Optus' New Data Sharing Mobile Plans: Everything You Need To Know

Optus has updated its mobile plans today, including a new option to share data from your main plan with other devices without paying an ongoing extra fee. Does that make sense? Planhacker investigates.

Tablet picture from Shutterstock

Telstra launched data sharing plans last October, but they had one big disadvantage: you had to pay $10 per month for every extra device connected. Under those circumstances, it seemed simpler to simply tether a device to your existing phone. (That might change when Telstra introduces the option to share your home data allowance with your phone via Wi-Fi later this year, but details on that option are still vague.)

Optus' new My Plan Plus deals (which it has been hinting at for almost a year) don't incorporate an ongoing charge for extra data, but do require a $5 one-off set-up fee for each extra SIM that you add to the main plan. You can add up to five extra devices on a contract — though if you did that and used all the devices regularly, you'd chew through data pretty quickly.

The option is available on both 24-month contract plans and month-to-month SIM-only plans. It will go on sale from 10 June. If you're an existing Optus contract customer, you can upgrade to a new plan without changing your contract (we reported earlier that you'd need to sign a new contract, but Optus now tells us that's not the case).

While the sharing option is interesting, to our minds the increase in data and call minutes across the plans is arguably more useful for most customers. The data offerings are considerably more generous across all plans, which is a healthy trend after several years of most carriers trimming their data allowances.

Here's a table showing what was offered on the old and new plans. (Optus quotes call time in minutes rather than a certain amount of call credit; while this is more transparent, it doesn't necessarily represent better value — that depends on your usage patterns.)

Pricing has stayed the same for contract plans, while SIM-only prices vary; the two cheaper plans have gone up by $5, but the top plan is slightly cheaper than it was.

Monthly cost Type Old minutes Old data (MB) New minutes New data (MB)
$35 24-month contract 200 200 300 500
$50 24-month contract 450 500 600 1000
$60 24-month contract 600 1500 Unlimited 2000
$80 24-month contract 800 2000 Unlimited 3000
$100 24-month contract Unlimited 3000 Unlimited 5000
$25/$30 No contract 200 200 300 500
$40/$45 No contract 500 1000 Unlimited 2000
$65/$60 No contract Unlimited 2000 Unlimited 5000

The plans continue Optus' existing arrangement of offering an extra 1GB for $10 if you go over your limit. Whether this is a money-saver is questionable — if you only exceed your allowance by 50MB, you'll still end up paying $10.

The added data on these deals makes them more appealing, and the cheaper approach to sharing also gives Optus an edge on Telstra. For all that, we still think you're often better off using a prepaid plan and avoiding being tied down.


    $10/GB questionable? Sure $10/50MB is questionable but is $10/1024MB questionable? Nothing raises user anxierty more than thinking about how much you'll be paying to reload the Lifehacker's website if you're over the allowance when at $10/GB (remember you had 3 SMS warnings by law). All you need to remember is that it's $10/GB. Try doing the maths with others that charge by the MB.

      exactly - excess usage charges were 25c per MB - $12.50 per 50mb ($250 per GB). That counts as a saving for me.

        Or you could go Telstra where 50mbextra at 3c per mb would cost only $1.50, for someone who goes a little over this is far better than a $10 lump sum

      Think of it this way Optus is charging you $10 for the extra 1gb that is not to bad when you compare it to Dodo who charge $15 for an extra Gb and Telstra charge $0.03 per MB so who do you think is ripping you off.

      Telstra for 3 gb over would equal: $90.81
      Optus for 3 Gb over would equal: $30
      Dodo for 3 Gb over would equal: $45

    With Optus 24 month mobile plans, if you spend an extra $10 a month you can get a WiFi receiver on 4G with the same amount of data as your phone plan. My younger sister regularly runs out of data on her mobile plan and uses my WiFi, plus the WiFi is great for my Kindle and my nieces iPad.

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