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Optus data leak: Thinking of switching? Here’s how

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If you're questioning whether it might be time to switch to another telco following the Optus data breach, this is your guide to getting it done.

Are you one of the current or former Optus customers affected by the cyber attack and subseq/uent data leak? There are steps you can take right now to protect yourself.

Briefly: The story so far

On 22 September Optus announced it had experienced a cyber attack.

Since then, it has come out that some segments of its 9.7 million customers (and former customers) have had personal details leaked. These include information such as email addresses, ID numbers, phone numbers and addresses.

Investigations are well underway and so far Optus has contacted a subset of impacted customers with the promise of a 12-month subscription to Equifax, a credit monitoring and identity protection service.

State governments are also working to get Optus to reimburse customers for changing their driver's licences and potentially passports.

Learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft as a result of the Optus breach.

I've decided I'd like to switch from Optus – how do I do it?

A few things to keep in mind are that if your data has been compromised, switching now won't stop anyone from using your information.

But if you're still upset and want to switch, it's an easy 3-step process:

  1. Find a new plan you're happy with. Compare a range of mobile and internet plans to find one that suits your budget and needs.
  2. Make the switch. Switching shouldn't take very long at all and you can be set up with your provider in as little as a few hours for a new phone plan or days for a new internet connection.
  3. Break up with Optus. Cancel your Optus plan after signing up with your new provider.

Switching phone providers

Switching to a new phone plan is a lot easier than it used to be.

If your mobile number is in your name, you can port your number to your new provider in 3 easy steps. It should take a few hours but could take up to 2 days for some people.

You'll need to provide some of your personal details to verify your identity. That's going to continue to be the case at this stage unless laws change.

If you're on a SIM only mobile plan, you should be contract-free and able to cancel anytime with no fees.

However, if you're on a 12-, 24- or 36-month phone plan with Optus, you will need to pay out the remaining cost of your device before you can leave.

  • Keep in mind: You may lose any conditional discounts you received when you signed up. Check your contract T&Cs carefully and make sure you're making the right decision for yourself.

Switching internet providers

As with your phone, switching internet providers is a fairly straightforward process and can be done in 4 steps.

You will need to check that your Optus modem/router set-up is compatible with your new provider.

It can be done over the phone or online and shouldn't take more than an hour of your time.

The actual switch time can vary but you don't need to cancel your Optus internet plan until your new plan is ready to be activated.

Switching should be a similar process to switching a phone plan if you're on a home wireless or mobile broadband plan. You'll just want to consider which network has the best coverage for you.

How to cancel your Optus phone or internet plan

There are several ways to get in touch with Optus to let them know you're taking your business elsewhere.

You can get in touch via the following:

  • Phone at 133 937
  • The MyOptus app
  • Live chat on the Optus website
  • In person at an Optus store
  • Keep in mind: Optus's customer care channels may be busier than usual so it may take some time to get through to them. You may lose access to any bonuses you received for signing up.

While your new provider may be able to cancel your Optus service for you, it's always best to organise it yourself to ensure it's done.

After all, you don't want to end up paying for 2 phone or internet bills.

Which mobile providers should I switch to?

Thankfully, none of the details of customers signed up to a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) using the Optus network have been impacted.

  • Good to know: MVNOs are providers that have their own plans for sale but use Optus's infrastructure and mobile network.

This means if you're happy with the quality of service you get on the Optus 4G/5G networks, you might want to look at one of those such as amaysim, our best-rated mobile plan provider in the Finder Awards.

Coverage

In terms of mobile coverage, Telstra and its MVNOs have a better offer.

Boost in particular is a good option with access to the full Telstra network without full Telstra prices.

Value for money

If you're looking to stay with 1 of the big 3 providers and save a bit of money, you could look to Vodafone. It has the lowest network coverage of the 3 but that shouldn't be too noticeable in metropolitan areas.

Vodafone MVNO felix is a great option. It won the Finder Green Award this year for best mobile plan provider. With our Finder exclusive, you can get its unlimited data plan for just $17.50 for the first 3 months.

Which internet provider should I switch to?

There are several smaller providers offering great value plans such as Aussie Broadband, Belong and Spintel.

Aussie Broadband has award-winning local support and both Belong and Spintel are some of the most popular providers.

Each offers plans with prices equal to or less than the average of those we compare on Finder.

If speed and performance are the 2 things you care most about, check out the fastest NBN providers.

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