Should you build your own phone plan?

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Ever since the advent of mobile phones, consumers have been somewhat at the mercy of service providers when it comes to what’s included in their plan. Telcos offer several different plans with fixed amounts of calls, texts and data allowances, or they offer prepaid, PAYG options. Those, our friends, are your choices. In recent years, however, there’s been a growing trend to disrupt this status quo – to bring a bit more control to your phone plan. Welcome to the world of build your own phone plans.

Some providers have begun offering highly flexible plans where you, the user, get to decide exactly how many call minutes, text messages and megabytes of data you want to pay for each billing period. To add to the flexibility, these plans are usually on a SIM only no contract basis, so you can BYO phone while you BYO phone plan. It’s interesting stuff. So what providers offer this service, and what are the pros and cons?

What providers let you build your own phone plan?

There are two main providers offering this service in Australia:

  • Vodafone ‘MyMix’ plans – a traditional stalwart of the mobile phone landscape
  • Yomojo ‘Personalised’ plans – a new upstart Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) operating on the Optus 4G Network

Vodafone MyMix Plans

The MyMix plan builder affords you the ability to fully customise your mobile phone plan from the calls and texts included, to the data and even how long your expiry period lasts for. With the MyMix builder you can:

  • Choose your expiry period: 7, 28 or 90 days
  • Choose your data: 1GB, 4GB, 8GB, 11.5GB
  • Choose your calls: 120 minutes or unlimited
  • Choose your international minutes: 0, 120 or 300 minutes
  • Unlimited national texts come as standard
  • AND you get 50 international texts

As for international countries you can call, there are 12 to choose from. These include popular countries such as Canada, the UK, USA and New Zealand.

Case Study

BYO case study 1Burt is fed up with his current phone plan and can’t seem to find anything to suit his needs. He knows he likes the Vodafone 4G network and has opted to make his own MyMix Plan. He chooses:

 

·         1GB data

·         Unlimited calls

·         0 international minutes

·         28 day expiry period

 

This plan costs $25, and Burt thinks this is a pretty good deal. He doesn’t need gimmicky extras, or international minutes as all his friends and family all live in Australia. The unlimited texts come in handy for Burt, too, as do the 50 international texts he gets as standard, as he likes to text a girl he met in New York City from time to time. He isn’t yet ready to actually call her!

Yomojo Personalised Plans

Yomojo – while also offering a BYO plan creator – is a bit different to Vodafone. Yomojo is an MVNO operating on the Optus 4G network, and even though it’s a low-cost carrier, you can rest assured you’ll be getting quality coverage through Optus. Yomojo’s standard plans come in either prepaid or postpaid fashion, and its Personalised Plans provide the same refreshing flexibility. With Yomojo’s build your own plans, you:Yomojo Personalised Plans

  • Have a 30 day expiry period
  • Can choose your call minutes
  • Can choose how many texts you want
  • Choose how much data you want
  • And can add on international minutes
  • Choose either a prepaid or postpaid billing system
  • If you run out of credit, you can add on a PAYG pack (minimum $10). Calls costs from 11c per minute with no flagfall, texts start at 9c each, and data is 5c per megabyte

Yomojo’s international minutes include calls to 30 countries, including the USA, UK, New Zealand and Canada. PAYG international rates vary, but you can call New Zealand from as little as 30c per minute and the USA from only 20c per minute, for example. This affords great flexibility on top of your Personalised Plan.

Case Study

BYO case study 2Burt’s flatmate Britney likes the look of Yomojo and its use of the Optus network, but isn’t satisfied with the standard plans on offer from either carrier. She decides to build her own plan and likes the look of Burt’s MyMix package, so decides to create a similar deal with:

 

·         1GB data

·         1000 call minutes

·         1000 texts

·         No international inclusions

 

This plan costs a total of $51. Yomojo doesn’t offer unlimited calls or texts with its build your own plans, and Britney is surprised to know that she’s paying about double what Burt pays.

As we can see from the case studies, between these two providers, Vodafone’s MyMix looks to be pretty solid value, while you may have to be prepared to pay extra for the convenience of personalising your plan with Yomojo. With that said, Yomojo’s standard unlimited plans are rock solid value, so they are worth looking into. It’s just a shame Yomojo’s build your own plans don’t match the same level of value as its standard offers.Yomojo’s international minutes include calls to 30 countries, including the USA, UK, New Zealand and Canada. PAYG international rates vary, but you can call New Zealand from as little as 30c per minute and the USA from only 20c per minute, for example. This affords great flexibility on top of your Personalised Plan.

What are the pros and cons of building your own phone plan?

As you can probably tell from the case studies above, it’s a mixed bag of results as far as advantages and disadvantages go.

Pros Cons
You build your very own phone plan You often pay extra for convenience
Not everyone needs unlimited calls and texts – BYO lets you decide It can often be better value to choose an unlimited plan anyway
International inclusions can be handy A handful of providers include these for free anyway
PAYG rates can be cheap and act as a handy extra These extra costs can be mitigated by choosing a cheap unlimited plan
You pay for exactly what you think you need You might underestimate your use and end up paying extra

Is building your own mobile phone plan a good idea?

The convenience and the fact that you get your very own tailored phone plan are strong selling points, but be aware that you can find better value with pre-made plans. Just as home maintenance DIY isn’t for everyone, building your own phone plan won’t be for everyone, either. Sometimes it’s just better to buy a house rather than spend extra money building your own.

The phone plan market is always evolving and improving, and as there are so many providers out there, chances are you don’t need to build your own phone plan to find the perfect package for you. Using Bert and Britney’s requirements mentioned above (1GB of data, lots of phone calls and texts) on a 28 or 30 day expiry period, you’ll find a number of low-cost providers all offer deals at much lower prices than a MyMix or Yomojo custom plan.

Look out for carriers like Dodo and Vaya who have the cheapest unlimited phone plans in the country, while Yomojo itself offers one of the cheapest unlimited 2GB plans out there. Jeenee Mobile also offers a lot more bang for buck for a similar price.

All in all, while your needs may not be exactly the same as Bert and Britney’s, you will likely find better value across a range of price points. With that said, it’s worth playing around with both Vodafone’s and Yomojo’s plan builders to see what you can get for your money. Even if you don’t sign up, it can be fun!

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