Tuesday, 23 August 2016 14:40

Optus boosts unmetered mobile entertainment streaming


Certain Optus mobile plans now offer an all-you-can-eat option video streaming option in addition to the existing unmetered music streaming feature.

As announced earlier this year, Optus provides unmetered content from a range of music services including iHeartRadio, Spotify, Google Play Music and Pandora for customers on certain post-paid consumer and SME plans.

Optus has now extended that with a $10 a month add-on for the My Plan Plus and My Mobile Broadband Plus plans that allows unmetered streaming from Netflix and Presto.

The company points out that watching just one hour of video a day can equate to more than 10GB of data a month. Given that the going rate for excess data is about $10 a gig, the surcharge is not a bad deal even for relatively light viewers.

"Our customers tell us they want the freedom to watch the latest TV show or listen to their favourite band, on the go," said Optus head of mobile marketing Tim Cowan.

"But we know that fear of using too much data is the biggest obstacle to making mobile streaming part of their daily entertainment habits."

Even though mobile data is supposedly more expensive to deliver, no similar offer has been extended to Optus's long-suffering fixed broadband customers.

Eligible mobile plans start at $30 a month. Certain plans costing at least $90 a month include the unmetered video streaming feature at no additional charge.

Subscriptions to the relevant entertainment services are still required. Video streams are limited to standard definition at up to 1.5Mbps, with music restricted to 512kbps.

Ironically, customers are still charged for the data used for any advertisements delivered by the services, and for any content that is downloaded rather than streamed.

It is also odd that those bandwidth restrictions mean someone could use the same amount of data listening to music in the background for six hours or watching an hour of video, but is only required to pay extra for the latter.

Optus has invited other streaming video providers that can meet certain technical requirements to join the programme. Providers are not charged for their participation.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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