Optus won an award in the 2017 WhatPhone Awards
Best for streamed audio – Optus
Optus had an amazing 2016. That such a behemoth company could innovate at the speed they did is a credit to the Product Management teams they have working for them.
Optus own the streamed audio space with more partnerships than any of the competition. Take out an Optus My Prepaid Ultimate or My Prepaid Daily Plus plan, and, you’ll get unlimited free streamed audio on top of the data in your plan. They call it ‘data free music streaming.’
That means if you have a Spotify, Pandora, IHeartRadio or Google Play account, you can listen to music with your Optus My Prepaid Ultimate or My Prepaid Daily Plus and never suffer the data cost.
Data free music streaming offer ends 16/7/17.
60 Second Intro to Optus Prepaid :
- Optus have a range of prepaid plans which include some unique plan elements.
- All Optus’ prepaid plans now come with included streamed audio.
- Optus’ prepaid plans now include data rollover too.
- Data rollover is not a concept many people understand so we’ve explained in in depth below.
- We’ve also taken the trouble to explain how Optus’ Prepaid ‘Extras Credit’ functions.
- And the Optus network offers almost identical coverage by population to Telstras.
- But they don’t charge as much.
- We have elaborated on this coverage claim, below, offering the source statistics which cause us to make it.
Understanding Optus’ Prepaid Plans range
Optus’ prepaid price plans are not simple carbon copies of other networks’ prepaid plans.
Optus are a hugely successful Australian prepaid voice, SMS and data service provider. They offer a diverse and impressive range of prepaid plans for your mobile phone service. Prepaid plans are important to Optus. They are not often what you see the company marketing. Optus tends to spend money ‘pitching’ the newest phones which have been released – to grab the headlines. But prepaid makes up around half of Optus’ business. It’s a multi $billion product suite for the company.
Perhaps that helps explain why Optus’ prepaid price plans are not simple carbon copies of other networks’ prepaid plans. Optus has taken a genuinely interesting look at prepaid and tried to find their own take on it. As a result, Optus offer some unique plans that the other phone companies simply don’t have equivalents to. We have come to think of their prepaid plans as standing out in the Australian market and offering something very interesting
What is Optus Prepaid ?
Optus’ prepaid range is a great set of plans, with great data inclusions and some unique features.
Optus’ prepaid range is a great set of plans, with great data inclusions and some unique features. We’ve broken the plans out and down below. Remember, prepaid is not like any other phone company ‘product’. Prepaid is actually a suite of products. This can be counter-intuitive until someone explains it to you ! To help you navigate the range, we will overview it. Optus’ prepaid range includes.
- Optus My Prepaid Ultimate :
These are their hero prepaid price plans. They’re the ones that most people buy. These plans are designed to offer the most common requirements that users have. They include voice, SMS and data by the GB in amounts to cover the most common user behaviors and needs. You will also see services like Data Rollover and Streamed Audio focused here. Optus’ intent is to add value to these plans and bring that story to life for you.
- Optus Prepaid Long Expiry :
Got a phone and don’t use it much ? These are the plans for you. Their validity is either 6 months or 12 and they’re designed for people who will finish that period with a balance ! Long expiry plans are perfect for older users who want a phone for safety but prefer to call friends and family on landlines.
- Optus Prepaid Daily Plus :
Optus’ Prepaid Daily Plus plans are unique and innovative. One of the key differences about this sort of plan is that you only pay for service the day you use it. Pay special attention to Optus’ $2 Days – a price plan. It’s one of a kind in Australia and if it suits you, you will not find better value data anywhere in Oz. Daily plans are perfect for extremely savvy technical users and those who are in a period of ‘limited means.’ ( Those who don’t have a lot of money at the moment. )
More detail on Optus’ prepaid inclusions
Before we get in to the specifics, let’s talk about some of the features Optus prepaid have that you don’t always find elsewhere.
- Data rollover :
Optus’ plans now include Data Rollover. Remember, to benefit from it, you need to recharge before your existing recharge window expires. Data rollover can be a difficult plan feature to understand. It’s also relatively new so we have explained it in detail, below. Fundamentally, however, it’s a useful facility. Imagine you take an Optus prepaid plan which has 6 GB of data in it. And, during the month, you fall ill. You spend two weeks laid up in bed, unable even to use your phone. In the rest of the month, you use only a total of 2 GB. With data rollover, in the next month, the 4Gb of your 6GB entitlement that you didn’t use is given to you again. You’ll start the month with 10GB. Nice and fair, huh ? It’s your data ! Why shouldn’t you have it ?
