Optus prepaid plans and recharges: Are they the best value?
There was a time when prepaid plans ruled supreme. Back in the days of free chat happy hours and dodgy ringtone scams, the lives of Australian teenagers revolved around how much prepaid credit they had in the tank. The alternative was an expensive and risky phone contract so many parents looked to prepaid to better manage their talkative teens’ expenses. These days though, the line between postpaid and prepaid is blurrier than ever, and both options offer buckets of data with low-risk excess options. We’ve taken a look at all the Optus prepaid plans available to find out which is the best value these days and whether or not you’re better off on Optus postpaid.
Optus prepaid plans and recharge options
First, it’s important to work out how much data you’re going to need every month. If you don’t regularly use up your monthly allowance, you might want to consider paying for less data or dropping down to a prepaid option with a longer shelf life, such as Optus Epic Value or Optus Long-Expiry Prepaid.
Optus Epic Data prepaid plans
Optus Epic Data recharges are typically suited to people with higher data usage habits; if you stream a lot of YouTube or listen to Spotify on your daily commute, this could be you. This could also suit people who regularly use their phone’s mobile hotspot feature and tether their mobile to a more data-intensive device, like a laptop or gaming console. The one catch is that Optus Epic Data has a 28-day recharge cycle, meaning you need to top-up every 28 days, whether you use your allowance or not.
Optus Epic Value prepaid plans
Optus Epic Value recharges still offer decent data-per-dollar value but come with a longer expiry period at 42 days per recharge. This is a good prepaid option for mid-range data usage; suited to people who stream and use social media regularly but not as consistently as most. Both Optus Epic Data and Optus Epic Value allow you to bank up to 50GB of rollover data every recharge cycle, meaning all of your unused data goes into a reserve for a rainy day when you need a little extra data.
Optus Long Expiry prepaid plans
Optus Long-Expiry plans are more suited to infrequent data users. They don’t come with any included data. Instead, data usage is charged at 7c per MB and is deducted from your total recharge amount (e.g. $100 value for a $100 recharge). That can add up fast if you decide to stream a TV show or movie on the bus. For example, watching a single episode of The Mandalorian on Disney Plus with data saver mode on will use up 1GB of data, which translates to $70 of long-expiry prepaid credit. These plans have an expiry of either 45, 90, 186 or 365 days depending on the amount you recharge with.
Prepaid Optus MVNOs
If you’re on the hunt for a prepaid plan from Optus, it’s highly likely value is your top priority. If that’s true, Optus might not necessarily be your best option. Some of the best-value prepaid plans on the Optus network come from MVNOs like amaysim, gomo and Coles mobile. For example, amaysim (which was recently acquired by Optus) currently offers 50GB per month, unlimited calls and text for $30 per month (with the first month discounted to $10).
Not sure what an MVNO is? Head over to our explainer on Australian MVNOs.
The short version? MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) lease their services from network providers like Optus. They often operate with fewer overheads and charge less for their mobile plans. Optus MVNOs use the same network as Optus so you shouldn’t notice any difference in coverage and reception if you opt for an MVNO.
Here’s every MVNO that uses the Optus network:
- Amaysim (acquired by Optus)
- Aussie Broadband
- Catch Connect
- Coles Mobile
- Dodo (owned by Vocus Group)
- Gomo (Optus sub-brand)
- iPrimus (owned by Vocus Group)
- Moose Mobile
- Southern Phone
- Vaya (acquired by Amaysim/Optus)
Take a look at the most popular plans from Optus MVNOs below and compare them against the prepaid plans offered by Optus.
How do Optus prepaid plans compare to the competition?
Optus have some great value prepaid plans, but they’re by no means the cheapest. Whether you’re after more data or simply want to save a bit of extra cash each month, there are some seriously competitive prepaid options out there. Here are some of the most popular ones with at least 5GB data per month.
Which Optus recharge offers the best value?
As is typical with mobile plans, Optus prepaid plans tend to give you more value the more you spend. Considering the Optus Epic Data require you to recharge and therefore spend more often, it’s the prepaid option that offers the most data per dollar value.
