Optus re-releases unlimited data phone plan

Optus has re-released its unlimited data phone plan, after initially withdrawing the offer in March.

Called ‘Unleashed’ phone plans, Optus became one of the first providers to offer unlimited mobile data when it originally launched the promotion via email to a select few existing internet customers.

The plans cost $60 a month, with subsequent SIM cards costing between $40 and $50 a month.

In March, Optus briefly offered the Unleashed plans to selected customers but withdrew the offer and any information from its website after just 24 hours.

Now the offer is available again to selected Optus customers. But those who think they’ll be able to stream and download as much as they like may be left disappointment.

In the Critical Information Summary (CIS), Optus states: “Music and video downloads and streaming will be limited to 1.5Mbps which delivers Standard Definition video streaming. Tethering from your mobile phone or tablet connected to this plan will be limited to 1.5Mbps, resulting in slower downloads and uploads.”

The CIS also says that, in peak times, download speeds may be slowed even further due to network congestion management.

All Unleashed phone plans come with unlimited calls and texts as standard, with international calls an optional $5 add-on.

Users are able to add up to five SIM cards, with the first SIM costing $60 a month, the second costing $50 and subsequent SIMs $40 a month.

It is not clear why Optus initially withdrew the offer back in March, with some speculating that it was either released too soon in error, or as a publicity stunt.

“Optus regularly tailors promotions to its customers to best suit their usage needs,” an Optus spokesperson told Canstar Blue. The telco would not reveal how or why selected customers are chosen.

Who needs unlimited mobile data?

Optus released its Unleashed phone plan to much fanfare, with many quickly coming to the conclusion that unlimited mobile data could mean the end for fixed line internet services, even before the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) is complete.

On OzBargain forums, one user said: “Wow, wow, wow… brb (be right back) cancel NBN”. Another user on Whirlpool forums said: “This deal might replace some people’s NBN”.

The question remains as to whether unlimited phone data could replace the NBN. Cellular service certainly has a bright future in Australia, with 5G due for release in 2019. But supporters such as the Vodafone CEO aren’t shying away from the NBN just yet.

Despite the ‘Unleashed’ moniker, speed is limited to 1.5Mbps, which is barely enough to stream a video. Optus was also not technically the first to offer ‘unlimited’ data. Belong Mobile has data-capped mobile phone plans that are speed-rated to 64Kbps, which is enough for emails and basic web browsing.

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