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Optus $89 plan with free broadband

  • Great handsets
  • No-contract ADSL or Cable added free of charge
  • Good plan, but not as valuable as at first glance
Written by Adam Wajnberg
02/05/2012

Optus has recently re-affirmed their commitment to fixed-line broadband – that is, ADSL and Cable. It’s a welcome change for Australia’s 2nd largest telco, which has been stuck in neutral for a while, concentrating on mobiles and mobiles broadband.

Click here for Amaysim's Unlimited Plan, using the Optus network - or call 1300 302 942

Click here for Dodo's Magic Sim - $39.90 a month, and you get free international calls! Or call 1300 136 793

                                    optus free broadband

Optus has plenty to crow about when it comes to fixed line broadband. With 350+ ADSL2+ enabled exchanges and their own HFC Cable broadband serving some 20% of homes in major capital cities, they have a presence that is by both measures 2nd only to Telstra’s. In ADSL2+ they’ve halted expansion in the last year, allowing iiNet/Internode and TPG to overtake- but not by much, and without any Cable at all.

Optus’ Fusion Bundles remain hard to beat, as the most widely available plans that offer high data quotas, free calls to landlines and free calls to Australian mobiles – most similar plans rely on expensive calls to mobiles to get some revenue. But the Fusion plans, at $80 - $109 a month, are a bit old fashioned.

Optus’ mobile plans are suffering in comparison to SIM-only deals from Dodo and Amaysim, which include almost everything- calls, SMS, MMS and tons of data. And both Amaysim and Dodo are wholesaling Optus network space, which must be embarrassing.

These twin issues have likely prompted Optus’ latest move, an $89 mobile plan that includes a 50GB free fixed line broadband service, with either ADSL or Cable depending on what’s available. Let’s look at what you get:

Mobile component:

- $89/month
- 24 month contract only
- 2GB mobile data (25c per MB over that, or $250/GB)
- Landlines – Unlimited
- Mobiles – Unlimited
- Voicemail – Unlimited
- SMS – Unlimited
- 13/18 numbers – Unlimited

- MMS – 50c per message
- Video calls – 40c ffall + $1/min
- Int’l calls – variable
- Int’l video calls – 34c flagfall + $1.50/min
- Int’l SMS – 50c
- Int’l MMS – 75c

So far, this is a decent if not spectacular plan. Certainly it’s no match for Amaysim and Dodo, but unlike those providers, Optus is offering some stellar phones on this plan, for $0 a month:

HTC One X
HTC Evo 3D
HTC incredible S
Samsung Galaxy S2

For $5 a month:

Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Samsung Galaxy Note

For $15

iPhone 4S 16GB

Alone, this is certainly not a bad deal, especially when compared to other 24 month contract plans. But with this deal, you also get:

Free 50GB Broadband

Free Wi-Fi Modem
Free Connection

DSL, or Cable, whichever is available (Cable has precedence if both are available)

No contract on the broadband
No charge for the modem if you cancel
Slowed to 256 kbps overage

Who is this plan for?

Overall, there’s a lot to take in here. At its core, this is a mobile and Naked Broadband bundle, which would suit a lot of people- specifically, people who have abandoned their landline. It would also suit people who move around a lot- your mobile doesn’t care what your address is, so moving wouldn’t break a contract, but with fixed-line broadband, a contract can be expensive if you move a lot of plan on moving soon.

Pro

1.    Good Phones. Getting a new phone on contract is the only option for a lot of people. Despite costing more in the long run, not everyone has $700 to drop on the latest bit of kit, just this second.

2.    Free connection and free Wi-Fi modem for the Broadband connection, with no contract – and you get Cable if it’s available!

3.    Free calls and text – very few plans that come with phones include this much gravy.

Con

1.    The whole thing is a little fiddly – There are plenty of exclusions in the mobile plan, the most worrying being 50c for multimedia messaging – which is one of the things that make smartphones so much fun. And extracting value is dependent on getting a fixed broadband connection, which may not suit a lot of people, because –

2.    50Gb is good, but that’s it. The vast majority of people out there will be fine with 50GB, but if you need more, you’re out of luck – there is no option to change to a higher plan. If you do, it’s a normal Optus broadband plan, which will cost you between $60 and $110 a month. You can’t buy additional data packs. That’s limiting.

3.    2GB of mobile data is bad, but 25c per MB after that is terrible – 2GB of data will, again, suit most people, but there will inevitably be people getting the dreaded bill shock, with hundreds of dollars for a surcharge they barely understand.

Comparison

The marketing buzzwords are in place to make this plan look unassailable – Unlimited Calls! Free Fixed Broadband! Great handsets for $0 a month! But this complicated arrangement can be easily beaten, with a few caveats.

Mobile – Vodafone have some killer deals on similar handsets. The Samsung Galaxy S2 is free on plans from as low as $29. Killer handsets like the HTC One X, Sony XPERIA S and Galaxy Nexus are $0 on plans from $59 - and the included $750 talk and text value is still more than most people need. On a 1-to-1 comparison of mobile plans, the Optus plan isn't so fantastic.

HOWEVER. The caveat here is that Optus are throwing in this free broadband offer. And Optus'network is still superior to Vodafone's - though Vodafone is certainly making some improvements.

If you already have a handset that you’re happy with, get an Amaysim (1300 302 942) Unlimited Plan or the Dodo Magic SIM (1300 136 793). Both providers offer free MMS, and more data (4GB for Amaysim, 5GB for Dodo). Both plans come without contract. Both plans are fairer when it comes to excess data – 5c per MB for Amaysim, and the option of cheap data packs for Dodo. Dodo also throws in 100 free international minutes. As for coverage – Amaysim and Dodo use the Optus network, so that’s a 1:1 comparison.

HOWEVER. No new phone. This is easy to beat with a bit of logic. Saving $50 a month for 24 months is a saving of $1200 – enough to buy TWO top flight handsets outright. But that’s failing to account for the free broadband, and for the difficulty in coming up with $600 on the spot. Moving on.

Fixed Broadband – MyNetFone (1300 308 478) provides a Naked DSL service at Optus exchanges. Their $50 plan comes with 200GB of data, free Wi-Fi modem and free connection on a 12 month contract.

HOWEVER. No chance of getting Cable, which is generally faster.

Overall

This bundle appears to cover more people than it actually does. It’s a very good plan, but it seems full of holes and catches. Setting it up and understanding it’s byzantine terms and conditions will be beyond the intended market, and that’s exactly the type of behaviour that has made most people fed up with telecommunications providers, Optus included. With a bit more data and a bit more flexibility, this would be as hard to beat as any combination of services out there, but right now, it’s merely competitive.

Click here to check out a breakdown of Optus'$59.95 Home Advantage plan, which also comes with free 50Gb broadband - or call 1300 137 897 

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