If I already have an Optus E173 modem, can I use it or do I need to buy another one as part of a plan?
Whether it was originally purchased on a prepaid or post-paid contract, the Optus Ei173 mobile wireless USB modem is locked to the Optus network. You can get the Optus E173 modem unlocked; however there is a fee of about $100 to do this. Given the reduction in prices for mobile broadband modems (and newer ones available on the market), if you want to use another provider’s network you might as well purchase a new modem with a new plan. There are new modems available which can provide a Wi-Fi connection for multiple devices to use at the same time.
While your modem is locked to the Optus network, there are a number of other mobile broadband providers who also use the Optus network, so it can still be used with some other providers.
Virgin mobile broadband:
Virgin uses the Optus network to provide coverage, and they offer a number of inexpensive prepaid and post-paid plans. Their plans suit anybody from super light users to customers who need a medium usage data allowance. Post-paid mobile broadband plans include 4GB-14GB, and the plans range in price from $29-$59.
Since you already have a mobile broadband modem, you could go prepaid, and for $10 Virgin will send out a new SIM card, along with 300MB of bonus data. The following are the prepaid recharge amounts:
$15 300MB 30-day expiry
$19 1GB 30-day expiry
$29 2GB 30-day expiry
$50 4GB 60-day expiry
$100 8GB 180-day expiry
$149 12GB 365-day expiry
To find out more about Virgin mobile broadband plans, call Virgin directly on 1300 106 571.
Other providers who use the Optus network include iiNet (1300 106 571) and iPrimus (1300 137 794). Both these providers offer post-paid plans only. Dodo (1300 136 793) uses the Optus network and offers a range of post-paid and prepaid mobile wireless broadband plans.