Optus launches $135, 100Mbps unlimited NBN



news Australia’s number two telco Optus has launched a range of new broadband and telephone packages across its ADSL, HFC and NBN networks that offer customers unlimited data download and mostly unlimited telephone calls, including a top of the line package that offers NBN customers unlimited quota at 100Mbps speeds for $135 a month.

In a statement issued by the company this morning, its managing director of its Fixed division, Martin Mercer, said customers had told Optus they were sick of “rules, hidden fees, lock-in contracts and a lack of choice in broadband”.

Accordingly, Mercer said, Optus had launched new ‘My Home’ and ‘My Office’ bundle plans, that showed the telco had listened and would now give customers “the freedom to choose unlimited broadband bundles on a network they know and trust, with a level of flexibility, control and certainty around their spend that others don’t provide.”

“These bundles really do take the complexity out of broadband for our customers – just as the
launch of Optus My Plan did for mobile earlier this year,” Mercer added. “Optus is the only player in the market to offer this level of flexibility in broadband bundles with the option to do away with lock-in contracts and even move up and down between plans when you need to without being charged.”

Essentially, Optus has revamped both its broadband and telephony bundle structure, as well as eliminating some of the former ‘rules’ around broadband plans which have tended to annoy customers in the past.

For example, the telco is now offering customers two options with contracts — a 24 month contract, or a ‘month to month’ plan for $10 extra amonth. It has eliminated up-front connection fees and “sneaky charges” for customers’ included broadband modem, delivery of that modem, or connection fee for their new service. The telco has also eliminated fees for those moving house, as well as fees for moving up or down between its range of plans — whether customers are on a contract or not.

In terms of its plan structure, Optus has revamped its plans to offer three tiers of download quota, with a range of bolt-on options. Customers can now choose to receive 30GB, 200GB or unlimited amounts of quota each month, at price points of $70, $90 or $115 per month. These plans also come with differing telephone call inclusions — ranging from only unlimited ‘standard’ local calls for the $70 plan, to unlimited ‘standard’ local, national, Australian mobile and a range of other inclusions on the $115 plan.

The plan structure is unified across Optus’ ADSL, HFC and National Broadband Networks. When it comes to the NBN, although the telco is also offering the ‘unlimited’ data quota on its NBN, as it is on the other forms of network infrastructure, the initial $115 monthly service will be limited to speeds of 12Mbps.

To achieve the full 100Mbps speeds possible on the NBN and get unlimited downloads, customers will need to pay an extra $20 monthly fee, bringing their NBN speeds up to 100Mbps and allowing them to download as much data as they want per month.

Various additional ‘bolt-ons’ are also available from Optus, such as its FetchTV IPTV platform, as well as other speed tiers on the NBN, and telephone bolt-ons to add included calls.

Optus’ plan revamp makes the company the first ISP in Australia to offer truly unlimited NBN fibre broadband plans at the full 100Mbps speeds. Previously, companies such as TPG and Dodo have offered, or revealed plans to offer, unlimited NBN plans, but they have limited such plans by speed (usually to 12Mbps), or to only allowing 100Mbps unlimited downloads during off-peak hours late at night and early in the morning.

Despite the fact that Optus stated it was seeking to remove hidden rules from its plans, such rules do still exist. Each broadband plan the company launched today has a ‘critical information summary’ PDF associatd with it, which contains a raft of conditions as to precisely how customers may use its network.

In addition, all of the plans are also subject to Optus’ existing aceptable usage policy. Among other stipulations, this policy notes that the telco may terminate customers’ connections if they used Optus’ network in a way which affected other customers’ access to the network. This is a key issue on shared networks such as Optus’ HFC cable network, where multiple customers access broadband speeds through the same cable infrastructure.


Hmm. There’s a lot going on here, and I’m not sure that all of it is good.