- Streamed audio :
Content and entertainment services are becoming an increasingly integral aspect of phone services. Optus is among the leaders in the field. All prepaid plan users get an extremely useful feature in their plans now : Free streamed audio. If you already have a service like Spotify, Pandora, iHeartMusic or Google Play Music, you can now access that service through your phone at no cost. The data you use to stream the music you get from those sites is ‘zero rated’ ( which means not charged for. )
- Per KB charging :
Optus use the very fair per KB method of charging for the data your phone uses on their network. This is an industry standard now, after some serious customer dissatisfaction with the alternative. Per KB charging will help you stretch your data utilization further. Some people think that a prepaid plan with 3GB of data, charged in per KB increments lasts twice as long as a prepaid plan with 3GB charged in per MB ( the alterntaive ) chunks.
- 28 day recharge window :
Optus has lined it’s monthly ‘recharge window’ up with every other player in the prepaid market. From the moment you recharge, you will have 28 days to use the voice, SMS and data you have been given. This is something to be aware of. It might not sound like much but this is a key differentiator between Optus’ prepaid and postpaid products. There is only one month of the year that has 28 days. The others are longer by 2 or 3 days. If you buy a prepaid plan, you have to recharge 13 times a year. Postpaid plans automatically renew on the same day each calendar month. That’s 12 times a year, around an 8% cost difference.
Optus My Prepaid Ultimate
Let’s get in to the details of Optus’ prepaid plan suite.
Each of the major phone companies has a marketing ‘hero’ plan. Optus’ prepaid marketing hero is My Prepaid Ultimate. If you search or navigate to Optus’ site, this is what you will be presented with first. If you’re buying for your son or daughter, these are probably the plans you want. Across the prepaid range, there are denominations from $10 to $60 per month.
- All ‘My Prepaid Ultimate’ plans have unlimited national voice and SMS:
Just as Vodafone have simplified their offering by including Unlimited National voice and SMS in each of their plans, Optus have too. They’ve also thrown in as many SMS as you can use in to My Prepaid Ultimate. The major differentiating factor in their hero ‘My Prepaid Ultimate’ plans is the data inclusion. The reason they’re doing this is not hard to judge. Voice and SMS usage is falling off. People really just care about the data inclusion in their plan these days. Bearing that in mind, consider the importance of Optus’ positioning here. They know they will be compared toe to toe on data inclusions with big and small phone companies- and they’re not worried. There’s a reason they don’t need to be worried. Their data inclusions are extremely competitive.
- My prepaid Ultimate plans include International calls:
Spend $40 or more with Optus’ most popular prepaid plans and you’ll be able to make unlimited calls to some of the most commonly dialed overseas locations. You can still make some international calls but it comes out of your ‘Extras Credit.’
- You’ll also get Extras Credit in your My Prepaid Ultimate plans:
Each plan you buy comes with some ‘Extras Credit.’ If you run out of data, want to make some international calls or need to take and use your phone on a network overseas (roam), Extra Credit entitlement allows you to do those things. This ‘bucket’ of entitlement runs parallel to the main inclusions you get in your plan. If you find that confusing, we explain it in more detail, below.
Optus’ Prepaid Daily and Daily Plus
The most innovative of Optus’ prepaid plans is now called Optus Prepaid Daily and Daily Plus. These are the ‘prepaid love child’ of the man who was Head Of Prepaid for Optus at the time it was developed, Paul Ingall. I worked for Paul for a while and he is a legend. Here’s what you’ll get in ‘his’ plans.
- Prepaid Daily:
For a small daily fee of $1.00, you will get low allowances which will probably see you through the 24 hour period. For example, for $1.00 you get 30 minutes of talk time and 40 MB of data. It’s a unique plan structure in Australia. If you find it tough to manage your cash flow, find yourself low on money or, more likely, just need a service for a few days to tide you over, prepaid daily services your niche.
- Prepaid Daily Plus:
This plan used to be known as ‘$2 days’ Which is probably a better name : The $2 days plan is unique in the Australian, in fact any, market. For $2 per day that you use the service, you’ll get unlimited calls and texts in Australia and up to 500 MB of 4G data per day. Do the maths. That can give you up to 15 GB of 4G data each month for $60. There is no better value plan out there if you need superhuman data allocations. This is a simple, predictable plan for you if you don’t use your phone every day but when you use it, you use it an awful lot !
- Be careful!
Optus’ Prepaid Daily and Daily Plus plans are great plans – if you manage them carefully. Each plan ‘clicks over’ to the next biggest once you’ve used your allowance. For example, if you buy the Daily Plus plan which costs $1.00 and use more than the 30 minute voice entitlement, you’ll be charged $1.50 more that day to move up a step and renew your entitlements. You want to use your allowance but not just exceed it or you will end up paying a lot for your prepaid service.
