Optus announces 'simpler' mobile broadband plans

Customers who exceed data limits charged $10 per extra GB

Optus unveiled new mobile broadband plans that it said are part of a strategy of simplifying billing for customers.

The number-two telco’s chief country officer, Kevin Russell, hinted last week at new plans aimed at reducing customer bill shock. While new pro-customer initiatives have reduced Optus revenue from contract breakages and roaming, Russell said the telco hopes they will build stronger customer loyalty to the Optus brand.

The new plans range from $20 monthly for 1GB of data to $60 monthly for 10GB on a month-to-month, 12 or 24 month contract. To reduce bill shock, Optus automatically gives an extra 1GB of data for $10 to customers who exceed their limits. The amount of data resets the next month to the original plan chosen by the customer.

As required by the Telecommunications Consumer Protection code, the Optus plan provides usage alerts when customers reach 50 per cent, 85 per cent and 100 per cent of their data limits. Warnings are provided at 85 per cent and 100 per cent for any added 1GB chunk of data.

A customer who bundles mobile broadband with an existing Optus mobile plan can receive a 25 per cent discount on the mobile broadband bill.

Also, Optus recently revealed that it was waiving fees for customers that exceeded $200 on excess data or $500 on roaming. The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network has praised that policy but believes Optus could do better still.

“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,” said ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin.

Corbin urged Optus competitors Telstra and Vodafone Hutchison Australia to follow suit and introduce similar hard caps. “If providers are really listening to their customers they’ll know that this is the right product to be offering,” she said.

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