Optus NBN, ADSL, cable and mobile broadband plans compared August 2018

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Optus provides a wide variety of broadband plans across multiple technologies backed up by a strong entertainment offering, making Optus broadband well worth considering.

Optus is Australia's second largest telco with Internet plans that span a full suite of broadband technologies, from ADSL2+ and NBN through to its own Optus cable service.

Optus also offers wireless broadband and mobile broadband plans that leverage the telco's 4G network. Thankfully, the company has recently simplified its broadband plans, making it easier for customers to compare prices and inclusions against other carriers.

The key point of differentiation for Optus is its entertainment offering, which the telco includes on its flagship $90 plan, and is available across its fixed-line broadband services (NBN, cable and ADSL2+).

This entertainment bundle includes a premium set-top box entertainment service from Fetch and a subscription to an exclusive streaming service specialising in sports with Optus Sport. There’s also a phone service with competitively priced call packs.

Optus NBN plans

Optus NBN plans run the full gamut of NBN access technologies: fibre to the premises (FTTP), fibre to the node (FTTN), fibre to the building (FTTB), hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) and fixed wireless. Fixed wireless is limited to Standard Plus speeds (50Mbps) while NBN's various fixed-line connections add the option to upgrade to Premium (100Mbps) speeds.

All in all there are only really two NBN plans: the $75 Made for Everyday plan and the $90 Made for Entertainment plan. The Made for Everyday plan comes with Basic NBN speeds of 12Mbps while the Made for Entertainment plan comes with Standard NBN speeds of 25Mbps. Both plans come with unlimited data. For an additional fee, either plan can be upgraded to a higher speed tier of either Standard Plus or Premium, which Optus refers to as "Speed Pack 3" and "Speed Pack 4" respectively.

Optus entertainment options are only available on the Made for Entertainment plan where the company will throw in a Fetch Mighty set-top box with your choice of one premium channel pack in addition to an Optus Sport subscription at no extra charge. The Made for Entertainment plan also comes with a free Sagemcom AC WiFi modem-router while the Made for Everyday plan includes a more basic modem. However, Optus does give customers the option to upgrade the router to the AC model for a one-off fee of $40.

All of Optus's NBN plans can be configured to either a month-to-month casual contract or a 24-month commitment. Optus does sting you with a $200 set-up fee if you opt for a casual arrangement, whereas the fee is waived on a 24-month contract. Regardless of the plan selected, you will receive a phone service with pay-as-you-go calls that can be augmented with additional call packs from $5/month.

While you are free to move between plans during a 24-month contract, an early recontracting fee of $80 will apply if you elect to change to a plan of lower value.

Optus ADSL plans

Optus ADSL plans work in the same way as its NBN plans with similar inclusions such as unlimited data and the option of either a 24-month contract or a month-to-month contract. The main thing to note with Optus's ADSL plans is that they all include phone line rental. The lone exception is the Just Broadband plan which comes with no home phone line or call packs.

The $75 Made for Everyday ADSL plan includes a basic modem-router and no entertainment options while the $90 Made for Entertainment plan gives you a more capable AC-enabled WiFi modem router in addition to a Fetch Mighty set-top box with one premium channel pack and an Optus Sport subscription. Optus incentivises a 24-month contract with no set-up fees while a casual month-to-month arrangement will cost you $200 up-front.

Optus cable plans

Optus cable Internet plans are generally the same as its NBN and ADSL plans with the telco enticing customers to its $90 Made for Entertainment plan by including the entertainment bundle (Fetch TV box with one premium channel pack and Optus Sport subscription) and a better equipped modem-router.

In keeping with its other fixed-line broadband plans, there are no data caps and only two contract options: 24 months or month-to-month with the latter coming with a $200 set-up fee.

Optus home wireless broadband plans

Optus caters to those who can't get a fixed-line broadband connection by offering home wireless broadband which leverages the telco's 4G network – provided you live within the coverage map. Speeds are capped at 12/1Mbps while those who live outside of Optus's 2300MHz spectrum will be limited to speeds of up to 5/1Mbps.

