Optus Mobile Plans Review


WhistleOut
19 January 2017

With dozens of telco options available in Australia, being number 2 ain’t bad. This is a position that Optus has occupied for years, a solid second place behind the once government-owned Telstra. This fierce competition has fuelled the development of the excellent Optus network, and while many would argue that the Telstra network has greater reach, it is hard to argue that Optus doesn’t prove a great service to those under the umbrella of its network coverage (about 98.5% of the population according to Optus numbers).

A strong network is only a part of what makes Optus unique. As our relationships with our phones deepens, Optus is set on giving us more to do with them. Data-free music and video streaming gives us more of what we love without having us use our precious data to stream it, and with its recent acquisition of the rights to broadcast the English Premier League in Australia, it is pretty obvious where the Optus team is focusing its efforts.

Of course, the other reason Optus continues to compete strongly with Telstra is that it tends to be cheaper to buy a phone from Optus than Telstra. Optus plans are more generous, with more data and better inclusions, plus you can usually save a bit of money each month compared with big blue. It is still not as cheap as Virgin Mobile, but of course Optus owns Virgin, so its’ win-win.

Optus Breakdown

Strengths
  • Solid phone plan pricing
  • Great music and video streaming features
  • International calls on higher tier plans
  • Huge range of phones to choose from
  • No early termination fee on 24-month contracts
Weaknesses
  • Sister brand Virgin Mobile tends to be cheaper
  • $2 Daily prepaid plan is bonkers
  • Bested by Vodafone on international roaming inclusions
Value for Money
8/10
80%
Coverage & Speed
98/100

We've put together a checklist of features and options available on Optus plans. Below is a snapshot of what is available but you'll find the full breakdown at the bottom of this page.

How we rate Optus
Category  
Plan Features Lots of plan bonuses
Customer Service Full range of options
Coverage 98.5% coverage
Phone Range One of the best phone ranges

How Optus compares on pricing

Comparing the value in Optus phone plans really depends on what kind of plan you’re looking for. For prepaid plans, there are lots of better options, especially if you’re comfortable choosing one of the smaller providers. 

With no-contract SIM Only plans, Optus is a great option for $50 per month or higher. Less than this, and the plans won’t include enough data to be competitive, but for $50 or more and the Optus plans begin to look really generous. Especially when you include all of the extras available, like international calls and data-free music streaming.

When it comes to phone plans on contract, Optus is cheaper than you’d probably think. While you might assume that Vodafone is positioned as the budget friendly option, Optus tends to be cheaper, especially on the big note releases, like iPhone. Phone plan prices fluctuate quite a bit, but it is worth checking in with Optus plans before committing to anyone else.

It’s also worth adding up the added value of the bonuses offered in Optus plans, too. Many Optus plans include data-free music streaming from most of the popular services, like Spotify, Google Play Music and iHeart Radio. This is a big deal as you can easily chew through a couple of GB each month listening to music on the bus or train. 

Some of the more expensive phone plans also feature data-free Netflix streams, and the option is available on cheaper plans at an additional cost. Customers also get cheap Hoyts movie tickets and access to Optus TV featuring English Premier League broadcasts. These are some heavyweight bonuses.

Optus SIM Only Plan Comparison
Carrier Plan inclusions Pricing
Optus Unlimited Calls, 6GB Data $50/mo
Virgin Mobile Unlimited Calls, 4GB Data $50/mo
Vodafone Unlimited Calls, 8GB Data $50/mo
Telstra $1000 Call Credit, 5GB Data $50/mo

Many Optus postpaid plans also come with international calling minutes to a select group of 32 countries. 

These countries include: Austria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam.

How Much Should You Expect To Pay?
Prepaid From $10 Compare
No Contract/Monthly From $35 (1.5GB) Compare
Data Only SIMs From $15 (2GB) Compare

What to know about Optus coverage

Optus Coverage Map

Like Telstra and Vodafone, Optus owns and operates the network its services run on. It is a pretty advanced network too, with the fastest parts of the network now a few steps beyond basic 4G technology. 

To do this, Optus uses multiple frequencies in its 4G network and, where possible, it pairs these separate frequencies together for a single connection. It’s like having two beer taps filling the same glass. More beer and faster! Optus calls this 4G Plus.

Coverage of the Optus network now covers 98.5% of the population of Australia, so you should find that Optus will be able to provide you with a service, especially if you live in a reasonably populous area. Many will argue that Telstra’s 4GX network is both faster and farther reaching, but it also is sold at a premium. Optus offers a good mix of solid coverage at a fairer price.