Optus’ Prepaid Daily Plan range are genius. I’ve used them myself when I have been away from home. Being in and out of coverage and using my phone as a tethered laptop made these the ideal plans. It’s a truly remarkable package. Additionally you only the $2 daily fee on the days you actually use you phone, which is a huge money saver.
Optus Prepaid Long Expiry
- The usual 6 /12 month plans:
Long Expiry plans can work out cheap if you hardly use your phone. However, be aware, they have expensive inclusions. You’ll only buy a SIM with a Long Expiry Window for an emergency or to insert in to second phone. With Optus’ prepaid Long Expiry caps, you’ll get a credit allocation of a dollar amount ( not a capped multiplier ) and each SMS will cost you 20 cents. Voice and data are also charged in this Pay As You Go way. The highest denomination ( 12 months ) has a 12 month timeline to use your $60 worth of credit in.
- Capped multiplier is:
To make you feel like you’re getting a lot (of voice, SMS and Data) for a little money, the major phone companies use ‘Capped’ plans as part of their marketing. Capped plans use a multiplier to calculate their inclusions. The phone company pretend they charge a lot per minute and a high connection fee. Interestingly, the multiplier is actually very consistent between the major providers. For a standard 2 minute call, most charge you around $2.40. So, if you have $700 worth of credit (what Telstra includes on their $30 voice plan) you will get $700 / 2.40 x 2 minute calls. That’s around 300 calls or roughly 10 standard 2 minute calls per day (in Australia to Australian numbers.)
The Amazing Optus Network – information you really need
There are only a tiny proportion of people who benefit from choosing the Telstra’s network over Optus’. And, since Telstra charge so much more for their plans, that’s a significantly important observation.
Phone companies are actually extremely dynamic things. It might not seem it, viewed from the outside but there is an incredible amount of work that goes on within companies like Optus, all day, every day. That includes the roll out of new network facilities. Optus has spend $billions improving their 3G network and their 4G network (they’re different things ! ) The results mean your Optus prepaid service enables you with some impressive coverage.
The critical thing you need to understand about the phone network used by Optus’ prepaid services is that Optus’ network is on a par with Telstra’s. Don’t believe me ? Here are the stats. Although most ‘normal people ( who don’t work in the telco industry ) have a different view, Optus’ 4G network is almost identical for availability to Telstra’s.
- Optus’ 3G network is within half of one percent of Telstra’s:
Starting with 3G coverage, Optus covers 98.50%
. Telstra covers 99%
So, across Australia, less than one percent of people will benefit from having Testra’s network !
- Optus 4G network is available to users almost the same proportion of the time as Telstras:
On 4G, the numbers are similar. The most recent research says that Optus’ 4G network is available to people 73.4%
, Telstra is available 76.3%
The significance of this network comparison is hard to over-state. There are only a tiny proportion of people who benefit from choosing the Telstra’s network over Optus’. And, since Telstra charge so much more for their plans, that’s a significantly important observation.
There is virtually no difference in the quality of coverage these companies offer. We realize that network coverage is a key component of your search for the right prepaid plan. You find out more about the latest Australian network information on our coverage page.
What is Optus’ Prepaid ‘Extras Credit’ ?
When you’re on a prepaid plan, there is no agreement between you and the phone company that they can charge you extra, automatically. If, for example, Optus has sold you a postpaid plan which contains no international calls but you need to make a call overseas, things can start to get tough with a prepaid plan. On a postpaid plan, if you make the call, even although International calls might not be called out specifically as a headline feature of your plan, Optus will charge you anyway. They tot up your costs and charge you retrospectively at the end of the month.
The same is not true on prepaid. There are many prepaid plans out there which will simply not let you make an international call. To make prepaid easier to use, Optus try to give you a facility to do the things which are not in your headline plan entitlements. They have created ‘Extras Credit’ for just this sort of occasion. With Extras Credit, you’ll be provided a small amount of ‘Extras Credit’ on prepaid plans which lets you do things like make international calls. You’ll get more Extras credit on more expensive plans. Extras credit can be used for roaming when overseas, calling internationally and picking up voicemail.
