Optus prepaid stops counting data for Spotify and other streaming music services

Alex Kidman 29 April 2016

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Data for streaming music on Spotify, Google Play Music, iHeart Radio, Pandora and Guvera won't count against your total allowance.

From 2 May, Optus customers on prepaid plans will be able to stream from any of those services without incurring data charges or using up their allocation. The deal applies to all prepaid customers, and is set to run until June 2017.

Oddly, it doesn't apply to contract customers, who will still have to eat into their allowances. (That said, typically contracts have a much higher data allowance.) Instead, it applies to customers on a range of Optus plans, including quite surprisingly many "grandfathered" Optus prepaid plans that some customers may still be on, but that can't be purchased as new plans any more. To be specific, Optus will offer music quota free streaming to customers on My Prepaid Ultimate, My Prepaid Daily Plus, My Prepaid Daily, $2 Days 4G Ready, My Prepaid Ultra (formerly My Prepaid Monthly), My Prepaid Ultra Plus (formerly My Prepaid Monthly Plus), Turbo Cap Bonus, Turbo Cap Plus, New Turbo Cap Plus, Crew Cap, Super Cap by Optus, Optus Prepaid Cap and Optus Prepaid Social 4G Ready plans. The vast majority of those plans are much older Optus fare with presumably very few customers still sitting on older prepaid deals.

Optus’ strategy for attracting music streaming Aussies hasn't included the kinds of subscription freebies that you can score with a contract from Telstra (which offers free Apple Music subscriptions for contract customers) or Vodafone (which offers Spotify Premium free as an option with some contracts). Virgin Mobile offers an extra 1GB of data each month for customers who use Guvera.

For a full overview of the different music offers available through Australian carriers, check out our detailed guide.

The new Optus deal won't cover for offline listening or video. Equally, there’s a big name missing from that list in the form of Apple Music, which will still attract data usage fees.

Music streaming isn't the most data-intensive task you can perform on a mobile phone; that remains (in the main) video streaming. Our guide to the typical data usage of different mobile activities, including music streaming can help you plan out your own data needs.

The move comes just days after LG announced Australian availability for its DAB+ certified smartphone, the LG Stylus DAB+. That’s a smartphone sold on its compatibility with DAB+, and critically, the fact that you don’t need to use data at all to listen to music that way. Interestingly, the two carriers who will offer the LG Stylus DAB+ are Virgin Mobile and its corporate parent, Optus.

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