Optus takes on Telstra with free Apple Music offer

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Optus has added a new perk to its already value-packed mobile plans: a free six or 12-month subscription to Apple Music.

The telco announced today that it will throw in an exclusive Apple Music trial offer with eligible postpaid phone and SIM-only plans, available to both new and re-contracting customers. You’ll have full access to all of Apple Music’s features for up to one year, including a catalogue of more than 50 million songs.

Apple Music is the tech giant’s premium music subscription service, and allows users to stream songs, playlists, and shows completely ad-free. Sign up, and you can create personalised playlists; receive tailored music recommendations; download up to 100,000 tracks for offline listening; share music with friends and across devices; and listen to live and on-demand music and interviews via Apple’s Beats 1 station. You’ll also get access to content unavailable on other streaming platforms, including exclusive concerts and shows.

How do I get free Apple Music with Optus?

Optus is offering a six or 12-month Apple Music trial with its 24-month phone plans and 12-month SIM-only plans. If you’re in the market for a new device, you can pair your Optus plan with  high-end smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, the iPhone Xs, or the Huawei P30 Pro, with plan prices beginning at $45 per month for 4GB of data.

The following table shows a selection of 24-month Optus plans for 64GB Apple iPhone Xs published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

How the Optus deal works

Optus’ Apple Music offer is also available on 12-month SIM-only plans, meaning you’ll be able to bring your own unlocked phone to Optus. SIM-only plans begin at $30 per month for 3GB of data, up to $50 for 80GB each month.

As with any freebie offer, Optus’ Apple Music deal does come with fine print. To access your trial subscription, you’ll need to add the service at checkout when buying a plan. Select your subscription preference (either six or 12 months), then complete your plan purchase. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive an SMS from Optus with details on how to activate your Apple Music membership.

Your next Optus bill will show both a charge and a corresponding credit for your Apple Music subscription (in this case, $11.99 per month). So while you won’t actually pay for the service during your free trial, it will be reflected on your monthly Optus statement. Once your trial subscription ends, this $11.99 monthly charge will continue to be added to your Optus bill, without the credit to cancel it out.

In other words, once your free subscription is over, you’ll automatically be rolled over to a paid Apple Music membership that’s charged to your Optus account. If you happen to love Apple Music, and are happy to pay for the service, you can continue to bundle your subscription with your Optus plan. But if you’re not quite willing to pay $12 per month for it, you’ll need to cancel your Apple Music account to avoid extra charges.

Optus vs Telstra: which Apple Music deal is better?

An important aspect of Optus’ offer – and one that pits it directly against Telstra – is that the included Apple Music trial doesn’t give you data-free streaming.

While Telstra currently offers all customers zero-rated/unmetered access to Apple Music (i.e. the data you use to stream songs isn’t taken from your monthly plan allowance), Optus’ promotion is for a free Apple Music subscription only. Any data you use to stream or download will be taken from your plan inclusions, so be aware before you start streaming.

If you’d like to compare Telstra and Optus on price alone, the following table shows a selection of 24-month Telstra plans for 64GB Apple iPhone Xs published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Which deal is best?

If you are keen on Apple Music, and wondering which offer features better value – Optus’ free year-long subscription, or Telstra’s data-free streaming – keep in mind that music streaming alone doesn’t necessarily chew through your data. Apple Music streams at a speed of 256Kbps, which uses approximately 115MB of data each hour.

To use up a full gigabyte of data, you’ll need to listen to around eight to nine hours of Apple Music at its highest-quality playback option. If you’re on a smaller data plan, or a frequent music streamer, you may prefer to save your gigabytes by going with Telstra’s data-free streaming deal; however, keep in mind that only music is exempt from data charges, and Telstra will take additional content (such as video streaming or album art) from your monthly full-speed data inclusions.

Of course, now that Telstra has eliminated excess data charges on all mobile plans (by offering unlimited extra data, capped at 1.5Mbps), this isn’t likely to be an issue for most customers. If you’re looking for extra incentive to go with Telstra, the telco also offers data-free AFL, AFLW, NRL, Netball, and Hyundai A-League streaming, plus free Telstra Air WiFi.

In comparison, Optus’ latest offer gives you up to a full year of free access to an individual Apple Music membership, valued at $11.99 per month. Sign up for a whole 12 months, and that’s just under $144 of value for free.

If you’re looking to jump on a plan with a large data inclusion – such as Optus’ 200GB options – you’re unlikely to miss any data you do use for Apple Music. Optus mobile plans also include extra perks such as Optus Sport for 24/7 football coverage, the National Geographic app, and included international talk and text and overseas roaming on selected plans.

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