Optus just refreshed its phone plans for the first time since 2019, upping both the7data allowances and prices. But how do they compare to Telstra and Vodafone?
New Optus plan changes
While Optus’ postpaid plans previously started at $39 per month with 10GB, you’re now looking at a minimum of $45 per month for 20GB. Plans are $6 per month more expensive across the board.
These aren’t the only changes, however. While the previous generation of plans included a roaming data allowance for travelling overseas on top-tier options, this has been axed in the new plan range.
Optus has also discontinued its Optus One plan, a 500GB offering that also included priority network access.
These aren’t insignificant changes, so how do Optus new plans stack up from what Telstra and Vodafone are currently offering?
Before we start, here’s the new core range of Optus postpaid plans:
And the no contract SIM-only plans:
New Optus plans vs Telstra and Vodafone
When it comes to SIM-only plans, Optus sits in the middle of the road. It’s not quite as affordable as Vodafone, but not as expensive at Telstra.
Vodafone offers 50GB of data for just $35 per month for your first year, and $40 per month thereafter. Comparatively it’s $45 per month for 20GB on Optus or $55 per month for 40GB on Telstra.
However, for $45 per month, Vodafone has a 100GB plan available. This is once again due to discounted pricing, where you’ll pay $45 per month for the first year, and $55 per month thereafter.
At $55 per month, Optus has an 80GB plan. If you go over your allowance, all three providers offer unlimited data at capped speeds. On Telstra and Optus, you’ll get restricted to 1.5Mbps.
Vodafone plan capped speeds vary between 2Mbps and 25Mbps, depending on how much your monthly spend is. The more expensive your bill, the faster your capped speeds are.
Plans that come with a phone
All telcos now sell phones the same way: you pick from one of their SIM-only plans, and then slap on a handset. You’ll then pay it off over 12, 24 or 36 months, interest-free, at an overall cost that’s roughly equivalent to the outright price.
But telcos will apply discounts to the outright price of a phone to make them a little cheaper.
Here’s a look how Optus’ new plans compare to Telstra and Vodafone when paired with some of the latest devices:
iPhone 12 Pro (128GB)
iPhone 12 (128GB)
Samsung Galaxy S21 (128GB)
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (128GB)
Google Pixel 5 (128GB)
OPPO Find X3 Pro (256GB)
When it comes to phones on plan, it’s the same trend as with SIM-only options. Vodafone is consistently your cheapest bet, Optus is a middle-of-the-road option, while Telstra is the priciest.
The only major exception is the OPPO Find X3 Pro, albeit only because Vodafone isn’t ranging it at this stage.
But what about the extras?
All Optus plans worth at least $55 per month include unlimited talk and text to 35 countries.
Telstra’s plans include unlimited SMS and MMS to all international numbers and 30 minutes of calls to any standard international number.
If you want to make more than 30 minutes of international calls in a month, you’ll need to add on a $10 per month International Calling Pack.
Vodafone plans start to get international calling inclusions on plans $45/month and up. These are typically broken down into Zone 1 and Zone 2 destinations.
All Vodafone postpaid plans include unlimited standard international SMS.
We might not be going many places soon, but it’s still worth looking comparing roaming inclusions.
Optus previously offered roaming data on its top-tier plans, but this has been axed in the new range. Instead, you’ll pay $10 per day for 1GB of data for use in any ‘Zone 1’ country (predominantly Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America).
If you exceed 1GB, another $10 1GB top-up will be added, and the 24-hour timer will reset.
Telstra has a similar approach, where you’ll pay $10 per day for 500MB. If you go over 500MB, you’ll be charged an extra $10 for 1GB which can be used over the following 30 days.
However, if you’re travelling to New Zealand, you’ll pay a discounted rate of $5 per day.
Vodafone still has the best roaming offer of any telco. For $5 per day, you can use your Australian inclusions overseas for up to 90 days of a calendar year.
Optus and Vodafone both include 5G on every single postpaid mobile plan. To get 5G on a Telstra Upfront plan, you need to spend to be on at least the $65 per month Medium plan.
On top of talk, text, and data, plans from the big three all include a couple of extras.
Optus customers get free access to Optus Sports and access to the Optus Perks program, which can get you discounted tickets for Hoyts cinemas.
Telstra plans get you discounted movie tickets from Event Cinemas and data-free access to Apple Music. You’ll need to join Telstra Plus if you want cheap movie tickets, however. But at least it’s free to sign up.
Joining Telstra Plus also earns 10 points for every dollar you spend on your monthly bill as part of a Frequent Flyer style rewards scheme. You can spend these points on selected gadgets or use the points discounts on devices.
Telstra’s current plans are however a little lighter on perks than they used to be, however. They no longer include access to Telstra Air, and Telstra has also axed AFL, AFLW, NRL, Netball, and Hyundai A-League Live Passes from all plans.
While Vodafone has previously offered perks like bonus Amazon Prime subscriptions, it doesn’t have much going in the way of extras right now.
However, if you’ve got multiple postpaid plans on the same Vodafone account, you’ll save 5 per cent on your total bill for each plan after the first, up to a maximum of 20 per cent.
This includes SIM-only, mobile, tablet, mobile broadband, and NBN plans.
New Optus plans vs the rest
If you’re looking for a cheaper plan on the Optus network, these plans from Optus-powered providers start for as little as $16.80 per month for 20GB.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.