Optus mobile plans review

Australia’s second-largest telco network has some great value and packs some punchy perks.
Optus Logo
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Optus offers all the perks and premium features that Telstra does, but at a much more reasonable price.

Our verdict

Whether you’re looking for a phone plan with the latest iPhone, a SIM for your current phone or a Prepaid plan, Optus is a solid choice across the spectrum. Optus scores highly for data-per-dollar value. As Australia’s second-largest network provider, Optus offers most of the perks, benefits, and customer service channels that Telstra does, but at a more reasonable price.

Good stuff

  • Good data-per-dollar value
  • Great coverage and 5G

Bad stuff

  • Low customer satisfaction
  • Limited bundling options

Optus mobile value for money

Great value for 5G SIM Only plans and popular 4G Prepaid picks.

When you’ve got the second largest mobile network in Australia, one of the best ways to compete with the largest (Telstra) is with great value plans. That’s exactly the underlying philosophy of the
Optus vs Telstra battle: Telstra has the larger network, but Optus has plans that are competitively priced with some solid inclusions.

Optus offers mobile plans across Postpaid mobile plans, SIM Only plans for BYO phone users, and Prepaid for those eager to manage costs. No Optus mobile plans have a contract, while the Postpaid and SIM Only plans were recently upgraded to remove excess data charges and, instead, cap data speeds at 1.5Mbps if you happen to go over.

Postpaid mobile plans are identical in what they offer on the plan side of things, with the only difference being they cost more because you’re paying off a handset. Scroll down for the section dedicated to those, but we’re going to focus on Optus’ SIM Only and Postpaid plans here.

Optus SIM Only plans

The cheapest Optus SIM Only plan is the $39 Optus Choice Plan, which costs $39 a month and comes with 10GB of data. It may be the cheapest, but it still includes Optus 5G support, which is an edge over Telstra and its reworked Upfront plans, which only includes 5G support from its mid-tier SIM Only plans upwards.

Stacked next to other SIM Only plans with 10GB of data, though, and it becomes quickly apparent that Optus isn’t the best telco choice for the best pricing, even if plans that use its network are. For example, Optus MVNOs like Moose Mobile, Spintel, Dodo and Circles.Life offer better pricing, even without promotional discounts, and more data. You’ll likely find the $39 Optus Choice Plan on the list of popular plans below with at least 10GB of data, but don’t expect to see it at the top.

Pay $20 more per month and you can get 10 times the data with the $59 Optus Choice Plan. If you’re in a 5G area, you’ll likely appreciate having 100GB of data to play with each month before speeds are capped at 1.5Mbps for the duration of the billing period.

The popular Circles.Life 100GB Monthly Plan is the main competitor in this space, with 100GB of data for a usual price of $38 per month. Vodafone competes at this price point, too, but only noticeably pulls ahead thanks to bonus data and perks, while Telstra comes in at close to double the price unless it has promotional pricing. You can see the most popular SIM Only plans below with at least 100GB of data.

If 100GB of data isn’t enough for you, you can go all out with the $119 Optus One Plan, which comes with 500GB of data.

There aren’t many plans that can compete with that sheer amount of data, though Vodafone was offering plans with 200GB and 500GB of data at the time of updating this plans review, both via bonus data promotions. Below is a list of popular SIM Only plans that have triple digits of data to use each month.

Optus Prepaid plans

Optus offers a range of Prepaid plans, including one 365-day long-expiry plan, a few 42-day Prepaid plans, and a couple of cheaper options that run under a month. Like other Prepaid telcos, Optus treats a month as 28 days, which means you should factor in 13 recharges if you’re looking to determine first-year pricing. Unlike the Optus SIM Only plans, Prepaid plans are relegated to 4G only.

There are four 28-day Prepaid plans, which start with the 500MB that comes with the Optus Prepaid Epic Value – $15 Recharge.

That $15 recharge fee may sound decent, but it doesn’t hold up against other cheap Prepaid plans, a handful of which cost around $10 and come with at least 1GB of data. You can see some of these cheap Prepaid contenders in the list of daily updating popular picks below.

