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Cheap Optus network providers

There’s money to be saved if you try your luck with the 12 Optus MVNOs in Australia.

Nathan Lawrence
Oct 03, 2023
bullet5 min read

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Here's a little known lifehack: You don't have to sign up for Optus to get access to the provider's network.

When you buy a mobile phone plan in Australia—be it SIM Only, Prepaid or bundled with a handset as part of a Postpaid plan—you’re really buying a service on one of three networks: Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. Telstra MVNOs have access to either the largest or second largest network in Australia (spoilers: they’re both Telstra networks), while Optus MVNOs are sold on the third largest network in Australia.

While Optus and Telstra continue to battle it out with their own respective first-party plans, the Optus MVNO third-party telcos have a chance to entice new sign-ups thanks to more competitive pricing.

What is an MVNO?

MVNO is a fancy initialism that stands in for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. That’s quite the technical mouthful, TL;DR is that it's shorthand for telcos that operates on one of the big three networks but don’t own that network. The ACCC recently urged mobile users to consider an MVNO over one of the big three telcos to help combat rising costs.

For a full breakdown on MVNOs, what the differences are and how they compare to one another, check out our comprehensive guide to every MVNO in Australia.

Every provider on the Optus network

At the time of writing, there were 12 Optus MVNOs in Australia, which sell services across SIM Only and Prepaid plans.

Optus MVNOs compared

Out of every Optus MVNO that we'ved reviewed, Circles.Life, Dodo and Moose Mobile are the two highest-rated. Dodo is renowned for its bundling options and excess-free data as well as great first-year pricing, while Circles.Life offers a stack of data for its more expensive plans, which actually don’t cost a whole lot.

See how we scored every Optus MVNO below. 

3.5 out of 5 stars
Aussie BroadbandPostpaid4G/5G
3.5 out of 5 stars
Australia PostPrepaid4G
Catch ConnectPrepaid4G
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
Coles MobilePrepaid4G
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Moose MobilePostpaid4G
4 out of 5 stars
Southern PhonePostpaid4G/5G
3 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars

Note that both Amaysim and Vaya are both owned by Optus while Dodo and iPrimus are both owned by Vocus Group. Check out the widget below for a sense of what the most popular providers on the Optus network look like.

Optus MVNO plans under $20

If you're in the market for an Optus MVNO, it's safe to assume you're after a bargain on a Postpaid or Prepaid SIM plan. There are currently 10 Optus MVNOs that are offering plans under $20 per month and we've listed the six most popular deals below. 

Optus MVNO plans under $30

After a little more data while remaining on a budget? These plans from Optus MVNO providers will give you a little more usage while keeping your bill below $30 per month. 

Optus MVNO plans under $50

If you're an even heavier user and want to get the most bang for your buck, there are some seriously decent deals that offer up to 100GB of usage for less than $50 per month. Take a look at the list below to find a deal. 

Find the best on the best network

If you're not happy with your Optus 4G or 5G coverage, you might be in the market for an affordable MVNO that runs on the Telstra network. Follow the link below to find our top picks. 

The best Optus MVNO providers in Australia

There's no single provider on the Optus network that'll meet all possible needs, but there are some pretty standout options available for those with specific ones.

Two names you might have seen crop up multiple times in the widgets above are Dodo and Moose Mobile. Both are fairly well-established brands that offer solid value and connectivity at prices that are significantly cheaper than ever Optus' own cheapest mobile plan. In short, you don't need to dig too deeply into the details here to see why these two Optus MVNOs are popular.

Moose Mobile isn't just one of the cheapest providers on the Optus network, it's one of the cheapest mobile provider out there period. It's cheapest plan clocks in at just $9 for 6GB of data. That SIM-only plan is fairly light on thrills like 5G or bonus data, but you will rack up some serious savings for the first six months with the provider. If you're sold, you can find a full list of Moose Mobile plans in the widget below.

Dodo is slightly more expensive by comparison, but a little more goes a long way. Rather than knock a couple of bucks off the asking price of its plans for the first few months, this provider is offering double the usual data allowance on all but its cheapest plans.

In addition, Dodo also offers a perk on par with Optus itself but rare among Optus MVNOs called excess-charge free data. The way this works is that instead than being kicked off the network or hit with surprise fees once you exceed your monthly allowance, Aussies who go through all their gigabytes with Dodo will just get downgraded to a slower connection.

Dodo also has one of the better bundling deals in the business, with those in NSW or Victoria able to save $10 per month if they already get either their electricity or gas through the company.

Down with that? Be sure to check out the widget below for a snapshot of Dodo's mobile plan roster sorted by price.

If you're after a prepaid plan that uses the Optus network rather than a postpaid or SIM-only one, you've got plenty of options as well. Catch Connect, Amaysim and Optus itself tend to be strong performers on this front but you can check out the widget below for a sense of what's popular at the moment.

Optus MVNOs vs Optus

Optus MVNOs
Starts at
  • pro
    Way cheaper
  • con
    Not as many perks
  • con
    Less support options
  • con
    Few handset plans
Starts at
  • pro
    Handset plans
  • pro
    Excess free data
  • pro
  • con
    Much more expensive

* Prepaid SIM with 7-day expiry

So, why would you opt for an Optus MVNO over going with Optus itself? After all, Optus plans come with perks like excess-charge free data and a discounted rate on Optus Sport as well as international talk and text. Well, the main reason to consider an Optus MVNO over Optus itself is plans tend to have better value, combining a mix of great pricing and generous servings of data.

Switching telcos is easier than ever, especially because contracts are basically non-existent, meaning you can switch to, from or between Optus and Optus MVNOs (or other networks) basically whenever you like with very little downtime. That said, Optus MVNOs tend to offer fewer support options and freebies. There's a lack of physical stores for in-person assistance and sometimes those cost savings come at the expense of more meaningful perks.

On the flip side, Optus offers a wide a range of handsets, including newly released options from Apple and Samsung, which can be paid off as part of Postpaid plans. At the time of writing, Southern Phone is the only Optus MVNO offering Postpaid handsets and its range isn't nearly as vast as what Optus has to offer.

To put this in context, check out the daily updating list of popular plans on the Optus network, which includes Optus and Optus MVNOs, to get an idea of how people treat the debate.

At the time of writing and likely when you’re reading this, Optus was comfortably on top.


Do Optus MVNOs have the same coverage?

If this is your first time swinging with an MVNO, you might be hesitant to take the plunge if you're unsure about the coverage you will recieve. Unlike Telstra MVNOs, all Optus MVNOs have access to the complete Optus 4G Plus network so there is no difference in coverage between an MVNO like amaysim and Optus itself.

However, as described above, only a select handful of MVNOs currently access the faster Optus 5G network; Aussie Broadband, Spintel, Southern Phone, and of course, Optus itself. 

Until the rest of the MVNOs catch up, there will be a coverage disparity between Optus MVNOs between 4G and 5G. But if 4G is more than enough for you, expect to see the same speeds and coverage as with any other provider on the Optus 4G Plus network.

Check the coverage map below to see if you've got ample Optus 4G or 5G coverage. 

Do Optus MVNOs have 5G?

One of the main perks of going with Optus instead of an Optus MVNO is easier access to 5G plans. At the time of writing Optus was including access to the Optus 5G network with all of its SIM Only plans. Granted, those prices start at around $49 per month for 30GB of data.

If you do want to access the Optus 5G network, though, you can also opt to go with Spintel, Aussie Broadband or Southern Phone. For a snapshot of the cheapest 5G plans available from providers that use the Optus network, check out the widget below.

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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