Optus offers extra mobile data as COVID-19 drives up remote work

Optus will support our customers with additional data as businesses and schools across the country transition to working remotely with the spread of the COVID-19 virus

Optus will offer eligible Postpaid mobile customers a one-off add-on of 20GB of data during April 2020. Eligible Prepaid customers that recharge with $40 or more during April will receive 10GB of extra data. Each offer can be activated through the My Optus App.optus extra mobile data

Optus CEO designate Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said: “These are unprecedented times, and we want to help Australians who find themselves having to self-isolate or work from home to stay connected.”

“We understand how much it means to customers to stay connected with their colleagues, classmates, family and friends. Access to data is critical, so we are playing our part in helping the community with our additional data offer”. 

More information on Optus extra mobile data will be available through the MyOptus App by Friday 20 March 2020.

Optus’ announcement came after US-based fixed-line carriers announced overnight that they would rejig plans and ease usage caps in anticipation of a large number of users having to rely on consumer internet connections in order to work remotely.

In Australia, NBN Co appeared to indicate in tweet responses that it would be up to retail service providers to meet consumer needs around anticipated mass work-from-home orders.

However, it was unclear if there were wholesale levers it could pull to temporarily ease data consumption pricing for retailers, which could then be reflected in consumer plans.

“Data limits on plans are set by service providers and we encourage customers to contact their internet retailer to understand how their current plan would support their home working needs,” an NBN Co social media staffer said on Twitter in response to questions about how NBN Co might contribute.

Additional comment was being sought from NBN Co as well as other major telcos at the time of publication.

A Telstra spoksperson told iTnews that it is “confident [its existing mobile] data allowances will be sufficient” for customers.

“We don’t charge for excess data on new Telstra plans,” the spokesperson said.

“But to the question of will we be doing anything further for our customers, we haven’t taken any decisions at this point.”

In the fixed-line space, Telstra said it already worked closely with NBN Co and did not rule out COVID-19 related action on internet plans if it was warranted.

“We are in ongoing engagement with NBN Co as part of our day-to-day network capacity management for NBN-related services,” the spokesperson said.

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