Optus Is Selling 50GB Of Mobile Data For $70 A Month

Is ADSL rubbish in your area? Can you not get cable internet? Are you still waiting for the NBN? (Yes, us too.) Well, have you considered using Optus 4G? With the launch of a new plan, Optus is targeting home internet users — renters, pop-up businesses and the terminally under-served — with a single super-high-capacity data plan and mobile brodband Wi-Fi hotspot. $70 per month will get you a massive 50GB of super-fast 4G mobile data.

Optus calls it Home Wireless Broadband; it's really pushing the simplicity and ease of use of the service, talking about "simple, flexible internet access in no time". And it's true that a mobile broadband connection is super-easy, with no installation required beyond actually plugging that Wi-Fi hotspot into your power point and connecting to the wireless with your smartphone or tablet or laptop. It'll certainly be cost-competitive with low-quota ADSL and NBN plans.

There's an availability checker, which will presumably make sure that Optus' 4G Plus network — which has support for 300Mbps Category 6 and 450Mbps Category 9 download speeds in place, with a compatible device — has adequate coverage over your household. You can pay for the service over a 24-month contract to get the modem for free; it's $10 per month on a 12-month contract, or $240 upfront if you want to pay for the service month by month and not be locked in to any contracts.

If and when you hit your 50GB cap with Optus' $70 per month Home Wireless Broadband, you'll automatically be topped up with another 10GB for $10; after that 60GB hard limit, your service will be speed-capped to 256Kbps for the rest of the billing month. If you're already an Optus customer, you should also quality for a $10 monthly discount. There's no data rollover, either, so you can't hoard usage for a couple of months and then download the entirety of Wikipedia at 300Mbps.

The SIM supplied with the keys to that 50GB kingdom will not work in another device — it'll only work in the Optus-supplied Huawei E5186, which the smart folks at Whirlpool have discovered also has ports for a VOIP phone and VoLTE voice networking. Nonetheless, this is good news for people (like me!) who are stuck with crappy copper and no prospect of the NBN before 2018. This goes a long way to making mobile broadband more affordable and more justifiable in Australia; bravo, Optus. [Optus]

Update: the speeds that Optus quotes for the Home Wireless Broadband services are as follows — Up to 12/1 Mbps download/upload in 2300 MHz areas. Up to 5/1 Mbps in other areas. We've contacted Optus several times for comment.



    The rest of their plans just became a lot more expensive for the data

    I regret Optus, service is pretty average, and i Live near the cbd and work in north Sydney and rarely have 3 bars let alone full reception coverage,

      Really? I live on the water in Cammeray, over the back of the hill from you, and I get decent service. Three bars is all you need for super-fast download speeds. It's certainly no faster at work, where I get five bars. And since they upgraded the network to 4G+ (or whatever they call it), it really is SUPER fast.

      Obviously in a minor black spot, doesn't mean you can judge the whole company on where you live.

    Just signed up to Vodafone 50GB 4G for $140 p/month the other week. Been really happy with the speeds which are 3x quicker than Telstra in my area. Not sure how well Optus would work here but hopefully it at least pushes the price down for the Vodafone plan!

      Sadly it won't do a thing, because Optus's plan isn't available everywhere, only in select areas. Vodafone's plan is all us poor regional folks get until something better comes along. fingers crossed. because Vodafone just took on a ton of resellers and their network just went from nice to shocking because of it.

    Can somebody explain to me why they don't just make this available to use on your phone?

    If they raised the data limits on our phones we wouldn't need a seperate internet plan...we could just pay them more money...

      being that the modem should stay in one spot, it makes capacity planning for the network much easier than if the usage was spread over many locations on a mobile phone

        Capacity is the real answer here. Optus don't want to shoot themselves in the foot by letting everyone have access to this amount of data. Imagine how much it would cripple their overall speeds... That's what happened to Vodafone all those years ago...

        I have just bought this and been disappointed by the throttling speed of the either the Huawei modem or the Sim supplied.
        It gets only 5 mbs line speed which equates to 700kbs transfer rate for files which only just covers high def youtube and struggles with full 1080p full high def.
        From the same location spot i could get 63Mbps download on a Optus phone sim but when tethered that phone off the Optus Huawei modem got only 5mbs.
        I would love to know if there is a hack on the firmware of the modem that can unleash its full potential or if it is the Sim supplied that throttles the speed.

          I suspect it is Optus themselves throttling it to those speeds for network management rather than the modem. The SIM is just that, a subscriber identity module, and in and of itself incapable of throttling speeds.

          They do themselves mention though, that the speed is up to 5Mbps in 700MHz/1800MHz areas, and 12Mbps in 2300MHz areas. Probably to control network capacity for a large data plan. Not sure I see the point though, as the 50/60GB limit itself should force users to be relatively frugal, and no harm in letting people use it up in a bursty way.