If you’re okay with paying double the price of the cheapest Optus Prepaid 28-day plan, you can nab the Optus Prepaid Epic Data – $30 Recharge plan, which comes with 35GB of data. There’s a catch, though: that 35GB is only for the first three recharges before reverting to 10GB per 28 days.

That’s actually decent pricing, particularly for the first three recharges, but there are Vodafone network alternatives from TPG and iiNet that offer more consistent monthly data if dropping back to 10GB doesn’t quite cut it for your monthly data needs. Below is a daily updating list of popular Prepaid plans with at least 10GB of data.

The most monthly data you can get with an Optus Prepaid plan is with the Optus Prepaid Epic Data – $50 Recharge plan, which comes with 55GB of data for the first three months before reverting to 30GB.

As above, there are cheaper plans on the Vodafone network (and also the Telstra network) for those seeking at least 30GB of data each month. You can see popular Prepaid plans with at least 30GB of data below (and you’ll likely see the Optus one near the top).

Optus mobile features and perks

Lots of features for not a lot of money.

These days, Optus SIM Only and Postpaid mobile plans come with endless data, finally following in the footsteps of Vodafone and Telstra, instead of automatically charging an extra $10 per 1GB of data. You can also share your data with eligible plans under the same account, and both perks apply from the cheapest plan through to the most expensive.

Shifting between the cheapest $39 Small Optus Choice Plan to the $49 Medium Optus Choice Plan means that Optus Sport + Fitness is included as part of the cost. While COVID impacted the value of the soccer-focused Optus Sport last year (true of all sports), the addition of OS Fitness for convenient at-home workouts was a sagely inclusion that’s a decent part of this perk for those who aren’t crazy about soccer.

This $49 price point is also where unlimited standard talk and text with 35 selected countries kicks in, and from this plan onwards, what you’re really paying more for is bigger monthly data caps. Optus also lets you build your own custom plan, which includes the amount of monthly data you want, international talk and text, as well as international roaming.

Optus Prepaid plans also have perks, with the most notable ones coming from the telco’s Epic Data 28-day plans, though there are also Optus Flex, Epic Value and Daily Plus categories to pick a Prepaid plan from. All Epic Data plans come with:

    • Data rollover (up to 200GB)
    • Day rollover (up to 84 days)
    • Unlimited standard national talk and text
    • Unlimited standard international calls to 15 countries
    • 10GB of free data streaming for Netflix, Stan and ABC Kids
    • $5 of extras credit.

All in all, Optus plans have some great features.

Optus mobile customer support and satisfaction

Excellent customer support options but low reported customer satisfaction.

You have stacks of support options if you need help with your Optus mobile plan. If you’re a fan of human contact, there’s phone support or you can head into an Optus Store. In terms of online assistance, you’ve got plenty of choice. Chat with a representative via responsive Twitter or Facebook, speak with someone in online chat, use self-service online or check out the forum for help from other Optus mobile users. You can also check usage and tweak your plan from within My Optus, which is also available as an iOS or Android app.

The three big telcos tend to cop the most flak online when it comes to user reviews, and this is true of Optus. If you look at either the 3,000+ reviews on Product Review or the 600+ reviews on Trustpilot, you’ll see an overwhelming majority of one-star reviews. According to the amalgamation of these scores and in comparison to the other providers that are part of our internal tracking system, Optus has the lowest average reported customer review scores out of all tracked telcos.

How to sign up for Optus mobile

Click on the ‘Go’ button on the plan you most like the look of below to head directly to the corresponding sign-up page on the Optus website. Confirm the plan you’d like by choosing ‘Select Plan’, or pick ‘Build your own plan’ if you want to customise it, then either create a new Optus account or use your login details if you’re an existing Optus customer. Follow the prompts from here to complete the process.

Optus mobile plans

You can see a daily updating list of the most popular Optus plans below (across SIM Only, Postpaid and Prepaid).

