Optus adds a My Plan option for the low-cost user

Want a cheap contract with a decent phone? Optus has an option.

Optus has added a $35 plan to its new My Plan range, giving the budget-conscious another option.

While Optus already offers $50, $60, $80 and $100 My Plan options, the new $35 plan will give you 200 minutes of voice calls, free SMS and MMS, and 300MB of data per month ($840 minimum total cost).

Optus CEO Kevin Russell stated that one of the drives to bring in a new budget option was because the telco's research had shown that more customers on entry level plans than on higher plans were cancelling their contracts due to excess charges.

"We estimate that an average light user is hit with close to $100 in excess usages charges over 12 months," he said.

Budget choice a good choice?

While options are good, we can't help but think that Optus may be trying to take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding MVNOs after the debacle with ISPOne, Telstra and Kogan.

However, Optus still doesn't offer the same value for money as other MVNOs. Amaysim, for example, uses the Optus network and offers unlimited calls and SMS, and 4GB for $39.95 a month over 30 days, though it doesn't offer 4G.

Woolworths Mobile, also on the Optus network, offers a $29 prepaid deal over 45 days, including 5GB of data and $500 worth of talk and text.

Interestingly, the $35 My Plan has the same inclusions as its $25 SIM-only, month-to-month plan, which means with a $35 a month My Plan contract, you're basically paying $10 more a month for a handset and will be locked into a 24-month contract.

It does mean you will have access to decent handsets without having to pair up your My SIM plan with a My Mobile plan or bringing your own phone, as well as the ability to tier-jump for a month, starting from $10 for an extra 250 minutes and $5 for an extra 300MB data - which still isn't much data at all.

However, the automatic tier-jumping nature of Optus' My Plan will reduce high excess charges and will probably be the biggest lure for the budget-conscious, especially for those considering moving from Vodafone and Telstra.