The cheapest end of Australia’s mobile service market is dominated by a proliferation of small mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). These guys piggyback on the networks of the big telcos – Vodafone, Optus and Telstra – to offer great value, no contract plans. They can do this because they generally don’t have the same costly overheads as the big players, like hundreds of customer service representatives.
Whilst it’s easy to dismiss some of these low-cost service providers as cheap and nasty, the fact of the matter is this – many third-party providers have better value plans than the big telcos whose networks they operate on. Carriers such as Amaysim, Virgin Mobile and TPG are all examples of service providers which don’t own their own network infrastructure – yet today, they’re household names due to their simple, value-packed mobile plans. With this in mind, we’ve prepared a selection of providers you may have never heard of before to showcase just what’s on offer in the diverse Australian market – and just what a great deal you can snag if you’re willing to shop around.
Top 10 mobile service providers you’ve never considered
Jeenee Mobile is a social enterprise which donates profits towards developing accessible technology and training programs for those living with disabilities. Founded in 2010, it initially started as a not-for-profit organisation. However in 2015, Jeenee become a for-profit organisation to better provide its services to its Aussie customers, and this is when Jeenee Mobile started to blossom with some great-value postpaid mobile plans on the Optus 4G Network.
Overall there are nine plans to pick from, split into three categories – Essentials Pennywise, Unlimited Pennywise, and Mammoth Plans. As the names suggest, ‘Essentials’ consists of two plans in the budget range, while ‘Unlimited’ plans bring unlimited calls & texts, and ‘Mammoth’ plans offer whopping data inclusions. Below are some of the best plans Jeenee Mobile has to offer.
An independent, Aussie-owned mobile provider, Exetel was initially founded as a technology consulting company in 1990. It then transitioned to a mobile broadband provider in 2001, in order to counterpoint the obscure and complicated business practices of larger telcos, it says.
Exetel today provides postpaid mobile phone and broadband plans, with three very different ‘ExeSaver’ monthly phone plans to choose from. Using the Optus 4G network, all three boast unlimited calls and bring very competitive data inclusions. With three simple plans at distinct price points, Exetel packs a punch and could be an option for someone who is sick of convoluted phone plans.
SpinTel is another Aussie-grown telco that was founded in 1996, and now offers mobile, home phone and broadband services across the country. Its mobile phone plans run on the Optus 4G network and come in two different varieties – Flexible Plans and the more expensive Unlimited Plans.
The Flexible Plans include unlimited SMS and provide increasing call and data inclusions. Flexible plans also enable you to easily upgrade your plan as you see fit without costly excess charges. If you use too much data on one plan, SpinTel will automatically bill you the cost difference between your plan and the higher plan. So, from month-to-month this offers great flexibility. The Unlimited Plans simply boast big data inclusions and limitless credit. All in all, there is a great range of solid-value plans to choose from, and their flexibility means it’s easy to find a plan that suits your needs with SpinTel. Here is a selection:
Vaya – being a relatively new MVNO – is one of the ‘disrupters’ of the telco world. That is to say that its low-cost, great-value plans have made others stand up and take notice. Starting off with humble roots in Brisbane, Vaya has grown with have a sizeable user base and operates on the Optus 4G Network. The telco even has a price-match guarantee on its plans and an offer of one month free service if you find a better equivalent deal elsewhere.
Operating on a postpaid basis, Vaya brings two types of plans – Power Plans and Unlimited Plans. All of Vaya’s plans are indicative of how much they cost – Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large – and are at distinct price points in the market. Vaya’s phone plans bring simply good value and are sure to entice a lot of customers away from their old telco. Take a look below at what Vaya offers.
Another relatively new player, OVO Mobile is changing the way telcos look at mobile data. Like many of the other providers we have compared here, OVO uses the Optus 4G Network, so you’re ensured great coverage and speeds, especially in metro areas. An interesting MVNO, OVO Mobile includes unmetered sports streaming with its partners who include the V8 Supercars – or ‘Supercars’ from 2017 – Audi Sport Customer Racing, and Gymnastics Australia. Using the OVOTime app, you can stream these sports without worrying about using up your data.
OVO is an exciting new service provider for motorsport or gymnastics enthusiasts, and we suspect the best is yet to come from OVO and its partners. OVO Mobile has a simple range of plans – three to be precise – all in different segments of the market. All are prepaid, which offers great flexibility when it comes to recharging. Take a look at them below.
