Optus NBN review

How do the internet plans from Australia’s second-biggest telco stack up?

Optus logo
(Image: © Optus)

TechRadar Verdict

While Optus’ pricing is above average in most of its tiers, its NBN 250 offering is one of the best for both value and speed. Download speed performance and reliability are great across the board, and the option to add extras like a Netflix subscription could make some of its plans more worthwhile for larger households.

Pros

  • +

    Among the best reported speeds

  • +

    Solid included extras

  • +

    Great value for big households

Cons

  • -

    Expensive NBN 50 and 100 plans

  • -

    Customer service could be improved

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Both in the mobile and broadband space, Optus has made a name for itself as one of the two biggest telcos in Australia, offering a more affordable (yet still premium) alternative to Telstra across the board.

The same is true for its NBN service. While its plans are universally cheaper than Telstra’s, Optus is still more expensive than many smaller providers, such as Spintel and Tangerine. So how does it stack up?

According to the ACCC’s Measuring Broadband program, Optus has historically performed very solidly with its average download speeds, attaining more than 100% of its promised plan speeds in the past three reports (as of April 2022). Not only that, but these results are either the highest or second-highest of any retailer measured in these reports.

In this review, we’ll take a look at how Optus NBN plans perform, the included extras, customer reviews of the telco, and other value considerations so you can decide if Optus NBN is the right choice for you.

Noteworthy Optus NBN deals

Optus NBN pricing: is Optus good value?

  • NBN 50: from AU$79p/m (average NBN 50 cost is AU$74.79)
  • NBN 100: from AU$99p/m (average NBN 100 cost is AU$91.93)
  • NBN 250: from AU$109p/m (average NBN 250 cost is AU$120.75)
  • NBN 1000: from AU$139p/m (average NBN 1000 cost is AU$144.75)

As you can see, Optus doesn’t offer anything below NBN 50, excluding it from competing in the NBN 12 and NBN 25 spaces. For the two more popular NBN 50 and NBN 100 categories, Optus’ pricing is above average when compared to the industry, but it shines in the two faster brackets and is especially competitive at the NBN 250 speed tier.

In the past three ACCC quarterly reports (the latest from April 2022), Optus has either come first or second when it comes to delivering (on average) the download speeds that it advertises. Its NBN 50 and NBN 100 plans claim to provide typical evening speeds of 50Mbps and 100Mbps respectively (effectively ‘maxed out’), while the two upper tiers offer 240Mbps and 300Mbps for NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans.

Optus NBN website

(Image credit: Optus)

With this considered, Optus’ pricing is mostly reasonable, especially at the NBN 250 sweet spot, with its better-than-average pricing and typical evening speeds. At each speed tier, you have the option of upgrading from the Everday package to the Family Entertainer for AU$20p/m, which adds a Netflix subscription (valued at AU$16.99), and a Wi-Fi booster to help with your signal’s coverage in the home.

At present, these Family Entertainer packages are reduced by AU$10 monthly for the first half-year, which makes them great value if you plan on subscribing to Netflix and utilising a Wi-Fi booster regardless.

With all this said, the pricing on the Optus plans in the ever-popular NBN 50 category aren’t as competitive as the likes of Spintel or Tangerine, with these two offering the same maxed-out typical evening speeds for AU$10-15 less per month, as well as offering introductory discounts that save you between AU$66-90 on top of the lower ongoing rate.

It’s also worth mentioning that you’ll be paying AU$252 for the modem, unless you stay connected for a full 36 months, in which case the fee will be waived.

All Optus NBN plans compared

Performance and typical evening speeds

  • Maxed-out typical evening speeds on NBN 50 and NBN 100 plans
  • ACCC report shows low outages with quick resolution
  • Reporting also shows average speeds are above what’s promised

As we’ve mentioned, Optus offers maxed-out typical evening speeds on its NBN 50 and 100 plans, which is fairly common these days, especially at the NBN 50 level, which is by far the most popular speed tier in Australia.

While the 240Mbps typical evening speed promised by Optus on its NBN 250 plan is above average and rather solid, the 300Mbps evening speed on its NBN 1000 plan is low-to-middling.

With that said, Optus is reliably performing the best (or close to it) when it comes to delivering the speed it promises, as the ACCC’s reporting reveals, managing on average to hit slightly above its advertised typical evening speeds consistently.

As for reliability, Optus is one of the providers (of those measured) least likely to experience outages, and when they do occur, only around 20-30% of them last longer than 3 minutes and about 10% longer than 10 minutes. As for latency, Optus is consistently performing at or above average, with about 10-11ms even during busy hours.

Customer support

  • Optus NBN technical support: 133 937
  • Optus customer service: 133 937
  • Optus sales team: 1300 417 220

Optus has a few contact options, like the 133 937 number for both technical support and customer service, but the telco is largely trying to get its customers to use one of its messaging services.

