Optus Wants $9.99 A Month For iPhone Tethering

Optus Wants $9.99 A Month For iPhone Tethering
Optus has finally announced its plans for iPhone tethering, and they’re not pretty: if you want to use your iPhone running the 3.0 OS as a modem, you’ll have to pay an extra $9.99 a month for the privilege.

The $9.99 fee — which will become available from June 22, according to an Optus press release — doesn’t get you any extra data, but does let you draw on your existing allowance. A 2GB bundle costs $24.99, and a 6GB bundle is $44.99. Excess data is $0.35 per megabyte. It would seem likely the bundles only last 30 days, but there’s no way of knowing yet — Optus has announced the pricing but isn’t going to reveal the terms and conditions until the service goes live.

Online reports suggest that iPhone users on Virgin have been able to tether, despite Virgin using the Optus network, so it would seem to be a decision based on carrier profit rather than technical requirements. One thing’s clear though: if tethering is an important feature for you, literally any other carrier is going to be better value.


  • The iPhone is twice as expensive on the Telstra network – but at least it works. The Optus network is so screwed why would anyone seriously contemplate using the iPhone as a tethered device when you pay $34.98 for 2GB of data but you can get 3GB from Unwired at more than double the speed and 10x the reliability for $19.95.

    Optus likes to complain that Telstra is responsible for excessive overcharging through monopolistic behaviour… That’s just crap! I’d like to see you blame Tesltra on this! [Oh you see its all the backhaul interconnect fees!] …..and when are you going to enable Skype, and non-SMS-dependant instant messaging…

    ***NOTE: I am in no way affiliated with Telstra or Optus – other than having superannuation which makes me a shareholder.

  • Of course it’s a decision based on “carrier profit rather than technical requirements”. There is absolutely no difference technically to Optus whether the data that my iPhone is using is for data on the device itself or data on my laptop.

    I’m disgusted by Optus’ decision to charge a $9.99 per month fee for this “feature”. I already pay for my data allowance, I shouldn’t have to pay again just to be able to use it! I would be more likely to understand if we had unlimited data (like in US), but this is just daylight robbery!

    • My thoughts exactly – why would I pay twice for my data? I am already paying them for the 500 megs, now I need to pay for it AGAIN?! Ridiculous, it’s a 2 year contract, they can’t change it now – that’s the point of a contract. I’m going to just hack the APNs.

  • I agree, I pay for 500mb of data and I’d like to use that however the heck I like!

    On a serious note, most of the time I just use the data on my iphone on the phone. Occasionally however I travel interstate or somewhere I don’t have access to fixed line internet and wouldn’t mind the option to use 50-100mb from my phone instead of paying $25 to a hotel to use their internet for one night!

    Come on Optus, you’re going to alienate a lot of the customers you won in the beginning, don’t stuff it up now. 😛

  • So the choice is the lesser of two evils. In that case pick Telstra. They may be expensive but you really do get fast and extensive coverage. The only thing is Telstra don’t know up from down with respect to tethering. They already charge an arm and a leg for their data packs so tethering should be another money spinner. If you are using iPhone OS 3.0 on Telstra and want to use the tethering, google the whirlpool forums for a workaround. There may even be one for Optus there too.

  • This is ridiculous – almost any phone you pick up with bluetooth has support for tethering to use as a modem, and you don’t have to pay an extra ‘fee’ to use it… as you shouldn’t because it’s a capability of the phone not the network!

    Optus didn’t set up anything extra on their network just so that people can tether their phones as modems – so why should they be allowed to charge a fee for the priveledge that the phone manufacturer has provided?

    It’s comparable to if Telstra started charging people a monthly fee for using speakerphone on a landline telephone that already has speakerphone. BAH! Nuts to you Optus.

  • An absolute disgrace that the ACCC should investigate. It costs them nothing more, and they’re not providing any additional service. This is highway robbery, practically in the traditional sense. They’re sticking a toll booth on a highway we’ve already paid to use. I agree with the earlier comment. Get bent Optus. And just try and stop me tethering.

