SIM only mobile plans

If you’re after a new mobile phone plan, there’s no shortage of service providers advertising their latest and greatest offers for your consideration, some of which include a smartphone as part of the deal. It’s not surprising really – a top-notch mobile phone is something many people want, making it tempting to splurge on that potentially expensive post-paid deal. However, many people are moving away from the ‘plan plus phone’ bundled option, and instead opting for a simple ‘SIM-only’ plan that offers great value at a lower monthly cost. If you’re looking for a change, then a SIM-only plan may be for you.

If you think SIM-only is the way to go, you can compare SIM-only prepaid and postpaid plans with our new comparison tool below. Or if you first want to learn a little more about SIM-only plans and what’s on offer right now, then click here to continue reading.

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What are SIM-only (BYO) phone plans?

As simple as they sound, SIM-only (or BYO mobile) plans provide you with a SIM card for you to use in any unlocked phone handset you like. SIM-only phone plans are typically cheaper than their traditional counterparts because your plan doesn’t include the cost of paying for your new phone.

The big advantage of only having a SIM card is freedom because you can choose pretty much any mobile phone on the market. Whether it’s brand new, pre-owned, or your mum’s old Nokia brick with Snake as a game, you’re not limited to the often small range of phones stocked by the telcos. Of course, buying your own handset means a higher upfront cost, but it allows you to potentially save loads of money by opting for a less expensive model.

By removing the somewhat emotional decision of choosing a phone, SIM-only plans also put the focus back on plan inclusions. So what can you get for your money?

What SIM-only (BYO) phone plans are available?

SIM-only plans often come with more variations in their inclusions, with a strong focus on data. Pretty much all of Australia’s service providers offer a range of SIM-only plans at several different price points. So here’s the minimum of what you can expect to pay for the amount of data you receive:

Service Provider What’s Included Price (Billing period)
OVO Mobile 1GB Data, unlimited texts, $200 calls $9.95 (30 days)
Jeenee Mobile 2GB data, unlimited texts, 200 minutes $18 (month)
Dodo Mobile 3GB data, unlimited calls and texts $24.90 (month)
TeleChoice 5.5GB data, unlimited calls and texts $29 (month)
Kogan Mobile 10GB data, unlimited calls and texts $36.90 (30 days)
Yomojo 12GB data, unlimited calls and texts $44.90 (30 days)
Virgin Mobile 15GB data, unlimited calls and texts, $300 international value $50 (month)
18GB data, unlimited calls and texts, $500 international value $60 (month)
Jeenee Mobile, Exetel, SpinTel 90GB data*, unlimited calls and texts Around $80 a month

*3G data only

As you can see, the best ‘bang for buck’ is often found with smaller Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) you may not have heard of. Generally speaking, you can expect at least 1GB of data on a full term (28, 30 days or monthly) for around $10-$15, while the cheapest unlimited plans usually start at around $20. If you want big data inclusions while paying cheap

An important factor to decide before you jump into a new phone plan is whether you want a prepaid or postpaid plan. The differences are in the detail, but their main difference lies in the name of each. With prepaid, you pay for credit and then receive it for a billing period spanning a certain time, whereas with postpaid you’re automatically billed at the end of each billing period – be it 7 days or more – and will be charged extra for going over your plan’s limitations. So now that you know the most obvious difference between prepaid and postpaid, it’s time to delve in to what the telcos can offer.

Prepaid SIM-Only (BYO) Phone Plans

Plans $10 and Under:

At the supreme budget end of the SIM-only market there are a few carriers that compete heavily with one another. At this price, billing periods are relatively short (around 7-10 days), so total costs over a month may make them more expensive, depending on how you use your plan. Overall you can expect around 500MB to 1GB of mobile data with some fairly modest call and text inclusions from the likes of VodafoneOptus and Coles MobileBoost Mobile has also comes to the game with 1GB of data with unlimited calls and texts. However, you’ll need to remember that all except Optus have short billing periods, with the Optus deal charging you $2 a day once you trigger the inclusions – this could add up a fair bit over a month.