You can contact Optus via its live chat option, but for those that use its My Optus mobile app, there’s a messaging option there that has the advantage of not needing to wait online in a browser window – instead, the support member will get back to you in much the same way as you’d receive a text message or other instant message.

Before calling or messaging Optus, it’s a good idea to check out the support page, in case your problem can be solved in one of its many troubleshooting and help sections, which have a solid amount of detail as well as video walkthroughs where applicable.

Optus NBN website

(Image credit: Optus)

If you’re not keen (or able) to use Optus’ app, or contact the telco via your account page, then it can be a bit frustrating dealing with the wait times on its singular support phone line – not to mention that Optus has no listed email address for customer support.

When it comes to customer satisfaction, Optus doesn’t fare especially well. It scores 1.3 on Trustpilot and 1.6 on Product Review, which is far from impressive. It’s worth noting that larger telcos tend to get fairly low scores in general from consumer review aggregate services, and that the majority of people willing to review them are doing so due to a particularly poor experience – but it can’t be ignored entirely.

From this reviewer’s experience, the quality of the network service Optus provided was solid, but exceptionally lengthy wait times when calling customer support, as well as inconsistent results when seeking live chat assistance, did make for some frustrating customer service encounters.

Optional extras and bundle deals

  • Expensive modem unless staying for 36 months
  • Optus Sport, Netflix, and other optional inclusions
  • Wi-Fi booster included in family plan

One of the main things that set apart the big telcos like Telstra and Optus are their added extras, and the NBN plans offered by Optus are no exception.

The base Everyday NBN plans on all speed tiers include access to the Optus Sport streaming service, letting Optus customers watch Premier League and other popular sport coverage, as well as OS Fitness – a service giving you access to instructional videos on yoga, pilates and more.

At each speed tier, you can spend an extra AU$20 per month to upgrade to the Family Entertainer plan, which bundles a Netflix Standard subscription (valued at AU$16.99p/m) as well as a single Wi-Fi booster device for better wireless coverage around the home, and Optus Wi-Fi Secure, which offers extra protection to the devices connected to your home Wi-Fi via active network monitoring (powered by McAfee).

Optus NBN Netflix offer

(Image credit: Optus)

All NBN plans include the Optus Ultra Wi-Fi Modem, which has automatic 4G back-up if you do find yourself with a network outage. It’s worth noting that this device is only free if you stay connected to your plan for 36 months, otherwise you’ll pay AU$252 which is on the expensive side for a telco-provided router.

One thing to note is that if you’re looking for either NBN 250 or NBN 1000 speed offerings, you’ll need to pick your base plan and then select them as ‘speed pack upgrades’ – if your connection is eligible. This section also allows you to add a ‘premium upload’ pack, which ups your typical evening upload speeds (from 18Mbps to 30Mbps, in the case of NBN 100).

Additional fees

  • No setup or delivery fee
  • AU$252 for modem if leaving before 36 months
  • No cancellation fee if you leave Optus

All Optus NBN plans come with a modem included, and there’s no option to bring your own. If you plan to stay with the plan for three years, this is great as both the modem and its delivery will be free. However, if you leave any time before those 36 months are up, you’ll pay the full AU$252 cost of the modem.

There are a number of other paid extras as well – bolt-ons you can select when signing up such as increased upload speeds, an additional Wi-Fi booster, or Optus Wi-Fi Secure – but these are well signposted when you sign up for a plan for the first time.

With all the possible optional extras, as well as the two different plan options (Everyday and Family Entertainer), it could potentially get a little difficult to track exactly what you’re paying for, so we recommend being as thorough as possible when first setting up your plan and deciding what you’ll actually need.

There are no cancellation fees when leaving an Optus NBN month-to-month plan, but if you’ve added a device to your plan (such as a Wi-Fi Booster), you’ll need to pay off the remaining balance owing.

Optus NBN FAQ

Can I get Optus NBN?

Optus plans are widely available across the wired NBN network. As we’ve mentioned, Optus provides NBN plans for all speed tiers above and including NBN 50, so if you’re seeking NBN 12 or NBN 25, you’ll need to look elsewhere. When it comes to the NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans, these speed tiers are only available to those who have a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) or hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) connection, as is the case across all providers who offer them.

When signing up to any Optus NBN plan, the first step is to enter your address to check for availability, so that’ll be the fastest way of determining which NBN technology your premises are connected through.

How can I check if Optus NBN is down?

If you’re experiencing an Optus NBN outage, you’ll first want to figure out if it's just you, or if the internet is down for other Optus customers as well. We’d recommend visiting Optus’ network status page first, and if no issues have been reported there, you can check NBN Co’s website for wider network outages.

Of course, if your NBN is down, you’ll likely need to check the above pages using your smartphone or another device with its own internet connection. If Optus’ own website is down, we’d recommend checking the independent site Down Detector. If you find you’re having connection issues that can’t be attributed to a known outage, call Optus’ NBN technical support on 133 937.

For further help, we also have a dedicated guide to NBN outages.

Harry Domanski
Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.