Optus’ new plans let you upgrade to a new phone after just 12 months

Optus announced today it will be adopting the same kind of leasing strategy that Telstra introduced last November, allowing you to upgrade your handset after 12 months for a one-off fee.

With the 24-month My Plan Flex you can pay $99 to trade in your current handset for a newer model of your choice, provided you sign up for another 24-month contract. What’s more, you can purchase your current handset at the end of the contractual two year period at “fair market value” if you decide not to swap it out after 12 months.

The Good

The leasing option definitely has some perks that will suit some users more than others. For example, leasing a Samsung Galaxy S8 will save you $6 a month on the cheapest plan, working out as a $72 saving over the 12 months and making a considerable dent in the $99 it costs you to upgrade your handset.

If you upgrade your phones regularly anyway, it makes a lot of sense to choose this option as you will get to use the latest model without having to ever fork out fully. It’s also a good option if you plan on sticking with Optus for a while, as you’ll be needing to lock into rolling contracts to reap the benefit of this arrangement.

The Bad

There are some caveats to this scheme however, as the phone choices are currently limited to the Apple and Samsung flagships — iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8, and Samsung Galaxy S8+.

In order to trade in for a newer model, you will also have to return your phone in “good working order” (Optus is quite explicit on what this means, thankfully) or else suffer some salty additional fees, including $229 for repairable damage or $499 for irreparable damage.