          I myself don't mind so much, I'm happy with 720p - maybe 1080p, and it's a wonderous improvement over my ~1.5Mbps 'ADSL2+' connection from Telstra.

    Current address check comes back negative for lots of places with 4G Plus. Don't know if this is just a bug or if they are going to limit where this can be sold, but you can't order the device from a lot of areas right now.

    What happens if you already have the modem? :P

      They won't budge, I've gotten onto them and they won't not make you pay for the modem :/

    Would be much better if they all just followed Vivid's model and offered unlimited for $70.

      Vivid is garbage. I made a HUGE mistake signing up with them. I get three bars on my modem (which is the max) yet I often get speedtest.net download speeds below 1 mbit/sec, where tethering to my phone yields between 5 and 7 mbit/sec. The fastest I've ever got is about 2.5 and at night, when I want to use it, it is even worse - often unable to load even a basic webpage like Bing. I hate it so much I am thinking of just paying out my contract and writing it off to stupidity.

        Perfect example of why you can't have unlimited data on a 4G-shared-mobile-phone network

        Well that is a shame. It's been perfect for me. No contract and speeds consistent with adsl, which is the only other service available to me.

        You might find that there is a minimum speed clause which allows you to exit your contract. In any case the difficulties you are having seem to me like something you could leverage to negate your contract if you are prepared to apply some effort.

    No NBN rollout near me, no cable in my street and my phone only ever gets 3G at home (with Optus), guess I'm stuck for a while.

    This is good for the industry that someone is finally pushing beyond the 25GB limit that so many carriers have held onto when it comes to mobile data.

    Only for 4G plus areas aka not regional areas. Basically the areas that would take this up in a heatbeat are not included.

      And if it is not in a 4G plus area, it does not revert to 3G. I too am one of the 10% of the population not covered by Optus 4G plus.

      Don't be so sure that it is people in regional areas that are worst served by their local infrastructure. I work in (and have many friends who live in) a regional area, and every single person I know who lives in a country town has a significantly better ADSL connection than the paltry 1.5Mbps I get in suburban Melbourne (not even all that far from the exchange). I don't know where people get the idea that the copper infrastructure in regional areas is somehow worse, it's just bad EVERYWHERE.

    Not at my current city address. Would be good if Optus just had a map of where it's available.

    fml... just give me better data on my actual mobile that i pay fukn $100 a month for... how about that.

      obviously they aren't going to do that because they'd lose money. This will give them new customers, which grows their business.

      This plan's data can't be used everywhere you go. It is only to be used at home, and when connected to certain, uncongested towers.

    Um, they currently offer 12GB on $100 plan...that's pretty decent right? Maybe you need to change your plan.

      Virgin offer 12GB of data for $40 if you want mobile broadband only.

    I had the same internet issue, I got clear networks wireless internet 500gb a month for 100$. It is perfect

      I had a look at their website, but it looks like the website of some dodgy upstart. It says their service is available in my area, and seems like good value ($105 for 6/1Mbps 250GB+250GB), but I can't find any info on which carrier's towers they are using, and how reliable etc it's going to be.

      Also the sign up process seems to offer either a router with no WAN capabilities of its own or an ADSL modem/router.... for a wireless broadband product?

    But what are the UPLOAD speeds!?

      Upload speeds are well over 40mbps if your connected to band 7 (2600MHz) and close enough to the tower to get a good signal.

      Here's a band 7 speed test I ran from a moving vehicle in a country town (Port Pirie)
      While stationary you should get better upload speeds than that.
      Here's another: http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/a/1487521454
      But that was in a regional town. I haven't been connected close enough to a band 7 capable tower here in the city to test.

      Upload speeds further out will be around 2-8mbps but once you get that far away from the tower, the service checker should tell you it's unavailable to you.

      Just tried to access band 7 from my desk at work, but alas, no signal.

      On band 28 (700MHz) you should see upload speeds around 10-20mbps, on band 3 (1800) you should see upload speeds around 20-30mbps.

      Download speeds will be much faster, unless several other people in your neighbourhood have also signed up and are sucking down (or pushing up) the data at the same time you are.

      That is why SHARED 4G mobile networks can't have unlimited data plans or loads of home users with big data caps all using it at once. This is not a viable long term NBN replacement.

      Last edited 03/11/15 4:21 pm


          Until we found out from people who actually have the service, that Optus restricts the wireless home broadband product to just 5mbps down and 1mbps up - optus calls this "comparable to ADSL speeds", which technically I guess it is.


              Since then I've found out that if you are lucky enough to be living close enough to a tower that does band 7 (or 2600MHz) they restrict the speed to 12mbps down, so that's better.

              Optus's primary revenue is from mobile phones on contract (and business customers), and if this service slows down the network to the point where Optus contract customers are going to the TIO, suddenly it becomes just not worth it for Optus to provide this service, so they do have to slow it down and restrict it's use to towers with lots of capacity. (although the hotspot is tiny and battery powered so you can take it anywhere, and optus knows that, which is another reason why they restrict the speed)

              Last edited 11/01/16 8:40 am

    This story headline is a bit misleading.

