Optus' New BYO Plans Aren't Good Value

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.

Image: Alan Levine / Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

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.

Optus


Comments

    What's this $34 plans that's being replaced? I transferred to Optus about 6 months ago, and my only BYO option for decentish data (1GB) was $40/month, on a 12 month contract. Bugger - well at least now I can say that I've been screwed by all of the major telcos - that's got to count for something.

      You can always stay on your old plan, though I'd strongly recommend Vaya(.net.au). Had a great experience so far.

    Aldi $35 a month 5gb unlimited voice sms etc plus $10 international plus decent quasi-Telstra network

    The Amaysim plan charges data in 1Mb increments, whereas Optus BYO has per kilobyte charging so that's an unfair comparison considering most smartphones aren't setup to keep data sessions open and on some models you can't force this. On top of that some people may find it difficult or impossible to keep an Optus data session open all day anyway since they drop out so much.

    Live Connected's $15 BYO plan is for 3G devices only. If you are going to compare like for like, the equivalent 4G "Small" plan is $28 per month (with $500 calls & 1Gb data).

    A better example is Live Connected's $41 4G Large plan, which includes 2Gb data and $900 calls, or the XL plan which is 3Gb data + unlimited everything else for $55.

    Some people will argue (not me but i see it often enough) that this is all unfair anyway because Optus use the proceeds of these plans to go towards 3G upgrades and the 4G network rollout which is a cost that LiveConnected, amaysim, etc don't have. In my mind they are still paying Optus by minutes and megabytes used so Optus must be making "something" out of it.

    Also the $34 plan had 1.5Gb data, not 1.5Mb as mentioned in the article. The phrase "and you can score definitely better deals elsewhere" would read much better as "and you can definitely score better deals elsewhere".

    Last edited 03/04/13 12:38 pm

    The only ray of sunshine here appears that these plans will work with 4g phones. Previously Optus only allowed 4g on contracted BYO plans

    Nothing on Optus' mobile network is good value!

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