Plans $20 and Under:

When you venture over the $10 threshold, you can expect a good jump in data, call and text inclusions. For about $20, you’ll be looking at getting 1GB data. Some providers even offer unlimited calls and texts. Other providers still have dollar values attached to their call and text inclusions. In this price bracket, expect to see more competition from the likes of Kogan MobileYomojoTPG and ALDI Mobile. Online retail giant Kogan comes out the cheapest for 1GB data here, but TPG and Aldi offer 1.5GB. Aldi is the only one here on the Telstra network, so if you’re partial to a particular network, it pays to look at these details.

Plans $30 and Under:

This price bracket sees a serious beefing up in the inclusions department. A lot of providers now offer unlimited calls and texts, plus around 2GB of data to see you through. OVO Mobile and Virgin Mobile are both competitive, but it’s Yomojo that includes a massive 6GB data billed monthly. It helps to keep an eye out for billing periods and whether you’re paying for a 28 or 30 day recharge. It might not seem too significant, but over a year it can make a difference!

Plans $40 and Under:

Merely paying $10 more can get you some surprising results. Here in the $30 to $40 range you’ll see the providers have seriously ramped up data inclusions. OVO Mobile here is leading the pack, with the most data for the cheapest price. In hot contention are familiar faces like TPG, ALDI Mobile and Kogan Mobile all offering at least 5GB for under $40, but that’s still some way short of OVO Mobile’s huge 8GB data.

Plans $50 and Under:

When you move into the more high-end range of mobile plans, around $50 can get you some hefty data that even the most data-hungry users would be impressed by. In this bracket, you can easily expect at least 5GB of data, but some providers even offer 10GB or more. There are three providers that give you 10GB for less than $50 a month – Yomojo, OVO and Kogan. Amaysim also comes to the game with 9GB of data and benefits from having its SIM cards sold in a variety of stores, which is handy for a ‘quick-fix’ solution. All three of these guys have proven that they pack a punch in the prepaid mobile land.

Prepaid mobile is no longer the plan option for teenage kids and mature-aged consumers who never use their phones. Instead, prepaid now offers some exciting phone plans from MVNOs intent on giving you great value and competitive rates. However, if prepaid is not your cup of tea, then postpaid just might be.

Postpaid SIM-Only (BYO) Phone Plans

Plans $15 and Under:

In this bargain-basement end of postpaid land, there are a few providers who all offer similar inclusions. Overall you can expect at least 200MB of data, along with either $200 included value, or 200 minutes of calls, plus varying amounts of texts. In this packed segment of the market, the likes of CMobileThink MobileSpinTel and Jeenee Mobile are leading the postpaid pack. The overall leader seems to be Think Mobile which offers competitive inclusions at a cheaper price.

Plans $30 and Under:

Spend an extra $10 a month and you’ll likely see data inclusions increase markedly. Many providers are jostling for your attention here, and about 3GB of data, as well as unlimited calls and texts appears to be about the norm. Jeenee Mobile TeleChoiceVaya and Dodo all offer similar inclusions, but it seems that Jeenee comes out on top with 4GB of data included. It should be noted, however, that Dodo’s plan is on a 12 month contract.

Plans $40 and Under:

Postpaid SIM-only plans around $40 a month usually offer great value with hefty data inclusions. In this price bracket you can expect around 5GB for your dollars. The ranks are dominated again by Jeenee, Vaya, TeleChoice and Dodo. Though three out of these four are propped up by data bonuses, and two providers offer their best deals only with 12 month contracts. If you like flexibility, then keeping an eye out for data bonuses and month to month contracts is important here.

