Optus has dropped the contract requirement on some of its BYO plans, letting you sign up month-by-month if you bring your own phone. How do the new plans compare to its old offers, and are they worthwhile? The answer turns out to be: some of them are more expensive than before and you can do better elsewhere.
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Optus' BYO plans now come in three flavours:
- For $20 a month, you receive 200MB of data and $200 of credit. Calls are charged at 90 cents per minute with a 35 cent flag fall. That credit equates to 93 2-minute calls. SMS messages are 25 cents each, and excess data is charged at 25 cents per megabyte.
- For $40 a month, you get $500 of credit (at the same call rates as the $20 plan), unlimited SMS and 1GB of data. That credit equates to 232 2-minute calls.
- For $60 a month, you get unlimited national calls and SMS, and 2GB of data. For this plan, you still have to sign up to a 12-month contract. As usual with unlimited plans, a 'fair use' policy applies to calls. (After June 30, the cost of this plan for new subscribers will rise to $65 a month.)
Not being forced to sign up for a contract is a good thing, so we're in favour of that aspect. Optus' prices also remain much lower than Telstra's (and Telstra forces 12-month contracts on its BYO plans). But the new plans fall down on two other criteria: in some cases they're less generous than Optus' previous plans, and you can score definitely better deals elsewhere.
The $20 plan replaces a $19 offering charged at the same rates and with the same data, so it's marginally better value. The $40 plan replaces a $34 plan that included $550 of call credit and 1.5MB of data, so you're getting less data and less phone credit while paying more. The $60 plan replaces a $69 deal. It's cheaper, but has less data (2GB, where the previous plan had 3GB).
Those internal comparisons aside, you can do better through Optus' MVNO partners. Amaysim will sell you an unlimited no contract plan plan with 4GB of data for $39.90; Live Connected has a $15 a month plan that has far more inclusions than Optus' $20 plan. So our advice is: look elsewhere.