Unlimited certainly is an alluring phrase. Who wouldn’t want all you can eat data? The freedom to use your phone with reckless abandon, without fear of consequences. What a wonderful world that would be.
We’re not quite there yet, but we’re close. As of this week, the big three telcos — Optus, Telstra, and Vodafone — all have an unlimited mobile data option. There’s a bit of variance from provider to provider, and despite being “unlimited”, there are still some limits you should be aware of.
Here’s how the three providers compare.
Optus unlimited data mobile plans
Optus is the newest participant in the unlimited data party, and its offer is arguably the most unique. Rather than introducing plans with unlimited data, most Optus mobile customers can pay $5 at any time to nab themselves unlimited data for 24 hours.
This data runs at full Optus network speeds – on both 4G and 5G connections – and can be hotspotted from your phone. If you were able to get an average network connection speed of 50Mbps, you’d theoretically be able to download over 500GB during your unlimited data day. A fair use policy applies, but the data on offer is truly unlimited.
It’s hard to imagine purchasing the $5 add-on on a regular basis, but there are definitely times where it could be useful. Having unlimited data on your mobile plan could be useful as a backup internet option, say, for when your internet goes down, if you’re moving house, or if you’re travelling and have no WiFi.
Optus’ Unlimited Data Day pack is available to mobile customers on postpaid plans, as well as prepaid customers on recharges worth at least $30. You can purchase it through the My Optus app.
Here’s the Optus range of SIM-only plans:
And here’s a selection of devices available from Optus:
Telstra unlimited data mobile plans
Telstra postpaid plans now all include unlimited data, although Telstra would simply say plans have “no excess charges”. All of Telstra’s postpaid mobile plans still have a fixed allowance – ranging from 40GB to 180GB – you’ll be able to keep using your service if you run out of data, and you won’t need to pay extra. There’s a catch however: speeds will be capped to 1.5Mbps.
That’s a far cry from Telstra’s 4G speeds, which typically range from between 50Mbps to 200Mbps in metro areas, but should still be just enough to stream in standard definition, sing along to Spotify, and scroll through social media. It will definitely feel slower than your normal Telstra experience, but it’s a better outcome than getting stung with a $10 bill for each gigabyte of excess usage.
Here’s the Telstra range of SIM-only plans:
And here’s a selection of devices available from Telstra:
Vodafone unlimited data mobile plans
Vodafone’s unlimited data mobile plans are almost identical to what you’ll find on Telstra. Known as plans with “endless mobile data”, you’ll once again get a primary allowance as large as 150GB. Once you go over that, you’ll be able to keep using your service capped at speeds of 1.5Mbps at no extra charge.
All of Vodafone’s postpaid mobile plans now include endless mobile data. Vodafone mobile broadband plans do not, however, and excess usage is still charged at $10 per gigabyte.
Here’s the Vodafone range of SIM-only plans:
And here’s a selection of devices available from Vodafone:
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.