Optus has announced data sharing options across its post-paid My Plan range - now to be called My Plan Plus - that have no ongoing costs.
Available from June 10 and at the same $35, $50, $60, $80 and $100 price plans (which give you 500MB, 1GB, 2GB 3GB or 5GB data per month, respectively), the plans will allow you to share data across five devices.
While Telstra currently charges an extra $10 per month for data sharing on top of plan charges, Optus' new data sharing option will allow you to add each device for a one-off cost of $5 for the additional SIM and set up.
"Customers told us they loved the original My Plan products, and thanks to their feedback, we're making these plans even better," said Paul O'Sullivan, Country Chief Officer for Optus.
"With these new plans, we think many customers will choose to ditch standalone mobile broadband plans for good."
More for everyone
Families and small business customers can also pool together their individual mobile plans and share the grouped data across all connected devices.
For example, if you have two mobile plans, one on a $80 mobile plan and the other on a $50 plan, you will have 4GB to share in total.
With these plans, Optus will still give you an additional 1GB for an extra $10 automatically if you use more than your monthly allowance, as per its current My Plan range.
SIM-only gets more attractive
Optus also announced a range of month-to-month, SIM-only plans, priced at $35, $45 and $60 per month.
While the lowest $30 plan gives you only 300 minutes of talk, you do get unlimited SMS and MMS. The two other tiers get you unlimited calls, SMS and MMS, as well as 2GB on the $40 plan or 5GB the highest $60 plan.
You also get the data sharing option on these plans, along with automatic tier jump of an extra 1GB for an additional $10.
Arguably, these month-to-month plans, called My Plan Plus SIM Only, offer better value for money over the 24-month plans, all without locking you into a contract.
When asked, Optus said that the benefit of its 24-month plan is a subsidised phone, however Optus itself cited a downward trend in customers buying smartphones from their telco.
And with phone subsidies become less and less of a savings in comparison to an outright purchase Optus' $60 SIM only option is perhaps the best plan to be on if you want to share data across your devices.
Currently, Telstra is the only other telco offering data sharing for customers, but as noted earlier, it does demand an on-going $10 monthly charge and only on 24-month contract plans.
Vodafone, on the other hand, only offers data sharing for its business customers currently, but it may bring out a consumer option later this year. It does however offer $5 daily-capped roaming options in 47 countries on all post-paid, which may be of more interest than data sharing for frequent travellers.
Interestingly, when asked if Optus will be looking to build its own Wi-Fi network like Telstra announced last week, the telco said that it will focus on developing 4G network for now.
"Wi-Fi hotspots are helpful if you're near one and you can connect to one... We think in Australia if you look at how people travel, consume, commute to work, we actually think they need the freedom and flexibility to be able to use a mobile network," said Vicki Brady, Optus' Managing Director of Customer.
Currently, Optus' data sharing options will not be available for pre-paid customers, though it will continue to monitor customer feedback and take up of data sharing.
Existing customers who are in-contract can move on to these new data-sharing plans by contacting Optus. Optus will also be contacting existing customers that may be better suited for data sharing.
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