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Optus kicks off mobile broadband bill-shock killer plans

As foreshadowed last week, Optus has gone ahead with plans to remove bill shock on mobile broadband plans.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor on

Mobile broadband customers on Optus who go over their monthly limit will be charged AU$10 for each subsequent gigabyte of data used, the company has announced today. This is one of the first steps in Optus' Australian CEO Kevin Russell's pledge to overhaul plans.

In keeping with Russell's announcement last week, the most a customer can go over their monthly plan is 10GB, or AU$200 in total. The fine print says that Optus "may limit additional data available" to those customers at that rate.

"If you use more than this, we may continue to charge you at the same rates, or restrict your data use that month," it states.

The plans start at AU$20 per month for 1GB, and go up to AU$60 per month for 10GB, with a choice for a month-to-month contract, a 12-month contract, or a 24-month contract, excluding the cost of the device.

Customers who want to get a device on a month-to-month contract will need to pay for it upfront, while the cost for devices on the 12-month and 24-month plans are spread out across the length of the contract.

The plans are one of a number that Russell has foreshadowed will be released in the next few weeks as part of an overhaul of the company. Optus is attempting to become more customer centric, and is moving away from revenue streams that come from penalising the customer for overusing the service.

"As an industry, we have become increasingly reliant on non-core revenues; revenues that come from breakage fees," he said at the time.

"I don't believe you can move forward unless you address those decisions head on. And if you have unsustainable revenues that are upsetting your customer loyalty, then I think you have to address it head on."

While the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network's (ACCAN) CEO Theresa Corbin has encouraged Telstra and Vodafone to follow in Optus' footsteps in the new hard limit on data charges, she said that Optus' cap is still far too high, at AU$200 for exceeding the monthly allowance in Australia, and AU$500 for exceeding the monthly allowance while roaming.

"People choose their plans according to their budget — no one wants to open their bill to find out they've been stung for hundreds of dollars more than they intended to pay," Corbin said in a statement.

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