However, at the moment Optus is offering bonus gigs on the first three recharges, which actually flip the old more-money-more-value proposition with each tier getting a flat extra 25GB. So, if you’re a new customer, the cheaper $30 plan offers the best dollar-for-data value – at least for the first three recharges, after which the $50 plan comes out on top.
Best budget Optus recharge
Now if you still need a decent portion of data to use but have irregular usage patterns, it’s a different story. When it comes to lowering the yearly cost overall, you could opt for a super-low data plan like the 500MB Epic Value recharge but you put yourself at risk of going over and having to fork out more than expected.
That’s why we’d recommend the top-tier Epic Value recharge, which will cost you $180 for the entire year if you use your data sparingly (or the limited-time $150 Epic Value promotion). It comes with 60GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. That works out at roughly $15 and 5GB per month. Not bad considering the closest comparable Value recharge will cost you $30 for 2GB every 42 days.
Optus prepaid phones
Keen to get your hands on a shiny new handset to match your shiny new plan? Take a look at what phones are available with Optus prepaid plans.
Optus prepaid vs postpaid: What’s better value?
Now that we’ve pinpointed the best value Optus prepaid plans, let’s move on to comparing it with Optus’ postpaid options. Spoiler: the results aren’t looking good for prepaid.
The closest comparable Optus Choice Plan (Optus BYO) is the $59 Choice Plan. For $59 per month, the Choice Plan gets you 100GB of data to play around with, unlimited calls and text, as well as 2GB of roaming.
That’s a 60% increase in value if you opt for the Optus Choice $59 Plan.
So why wouldn’t you opt for the Choice Plan over the prepaid option? Firstly, people don’t like the idea of being ‘locked in’ with a postpaid contract but times have changed and these days you can nab the same value that used to be associated with a 24-month contract on a low-commitment month-to-month plan. In fact, none of Optus’ current plans will lock you in. Even the provider’s phone plans are month-to-month and the only thing you need to decide is whether you want to pay off your attached handset over 12, 24 or 36 months.
The next thing prepaid diehards worry about is bill shock. Now, this is still a valid concern but it’s less of a worry than it used to be. These days, the most Optus will sting you for going over your data is $10 per GB which is an expensive way to browse the internet, sure, but not quite as exorbitant as it used to be. Plus, Optus will flick you a text when you’re nearing your usage limit at 50%, 85% and 100% so you know when it’s time to cool your jets and reserve some data until the billing month lapses. There are other ways you can get yourself into trouble, like calling premium numbers or travelling overseas but for everyday use, you’ve really got to try to rack up a bill.
See our guide on the difference between prepaid and postpaid plans generally for more information. Alternatively, here’s a small selection of popular postpaid SIM-only plans from Optus.
How can I buy an Optus recharge?
If you’re committed to no commitments, then you’ve probably already made up your mind on prepaid. If you have signed up to Optus prepaid and you want to recharge with one of the plans mentioned above, there’s a number of ways you can go about doing that.
Optus recharge online
If you head over the prepaid section on the Optus website, you will be given two options: Recharge Now and Download My Optus App (more on that in a tick).
If you click Recharge Now, you will be redirected to a secure payment site where you will be asked to enter the prepaid Optus Mobile number you wish to recharge. Next, you will be asked to choose your payment method; VISA, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, and Vouchers and Gift Cards are all accepted. At this stage, you can also set up Auto Recharge if you’ve got a debit or credit card.
Lastly, you will be asked to select your preferred recharge option and voila. You’re done.
Optus recharge number
If you don’t have access to a computer or smartphone, you can still call Optus to recharge your prepaid plan on 555. Just follow the prompts and select the name of the recharge you want to apply.
My Optus recharge
Lastly, there’s the My Optus app which is surely the most convenient way to recharge a smartphone. If you download the My Optus app from the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android), the app will register your Optus mobile number, giving you access to user information and recharge options. Once you’ve entered your payment details in the app, they are stored there securely, meaning you don’t have to whip out your card every time you want to recharge. You can also check your prepaid credit balance and contact customer service through the app.