Optus NBN Pricing Includes Free Hardware

Optus this morning announced its consumer plans for accessing the National Broadband Network (NBN). It joins Exetel, iiNet and Internode in offering NBN services, but how do its prices stack up? The hardware is free, which is nice, but there are some fiddly rules around peak and off-peak usage.

Picture by Alpha

Optus is offering seven plans in total, with a mixture of standalone and bundled packages. The cheapest plan is $39.99 a month for 40GB a month at 12Mbps download/1Mbps upload, split into 20GB peak and off-peak. If you exceed either cap, you'll be shaped to 256Kbps. You can only sign up to this plan if you have a post-paid mobile contract priced at $19 a month or more. This is one of the cheaper plans on the market, but Exetel still undercuts it.

All other plans run at 25Mbps download/5Mbps upload. $59.99 gets you 120GB (divided into 50GB peak and 70GB off-peak), $69.99 scores 150GB (75GB each for peak and off-peak) and $79.99 gets you 500GB (250GB each for peak and off-peak). These plans drop in cost by $10 a month if you're also an Optus mobile customer, and also get shaped to 256Kbps once you exceed either peak.

If you want bundled services, the $109 'yes' Fusion plan includes 500GB of data, and the $129 plan includes 1000GB (both have no peak/off-peak distinction and unlimited calls to Australian numbers). The cheaper $64.94 120GB Home Phone Bundle is also offered, with 50GB peak and 70GB off-peak, plus $30 of call credit. Once again, you get shaped to 256Kbps once you've exceeded your quota.

Across all plans, you can pay an extra $10 a month to upgrade to 50/20, or $20 to upgrade to 100/40. (Optus doesn't actually describe the exact speeds in its announcement, but I've confirmed those speeds with the company.)

All Optus plans can be signed up for on a month-to-month basis, though I'm guessing contract enforcement will come when the NBN is more widespread. What does look like good value is the inclusion of a free Wi-Fi gateway to access the service, which is supplied and installed free even if you go with the month-to-month option. (The free installation deal runs out on January 12 2012.)

The plans will be available at the currently-active mainland NBN sites from November 21 (which suggests Tasmania is being left out for now). What's your take on Optus' pricing? Tell us in the comments.