Optus' new mobile plans make things easier and a whole lot more complicated

Optus has condensed their post-paid mobile plan lineup, scrapped lock-in contracts and introduced a new Optus One option that privileges the data of those who can afford it.

Matt Williams, Managing Director Marketing & Revenue at Optus, says that the company are "excited to be sharing with Australia our new mobile plans, which represent true choice and flexibility for our customers.”  

“We have listened to our customers and we have created the ability for all Australians to choose a plan that suits their needs or simply build their own.”

The first step in this new paradigm comes with the arrival of four new simplified "core plans" and the ability for customers to build their own, which they can adjust month-to-month.

If you're opting for the former, you choose from one of four data package (10GB/$39, 60GB/$49, 100GB/$59 or 120GB/$79) and decide whether you want to pair that plan up with a fresh handset or not. Should you decide to get a new phone to go with your new plan, you also get to decide how many months you want to break your device repayments out across.

The Build-A-Plan route works in a very similar way but allows for more granular control over things like international calls and roaming data.

While there are plenty of options to choose from, Optus are looking to drive adoption of their growing 5G network.

Going with a 5G handset (like the recently announced Samsung Galaxy A90 5G) over the alternative will also net you double data for the first twelve months. After that, you'll have to pay an additional $10/month to continue getting the benefit.

On top of these changes, Optus are now saying that all plans, regardless of who they're built by, will come with 5G-included. This makes for a notable contrast to Telstra, who are expected to begin charging extra for 5G access in June 30 next year.

The final - and potentially-controversial piece of the puzzle here - is the introduction of Optus One.

A new premium plan priced at $120/month, Optus One customers get 500GB of data, 10GB of roaming data (within Zone 1 countries), unlimited standard calls and texts for 35 countries plus a slew of other perks. These include things like dedicated one-on-one customer support that they can call upon 24/7, exclusive content on Optus Spot and network priority.

Simply put, when network congestion happens, Optus say they're going to privilege the traffic of their Optus One customers over everyone else.

If you're someone who can afford the $120/month plan, that might sound like a pretty cool inclusion. However, if you're an Optus customer who can't, this fresh infringement on the notion of net neutrality might seem more than a little unfair.

For what it's worth, an Optus spokesperson has told WhistleOut that this perk "will have a negligible impact on existing user experience" but it's hard not to be skeptical.

Even if the immediate impact isn't one that adversely affects the experience of more budget-conscious customers right now, it sets a worrying precedent.