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.
- 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
- Sister brand Virgin Mobile tends to be cheaper
- $2 Daily prepaid plan is bonkers
- Bested by Vodafone on international roaming inclusions
Value for Money
Coverage & Speed
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
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
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?
What to know about Optus coverage
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
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?
Awards and Recognition
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
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|
Prepaid plans only
|Unlimited on-net calls|
|4G network access|
|Automatic prepaid recharge|
|Long expiry prepaid - 6 months|
|Long expiry prepaid - 12 months|
|Discount for upfront purchase|
|No flagfall on prepaid plans|
This checklist is created by the telco experts in the WhistleOut team and includes plan features available in market
|Customer Forum or Blog|
|Manned Twitter 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|
|Prepaid and Postpaid phones|
|Feature phones available|