Optus recently made an important change to its phone plans, scraping excess data charges from every single one of its postpaid options. Instead, customers who go over their data allowance will be capped at 1.5Mbps or have the option of buying a data pack. This brings Optus’ offering in line with what Telstra and Vodafone have been since 2018. But how do they actually compare now?
Optus phone plans get a change
Telstra also caps users at 1.5Mbps when they go over their primary download allowance, whereas Vodafone caps at 2Mbps, 10Mbps, or 25Mbps depending on how much a customer is spending. The pricier the plan, the higher the speed cap.
As such, it’s worth looking just at how Optus stacks up against Telstra and Vodafone now that they’re almost on par when it comes to “unlimited” data. Are they a better buy than they were previously?
Before we start, here are Optus’ plans with no excess data fees.
No contract SIM-only plans
As it stands, Optus sits somewhat in the middle of the road when it comes to SIM-only plans. You’re looking at $39 per month for 10GB, while Vodafone is charging $35 per month for 50GB and Telstra is charging $55 per month for 40GB (or $55 per month for 80GB, thanks to a $10 per month discount for your first year).
Vodafone is the clear winner, but mostly thanks to promotional pricing. You’d normally pay $40 per month for 10GB, but if you sign up before December 21, you’ll get a 50GB allowance for the life of your plan, save $5 per month for your first year, and get three months of free access to Amazon Prime Video.
Spending $10 more per month on Optus will take you to a 60GB plan that has a couple of extras, such as unlimited international calls to 35 countries and an Optus Sport subscription.
However, Vodafone will do 60GB for $40 per month or 100GB for $45 per month, for your first year, provided you sign up before December 21. After your first 12 months are over, the plan prices will rise to $45 per month and $55 per month, respectively.
Optus is also running a massive promo on its 500GB plan, also until December 21. You’ll save $54 per month for your first year, bringing it down to $65 per month. This 500GB plan also includes network priority and one-to-one support.
Plans with a phone
All three telcos sell phones the same way. If you’re keen to pick up a new device, you’ll puck from one of the provider’s core plans and then add on your handset. You’ll pay it off over 24 months, interest-free, at an overall cost that’s roughly equivalent to the outright price. If you want to leave early, you can do so by paying out the phone’s remaining value.
In addition to 24-month terms, all three providers have a 12-month option if you want to own your phone faster, while Optus and Vodafone also have a 36-month term if you want to reduce your overall monthly bill in exchange for a longer commitment.
Here’s a look how Optus’ plans compare to Telstra and Vodafone when paired with an iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, and Google Pixel 5.
iPhone 12 Pro (128GB)
iPhone 12 (64GB)
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G (128GB)
Google Pixel 5 (128GB)
Unsurprisingly, you’re looking at a repeat of the SIM-only situation when it comes to buying a new phone. For the most part, Vodafone is your cheapest option, followed by Optus, followed by Telstra. Promotional pricing on devices can shift this, however. For example, Optus is currently offering a discount on the Pixel 5, which makes its entry level plan a little bit cheaper than Vodafone’s.
Optus plans vs smaller telcos
There’s more to the world of telco than just the big three, so the above table compares Optus’ 60GB SIM-only plan to some of the more popular MVNOs on the market.
One of the best deals here comes from Circles.Life, which is currently offering 60GB for $22.40 per month. Just be aware that this pricing and allowance only lasts for your first six months, after which you’ll pay $28 for 20GB. The plan is contract-free, however, so you can leave as soon as your discount runs out.
Moose Mobile’s $34 per month plan with 50GB is also worth considering, but be aware you’ll need to sign a 12-month contract for this one.
Lastly, SpinTel has a 50GB plan for $40 per month. Notably, SpinTel is currently the only MVNO with access to 5G.
Circles, Moose, and SpinTel are all powered by the Optus network.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.