On the one hand, it’s good to see Optus attempting to simplify its broadband plans and make them more competitive in the Australian fixed-line telecommunications market. The telco’s growth in this area has been anaemic for some years, and while Optus has been sleeping, iiNet and TPG have been continually dining out on its lunch. There are some innovative offers in these packages — especially when it comes to the ‘unlimited’ plans and the NBN — and Optus should be commended for trying to innovate on its fixed products.

On the other hand, as is often the case, the company has shot itself in the foot with much of what it has done today. It ironically claimed that it is taking much of the complexity out of broadband plans, while leaving much of that complexity in through its ‘critical information summaries’. I had to dig through Optus’ site for a while to work out that its ‘unlimited’ NBN plans were only at 12Mbps — and even further to work out how to upgrade the speeds on such plans. You’d think Optus would realise that most NBN customers are choosing higher speeds than 12Mbps — and make those options available up-front.

Then too, Optus appears to have completely forgotten one of the main reasons why customers would switch to using its fixed broadband services at all — the fact that it has an excellent mobile network. The main advantage Optus has over rivals such as iiNet and TPG is that it operates its own mobile network and has enough backhaul infrastructure to absorb some joint bundling costs between its fixed and mobile infrastructure. What Optus should be doing is offering highly attractive mobile/fixed bundling plans.

Today’s plan release will probably help stem the tide of fixed customers migrating to rivals like iiNet. But what Optus should really be trying to do is convince its huge number of mobile customers that they should also be buying fixed broadband products from it. It should be making sure its fixed broadband plans are directly competitive with iiNet, and then offering customers significant incentives to buy both fixed and mobile products from Optus in a unified bundle. Such a strategy would also ensure customers were more ‘sticky’ than they would be otherwise — making it hard to switch away from the telco.

Optus has a small amount of offerings in this area — but nowhere near enough. The telco is largely ignoring its main competitive advantage in broadband at the moment — and that’s not a good thing for the health of the market as a whole.

Image credit: Optus


  1. inb4 Mathew “most NBN customers are not choosing higher speeds – 47% of NBN customers are choosing speeds slower than half of ADSL, HFC and 4G connections, creating an entrenched digital divide”

    Who knows how things will turn out with the new direction the Coalition Government is bringing the NBN in? What surprises me is that Optus and so many other ISPs are making and announcing all of these plans with respect to fixed-line services without first knowing what the Coalition Government intends to do with fixed-line infrastructure and regulation.

  2. Hardly seems there is a market out there for 100Mbps speeds asTurnbull has stated that Australia only needs 25Mbps with FTTN.

  3. Interesting that originally Optus were not selling 12/1 plans and starting at 25/5 plans. The bolt ons that you have listed don’t even seem to have the 25/5 plan, only 25/10

  4. Optus actually do offer bundles with mobiles, if you have a mobile with them you get 10% off your internet/home phone bill afaik. Click the online chat link on their website and there is a banner for it.

    As for anyone who thinks that 100Mbps isn’t necessary they are probably right for now…most people don’t need it, but in the future it will be. It’s crazy to think that people think it’s not needed till it’s needed. It will take years and years to build the infrastructure so if we don’t start now, we wont have it when we actually NEED it.

    Regardless, I’m jumping on the 100mbit plan and I’ll be aiming to push 30tb or so a month ….I wonder how long it’ll take for them to boot me off the network.

  5. Given the congestion difficulties their HFC customers have been reporting.. I’m skeptical whether they can deliver a good quality connection on it.

    But I hope this spurs the other ISPs into action :)

  6. And funnily enough they are about 50% higher in cost than the previous 100Mb/s “cable” plans that they have now withdrawn.

    I wonder if they will be provisioning extra International bandwidth – Optus have an atrocious reputation for not being able to deliver internet speeds at anywhere near their competition, and they regularly over provision their local nodes too.

    I wouldn’t be touching an Optus NBN plan with a 10 foot pole.

