Optus Raises Some Prices During Pandemic After Criticising Telstra for Doing It

Optus Raises Some Prices During Pandemic After Criticising Telstra for Doing It
Image: Tegan Jones/Gizmodo Australia

Back in July Optus criticised Telstra for raising its mobile plan prices during a pandemic. Now it has introduced two new and more expensive 5G home internet plans while quietly preparing to remove its older, cheaper one.

Optus 5G home internet price increase

Last week, Optus unveiled two new 5G home internet plans. The first is $75/month ‘Everyday’ plan that will eventually have capped speeds of 100Mbps (with average evening speeds of 85Mbps) and comes with Optus Sport. This is available now.

The other is a $90/month uncapped ‘Entertainers’ plan that will be released soon.

While the $75/month plan will be capped eventually, it is currently uncapped. Any customer who signs up before the $90/month entertainer’s plan is introduced will get the $75/month offering without any speed cap for the life of the plan.

When Gizmodo Australia inquired when the Entertainer’s plan would launched Optus confirmed it would be “in the coming weeks.”

A press release from Optus that explains that limited time offer for uncapped speed on the $75/month Everyday plan.

However, there is already a cheaper Optus 5G home internet plan that preceded these news ones. It’s an uncapped plan that only costs $70 per month. It also disappeared from the Optus website when the new $75/month plan was introduced.

Optus told Gizmodo Australia the $70/month plan is still available “in-store and through telesales.” However, the telco would not confirm whether this plan is still visibly advertised in-store.

It’s complicated

After requests for clarification Optus said the $70/month uncapped plan will be removed once the new $90/month ‘entertainer’ plan is introduced.

“The $70 plan will still be available in selected channels until the Entertainer plan is introduced later this year. Customers on the $70 plan will continue to remain on the plan as per their contract terms,” an Optus spokesperson told Gizmodo Australia.

This is important because it’s a cheaper deal than the $75/month plan. As we said above, this offer allows customers to get the $75/month plan uncapped until the $90/month plan is introduced. After that point it will only be offered as a capped plan.

However, the $70/month plan is already uncapped and $5 cheaper. This plan is no longer being advertised and will be removed by Optus soon.

There could be one reason why you would want to consider the $75/month plan as an alternative right now — getting Optus Sport for less. It usually retails for $14.99/month, so bundling would make sense for sports-loving customers.

If you want Optus 5G home internet and don’t care about sport, we recommend grabbing the $70/month plan while you still can. But remember, you’ll need to ask for it either in-store or over the phone.

Optus’ comments on Telstra

Optus’ new plans are somewhat more complicated due to the telco’s recent comments about Telstra.

“[The price increase] seems tone deaf in the middle of the COVID pandemic when many Australians are losing jobs or struggling financially,” Optus managing director, Matt Williams, said about the Telstra price hikes.

“It’s definitely not what we’d be doing at this time. Accordingly, we have no plans or intentions to increase our mobile prices and we’ll be freezing that until the end of 2020.”

This was followed by some sponsored social media posts along the same vein.

“Say no to Telstra’s poorly time price hike and say yes to Optus. Our mobile plan prices are frozen for the rest of 2020, because we want Australians to hold onto more of their hard-earned money,” a sponsored Facebook post from August 13 reads.

A sponsored Facebook post from August 13.

The same wording appeared in at least one promoted Twitter post.

Image: A promoted Twitter post from August 21.

When Gizmodo Australia asked about the comparison between Telstra and its own price increases Optus said it “committed to a price freeze on our postpaid and prepaid mobile plans.”

There are still some differences

It’s important to note there are some differences between Optus and Telstra’s recent price increases.

First and foremost, they’re across different categories. Telstra raised the prices of its existing mobile plans. Optus introduced two new 5G home internet bands to replace an older and cheaper one.

Telstra also chose to remove grandfathered plans altogether. However, the telco is offering to credit the price difference between former and new plans for 12 months.

Comparatively, Optus isn’t forcing customers off its $70/month plan, which is a positive. But it has hidden it and introduced more expensive plans instead. It’s also going to be removed entirely soon.

The $75/month plan will also lose value after the Entertainers plan is introduced. It will become a capped plan for a higher price if you didn’t purchase it beforehand.

At the end of the day both telcos increased some prices during a pandemic. They do have some added extras, like Optus Sport or data in the case of Telstra, but they’re still a little more expensive now.