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Vodafone vs Optus: Phone plans compared

There are more than 30 phone plan providers out there, all begging for your money. However, they all piggyback off the three main networks in Australia – Vodafone, Optus and Telstra.

Vodafone and Optus have historically played second fiddle to Telstra. But they seem to be catching up in terms of subscriber base and network coverage, thanks to their typically competitive phone plans that are often cheaper than those on offer from Telstra.

Between the two telcos there is a wide range of plans available, with each telco offering handset phone plans, SIM-only postpaid deals, as well as the good old prepaid options. Let’s see just what the two have available.

Optus and Vodafone: Phones on a plan compared

To get the latest phone plans (such as a plan with the new iPhone 15 series),  you usually need to opt for one of the big providers. Both Vodafone and Optus provide fairly competitive handset phone plans, and there are a lot of similarities.

Optus and Vodafone both offer new phones available on a payment period, which can then be bundled with a new device. The payment periods for both telcos are 12, 24 or 36 months. The longer the payment period, the cheaper the monthly handset cost, however you will end up paying the same price for your smartphone overall, no matter which payment period you choose.

You’ll then bundle your handset with a postpaid plan. Both telcos offer a small range of postpaid plans available to bundle with your device. These plans, while at similar price points, do have their differences:

  • Vodafone’s three plans all include unlimited data at capped-speeds of 2Mbps once you’ve used your plan’s fast data allowance.
  • Optus offers unlimited data capped at speeds of 1.5Mbps on all four plans, in addition to monthly full-speed data.

Optus has four postpaid plans to choose from, with a variety of data inclusions at different price points. As it stands, Vodafone tends to offer more data and international call extras, whereas Optus can offer more in the way of entertainment, such as Optus SubHub and Optus Sport.

The following table shows a selection of Optus and Vodafone 128GB iPhone 15 24-month phone plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products including links to our referral partners.

Optus and Vodafone: SIM-only postpaid plans compared

This is arguably where the most competitive plans sit for both brands. The postpaid SIM-only plans from both telcos are the same plans available to bundle with a new phone – and as all plans are contract-free and month-to-month, you’re not locked in to a single price point or data option. Vodafone offers its SIM-only postpaid plans starting at $49 and going up to $69 per month, while Optus offers postpaid plans starting at $49 and going up to $89 per month.

Both Optus and Vodafone offer ‘unlimited’ data plans, but at capped speeds. All Optus postpaid mobile plans include ‘endless data’ limited to speeds of 1.5Mbps, in addition to a monthly high-speed data allowance. Vodafone offers what it calls ‘infinite data’ on top of your fast data inclusions at speeds of 2Mbps.

If you’re looking for entertainment, Optus plans include the option to add on streaming and subscriptions such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+ and Optus Sport + Fitness through its SubHub feature, with a discount of up to 10% available for bundled subscriptions.

Overall, the better plan depends on what you’re after – data, or entertainment? This may help determine what provider is right for you.  If you’re after a flexible month-to-month SIM-only plan that’s cheap and has decent data inclusions for your money, you might have better luck comparing plans from other providers, which tend to offer bigger data allowances at smaller price points.

The following table includes all Vodafone and Optus month-to-month SIM Only postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products including links to our referral partners.

Optus and Vodafone: Prepaid plans compared

Good old prepaid: both Vodafone and Optus provide a large array of plans here. Both offer some form of ‘long life’ phone plans with expiry periods up to 365 days, some ‘all rounder’ plans, and some other low-cost/low-use plans.

  • Optus tends to shine with its  Optus Flex Plus plans, with large amounts of data and 28-day to 365-day expiry periods respectively.
  • Vodafone boasts 28-day, 180-day and 365-day expiries on prepaid plans. The telco also frequently offers data bonuses on recharge or activation.

Once again, it depends on what you’re after. There’s no distinct winner here, but it does seem like Optus has a slightly larger range, and thus, arguably more to choose from.

The following table includes selected Vodafone  and Optus  SIM-only prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products including links to our referral partners.

Optus or Vodafone: Which telco is better?

They are two giants of the telco world, with each offering a fairly mammoth amount of plans. However, the question remains with you, the consumer: what do you want? Each telco across all plan types has its strengths and weaknesses.

  • Vodafone tends to offer more data and slightly cheaper plans, not to mention access to $5 a day international roaming on eligible plans
  • Optus shines for its entertainment perks, while the data inclusions for the price is fairly generous on some plans

If you want a lot of data, Vodafone is an enticing prospect, especially with slightly cheaper prices. However, if you want more of a ‘lifestyle’ product you can use to stream and do other stuff with, an Optus plan may be better for you.

All in all, both telcos have a large range of plans – there’s bound to be something out there for everyone…it all just depends on what you’re after.

Compare Phones on a Plan

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