Plans $50 and Under:

For less than a pineapple, you can expect to be treated to some data delights. At around $50 a month, 10GB included data has become the norm recently, with many providers offering even more than that. Jeenee smashes the rest with 30GB of included data for $50, while Vodafone, TeleChoice and Optus all battle for supremacy in around the 10GB mark. Here you should watch out for bonus data again, and the fact that Jeenee’s Mammoth plan uses Optus 3G instead of 4G.

Telstra, Optus & Vodafone SIM-only (BYO) Phone Plans

You may have noticed that rarely do these big three telcos – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – feature as the cheapest SIM-only providers. This is likely because they all like to spruik their bundled phone plans, but there are still some solid SIM-only deals to be found.

Telstra SIM-Only (BYO) Phone Plans

Telstra’s SIM-only phone plans generally do not offer as much data for the price you pay compared to most smaller service providers, but with unrivalled network coverage, they are still worth consider. This is how they line up.

What’s Included Price (Billing period)
1.5GB data, $700 value $30 (28 days)
5GB data, $1000 value $40 (month)
10GB data, unlimited calls and texts $70 (month)

Source: Telstra website

Above is just an indication, but to get the best bang for buck with Telstra, you usually have to be willing to hop on a 12 month postpaid contract, and also spend $40 or more a month. However, where Telstra loses out, it makes up for with Telstra Air data and other perks. These perks include things like data-free music streaming, data bonuses, extra data in off-peak hours and so on.

Optus SIM-Only (BYO) Phone Plans

Optus is much the same as Telstra in the sense that you generally pay more for the amount of data you get compared to smaller service providers, but the trade-off is you can get a range of bonuses in turn.

What’s Included Price (Billing period)
500MB data, unlimited calls and texts for $2 a day $10 (30 days)
8GB data, unlimited calls and texts, 300 international minutes $40 (month)
20GB data, unlimited calls and texts, 500 international minutes $70 (month)

Source: Optus website

Most Optus plans come with unlimited calls and texts. Beyond that, with most plans you also get extra perks like data-free music streaming, international call inclusions, as well as data bonuses. To get the most ‘bang for buck’ you usually have to opt for a 12 month postpaid contract, but there is still merit in getting a prepaid plan for ultimate control and flexibility.

Vodafone SIM-Only (BYO) Phone Plans

Vodafone offers much the same type of BYO mobile deals as Telstra and Optus, but also comes with the benefit of being able to create your own plan using its MyMix prepaid service. MyMix plans can be had from as little as around $8 and you can then build upon this base price.

What’s Included Price (Billing period)
2GB data, unlimited calls and texts including international texts $30 (month)
6GB data, unlimited calls and texts including international texts $40 (month)
11GB data, unlimited calls and texts including international texts $60 (month)

Source: Vodafone website

Vodafone generally includes much higher data allowances and bonuses, or at least the option to. With Vodafone you can usually go two ways – get more international inclusions or get more data. This option is usually reserved for 12 month postpaid contracts only. Like with Optus and Telstra, this is where a lot of ‘bang for buck’ can be found, but for flexibility and ultimate control, Vodafone does also offer several prepaid plans starting from just $10.

Which SIM-only plan is right for me?

After reviewing an array of SIM-only phone plans in a variety of price brackets, you’d be forgiven for being confused as to what to shoot for. There are a few questions you will need to answer for yourself before jumping into a new plan.

  • What phone network do I prefer? There are three phone networks in Australia – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, with TPG set to launch its own network in future. Smaller service providers use one or more of these networks to deliver their services.
  • What inclusions do I need? There is little point paying for unlimited calls and texts if you’re not going to make the most of them. Likewise, give serious thought to how much data you actually need.
  • What is my budget? If you’re bound by a budget like most of us, compare plans in a particular price segment and search for the best value you can get for your money.

At the end of the day, a SIM-only plan is a great choice if you want the freedom to choose your phone or you’re after more variety in plan offerings – the choice of which plan, however, is completely up to you! We hope you find this comparison page helpful.

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