Unmetered access to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and MySpace has been a long tradition at Optus. But from Sunday, all that ended, with the network ending its free social networking offer for new postpaid customers.

Now, anyone who signs up for a postpaid contract on the network will have their social media activity count as part of their monthly data allowances.

Current postpaid customers will be unaffected, with the deal lasting not just until the end of the contract, but ongoing until they actively change plans or sign a new contract.

Also unaffected are prepaid customers, who will still enjoy the unmetered social media access as part of their monthly recharge.

All about network performance

According to a statement issued by Optus, the fundamental reason for the change is to maintain and improve network performance.

" As smartphone popularity continues to rise in Australia, Optus needs to maintain and enhance the network to ensure our customers can get the most out of their devices.

"Optus seeks to strike a balance between delivering value to our customers and the ongoing network investment required to ensure a good customer experience," the statement read.

To counter concerns about potential bill shock, Optus has halved the rate for excess data usage, with SMS notifications at the 50, 85 and 100 per cent marks of their data usage.

The telco has also introduced the ability to backdate data top up packs, allowing customers to get rid of unsightly overcharging after the fact once a month's data has been all used up.