Why Optus is about to be the best option if you have multiple devices

02 June 2014

It’s not often that you can say a certain plan or carrier is ‘the best’ at something. Most of the time they all have their strengths and weaknesses, and therefore appeal to different types of users, but check this out: Optus’ new My Plan Plus is actually the best option if you want data on multiple devices. The new plans will be available from June 10.

Instead of paying for a phone plan and a separate data plan per tablet or other device, you can now share your phone plan’s data with up to 5 extra gadgets with no ongoing fees. A one-time payment of $5 is required to activate a device, after which you pay nothing.

You can add any device that uses a data SIM, which includes some WiFi Hotspot modems and some USB key modems for use with tablets, WiFi laptops and pretty much anything else that connects to the internet. Devices can be added at any time, or you can simply switch your activated data SIM card from one to another.

This broader approach to data usage may end up increasing tablet and other device sales in Australia. Tablets especially become much more useful when you can take them outdoors and until now the only cheap way of doing that was tethering, which is a hassle, slow, and a drain on your phone's battery.

No ongoing fees makes sense

This one-time small fee approach is what makes the whole thing great value. Data sharing in itself isn’t revolutionary. Telstra offers data sharing on its Mobile Accelerate plans for an extra $10 per month per device, for up to five devices.

$10 per month doesn’t sound like much, but it means you’re paying an ongoing fee to access data that you’ve already bought. Especially so if you’re using the full five devices, which would add $50 to your monthly bill on Telstra but cost a one-off $25 on Optus. That’s a $1175 difference over the life of a standard contract.

Furthermore, Data Sharing fees on Telstra are part of the contract itself, so you’re required to keep paying them for 2 years, even if you decide you don’t need one or all of the extra devices somewhere down the track. You also can’t add any more devices during the contract, according to a Telstra online chat assistant.

Freeing your tablet and other gadgets

At the Optus My Plan Plus launch event, it was claimed that there are 4 million tablets in Australia, 2 million of which have largely unused SIM slots. Of course, you can always tether from your phone to a tablet or other device, but that cuts down on speed, requires readjusting settings and is uses up a lot of charge.

The new My Plan Plus data sharing sounds like it makes using multiple devices both cheaper and easier, which is a fearsome combination.

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