Optus essentially offers three home wireless broadband plans starting from $70 a month with 200GB of data on a 24-month contract with a Wi-Fi modem thrown in for free. If you exceed your quota, a 10GB top-up for an extra $10 will be automatically added to your account with speeds slowed down to 256Kbps after 250GB of usage.

Keep in mind that although you are locked into a 24-month contract, the nature of wireless broadband means you can take the plan with you wherever you go – simply plug the modem into your new place for a near-instant online connection. This is because the wireless broadband connection works off the SIM card plugged into the modem as opposed to a physical fixed-line connection such as a phone line or cable.

The two other home wireless plans are both on a month-to-month, no-lock-in contract and are offered through Optus's partner Vividwireless. For $70 a month you can get 200GB of data, or you can upgrade to unlimited data for $90 a month. The catch is that you need to pay $269 upfront for the Wi-Fi modem in exchange for the freedom of a month-to-month contract.

Also be aware that Optus's home wireless broadband plans do not come with a phone service.

Optus mobile broadband plans

Optus's mobile broadband plans are essentially SIM-only data plans designed to be used inside a sole device such as a tablet or Wi-Fi dongle.

These plans offer data-free music streaming to apps like Spotify and Google Play Music, though if you are willing to commit to a 24-month contract you will also receive data-free video streaming through services like Netflix and Stan. All Optus Mobile broadband plans also come with a free Optus Sport subscription.

Mobile broadband plans start from as low as per month for 2GB of data and go all the way up to $80 per month for 100GB of data. Plans are available on either a month-to-month, 12-month or 24-month contract.

Optus extras

Optus Made for Entertainment plans are available across all of the company's fixed-line broadband services and comes with an entertainment bundle that includes Fetch TV and Optus Sport.

Optus has spent a significant chunk of change bulking up its entertainment offerings, securing the rights to the English Premier League, the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the home season of the Australian cricket team through its exclusive streaming service, Optus Sport.

Optus also has a long-standing partnership with Fetch TV, a premium television service that effectively competes with Foxtel.

With the Fetch Mighty set-top box you can pause, rewind and record up to 585 SD hours (or 1TB) of your favourite TV shows plus get access to Netflix and Stan (subscription not included) and catch-up TV. Fetch's entertainment bundles provide the choice of one channel pack boasting popular networks including Disney, Nickelodeon, National Geographic, ESPN, ESPN2 and Comedy Central. Additional channel packs can be added for $6 per month or you can grab all 45 channels for an extra $14 per month.

Optus provides a variety of bundled packs that include home phone line rental and pay-as-you-go calls. Additional call packs are available for as little as $5 per month. Unlike most other ISPs, you have the option of picking and choosing specific call packs based on your needs, so if you only need unlimited calls to mobiles and are not concerned about making calls to landlines, then you can pay just $5 per month. Or if you only want unlimited calls to select international destinations and are not concerned about calls to Australian numbers, then you can pay just $10 per month.

How does Optus compare?

Optus has simplified its broadband plans greatly in recent months by cutting all of its fixed-line broadband plans down to essentially two plans: the Made for Everyday plan and the Made for Entertainment plan.

Similarly, the contract periods have been reduced to either a month-to-month or a 24-month commitment. While Optus keeps its monthly pricing consistent regardless of contract length, it does charge a $200 set-up fee for the freedom of a month-to-month contract.

All of Optus's fixed-line broadband plans now come with unlimited data so you can stream Netflix as much as you want without having to worry about exceeding your monthly data cap.

With this in mind, the below comparisons are based on its more flexible month-to-month plans.

How do Optus fixed-line NBN plans compare?

No matter which way you slice it, both of Optus’s NBN plans cannot compete on price when you start to compare them with offers from competitors like TPG, MyRepublic, Barefoot Telecom and Mate Communicate. There are also no upfront costs involved with the likes of MyRepublic, Barefoot Telecom and Mate Communicate, whereas Optus will slog you with a $200 set-up fee on a month-to-month plan.

As always, the choice between Optus and its competitors often comes down to how much value you place on its entertainment offering. The Made for Entertainment plan nets you a Fetch TV box with one premium channel pack in addition to Optus Sport, which is something you don't get from competitors.

How do Optus fixed wireless plans compare?