One of the stalwarts of MVNO world, TeleChoice has been around for a while now, and still offers great value. TeleChoice operates on the Telstra 4G Network, and is a telco that offers plans on a monthly, 12 or 24 month contract basis. They entice you to the 12 and 24 month plans with extra data and/or a plan with a cheaper rate per month.
TeleChoice has five core plans – $20, $28, $30, $38 and $48 per month. Jumping into a 12 or 24 month contract will get you a cheaper plan, more inclusions, or both. So, altogether there are over 10 plans on offer from TeleChoice.
Bendigo Bank Telco
Coming in with a curveball, you might not have realised a bank could offer mobile plans. There’s a bank with mobile plans?! That’s right. Bendigo Bank Telco operates on the Optus 4G Network, so it’s on-par with a lot of other MVNOs straight away. You would inevitably have heard of Bendigo Bank, but maybe not its solid-value postpaid mobile plans. The plans come on a month-to-month basis, so you’re afforded the convenience of being able to switch with relative ease.
Bendigo Bank offers four distinct plans, each at different segments in the market. If that wasn’t enough for you, the plans’ names are indicative of their sizes – Extra Lite, Lite, Medium and Large. Furthermore, there is no upfront setup fees – what you see is what you get. Let’s have a look at what the bank turned telco offers in postpaid mobile land below.
With a catchy name, Yomojo is an interesting MVNO that operates on the Optus 4G Network. Why is it interesting? Because Yomojo allows the option to ‘build your own’ plan. Starting from $5, you can add calls, data and texts as you see fit with the online plan builder. If you’re fed-up with telcos not offering exactly what you want, then Yomojo may be for you. Plus, you can easily log-on to your online account and change your plan as you see fit.
If building your own plan seems too much of a hassle, then you needn’t worry as Yomojo has three stock prepaid plans that offer reasonable value. Each of these three are at distinct segments in the market, so even without the BYO plans, Yomojo is still hitting the right marks.
A native of Norway, Lebara is another MVNO and has been around since 2001. In those 15 years, Lebara has amassed an army of customers – over five million of them in eight different countries. Operating on the Vodafone 4G Network, Lebara is a prepaid provider which offers some of the cheapest plans you’re likely to find.
As you might expect from a European telco, Lebara also offers great rates on international calls – in fact it has a separate designated category for international plans. However, if simple domestic phone plans with great value are more up your alley, then Lebara also offers four of these on a 30-day recharge. The most expensive $49.90 plan also includes unlimited international calls to 60 countries for good measure. Have a look at what’s on offer below.
Out of all of the providers reviewed here, chances are Kogan Mobile is the one you’ve most likely heard of – and for good reason. Kogan has cemented itself as an online retail giant that also offers great-value prepaid phone plans, using the Vodafone 4G Network. Kogan Mobile disappeared a few years ago, but now it’s back and better than ever.
Kogan offers four plans on a 30-day prepaid recharge – Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. These are all quite competitive alone, but Kogan also offers great discounts for committing to a 90-day or 365-day upfront payment. Basically, you’re rewarded for your long-term loyalty with reduced rates on your plan each month, which add up to some tidy savings over time.
Should I buy one of these plans?
If you’re hunting for a better phone plan, then going with an MVNO that piggybacks off of the main three networks could be a great choice. These days there are more than just the ‘Big 3’ telcos – in fact there are more than 30 in the market! Chances are there is one that’s right for you. Think of it as like dating – there are plenty of fish in the sea!
The providers compared above are a great starting point in finding a plan that offers great value at a low cost. There are a few questions about your own needs you’ll have to answer though, before diving into one of these plans:
- How many calls and texts do I need? Most plans over $25 per month bring unlimited inclusions, but you could save a few bucks if you don’t think you need them.
- How much data do I need? It goes without saying that the more data you want, the more you’ll have to pay.
- What is my desired budget? Rather than letting your desired plan features dictate the plan you choose, you could simply set a monthly budget and stick to it.
- Do I want prepaid or postpaid mobile? Prepaid plans mean you only pay for what you use, but postpaid plans could leave you paying extra for exceeding your limitations. This is something that’s worth keeping mind.
This report compares just 10 low-cost mobile service providers, but there are many more out there equally keen to offer you a great deal, including your local supermarkets. So while we think it’s worth your time to check out these small providers, great value can be found all over the market. You might like to start by comparing more providers below!