  • Argh! Really, really, really annoyed about this. The above posters are correct, data is data, I’ve paid for it, why can’t i use it??? I would love to see a test case on this. They are contractually obligated to provide me with my data allowance, and it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever to them how I use it!

    Seriously thinking about changing networks…

  • Hear, Hear!

    I’m downright disgusted that as soon as Optus receives the switch to turn teathering on and off they’d dangle it in the face of their customers for $9.99 a month.

    The pricing for extra download allowance seems reasonable in exchange for convienience, but what gives Optus the right to charge me twice for using the data already allowed by me and specified in my contract!?

    I will be tethering using the Whirlpool hack as I have been for the past two days. If Optus keeps up this act then I’m walking.

    P.S. Thanks Lincoln for making the process nice and simple!

  • stinkin optus! Im definitely going to hack the iphone now and tell everyone i know about the workaround! This is what happens when you try to shaft descent people.

  • Does anyone know how to set up an online petition with online signing so that after it gets like a 1000 sigs it could be forwarded to the ACCC. Lifehacker this may be a project for you?

  • I have jailbroken my iphone to use tethering. It’s pretty easy and it works really well… Hats off Cydia…. And you Jer*s in Optus, you are bloody losers and now when Three will bring iPhone, you will lose again… Shame on you!!

  • At the current moment, I have 3GB a month with Optus, and when working in the CBD of Melbourne(Flinders St), I am lucky to even get any signal in the office.

    So of course I am lucky to use 200MB a month!

    This sort of crap takes the cake.

    It makes me want to raise this as a complaint with the TIO; at the very least then they will have to respond or risk being charged even more by the TIO as it is escalates.

  • Optus are crap, but unfortunately Vodafone’s coverage is worse, and Telstra is incredibly expensive. Every time I consider switching to Telstra I just can’t justify the extra expense.

  • This is likely to drive people to jailbreak. I’ve avoided jailbreaking until now, as I believe that app developers should be rewarded for their efforts. Jailbreaking the iPhone makes it very easy to get everything for free. How long does moral resolve hold out when there’s no impediment to temptation?

    • I think is a pretty shocking move, but I doubt there’s anything in the standard contract with Optus that says it must provide features for free just because they’re available in the basic OS used in a phone it sells. (And the first meeting with a lawyer would possibly cost more than switching providers and ditching your old phone.)

  • I think that when all these iPhone contracts end, you are going to lose a lot of customers, and arn’t going to get as many iPhone3GS customers..

    Why should people pay for… nothing?

    And also, there are methods of hacking the iPhone system so that you can access tethering for free
    (though I am not going to do anything unlawful – I’ll just suffer)

    over 24 months, a plan could be worth $2000 for one user, but you are going to risk a customer of this value for $240 ?

    I am definitely not going to pay $9.99 for tethering.

  • I’ve been able to use every single phone I’ve owned for the last 5 years as a modem. Just plug it in, boot up the phones PC software and hit “connect”. This is a fricken scam, most likely an agreement made betweeen Apple and major carriers worldwide to make more money.

    I agree – Telstra’s network is blazingly fast and stable, but their prices are almost highway robbery themselves. I’m paying $30 a month for 300 meg, which includes uploads.

  • I have been with optus for years (8+) and backed them, they have been great. But the last year they seemed to have started getting sneeky, underhanded and greedy. Their 3G is almost useless due to congestion or something and I’ve had enough!

    • I have been able to tether my iPhone to optus with the 3.0 update due to a little carrier settings update.

      It replaces the optus carrier settings on the phone, with a slightly modified one and allows tethering. (WITHOUT a jailbreak).

      The only downside is whenever i Plug the iPhone into iTunes, iTunes asks if i would like to update my carrier settings, which i Obviously click no.

      The process does not (AFAIK) breach any terms and conditions or warranty.

  • does anyone at optus in the department where decision regarding charging for tethering even read these, do they remember how the original optus management got telstra customers in the first place THEY OFFERED GREAT DEALS you traitors, lOOK AT THE WAY U RIP PRE PAID CUSTOMERS OFF you should be ashamed of yourselves
    signed uextemely pissed off

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