Like most NBN providers, Optus groups its fixed wireless plans in with its fixed-line plans, charging the same rates regardless of which technology you have available to you.

As such, it holds up fairly well against the competition, however it is undercut by MyRepublic's market-leading fixed wireless offer that includes unlimited data, Standard Plus NBN speeds and also throws in unlimited calls to landlines.

How do Optus ADSL plans compare?

If you're still stuck on ADSL, then Optus's $75 a month plan, which comes with unlimited data and a home phone line with pay-as-you-go calls, is a great deal. Meanwhile, jumping up to the $90 Made for Entertainment plan gives you Fetch TV with one premium channel pack in addition to Optus Sport.

Barefoot Telecom has the edge here, however, with a cheaper ADSL plan that matches Optus’s offer but also comes with unlimited local and national calls within Australia on a no-lock-in contract complete with no set-up fees and no modem costs. Optus, on the other hand, stings you with a $200 set-up fee for a commitment-free month-to-month arrangement.

If you're not concerned about making calls, there's the even cheaper unlimited ADSL2+ plan from AusBBS, which includes the cost of a phone line with no lock-in contract and allows you to use your existing modem, though it does come with a $55 set-up fee.

How do Optus home wireless broadband plans compare?

If you can't get any fixed-line broadband, or NBN's fixed wireless service for that matter, then the $90 Vividwireless home wireless broadband plan offered by Optus is hard to beat. With unlimited data and the freedom of a month-to-month, no-lock-in contract, it's impressive value, though you will want to be aware that speeds top out at 12Mbps and that's in an absolute best-case scenario. Those who live outside of Optus's 2300Mhz spectrum will be limited to speeds of up to 5Mbps.

Also worth noting is that a casual month-to-month arrangement bears with it an upfront cost of $269 for the necessary Wi-Fi modem. For those who prefer to avoid upfront costs there's the option of stepping down to a 200GB data cap on the $70 a month plan on either a 12-month or 24-month contract.

Alternatively, you could opt for Exetel's home wireless broadband plan, which gives you slightly more data (250GB) at a comparable price while also keeping you on a month-to-month, no-lock-in contract. Like a number of other wireless broadband providers, Exetel uses Optus's 4G network so the same coverage and speed restrictions apply.

How do Optus cable plans compare?

Optus's only rival in the cable internet space is Telstra where plans are pricier.

Compared to Optus's unlimited Made for Entertainment bundle, Telstra's Home Internet Connect Plus Bundle only comes with 1000GB of data but the speed promise is higher at up to 50/5Mbps versus Optus's 30/2Mbps speeds. To get unlimited data with Telstra you would need to step up to Telstra's more-expensive entertainment bundle plan, which gives you unlimited data and a Telstra TV streaming box with a 24-month subscription to Foxtel Now, though you'd have to commit to a two-year contract for the privilege.

How do Optus mobile broadband plans compare?

Unlike Optus's home wireless plans, its mobile broadband plans are SIM-only data plans designed to be used away from home and inside a singular device such as a tablet. As such, data caps are much smaller in comparison, topping out at 100GB. It's worth noting that Optus will from time to time have a promotion that doubles the data to 200GB a month. On the upside, you receive proper 4G speeds as opposed to being limited to speeds of up to 12Mbps.

Optus has a couple of unique selling points that make it worth considering over the competition. If you already have a mobile phone plan with Optus then the ability to pool and share your mobile broadband data with your mobile phone account is a compelling offer. Data-free music streaming is also available across all plans and contract periods including month-to-month, however jumping up to a 24-month commitment will net you data-free video streaming as well. This means that you can stream as much standard-definition Netflix as you like without touching your monthly data cap. An Optus Sport subscription is also included on $35 and above mobile broadband plans.

Outside of Telstra and Vodafone, the bulk of the mobile broadband market uses the Optus network anyway so there should be no differences in terms of coverage.

If you're looking for as much data as you can get for your money then it's hard to go past Optus's 200GB plan. Southern Phone has a 140GB plan which costs more, but uses parts of Telstra's 3G/4G network, but it's worth keeping in mind that with these competing offers you lose out on data-free music and video streaming and the option to pool the data with an Optus mobile.