Optus briefly offers unlimited data mobile plans

Optus briefly offered some of Australia’s first unlimited data phone plans, before abruptly withdrawing the offer after just one day.

Australia’s second largest mobile provider rolled out unlimited plans to a select few customers on Monday 5 March. The offer was first sent to Optus broadband customers in an email, with a unique code needed to sign up. Targeted customers had no existing mobile products with Optus.

Despite being an invitation-only offer, the plans could be viewed on the Optus website where their Critical Information Summaries (CIS) can still be viewed.

The email offer said: “We’re proud to announce we’re now offering unlimited mobile data on our Unleashed SIM Only plans and we want you to be the first to try it. You bring the phone and we’ll provide the SIM when you switch to our 12-month, Unleashed SIM Only plan. Offer ends 13 April 2018, unless withdrawn earlier.”

The Unleashed offer provided benefits if you added more than one SIM card. The first SIM cost $60 per month, while the second cost $50 and the third cost $40 a month. All were on a 12-month contract and came with unlimited calls & texts, while international calls could be added on for $5 a month. Speed was throttled, however.

The Unleashed CIS 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 information also states that peak periods may see a further slowdown and that heavy users will be deprioritised.

“Optus regularly offers customers great deals and promotions which are targeted at specific customer groups. This was a very limited offer,” an Optus spokesperson told Fairfax Media.

While the unlimited data offer was quickly withdrawn, users can still register their interest on the Optus website, and customers who already signed up can stay on their plan.

Was Optus the first to offer unlimited mobile data?

No, well not technically. Belong Mobile on the Telstra wholesale network offers data caps of either 5GB or 15GB. These ‘limits’ are offered as 4G speeds, while excess data slows down to 64Kbps.

Other mobile providers commonly bill for excess data, while with Belong speed is just heavily throttled. 64Kbps is enough to send an email, use Facebook Messenger and iMessage and a few other basic tasks.

Australia is not the first country to offer unlimited mobile data. The US and the UK have phone providers that offer unlimited mobile data. But like with Belong, speeds may be throttled after a certain amount of usage. Providers including T Mobile in the US and 3 Mobile in the UK offer this.

Canstar Blue research shows that more than half of phone users regularly exceed their data allowance. Over a quarter of those with a phone on a plan have a data allowance between 3GB and 5GB, while 10 per cent have an allowance of 10GB.

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