Optus mobile phone plans

What handsets are on offer?

At the time of updating this review, there were 43 different handsets available through Optus (that includes storage variants of the same model). Most of those handsets are Apple or Samsung, but Optus also offers Google, Huawei, Oppo, and Motorola handsets, as well as some branded low to mid-tier handsets on Prepaid.

Here are a few of the most popular Optus mobile phone plans.

Optus iPhone plans

As one of the big three telcos, you can always count on Optus to be in the mix when the latest and most popular smartphones release. And while Samsung fans are typically best off going with Woolworths Mobile, Apple users can usually find a great deal on iPhone with Optus.

Here are a few of the most popular iPhone plans with Optus.

First, the most popular iPhone 12 64GB plans.

And here’s a look at the popular iPhone 12 Pro 128GB plans.

Optus Samsung Galaxy plans

As with the Apple iPhone, Samsung users can always find the latest Galaxy or Note handsets available through Optus. As we mentioned above, Woolworths Mobile is typically your go-to if Samsung is your brand of choice, but Optus Samsung plans are nothing to sniff at.

At the time of writing, the most popular Samsung handset through Optus is the Galaxy S21 5G 128GB. Here are the most popular plans on Optus with that handset.

And the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G 128GB is the second-most popular Samsung handset through Optus. Here’s a look at the most popular plans customers pair with that handset.

What is a build-your-own phone plan?

The gist is simple, add and remove plan features to tailor your monthly cost to your specific needs. Vodafone used to do the same thing before reverting to a more straightforward plan structure.

Need more data for less? You can remove international and roaming inclusions to max out your data while paying a little less. Same goes if you’re a keen traveller but you don’t use too much data. Simply drop the amount of included data per month and increase your international and roaming inclusions to balance out your monthly bill.

Simple in concept, a little confusing to compare. Adding a handset to any of these plans just complicates things even further.

Photograph of a young child building something with assorted lego parts
Optus lets you build your own plans

How’s the coverage for Optus mobile plans?

Coverage is the cornerstone of a good mobile phone plan, and Optus claims to have the second-largest coverage footprint behind Telstra. The network is available across the country and covers 98.5% of the population.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can get Optus coverage in 98.5% of Australia. Like the Telstra and Vodafone networks, Optus coverage is like a dense ring around the coastline, with tendrils of signal stretching inland. Most people should find that they can comfortably use an Optus service wherever they live and work.

Opensignal, a company that analyses mobile network performance through apps people install on their phones, claims that Optus customers can get a 4G signal more often than people using either Telstra or Vodafone. In the same report, Telstra is shown to have the fastest average download speeds, with Optus in second place and Vodafone in third.

This is interesting data to take a look at, but ultimately your experience will depend on where you use your phone. You can take a look at the coverage map below as a guide to whether there is an Optus signal around you, but you should still find a way to test the network before you sign a contract, like buying an Optus Prepaid SIM card and using it in your phone for a few days.

Optus 5G explained

While Telstra’s 5G network rollout is ahead of Optus, they are both lightyears ahead of Vodafone’s next-gen network rollout. Optus also has one of the healthiest 5G product offerings. All three of the big telcos offer 5G phones, but Optus is one of the few providers offering a solid 5G home modem solution at the time of writing.

It’s always worth pointing out that it’s still early days for Australian 5G, so don’t expect too much (and be sure to check your address in the coverage map above) but we’ve been fairly impressed with what we have experienced with Optus 5G so far.

We’ve managed to get roughly 300Mbps down on average with Optus 5G in the North Sydney area (outdoors, of course). That barely touches what 5G is actually capable of, but it’s still faster than most NBN connections. With that said, indoors coverage for Optus 5G has been almost non-existent in our tests. We know that 5G is weaker indoors but our own experiences aren’t indicative of what every customer should expect. If you’re close enough to a 5G site, with a clear line of sight to the tower, it’s possible you’ll get better indoor Optus 5G coverage than we’ve managed.