Optus has finally pulled the plug on leasing plans, meaning that they’re no longer offered in Australia.
This news comes mere weeks after Telstra also ditched them during its massive plan refresh.
However, Optus has kept the change rather quiet.
The ‘Leasing Plans’ landing page on the Optus website now redirects to a Yes Crowd forum post.
There is no publication date but it does state that leasing plans would be removed from the telco’s offerings from July 22.
It goes onto explain what you can do if you’re currently on a leasing plans.
If you’re on the first year of a lease and want to get out you need to pay a cancellation fee as well the rest of the monthly device charges. You’ll at least own the phone though.
If you’re 12 to 24 months into the lease you can pay Optus $99 to “trade up” to a new phone. You will need to return the current phone in “good working order” and also sign a new 24-month non-leasing contract.
If you’re at the end of your lease you will need to return your phone, though there is an option to continue leasing for an additional 6 months.
If Optus doesn’t seem the returned phone to be in good working order you will be charged a damage fee up to $500.
Considering the complexities and cost involved in the above (as well as being the only telco left offering them) it’s not particularly surprising that the plans are being discontinued.
“Last week Optus announced on our website that we were simplifying our plan offerings for customers by removing the option to lease handsets from 22 July,” said an Optus representative in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
“This is the first step in us simplifying our plans to deliver exceptional value and service to our customers.”
While leasing plans have always been cheaper on Optus and Telstra (Vodafone has never offered them), they have never been particularly good value for customers.
According to WhistleOut you save roughly $240 across the life of the plan, but you also don’t own your handset 24 months later.
Furthermore, if the phone isn’t in good enough condition (according to the telco) you’re even further out of pocket.
This is the end of an era in phone plans, and that’s a positive thing for customers.
We look forward to what kinds of plans Optus will be offering instead in the near future.
This story has been updated with a quote from Optus.