$1 and $2 phone plans: Are they as good as they sound?

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There aren’t many things you can buy for a dollar or two these days. A loaf of supermarket bread, some cheap lollies, or a mobile phone plan is about as good as it gets. Wait! What? You can buy a phone plan for $2 or less? That’s right.

With many bundled phone plans costing in excess of $100 a month, it’s little wonder many of us are seeking to take a more minimalist approach to our phone plans and opting for much, much cheaper options. Usually this means choosing a SIM-only plan on a prepaid basis from a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that piggybacks off one of the three networks in Australia. Bringing your own device to the party is a smart way to get a great-value, flexible plan.

In fact, there’s probably never been a better time to shop around for a better deal, with data coming down in price and unlimited calls and texts coming pretty much as standard on most mobile plans over $20 a month. However, what if you want to go cheaper than this? Yes, $1 and $2 phone plans do exist… but are they really good value? Let’s take a look.

$1 and $2 Phone Plans: Who offers what?

Provider and Plan What’s Included?
Optus ‘My Prepaid Daily’ Unlimited talk, unlimited texts, 500MB data for $2 a day once plan is triggered
TPG ‘Pay As You Go’ (PAYG) 50MB data, cheap call and text rates

Source: Respective provider websites

Both Optus and TPG offer phone plans that start from just $1 or $2 a day. But what do you actually get for your money?

Optus $2 Phone Plan

Not plastered all over the Optus site, you have to do a bit of digging to find out what’s included.

  • Long story short, you pay $2 per day once you trigger your inclusions and you get unlimited talk and text, plus 500MB of data
  • You do need to spend $10 for the SIM card, in which you get $10 PAYG credit

TPG $1 Phone Plan

With TPG’s $1 phone plan you are charged $1 over the month, but with this you only get 50MB of data as standard. Beyond that, you’ll need to have prepaid credit loaded onto your account to get excess data and calls and texts.

  • Calls are billed at 9.9c per minute plus a 10c flagfall
  • Texts are 9.9c each
  • Excess data is 10c per megabyte

As you can see, if this is your main phone plan then costs can add up over 30 days. For example, 1GB of excess data could cost a massive $100, while a two minute phone call costs 29.8c including flagfall. So what could you get for say, $30?

  • 100 texts ($9.90), 50, 2-minute long calls ($14.90) and 102 total megabytes (50MB standard, plus 52MB equaling $5.20)

As you can see, $30 doesn’t get you a whole lot, but the beauty of this TPG plan lies in its flexibility. If you have a spare ‘emergency’ phone – or you’re a really light user – then $1 is obviously very cheap. However, keep in mind that you’ll also be slugged with a $30 set-up fee, making the first month quite prohibitive in general.

$1 and $2 phone plans compared to other plans

While the $1 or $2 face-value price is evidently dirt-cheap, what you actually get for your gold coin could be quite measly compared to just paying for a regular monthly prepaid phone plan to begin with. As you can see from the two plans above, with Optus you seem to get more for your money.

On a prepaid basis in the $20-$30 range, you can get quite a bit for your money if you’re a regular user and you’re willing to just spend that amount every 30 days or so. Providers like Coles Mobile, Vodafone, Amaysim and OVO Mobile all offer ‘full-term’ plans with at least 1GB of data, not to mention unlimited calls and texts. Here’s a snapshot.

Are $1 and $2 phone plans good value for money?

If you’re a regular phone user accustomed to browsing, streaming, calling and texting, then the answer is probably no. You will get more bang for your buck with traditional month-long plans. While the $1 or $2 price tag looks really attractive, your costs over a month could easily skyrocket.

However, if you’re an extremely light user, or you’re just looking for an ‘emergency’ phone plan for your spare phone, then these plans are an attractive option. But for regular users there are much better deals out there.

Compare Postpaid Plan Providers

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