Vodafone vs Optus: Phone Plans Compared

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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. There’s still merit in going with these big guys, too. 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. So, if you don’t want Telstra but still want one of the big guys, do you turn to Optus or Vodafone?

Vodafone vs Optus – where can you find the best deal?

Between the two telcos there’s around 50 phone plans, spread across four subcategories. Each telco provides handset phone plans, 12-month SIM-only and month-to-month deals, as well as the good old prepaid options. Let’s see just what the two have available.

Phones on a Plan Compared

To get the latest phone plans (such as a plan with the new iPhone XS),  you usually need to opt for one of the big providers. Both Vodafone and Optus provide fairly competitive handset phone plans. However, Vodafone’s offerings are a little different:

  • Vodafone gives you the option of a 12, 24 or 36-month contract. The difference is that the plan itself is month-to-month, but the handset repayment is locked into one of these three contracts.
  • The end result is the same amount of money spent, but over 36 months the monthly repayment is lower than on a 24 or 12-month contract.

Optus simply sticks to the 24-month contract construct, but offers its plans either as ‘Plus’ plans or ‘Flex’ plans. Flex plans are lease plans, meaning you don’t keep your phone. You can, however, upgrade your phone for a nominal fee every year.

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 Sport, data-free music streaming, and more.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$35 Red Plan

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 2GB bonus data

min. cost $35 per month plus any device repayments

4GBMax Data**/billing period $35Advertised Data^^/billing period More Details
Optus Logo

$65 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Stream Optus Sport & Nat Geo data free
  • Stream Music data free
  • Double Data

min. cost $1560 over 24 month plan period

20GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Data^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$45 Red Plan

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 5GB bonus data

min. cost $45 per month plus any device repayments

20GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period More Details
Optus Logo

$85 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Stream Optus Sport & Nat Geo data free
  • Stream Music data free
  • Double Data

min. cost $2040 over 24 month plan period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $85Advertised Data^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$60 Red Unlimited

  • Unlimited Data (capped to 1.5Mbps after 40GB)
  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 10,000 Frequent Flyer Points

min. cost $60 per month plus any device repayments

Unlimited* Max Data**/billing period $60Advertised Data^^/billing period More Details
Optus Logo

$105 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Stream Optus Sport & Nat Geo data free
  • Stream Music data free
  • Double Data

min. cost $2520 over 24 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $105Advertised Data^^/billing period

12 Month SIM-Only Plans Compared

This is arguably where the most competitive plans sit for both brands. By signing up for 12 months, your SIM-only deal gets supercharged. Expect things like bonus data, entertainment features and more with the two telcos.

  • Once again, Vodafone shines for its bonus data you can lock in for the life of the plan, plus Qantas points.
  • Vodafone is also the only one to offer ‘unlimited’ data plans.
  • Optus offers entertainment perks such as Optus Sport and data-free music streaming, with data-free video streaming usually a $5 add-on.

Here it depends on what you’re after – data, or entertainment? This may help determine what provider is right for you.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$35 My Promo Plus

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 300 international minutes to 35 countries
  • Data-free music and sports streaming

min. cost $420 over 12 month plan period

30GBMax Data**/billing period $35Advertised Data^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$45 Red SIM Only

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 25GB Extra Data
  • Up to 1150 minutes international calls

min. cost $540 over 12 month plan period

40GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period More Details
Optus Logo

$45 My Promo Plus

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited talk and text to 35 countries
  • Data-free music and sports streaming

min. cost $540 over 12 month plan period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$60 Red SIM Only

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 20GB Extra Data
  • 10,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer Points

min. cost $720 over 12 month plan period

60GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Data^^/billing period More Details
Optus Logo

$55 My Promo Plus

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 300 international minutes to 35 countries
  • Data-free music and sports streaming

min. cost $660 over 12 month plan period

80GBMax Data**/billing period $55Advertised Data^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$60 Unlimited

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 80GB high-speed data
  • 10,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer Points

min. cost $720 over 12 month plan period

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Data^^/billing period More Details

Month-to-Month SIM Only Plans Compared

Flexibility is king in this modern telco age, and both Optus and Vodafone provide phone plans here. However, you may notice they lack quite a bit of ‘punch’ compared to their 12-month offerings. Still, the two are pretty neck-and-neck.

  • In the month-to-month place you may sacrifice some bonus data, and other perks with both telcos.

For flexibility, both are pretty similar. They boast similarities in both data inclusions and prices, though it pays to check back regularly as limited-time promotions may entice you to one provider over another.

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 ‘Epic Data’ and ‘Epic Value’ plan lines, with large amounts of data and 42-day expiry periods respectively.
  • Vodafone boasts 35-day expiries on many plans, meaning your plan can go farther on a recharge. Many also boast data bonuses for one recharge.

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.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

Combo Plus $30

  • Unlimited national calls & SMS

min. cost $30 over 28 days

6GBMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period More Details
Optus Logo

Epic Data $30

  • Unlimited national calls & SMS
  • 10GB data, plus 10GB to stream
  • $5 extra credit

min. cost $30 over 28 days

10GBMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

Combo Plus $40

  • Unlimited national calls & SMS

min. cost $20 over 35 days

17GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period More Details
Optus Logo

Epic Data $40

  • Unlimited national calls & SMS
  • 20GB data, plus 10GB to stream
  • $10 extra credit

min. cost $40 over 28 days

20GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

Combo Plus $50

  • Unlimited national calls & SMS
  • Half price SIM offer (ends 31 October 2018)

min. cost $50 over 35 days

30GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period More Details
Optus Logo

Epic Data $50

  • Unlimited national calls & SMS
  • 30GB data, plus 10GB to stream
  • $15 extra credit

min. cost $50 over 28 days

30GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period

Who should I go with – Optus or Vodafone?

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, bonus data and international credit, whereas Optus shines for its entertainment perks and other add-ons.

If you want a lot of data, Vodafone is an enticing prospect. 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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