention should be made for the new plan from Optus with a massive 100GB of data that can either by used all for just yourself, or shared in a data pool. It costs $160 a month and you’ll not only get 100GB of 4G data, you’ll also get great international inclusions as well as data-free music streaming, as well as data-free streaming of Netflix and Stan. This is an unprecedented level of data in Australia, and the closest plans come from Jeenee, SpinTel and Exetel. All offer 90GB for around the same price, BUT keep in mind that this data is 3G only, which is markedly slower than 4G in metro areas. If it’s big data and top speeds you crave, Optus wins out, but if 3G is good enough for you then these other providers may be up your alley. Are these massive data inclusions enough to replace your home internet?

Is an Optus phone plan right for me?

As one of the leading telcos in Australia, Optus – perhaps unsurprisingly – has a large range of phone plans to cover all bases. From plans on a contract, to no-contract, to prepaid, to bundled or SIM Only plans, Optus likely has a plan out there that you’re impressed with. The telco that says ‘Yes’ frequently competes and beats out rival companies – Telstra, Vodafone and Virgin – in terms of value included and handy extras.

However, where Optus falls behind is primarily in the no contract and prepaid segments, where new MVNOs are always popping up offering more and more data for a cheaper price. A lot of these MVNOs piggyback off of the Optus network, so it can be hard for Optus to compete on basic inclusions. What it does to, however, is offer some amazing value add-ons. The best of these are only available with a 24 month contract, so you’ll have to consider if that’s a path you want to go down.

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