If you’re a smartphone user wary of post-paid or not wanting to be locked into a contract, time to get excited: Optus has announced that it will finally be making its shiny new 4G network available to prepaid customers.
Optus’ Managing Director of Marketing, Michael Smith, acknowledged the huge demand for 4G shown by customers since the network’s launch, stating that the company is ‘excited’ about giving prepaid customers to opportunity to enjoy 4G speeds.
Previously, the super-fast network was only available to post-paid customers on a 24-month contract. As of the 11th of November, customers with a compatible handset can access 4G by connecting to an Optus Prepaid Social plan.
The good news is the new prepaid plans have the same exact pricing structure as the company’s standard 3G offerings. Under the Optus Prepaid Social plans, customers get unlimited standard voice calls to other Optus mobiles within Australia, and unlimited standard national SMS to Australian mobiles. They’ll also have unlimited mobile access to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, eBay, LinkedIn and MySpace within Australia, which is a plus for social networking addicts planning to put 4G’s superior speeds to the test.
Here’s a quick break down of the new plans:
- Up to 250 included minutes of talk time
- 500MB of data
- Up to 350 included minutes of talk time
- 1GB of data
- Up to 450 included minutes of talk time
- 2.5GB of data
- Up to 600 included minutes of talk time
- 4GB of data
- Up to 900 included minutes of talk time
- 5GB of data
Included minutes can be used on standard voice calls to Australian standard voice calls, 13/1800 numbers, voicemail and international calls made to 23 selected countries.
Credit will expire after 28 days, or the next time the customer recharges, meaning unused minutes and data won’t be rolled over.
Of course, there’s a downside – the ultra-fast speeds and impressive ability to stream audio and video that 4G provides means customers will burn through plan data much, much quicker than they can on a 3G network. It’s something we’ve said repeatedly, especially since the release of the iPhone 5, but customers on lower tier plans are likely to use up their credit at a faster rate that they’ll anticipate. 500MB may not last long when browsing at 4G speeds, and at an additional rate of $2 per megabyte once included data runs out, neither will your recharge credit.
Optus isn’t currently selling prepaid 4G devices, so customers will need to bring their own unlocked compatible phone to take advantage of the offers. At present, Optus don’t have the required nano SIM for iPhone 5 available online for prepaid plans. Presumably, Optus will offer nano SIM cards for prepaid customers through their website in the future; but for now, Apple fans can only purchase prepaid 4G nano SIMS in-store at Optus Yes stores nationally.
Optus have also announced the availability of two prepaid 4G mobile broadband device bundles – a 4G USB dongle and a 4G portable WiFi modem, both of which are available to order online Friday November 16.
Optus’ 4G coverage is currently available in selected areas of Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Brisbane, Surfers Paradise and Perth, with continued roll outs planned into 2012.