New Optus plans slash excess data costs

Optus has introduced new mobile plans that reduce excessive costs for users who exceed set data or voice allowances

Optus has introduced new mobile plans that reduce excessive costs for users who exceed set data or voice allowances.

The new "My Plan" options will available from Monday 1 July.

The plans also quote voice inclusions by minutes rather than a traditional dollar value, but data allowances on some plans have been reduced compared to previous offerings.

Optus' managing director of the customer group, Vicky Brady, says the new My Plans were designed to address the issue of bill shock.

"We think the new plans go to the heart of addressing one of the biggest issues for customers here in Australia at the moment, and that is bill shock," said Brady.

"Customers want us to be honest and fair and they want to make sure there are no hidden costs and charges. Unfortunately as an industry we haven't been great on those two measures and we know that's not acceptable."

Under the new Optus My Plans $60 and above, any excess data usage charges are billed at $10 per gigabyte (GB) up to a maximum of 20GB.

On the entry-level $50 My Plan, the data is billed at $5 per 500 megabyte (MB) and $10 per extra 1GB thereafter.

At the start of the following month, Optus will automatically revert the customer to their original plan level.

Despite the increased flexibility of excess data and voice charges, the new Optus plans have reduced initial data allowances.

These lesser data inclusions have been branded as "disappointing" by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

"We're encouraged by Optus leading the industry in ending high breakage fees and simplifying included value offerings," said ACCAN spokesperson Asher Moses.

"Measuring included value by minutes is great for consumers as they can now get an idea of how many calls they can get from their monthly allowance without a confusing flagfall."

"However we're disappointed the new plans don't come with more included data given the booming rates of data consumption. Virgin Mobile, for instance, offers 3GB of data for around the same price as the Optus 1GB plans."

In addition to the new Optus My Plans, the company will also launch a new range of SIM-only plans with similar flexibility.

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