Optus outage compensation: Trick to turn 200GB data into cash

A tech expert has shared a hack that means some Aussies impacted by the Optus outage can exchange their compensatory data for cash.

Optus has come under fire for its decision to compensate customers with “up to 200GB” of data after its network went down for more than a whole working day last week.

Of course, many customers don’t use all of their data each month anyway, and it was unclear what those on landlines or unlimited plans would get.

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin defended the telco’s decision not to provide monetary compensation, saying a day without access amounted to “less than $2”.

But tech reviewer and podcaster Trevor Long has shared a way for Aussies to get their hands on 10 times that amount.

Long suggested that Australians who are dissatisfied with Optus’s response log onto the My Optus app and downgrade their plans.

“The average user is, by my estimates, on the $69 Optus plan,” Long explained.

“That offers 220GB of data. But if you were to call Optus today, [and] ask to move down to the $49 plan — which offers 30GB of data — they would lose $20 in revenue this month. [If] 100,000 people do that, they’re down $2 million. The more, the merrier.

“I can hear you now: ‘30GB is not enough’. Oh, but alas, my dear friends, on Monday (according to Optus) or between then and the end of the year, you will be able to activate 200GB [of] additional data thanks to the outage. So, from the $69 down to the $49, you’re actually back to square one — same amount of data to use (or a touch more), and 20 extra dollars in your pocket for Christmas.”

Affected customers can then upgrade their plans again late next month or before the start of next year — it’s not yet clear how Optus’s compensation package will work — if they need the higher data amount.

Long said he had tested the hack for one Optus customer and it took “less than 10 minutes” to pull off.

The customer, who had been on Optus’s $89/month plan, downgraded to the $49/month option and saved $40.

A discount code then axed an additional $10, bringing their total savings to $50.

Of course, Ms Bayer Rosmarin’s $2 a day compensation figure doesn’t account for the fact that, for many, the cost of Optus’s shortage went beyond that of their phone plan.

Many small businesses were unable to process EFTPOS payments, Uber drivers and gig workers couldn’t work and freelancers struggled to connect with essential contacts, resulting in potential losses of tens of thousands of dollars.

For others, the burden was worth much more than money. For Sydney woman Rachel, for instance, the outage cost her the chance to say goodbye to her dying mum.

Hospital staff tried but could not reach the family, meaning Rachel’s mum died without her daughter by her side.

A senate inquiry will investigate whether Optus’s data offering constitutes “fair compensation”.

Originally published as Optus outage compensation: Trick to turn 200GB data into cash