Optus' new NBN & mobile 'boost' features want you to pony up for a better connection

Close up shot of an Optus storage logo
(Image credit: The Canberra Times)

Optus has just announced a new set of Boost features coming to its internet and mobile services that work in different ways, but which both have us scratching our heads. 

Launching them in response to customer survey data that found “more than half of Australians value high-speed internet over having a clean house,” (yes, really), Optus said its Internet Boost feature, in particular, promises to give its customers the faster speeds they crave. 

Take it to the max

Internet Boost allows Optus NBN customers (it’s not available for 5G home internet customers) to increase the speed of their connection to the maximum available speed at their address for 24 hours, in return for a AU$5 payment.

This means that if you’re on an NBN 50 plan with Optus, but you have a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) or hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) connection (in some cases), then you can have it boosted to the NBN 1000 tier. Optus currently advertises 400Mbps typical evening speeds on this tier. 

Superloop and Exetel offer customers a similar feature in the form of Speed Boost days. These allow their customers to bump their speed up to the next available speed tier, i.e. an NBN 50 plan would be boosted to NBN 100. Both providers offer five Speed Boost days for free each month (extras cost AU$2) and days can be banked up to a total of 30. 

Optus charging for a similar service does seem like poor value in comparison to, however, the ability to potentially experience Superfast or Ultrafast speeds if you’re used to Standard NBN 50 does sound compelling. As we mentioned, however, this is only possible if your connection type allows it. 

If you have any other connection type, then you will only be able to boost from an NBN 50 plan to NBN 100, which is the same as the free service offered by Exetel and Superloop. 

You can check out how Optus' NBN plans compare against Exetel and Superloop in the widget below.

VIP service for mobile customers

Optus’ Mobile Boost feature is a little more confusing. The company says this feature will allow mobile customers to “prioritise their mobile data connection,” adding that it will only be possible “subject to availability,” and that it “works best with good reception.” Each Boost also only lasts for one hour.

The intention, it seems, is that you will be moved to the front of the queue when you find yourself in an area with increased network congestion. 

If you’ve found yourself at large-scale events such as concerts or sports events, you may have found it next to impossible to upload content to your social media feed or send messages using apps that require a data connection. Optus’ Mobile Boost would appear to resolve this issue. How Optus is able to do this remains unclear, as it seemingly has nothing to do with data speed (the company doesn’t impose a data speed cap on any of its mobile plans). 

We’ve noticed the feature is now live — albeit in beta form — in the My Optus app, and will aim to test it out the next time we find ourselves in a large crowd and needing to upload Instagram Stories in a futile attempt to seek validation from our followers. 

Optus is currently offering its mobile customers five free, one-hour Boosts each month whilst the feature is in beta form. As soon as it comes out of beta, the feature will be available as a AU$2 add-on. 

You can find out more about Optus' Boost features by heading to the company's website and view the mobile carrier's current selection of postpaid SIM-only plans below.

Max Langridge
Senior Editor, Tom's Guide AU

Max is a digital content writer for Tom’s Guide in Australia, where he covers all things internet-related, including NBN and the emerging alternatives, along with audio and visual products such as headphones and TVs. Max started his career in his homeland of England, where he spent time working for What Hi-Fi? and Pocket-lint, before moving to Australia in 2018.