Optus is offering $200 towards early exit fees for customers who switch from another network. That might sound tempting, but it’s not necessarily going to be a good deal in the long run.
If you purchase a phone on contract and decide to switch to another carrier, you typically have to pay out the remaining value. In reality, that’s rarely worth doing unless you’ve moved to an area where there’s absolutely no reception on your existing network.
Optus’ offer is evidently designed to tempt customers who are contemplating buying a new phone into making the switch. With a new iPhone expected to be announced this week and new models from Sony and Samsung due soon, there’s a lot of potential switching likely to happen in the next few months.
Under the deal, which kicks off on 7 September and runs until 2 November, Optus will pay up to $200 towards your exit fees from another carrier. You can also take advantage of Optus’ existing trade-in scheme, which will offer up to $250 towards the cost of your plan.
The big problem with this approach is that you’re escaping one trap and immediately entering another. To qualify for the offer, you have to sign a 24-month My Plan Plus contract. While My Plan Plus has some good features, such as the ability to share data across multiple plans, it’s still a contract deal. You can often do better by choosing a prepaid deal and not being locked in; check out our recommendations on the best prepaid plans available right now.
$200 also won’t help if your contract still has a long way to run. On a $60 a month plan, you’ll still be out of pocket if you have more than three months to go.
The trade-in approach is also questionable, since you may well do better by selling the phone yourself. There are lots of buyback schemes available, so it pays to shop around and get the best deal. If you want to compare buyback sites, we have a worksheet to make the task easier.