Review of Optus mobile phone plans

As the second biggest telco in Australia, Optus has long been a heavyweight in the local mobile phone market. Optus owns and operates a comprehensive network infrastructure which rivals that of industry leader Telstra for coverage area and speeds. The Optus network is also made available to other smaller mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to provide a service, but Optus itself remains hard to beat.

Optus offers some of the biggest and best mobile plans available in Australia today. With competitive offerings in the prepaid, SIM-only and handset plan categories, Optus can be very pervasive across all plan types, but especially when it comes to its focus on data-free TV content streaming. 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.

What plans does Optus offer?

As one of the premium plan providers in Australia, Optus offers a comprehensive 20 different plans to choose from. They are comprised of:

Plan Type Price Range Credit Expiry Periods
Contract options: 12 or 24 months Eight plans from $30 to $120 Monthly
Month to month Three plans from $35 to $60 Monthly
Prepaid Nine plans from $10 to $60 28 days, 30 days, 186 days, 365 days

Source: Optus website

With a large range of plans, chances are there’s something out there that’s right for you. Let’s dive in with more detail, looking at the contracted plans, SIM-only deals and then prepaid options.

Contracted postpaid plans

If you fancy yourself as a non-quitter committer, these plans may be more up your alley. You can pick between SIM-only contract plans over 12 months, and plans which can be bundled with a new phone over 24 months.

In total there are three SIM-only plans – $30, $40 and $50 per month. There’s a bit of something for everyone here. All plans come with unlimited calls and texts. The $30 plan includes 1.5GB of data with unlimited texts to selected international countries, while the $40 plan sees a huge beefing up in included data, and also includes 300 minutes to selected countries. The $50 plan boasts up to 15GB if you strike it lucky during a bonus period, plus 500 minutes of international calls. The latest offers are listed below:

The bundled plans are a different kettle of fish, with five options 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 as well as 1GB of data, and work their way up to $120 per month for unlimited calls and texts, 20GB 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 extra up to $28 extra per month, depending on the plan you have. These plans are also only available on a 24 month contract.

Month to month postpaid 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 here 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.

Entertainment features

Optus is the market-leader when it comes to entertainment add-ons. Whether you’re going SIM-only, or committed to a 12 or 24 month contract, there are some enticing offers to keep you saying ‘Yes” to Optus. The most notable bonus feature provided from Optus is data-free TV content streaming of Netflix and other online platforms, including Stan and the ABC. This comes ‘free’ with the plans costing $100 per month or more, but those on cheaper plans can also get in on the action for $10 more. The same is true if you want access to Optus Sport, which includes English Premier League soccer. Data-free music streaming, however, is available on all plans, which could help make your mind up if you’re trying to pick between Optus and a provider with similar basic inclusions.

Prepaid plans

If a prepaid plan is your flavour, Optus may be up your alley. In total there are nine 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.

There are a couple of long-expiry plans on offer – four in total, with three on a 186 day recharge and one lasting 365 days. They range in price from $10 to $60. Calls are billed at 20c per 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. Here’s a snapshot:

As for the other prepaid plans, these exist in the ‘Ultimate’ form – ranging in price from $30 to $60. All have unlimited calls and texts, as well as continuous data rollover up to 15GB under certain conditions. For $30 you’ll get 2GB of data, and for $60 you’ll get a massive 10GB. We suspect if you’re looking for an Optus prepaid plan, this is where the value is found.

There is also a plan that is billed daily – called the Optus Daily Plus plan. Buy a $10 SIM, and you’ll get access to 500MB a day, and unlimited calls and texts for $2 a day. International rates can also be had from 2c/minute with no flagfall. This is serious value. This equates to a 14GB plan over 28 days costing $56, which is arguably better value than the rest of Optus’s prepaid line-up.

Prepaid handset phones

With these prepaid plans you can choose from a variety of eight phones. There are no high-end, new release handsets here though. The most ‘premium’ phone is the iPhone 5S 16GB and you’ll have to pay $399 upfront for it. This can be handy for convenience sake, but you will have to weigh up your options. Optus also has its own range of low-cost handset phones that are worth a look if you’re not bothered by all the bells and whistles of the latest Apple or Samsung release.

How does Optus compare to other service providers?

As one of Australia’s largest 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. Let’s see how they really stack up against the competition.

Contracted plans compared

Seeing that Optus’ entry into the contracted plans was at the $30 mark, we felt it fitting to compare others around this price bracket. Here, Optus fits in pretty well, and competes against the other big players like Virgin Mobile and Vodafone. These three also manage to outdo Woolworths. However, it’s also important to note that the Optus, Virgin and Vodafone plans are SIM-only, while Woolworths offers a choice of eight phones. With plans on a contract, it’s not just the plan itself you need to look at – if you want a bundled phone, you’ll have to look at the cost of that phone too.

Month to month plans compared

The month to month plans (i.e. no lock-in contract ones) are seeing the fiercest competition in the mobile market. At around the $35 mark, Optus breaks out from competing merely with the other ‘Big 3’ telcos and sees itself up against the likes of TeleChoice, Jeenee Mobile and SpinTel. All three providers thoroughly beat Optus in terms of data inclusions. However, Optus’ feature of unlimited international texts to selected countries may be enough to sway some.

It’s much the same across different price brackets, too. Quite often you’ll see young ‘upstart’ mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) – such as Jeenee – come in and steal all the glory. But as inclusions go up, make sure you keep a watch on the potential bonus features from Optus which can really start to change the value proposition.

Prepaid plans compared

In the prepaid circuit, Optus again faces some stiff competition, but fares quite well against a lot of competition. However, again, the telco giant is beaten to the post by smaller MVNOs such as Boost who offers 1GB extra for the price. 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, who each have hefty data inclusions. Again, this is echoed in the higher price brackets, too.

Where Optus really shines in the prepaid world is the ‘Daily Plus’ $2 plan. For $2 a day you’ll get unlimited calls and texts, as well as 500MB of data. This equates to 15GB data over 30 days for $60. Although Optus prevents this value in a quirky way, it is surprisingly good value and competes against the likes of Vodafone, Amaysim and Woolworths Mobile where you do the maths.

Is an Optus phone plan worth the money?

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 the likes of Telstra, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone, but is often outshone by smaller carriers, some of which use its own network! 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.

However, Optus is huge in the world of entertainment features, so if you’re happy to commit to a 24 month contract with a new handset, you’re unlikely to be disappointed. Likewise if you’re a fairly big spender on monthly terms, Optus has plenty to offer.

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