Optus Mobile Plans Review: the all-rounder
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.
In our analysis of the phone market, Optus is clearly among the top providers. The number of plan types and combinations offers a lot of flexibility, and customers get access to a number of bonuses and benefits. On top of this, What might surprise you is that Optus is often the cheapest of the major providers, including Vodafone, and it compares well to the super low-cost providers in terms of price too.
Importantly, you contact Optus via a number of support channels. While some of the tiny telcos just have phone and email support, Optus customers can live chat, connect on social media, post a question on the customer forum or visit a store. Your experience with the customer support will vary, but it is great to have so many options available.
Many of these same benefits, or similar, are there for Telstra mobile customers too, which is why Optus’ aggressively priced plans are so important to this equation. Dollar for dollar, you’re likely to get more for your money with Optus compared with Telstra and Vodafone.
Best Optus SIM Only Plan
There’s a lot to like about this Optus plan. Firstly, the basics are covered with a big 80GB of data for $59 per month. This alone is enough to recommend this plan; very few plans offer anywhere near this much data at this price.
But the highlight for us is the international inclusions: both for calling overseas from Australia, and for when you’re travelling. You get unlimited calls and messages to 35 countries, including to the most popular calling destinations, like the US, UK, New Zealand, China and India. But better than this, you also get 2GB of data per month to use while roaming overseas. This is more than enough to post travel photos, plan your day with Google Maps and keep in touch with friends and family using a messaging service like WhatsApp. This is pretty much the only plan in Australia that includes international roaming data at no extra cost.
The only drawback is that you need to sign a 12-month contract, though we don’t see this as a major obstacle. Most of us are conditioned to two year phone plans, so a year long commitment is doable, especially when you get so much in return.
Best Optus iPhone Plan
You might call us fence-sitters, but our favourite Optus iPhone plan is the mid-sized iPhone on the mid-sized Optus plan. It’s is easy to spend a lot more money each month if you choose an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, but you really don’t have to. The iPhone XR is a great phone with most of the things you’ll want in a smartphone, without some of the expensive extra bells and whistles.
Your choice of Optus plan comes down to how much data you need, and the trick is in not being lured but the crazy data inclusions in some of the plans. 200GB per month is great if you actually need 200GB, otherwise you are just wasting money. Your mileage may vary, but we find that 60GB is enough for most people.
Best Optus Prepaid Plan
Optus has several different prepaid plan types, but for our money the Epic Data plans are the best in the range. The $40 Epic Data plan comes with 20GB of data to use each recharge, which would cover the needs of most phone owners. Optus also includes a Data Rollover feature so that you can finish off leftover data during your next recharge, so long as you top-up your account before the credit expires.
If you think prepaid plans means cheap plans, then this probably isn’t the plan for you. In fact, Optus probably isn’t your best option if you want a really cheap prepaid plan. We cover this in more detail on our Best Prepaid Plans page.
Optus Sport and Customer Perks
When you compare Optus phone plans to the thousands of other plan choices from the dozens of telcos in Australia, the one thing that clearly differentiates the big brands from the little brands are the bonus perks and services on top of the basics, like calling and internet data.
Most Optus phone plans come with the same suite of content extras. The big one is an Optus Sport subscription which gives you exclusive access to several high profile sport streams, like the English Premier League and the upcoming FIFA World Cup.
Also, Optus recently announced that new customers would receive a free 6 or 12-month subscription to Apple Music, depending on the plan you sign up for (the more expensive plans get the longer subscriptions).
On top of streaming entertainment, Optus also has a Perks program that offers cheap movie tickets at Hoyts cinemas, discounts and early access to concert tickets, and other benefits like exclusive prizes and giveaway for members.
In truth, Optus Perks is a strange hodgepodge of different gifts and discounts, but we’re yet to come across anything really compelling in there. Perks are always nice to have, but these perks are not exciting enough to be a reason to sign up for an Optus plan alone.
What is Optus coverage like?
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% of the population.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can get Optus coverage in 98% 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 is 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.