    • Optus Cable is “100Mbps*”, meaning that it has a 500GB cap so you can actually average no more than 1.522Mbps before getting shaped. So, no, unlimited NBN is approximately 65x faster.

      Secondly, Optus Cable is 1Mbps upload. The NBN is 40Mbps upload. So that’s another 40x difference.

      If you think that 65x faster downloads and 40x faster uploads aren’t worth 1.5x extra cost, you’re delusional; this plan is significantly better than cable in every way. I’d still like to see the price drop a bit, but I’m sure that that will happen with time as more competition grows in the market.

  7. i took a quick skim and while i saw the 12/1 within 5 minutes i couldnt see where the 100mbit stuff was.

    i take that as a critical test; if its not accessible within 5 that hurts them if they want to make higher tier sales (because i cant see em making that much on 12/1). if i cant see it i most likely will look at another providers site (who has that stuff upfront) and thats a higher tier sale gone.

    definitely agree the complexity ruins the benefit.

    i like that the plans are universal – DSL/Cable/NBN – but the flip of that is its a little more expensive than i pay now. Optus maintains the local/national call thing, tho if the voice port is effectively VOIP that distinction is really meaningless – Internode regard the national area as a local call and Optus might consider doing the same – another point of complexity to drop.

    Its a plan that would be eminently pitchable to folk like my parents – they are locked in at 24months on that crappy 5gb bundle (against all good advice! “i didnt want to lose my username@bigpond address!” AAARRRGGH hulksmash), they recently moved tho so this release doesnt help them unless they field a disconnect charge.

    it will be interesting if this sparks some activity….

  8. Lets not get too deceived by the nominal AVC speeds … no RSP is going to provision enough backhaul to enable end-user to actually receive 100Mbps when they wish to use it. Given current NBN pricing, most end-users (when the network actually gets some scale) would be lucky to get more than 12Mbps during peak times. Its very wise for main RSPs not to be obviously advertise AVC speeds when they will play very little part in the speeds actually experienced by the end-user.

    • I wouldnt worry too much about the AVC and average speeds at peak. The reality is that you’re only sharing the line with 31 other properties, so you’ll have to be VERY unlucky to not get peak speed when you ping the line. If all 32 are heavily using at the same time, then yes, you will slow down, but the chances of that happening are very remote.

      Even if they did, the contention issues would disappear very quickly as each premises packet requests were cleared. Its one of those situations that gets better as you have faster speeds, as the information gets to its destination faster, and hence clears the way for others.

      Worst case is that speeds spike downwards occasionally, but that contended speed should still be fast enough that you really shouldnt notice.

      FYI, I’m expecting the usual suspects to disagree.

      • The CVC is shared POI wide; not GPON node wide.

        each GPON has 2.5TB’s; so you’d need quite a few of your local node neighbors to be maxing their link to overwhelm that.

        But if the CVC ratio is what matters, since the pool of competitors is much larger. (everyone on your entire POI).

        (your GPON node ratio is 25:32 at 100 megabit connections – or 0.78, even a very unlikely 1:10 CVC ratio is 7 times worse)

        • Fair enough. My main point was that you have to be VERY unlucky to get enough contention for it to be a problem.

          I liken it to a freeway. If a freeway has a top speed of 60 kmh, and handles 12,000 cars an hour, then there are going to be 2,000 cars on the road at any given minute. If the speed limit is 600 kmh, and it still handles 12,000 cars an hour, there are still going to be 2,000 cars on the road at any given minute, but the chances of them getting in the way is less, because they complete their journey faster and the actual gap between them is 10x larger.

          Same with internet. The faster the speed, the faster people get out of the way, so you’re going to need to be really unlucky to hit enough people at the same time for it to be noticable, and extremely unlucky for it to be a problem you’d care to have corrected.

          That doesnt mean it wont happen, there will be peak times where more people are online at the same time, but because the service will essentially have plenty of gaps in the traffic to duck into, I expect the traffic jams to be minimal, and self-resolving pretty quickly.

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