Optus SIM-only mobile phone plans

If you’re happy with the handset you’ve got, Optus SIM-only contract plans are worth considering.

What services do Optus SIM plans offer?

Optus operates its own 4G Plus network across Australia, although the precise technology and frequency you connect on will depend on both your location and the capabilities of your specific device.

SIM-only plans, as the name suggests, involve you bringing an existing owned and unlocked smartphone to the Optus network and receiving a SIM card to insert into your device as well as service for the term of your contract period. Optus SIM plans are available on either a month-to-month or 12-month contract basis. As postpaid contract plans, Optus offers a range of inclusions, but any usage over and above those inclusions will incur additional fees that you’ll be charged at the end of each contract month.

How much do Optus SIM plans cost?

The pricing for Optus’ SIM only contract plans depends on whether you opt for month-to-month contracting or a 12-month commitment. In the month-to-month space, plan pricing ranges from $45 to $75 per month, while 12-month plans start at $35 per month and go up to $55 per month.

All SIM-only contract plans offer unlimited national calls and texts as part of the package, but the 12-month plans also offer slightly higher data quotas in return for committing to a longer term plan. Higher-tier 12-month plans also include a quantity of international calling minutes to a selection of popular locations.

What extras do Optus SIM plans offer?

Optus SIM-only customers who commit to a 12-month contract can enjoy access to Optus' streaming sports service Optus Sport at no extra cost. Optus Sport currently offers coverage of the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League, with both live and on-demand matches available.

12-month Optus SIM-only customers also currently benefit from free access to the National Geographic app which includes documentaries, photo galleries and a variety of articles covering a wide range of topics.

Optus’ SIM-only plans qualify for Optus’ data pooling facility. This allows you to group together the data inclusions from multiple Optus contract plans into one pool that all users can access, which can be good if you want to maximise your overall data usage for a family, for example.

What excess charges could I face on these plans?

Optus' SIM-only plans all bundle in unlimited standard national calls and texts, but there are a variety of other excess charges you could incur. Because they're postpaid contract plans, these charges will be levied at the end of each contract month, above and beyond the fixed contract price.

Optus charges a flat 50c fee for directory assistance calls, while video calls within Australia are charged at $1 per minute plus a 40c flagfall. Other premium call and SMS services are not included in your unlimited call offerings, and will be charged at whatever rate the premium call operator quotes.

If you exceed your data quota in a given month, you'll be charged $10 per GB or part thereof, but this is not pro-rated. As such, as soon as you go over quota you'll be hit with a $10 charge, effectively "adding" 1GB to your quota. If that's used up, you'll incur a further $10 charge, with no effective top "cap" on GB charges.

All but the lowest tier of Optus' 12-month SIM-only plans include some form of international call inclusions, but these only apply to selected countries. If you're calling destinations not on the list of included countries, or you exhaust your calling minutes, you'll be charged variable rates depending on where you're calling to. Optus' international calling rates can be found here.

Optus SIM-only customers who wish to roam internationally will incur additional costs for doing so. If you plan ahead and are visiting a supported country, you can purchase a $10 travel pack, which provides unlimited calls and texts, as well as 100MB of data. Alternatively you can simply pay Optus' published roaming rates for the country you're in, although this can quickly become very expensive, especially for data usage. Optus' rates for international roaming vary by country, and can be found here.

For Optus SIM-only customers, a specific plan cancellation fee applies relative to the cost of the plan. This reduces over the life of the plan, so if you cancel early you may pay the full fee, but if you cancel later in the life of your plan you'll pay a lower fee.

Pros

  • Choice of monthly or annual plans. If you want the flexibility to move you can commit for a single month, or get better data inclusions for committing for a full year.
  • EPL inclusions. Fans of English football can watch matches on their phones thanks to Optus Sport.
  • Data Pool. If you’ve got other Optus mobile contract products you can share your data around easily with these plans.

Cons

  • Fewer inclusions than full phone contracts. If you’re considering the 12 month SIM only plans, especially at higher rates, it’s worth comparing against a full two year phone contract, especially as the inclusions differ and you may be able to score a 'free' phone upgrade as part of the deal.
  • Month To Month plans aren’t quite as good value. If you opt for Optus’ month to month plans you not only pay more than the 12 month price, but also get less data to use along the way.

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Alex Kidman

Alex Kidman is a multi-award-winning consumer technology journalist and the Tech & Telco Editor at finder.com.au. He's been writing about consumer technology topics for more than two decades, and enjoys breaking down complex topics into their component parts. He has written for just about every major Australian technology publication, and is a former editor of Gizmodo Australia, PC Mag Australia, and CNET.com.au.

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