What to keep in mind when comparing Optus

  • Keep an eye out for SIM Only contracts - If you have your own phone and you're looking for a SIM Only plan, you might consider an Optus 12 month contract. These buck the trend of no-contract SIM Only plans, but some of the best Optus deals are on these short contract terms.
  • Don't underestimate data-free music - it would be all too easy to disregard the data-free streaming of Spotify and Netflix on Optus plans, but this is one of the best deals in Australia. Removing streaming music from your monthly data usage will have a huge impact for a lot of people, and gives you the chance to consider a cheaper plan with less data.
  • That weird $2 Daily prepaid plan - The Optus $2 Daily deal seems like a great deal. For a $10 recharge it appears you get unlimited calls and SMS plus 500MB data with a 6 month credit expiry. The trick is that you get those inclusions each day that you use your phone, and it costs $2 in credit to access them. If you'd use your phone everyday the plan will cost you $60 per month, which maybe more than you were expecting for a plan with $2 in the title.
WhistleOut Staff Review
Crystal F
Phone Plan Data expert
Optus My Prepaid Ultimate $40 with 6GB of data
“Recommend for people who'd make use of the perks and who need lots of data.”

Why did you choose it?

A few years ago, I got my first iPhone which required a nano SIM. At that time, I took the opportunity and switched my Prepaid SIM to the supposedly more reliable Optus network after VodaFail

What has it been like?

The data inclusion with the same value of recharge has increased substantially over the years. However, it has occurred to me that the network speed has slowed down, even with 4G. Sometimes internet connection or signal would drop out to SOS all of the sudden when I'm underground, on public transport or near big crowds (not sure if big crowds causes interference..). I've always been on the new handsets so I'm sure it's not my phone acting weird... Additionally, Optus offers attractive perks such as cheap movie tickets for Hoyts Cinemas, data free streaming on Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora and Spotify until mid year next year.

What do you love about it?

Good amount of data currently, unlimited international calls to selected destinations (I make calls to China and USA from time to time, so it's quite handy).

What would you change?

I’d love to see an improvement on speed with fewer interruptions where I live. 

Who would you recommend this to?

I would recommend to people who would use the extra perks and would like some good amount of data and international calls.

Want to contact Optus?
Twitter @optus
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/optus/
Phone
Sales or Service
131344
Website https://www.Optus.com.au/help
Contact Page http://www.optus.com.au/shop/support
Apps iPhone, Android
Awards and Recognition
Canstar award
Customer Satisfaction Award 2015

Beyond the facts and figures, you probably have questions about Optus. Below is some of the questions we're asked most, but if you'd like to know something else, get in touch.

Questions we're asked about Optus
Optus owns and operates its own Australia-wide network. It is one of only three networks operating in Australia, next to those built by Telstra and Vodafone.
This is a tricky question to answer, but in a strong coverage area you should find that the service is excellent. It’s 4G Plus network is really fast and is designed to work well indoors. However, this will depend entirely on where you live/work and the only way to know for sure is to test it out for yourself, or to ask other Optus customers near you.
Yes, Optus has a huge range of phones to choose from from all the major brands. You can buy a new premium smartphone on contract, or a cheaper model with a prepaid SIM card.
Yes. You can always keep you number when moving to a new provider. No exceptions.
Optus bills extra data usage at $10 per gigabyte on all postpaid plans. You don’t need to do anything to activate this, it will happen automatically.
Optus SIM cards come in Mini SIM, micro SIM, and nano SIM. These options will fit into all phones from the last decade, or so.
Optus will continue to provide 2G services until April 1, 2017. After this point subscribers will need a 3G or 4G mobile phone handset to continue using their service.
It depends on the type of Optus plan you have. If you have a prepaid or no-contract SIM Only plan, then you can leave any time, no questions asked. If you have a contract then you need to pay out whatever you owe on the phone you’ve bought. This payment is based on the full price of the phone, not the subsidised price that you have been paying in the plan up to that date.
A number of Optus postpaid plans include calling minutes and text to numbers in 32 countries. Otherwise, the pay as you go rate varies from country to country. Check the Optus website for full details for each country.
Roaming rates vary from country to country, but if you are a postpaid plan customer you can choose to a Travel Pack that is added to your account before you leave the country. Read more about international roaming here.
How we rate Optus

We've created a checklist of features to help benchmark what each provider offers its customers and you can can expect.

Auto data top-ups
Included international calls
Plans with unlimited international calls
Included international SMS
International roaming option available
Included international roaming
On high contract plans
Bundled content subscriptions
Data-free media streaming
Roll-over data/credit
Prepaid plans only
Unlimited on-net calls
4G network access
Automatic prepaid recharge
Rewards program
Long expiry prepaid - 6 months
Long expiry prepaid - 12 months
Discount for upfront purchase
No flagfall on prepaid plans
Student/Pensioner discounts
Data sharing
This checklist is created by the telco experts in the WhistleOut team and includes plan features available in market
Customer Forum or Blog
Twitter account
Manned Twitter account
Facebook account
Manned Facebook account
Brick & Mortar Stores for support
24 hours phone support
Usage monitoring apps
iOS and Android
% of Australian population covered 98.5
4G network access
Number of phones 35
Phone Brands 11
iPhones available
Prepaid and Postpaid phones
Feature phones available

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