Prepaid Plan Comparison Table
|Plan||Freedom Plus||My Prepaid Ultimate||Prepaid Freedom|
|Data Rollover ?||No.||Yes - Up to 10 GB||Yes.|
|Voice Credit Rollover ?||Not required - all plans are Unlimited National Calls and Text in Australia.||Not required - all plans are Unlimited National Calls and Text in Australia.||Yes.|
|Standard calls in $30 recharge.||Infinite||Infinite||$700 ( Capped Multiplier ) plus unlimited Telstra to Telstra.|
|Data inclusion in $30 recharge.||3GB||1.5GB||2.6 GB ( 1.3GB 8AM - 8PM. An additional 1.3GB 8PM to 8 AM )|
|Per kB charging ?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Unlimited Voice & SMS ?||Yes - In Australia.||Yes - In Australia.||Not all plans|
|Recharge period ?||28 Days||28 Days||28 Days|
|International calls included ?||Yes.||Yes. In Extras Credit.||Yes.|
|Charge to pick up Voicemail ?||No. Included in Unlimited minutes.||No. Included in Unlimited minutes.||From Cap on $30 plan.|
|Separate overnight data allowance ?||No||No.||Yes|
|Number of Plans||4 : $30, $40, $50, $60||4 : $30, $40, $50, $60||3 : $30, $40, $50|
|Introductory data offer ?||No. Half priced starter pack + monthly 2GB additional bonus if you recharge before the end of the period. ( On $40 and above. )||Yes. Reduced price starter pack if bought on line. Activation data bonus.||Yes. First month 5GB with rollover.|
As you can see. Optus’ Hero Prepaid Plans are very similar to the competition.
Getting started with Optus Prepaid
There are 3 steps to getting yourself set up on Optus Prepaid. In fact, these are the same steps you will undertake with any phone company you go to for a prepaid service.
1. Find a plan that you like:
You can do that above, in the table or text on this page. We recommend checking out the comparison tables, too. Remember, this is prepaid. You are not going to be locked in with Optus or any other provider you sign up to. You might like to try a company you’ve never heard of if they have a better plan. Very little can go wrong. Even if you don’t like the phone company you pick, you can leave when you want, take your phone number with you and try a new place.
2. Second, you get an Optus / alternative Prepaid SIM:
You can get these online – in order to get the best deals. As we’ve covered in the table above, a lot of them will have attention grabbing features to get you to pick a new network. Delivery is free of charge if you do order online and, they’ll conveniently deliver the SIM to you free of charge next business day.
3. You activate:
Activating an Optus prepaid service is easy. Go to their website at www.optus.com.au and click on the appropriate section for activation of the plan wanted. Then follow the simple instructions and fill out the required information. You’ll need some reliable ID and a method of paying them if you own them some money. The government requires this so that they know who you are. They don’t want people abusing the system and using phones for bad things.
4. Recharging with Optus:
Recharging your account is simple. Go to the Optus Australia’s prepaid service website at www.optus.com.au and click on the appropriate section for recharging an account. Then input the correct, current information required ( basically, just a way to pay. ) Once you’re set up, this could be the only time each month you have to deal with Optus. It’s free, convenient and the process can even be automated.
Optus’ new Data Rollover Scheme
In mid 2015, the Optus Prepaid team revitalized their prepaid plan range. They removed most of what had been in market for the previous 2 years or so and launched a plan with a new hero feature – data rollover.
There is a good chance you are one of the many mobile phone users who feel their phone bill is getting out of hand. Most people in Australia believe they pay more than enough for their mobile online data. At least, if you use up your mobile data allowance exactly each month, you feel like you’re getting the full value from the money you spent. But what happens if sometimes, you don’t use as much as you think ? It’s a problem that far too many people have to deal with.
It is not unusual for mobile data needs to vary from month to month. For example, during the school holidays, teenagers generally download more audio and video files than they download at other time. Work patterns can vary from month to month according to what you’re up to. Generally, people’s data usage increases over time. As usual, it’s a classic “Catch 22”. The only person to win consistently is your existing phone company.
- If your data allowance is too low, you soon exhaust it.
On prepaid services, that means data will just stop when you reach your limit. This is, at the very least, inconvenient. If you have extra credit you can use, you’ll be charged for more data at out of bundle rates. This can cause you to run up expensive additional charges.
- So you end up buying more than you need :
The alternative is to choose a more generous (and more expensive) data allowance you end up wasting some of your money. This is what most people choose. But then you waste money.
Optus are aware of this situation and, it appears at least, that they want to help you solve these problems. Their solution is a new prepaid plan feature: Data rollover.
Under the new scheme, the way you consume your data has changed. With data rollover you can transfer unused mobile data allowance from one credit period (30 days) to the following credit period. Optus allow you to add a maximum of 15GB of unused monthly mobile data to your allowance for the following credit period. If you don’t use the the data you’ve rolled over allowance in the second credit period, you can rollover the data to the following credit period. You can continue doing this so as long as you have unused data to roll over.
