Optus has announced a revamp of its “MyPlan” range of mobile plans with an increase in data allowances as well as an appealing data sharing option for users with multiple devices.   Generous data plans are nothing new, nor is data sharing, however the plans Optus has announced today are the most appealing on the market – in particular among the big-three carriers.

The Optus data sharing plan couldn’t be easier.  If you’re on an Optus MyPlan you can pay a one-off $5 fee for an additional SIM card.  Use that SIM card in your tablet or USB Mobile Broadband dongle.  The plan cost remains the same each month, and your monthly data allowance is shared across both devices.

Optus' re-launched 2014 MyPlan range with data sharing

Optus’ re-launched 2014 MyPlan range with data sharing

You can add up to five additional devices.  Each one attracting a $5 fee one-off, with no ongoing cost.

In October last year Telstra became the first telco in Australia to launch data-sharing, offering additional SIM cards at $10 per month.  The Optus plans blow that out of the water with the one-off cost only with each SIM genuinely sharing the data from the original plan.

For families the news gets better.  You can have two voice plans with Optus, and then add additional SIM cards to share the combined data from both plans.  For example, if you had two phones on Optus plans, each with 2GB data ($60 per month each), and you had two tablets and a USB Mobile Broadband dongle, you would pay $15 for the additional SIM cards up front, then ongoing you’d pay $120 per month, for 4GB of data shared across five devices.

Optus Country Chief Office in Australia Paul O’Sullivan made no mistake about where he thought the target market for these plans was

“With these new plans, we think many customers will choose to ditch standalone mobile broadband plans for good,” he said.

And he’s right – Your only option other than a discreet mobile broadband dongle or another SIM plan for data has been tethering – I’ve long argued that while “tethering” (which is creating a WiFi hotspot on your phone to share among other devices) was good, it was not practical – needs constant reactivation and reconnection.  Data sharing, particularly if there is no monthly fee – means you simply operate your device independently using its own SIM card and hey presto you’re sharing your data around.

The MyPlan concept of automatically jumping up to the next level plan on one of the device plans, and all the additional data is still shared across all devices – reverting to the original plan the following month.

Optus' re-launched 2014 MyPlan range with data sharing - SIM ONLY

Optus’ re-launched 2014 MyPlan range with data sharing – SIM ONLY

After some negative feedback on data plan changes last year Optus have increased the level of data available on all its plans. With 500mb available on the $35 plan, and 3Gb on the $80 plan.  For bring your own device plans running month-to-month without a contract the offer beats that of Vodafone’s “double data” $65 SIM only option, with 5Gb available for just $60 a month.  Consider then adding another SIM for your tablet and you’ve got 5Gb to share across both devices.

I’ve tried to compare all the regular plans and SIM Only month-to-month plans below, including demonstrating how Optus’ plans have changed in the table below:


I remember speaking to previous Optus CEO Kevin Russell last year and discussing how Optus was the “middle of the road” carrier which had almost no market reputation other than the loyalty of its own customers.  Plans like these announced today should shake that up, and when it comes to Data sharing make Telstra customers think twice, and when it comes to data allowances I suspect Vodafone will be very nervous as they enter a critical customer acquisition phase.

The new plans and data sharing will be available from June 10.

What do you think of data-sharing plans, and the Optus changes?