    This mobile data can't be used everywhere, and you must tell Optus about any change of address.

    They only allow this plan in areas where the mobile towers have Band 3, 28 and 7 available, where the tower is uncongested, and where the backhaul is fibre.

    In the whirlpool thread there are examples of where one town is allowed access to the plan, and another town isn't, despite having all 3 LTE bands activated on the tower. It's a case of how much congestion there is in the area.

    You can't just stick the sim in your mobile and enjoy 50GB of data wherever you go. I believe access to 3G is blocked on the sim, for example.

    Last edited 03/11/15 4:18 pm

    Oh, that would be perfect if there was at least 3x the data!

    Our broadband is AWFUL at home, but my phone gets full 4G. What world is this where to watch videos on youtube I turn wifi OFF?

    Great move Optus. Perhaps in line with the EPL deal so people actually have a means of watching the games since most of Australia has no NBN until 2020. Will have to wait and see if they offer quota free for the EPL content (sign me up if they do).

    Wonder how the speeds will go with their new twoers. Best speeds so far at my house was 181Mbps/30Mbps with Telstra and when I used to have Optus approx 70/40 with a cat4 modem.

      You only need 3mbps to watch HD video.

      I'm sure the mobile app will be quota free watching for the EPL, as it is for the cricket when you use an Optus mobile in Australia. (so therefore you might not need home broadband at all to watch - we'll have to see what the details are when the EPL app/pricing is announced)

      Last edited 04/11/15 10:39 am

    This shits on my telstra piggy backed iinet home broadband deal. I only get 40gb of, if I'm lucky, 2mb download speeds and I'm paying an extra 10 a month for turbo speeds. Fuck you telstra, I found something better than you and your scabby fucking ways.

    This would be ideal for us us we live in between Queanbeyan and Bungendore where NBN is being rolled out. We have a 4g tower but apparently not suitable. Live within 30kms of Canberra and still no decent internet access for foreseeable future.

      I live IN Canberra and have terrible internet access. Bring on the NBN.

    Just a warning to everyone. I signed up to this yesterday, and my speed is limited to around 5mbps / 1mbps in Brisbane. With a data share sim in the same router, I am getting 101mbps / 31mbps. The customer care rep says that he has spoken to the product team, and they have stated that the home wireless 50gb plan won't get the same speeds as mobile broadband - even though it is 4G.

      Very interesting, thank you. I'll check in with Optus and see what their official response is.

        My speedtest on data share sim in E5186 router: http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4801656560

        My speedtest on 50gb sim in E5186 router: http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4801672304

      This confirms something I had begun to suspect. This isn't on Optus's 4G network, it is on Vivid's WiMax network. Vivid is owned by Optus now so this makes sense in terms of price, coverage and the quality of the service.

      Campbell, maybe you need to confirm this with Optus and amend the article accordingly?

        I'd doubt it. It is advertised as using Optus 4GPlus network, I'd say the accounts are speed limited/restricted. They have advertised in a discrete manner that it will achieve ADSL speeds.

      If youre in 4G plus coverage its 12/1 if not you will be getting 5/1

      The Optus website at http://www.optus.com.au/shop/broadband/home-wireless-broadband/plans specifies "Up to 12/1 Mbps download/upload in 2300 MHz areas. Up to 5/1 Mbps in other areas". The aligns with the speed tests you've posted.

    Someone doesn't know what they're on about. It's either us, or Optus. Here's a transcript of an online chat session I just had with them:

    Me: Can I use the Home Wireless Broadband away from my home? Where I live there's a strong signal everywhere, and I'd like to access the internet in my car. I realise it might drop out sometimes. But will the network know I'm not at my home address - and lock me out!?

    Optus: No, if you could get the coverage in car you can access internet in there also.
    Me: Thanks. Do I have to buy the modem/dongle, if I already own one?

    Optus: You can go for the car kit which you can access in the car.
    Me: Do you mean the kit that comes in the round yellow plastic can?

    Optus: Yes, that's correct.
    Me: Ok, thank you - so there are no restrictions to using it at a specific address - it's just I might find the service drops out in some areas. But as long as it works - I can use it away from home.

    Optus: Yes, you are correct.

    So... Do we know I really CAN use it in the car/city - away from your home address - or that I can NOT!?

      They're clearly not reading what you've written as they're talking about the "in-car" Huawei E8372 not the Huawei E5186 that you're asking about.

    So you're telling me that this can't use 3G at all? Thanks for ruining my dreams of moving off of my old 12GB NextG Bigpond plan, Optus

    what about 25GB for $35? I would do that

    Anyone else joined up on this Optus $70 Plan? plz give us your thoughts...are u happy with the service, unhappy, what fownload speeds etc.

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