There are a few conditions:
- You need to be on an Optus prepaid “Monthly Plus” phone plan.
- You must recharge the phone before your credit expires.
Summing Up Optus’ Prepaid Plans
We haven’t always felt this way about Optus at WhatPhone but, for now, their prepaid suite is one we recommend.
Prepaid services have come a long way since their introduction a quarter century ago. These days, prepaid offers better value than postpaid a lot of the time and the stigma which used to be associated with prepaid services is now long gone. Overall, the prepaid packages offered by Optus are very decent deals. Their data inclusions particularly are generous, even considering competition from bargain basement competition.
Optus’ $2 Daily plan stands out as unique around the world for a prepaid plan with a 4G data inclusion. If you need to try the Optus network before you commit to it for a long time, what could be better than a daily plan with no commitment. Whether you’re experimenting with the network or locking yourself in to it for a long time, you’ll have access to the revised Optus app which can help you closely manage your spend.
On top of their keen pricing, however, Optus does more than some other phone companies when it comes to prepaid services. They have been inspired by Virgin Mobile’s prepaid services and ‘borrowed’ their data rollover facility. My personal view is that people could manage their data needs so well that they need never require a data rollover facility. But then again, perhaps I am naive. If you can’t be bothered managing your prepaid service extremely closely then blind Freddy can see that data rollover does provide a benefit without a cost.
Optus continues to innovate. Late 2016 saw the company invest in the English premier League for their postpaid SIM Only plans. Optus Prepaid plan users, on the other hand, get a remarkably useful level of free data access to streamed internet radio stations aplenty. It’s with features like this that Optus differentiate themselves from smaller phone companies and remains competitive. The fact that Optus keep adding unique features like this means that they, and their prepaid proposition is worth watching.
The only concern ( used to be ) network. Optus was cheaper and the network wasn’t as good as Telstras. That’s the common perception in Australia. The reality, as we’ve shown above is different. Optus is cheaper and their network is just as good as Telstra’s. In addition, Optus has the unique features we’ve outlined here to draw your eye. We haven’t always felt this way about Optus at WhatPhone but, for now, their prepaid suite is one we recommend.
Extra Resources – Articles of use to Prepaid Users
- Prepaid plans now have streamed audio included in them :
You may not be aware of one of the biggest improvements to prepaid plans since they were originally devised. 2016 saw the release of prepaid plans which have streamed audio included in them. If you already have a Spotify, Pandora, iTunes Music, Google Music or IHeartRadio account, then you might like to find out more about streamed audio in phone plans.
- Entertainment options are becoming common :
You may also have started hearing about the increasing inclusion of entertainment options in prepaid and SIM Only phone plans. We also examine Optus’ mobile phone plan Entertainment options, Telstra’s mobile phone plan Entertainment options and compare the two.
- Prepaid vs postpaid vs month to month :
We’ve given a short explanation on this page but if you want more detail on the types of phone plans in Australia, this is it. In Prepaid vs postpaid vs month to month, we explain and the best value alternatives you have and when it makes sense to use each type.
- Prepaid vs Postpaid –the simple trick to getting the best value :
The tier 1 telcos ( Optus Telstra and Vodafone ) all have both prepaid and postpaid plans. Sometimes they have both types of plan at the same price point. We explain the simple trick to getting the best value for money when you are comparing the two.
- Does it make sense to buy a Phone myself and add a SIM ? :
It’s often even cheaper to buy your own phone and add a SIM ( including a prepaid SIM ) to it. We explain how to go Buying a phone outright and adding a SIM.
- Data Rollovers :
Considering a plan with data rollover in it ? We explain why they’re not the real solution to the real problem with prepaid plans.
And, remember, before you buy, read the CIS (that’s the Critical Information Summary–a clearly written definition of what is and is not included in the plans from these phone companies) before you buy. You need to be confident in the plan you choose yourself. You’ll find the CIS on the Vodafone website.
Compare all of our prepaid plans
If you need another network, you might like to check our Best Prepaid Plans Page and compare all the plans ( including every one mentioned on this page. ) A list of best value plans using the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks.
COMPARE THE BEST PREPAID PLANS
See all SIM Only plans
If you need another network, for example you’re after an unlimited plan with Telstra coverage, or you live in a city and you’re happy with Vodafone, you might like to check our SIM Only Comparison page and compare all the plans ( including every one mentioned on this page. )
COMPARE ALL SIM ONLY PLANS