Families might have a reason to switch telcos, at least until other mobile providers wake up and smell the breakfast, because Optus has started offering something with real value.

What has to be one of our most requested things for telcos to adopt has finally been made a reality, as Optus launches family sharing, a neat little term to basically say that the data values can now be spread across various plans into a family unit and shared between everyone under that same umbrella.

It works like this:

If your family has you, your partner, and two kids in it, you might have a $80 plan for yourself with 6GB data, an $100 plan for your partner with 10GB data on it, and two $45 plans for each of your kids with 3GB data each. In that situation, the data gets pooled, and the combined 22GB across all the plans can be shared between all four phone users, even if they have different mobile plans.

Essentially, if you know you’re going to use most of your data at home or the office where WiFi is provided, you’ll be sharing that mobile provisioned data to other people in your family, making it possible to stop being overcharged for excess data before it happens.

“All families have different data needs, with some people in the house using more than others,” said Vicki Brady, Managing Director of Marketing and Product at Optus in Australia. “Now customers can combine all the mobile plans in their home on the same bill and make the most of their data.”

Beyond the data pooling, Optus Family Sharing will also bring unlimited talk and text to the table, meaning the family sharing only really matters for data, and you won’t have to worry about going over a limit in regards to voice or text services, which is also handy.

We’re also told that tablets can also benefit, too, with SIM-only plans for tablets and other non-mobile devices working here provided a family member adds a mobile broadband device to their account at a cost of $5, something Optus brought in last year that applies to this service.

“Optus’ new plans with Family Sharing continue our mission to provide the best possible offers for our customers,” said Brady.

“We were the first to launch plans that eradicated hefty excess fees two years ago and then we introduced affordable data sharing last year. Now, we’re evolving again with Family Sharing to give customers even more of what they love – more data, unlimited standard national calls and the ability to mix and match all of our plans.”

Pricing for the plans ranges from around $40 at a minimum to $100 at the maximum, but you’ll need several people in your family all on Optus if you want to take advantage of the Family Sharing.

That said, if you’re keen to do it, Optus will put the service into action from this week with post-paid plans only at this time.