2015 – Small Business Mobile Phone Providers Brand Ratings

Posted by Canstar Blue August 17th 2016

These ratings have been archived (2015). For the latest ratings, have a look at the current ratings for small business mobile phone providers.
Starting a business means staying connected, so compare some of the best phone providers with our customer satisfaction ratings to do just that.

See our Ratings Methodology.

2015 Canstar Blue small business mobile phone provider award

Most Satisfied Customers | Optus

We asked our survey respondents to rate their provider across a range of criteria to form our customer satisfaction ratings. And we’re able to report that for the second year running, small business owners have given a resounding ”yes” to Optus.

Is it time for your business to ‘hang up’ on its mobile service provider?

You might think there’s no such thing as loyalty in the cut-throat world of business, but when it comes to mobile phone service providers, it seems many small business owners are willing to make an exception. That’s because almost nine out of ten respondents to our survey of small business owners said they have been with the same service provider for several years. On top of that, a not insignificant 72% went one step further to declare themselves as “loyal” to their operator.

So it begs the question: are business owners paying for their loyalty? Well, despite keeping the same provider for many years, two-thirds of those surveyed are of the opinion that they could probably get a better deal with another service provider. Ultimately, business is all about the bottom line. So it begs another question: why are business owners reluctant to switch? The answer can probably be found in our other survey findings, which provide a glimpse into the hard-working world of Aussie small business owners.

  • 86% use their phone for business purposes outside of normal working hours
  • 33% check their phone for work-related updates in the middle of the night

So it seems the will to get a better deal is there, but perhaps the time isn’t…

Fortunately some small business owners are happy with their mobile service provider. We know this because we asked our survey respondents to rate their provider across a range of criteria to form our customer satisfaction ratings. And we’re able to report that, for the second year running, small business owners have given a resounding ”yes” to Optus.

Beating three of its major competitors to win our Most Satisfied Customers Award is a great result for Optus, which achieved a very strong set of results across the board.

Is your service provider working hard for your business?

On average, small business owners are ringing up bills of $141 per month, our survey found. Whether or not that represents good value is up to the individual because everyone’s phone use will be different – some business owners will find themselves constantly making calls to their clients or suppliers or the like, so call time will be the most important consideration for them. Others might prefer to communicate via email, making data allowance crucial for them. And for some, it might be all about keeping up appearances, making the phone model itself all important.

Whatever the case, an average monthly bill of $141 suggests that many small business owners are regularly exceeding their plan’s limitations and copping lots of extra charges as a result, which is probably another consequence of failing to reviewing the latest offers that are out there. With unlimited calls, texts and data plans becoming increasingly more common, it’s no wonder that 66% of small business owners think they could be getting a better deal by switching…

Survey respondents rated the importance of phone plan features as follows:

  • Call time 36%
  • Data allowance 26%
  • The phone itself 25%
  • Texts 5%

With business owners well split over what plan features are most crucial, it emphasises the importance of shopping around for the right provider to match your specific requirements. We recommend you take the time to learn more about what other service providers offer their business customers. Australia’s biggest service providers offer an impressive array of plans and helpful tools to their business customers, in what’s become a hugely competitive space for the telcos. In addition, a growing number of smaller providers continue to offer great-value deals, even if they are not specifically targeted at businesses. See our brand summary below for details of what the providers included in our findings offer their customers.

What to look for from your mobile service provider

It’s not all about the feature of a phone plan, with lots of other factors going a long way to determining a customer’s overall satisfaction with their service provider. To those who travel a lot, network coverage may be the be-all-and-end-all, while some will look for quality advice and others might only be interested in getting the biggest bang for their business buck.

From our findings, the drivers of satisfaction for small business owners were:

  • Value for money 24%
  • Customer service 18%
  • Clarity of advice 17%
  • Network coverage 12%
  • Billing clarity and accuracy 11%
  • Accessibility of provider 9%
  • Range of phone plans 8%

As the results at the top of the page show, Optus impressed in every one of these areas, only missing out on a five-star rating for its network coverage. Telstra was the only provider to score top marks for coverage, while Vodafone joined Optus in scoring a five-star rating for billing clarity and accuracy.

Frequently asked questions


Optus offers an extensive range of phone and SIM-only plans for business customers, starting at $30 per month if you bring your own mobile. Business plans that include new phones start from $40 and generally run for 24 months, with added costs for handsets. The iPhone 6 on a business plan will set you back $74 per month – the same as the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge.


Vodafone’s Ready Business plans with phones start from $40 per month over 24 months, while its SIM-only plans start from $30 and generally include lots of data use in Australia, plus infinite standard national calls and texts, as well as other inclusions.


Telstra’s Go Business Mobile plans with phones start from $65 per month over 24 months and increase depending on the handset and talk and data allowance chosen. Its Go Business Mobile SIM plans start from $55 per month over 24 months and if you want to bring your own mobile, its GO Business Mobile Casual plan starts from $60 with no lock-in contract.

Virgin Mobile

While it doesn’t advertise any specific plans for businesses, Virgin Mobile offers phone plans with unlimited standards national calls and texts from $80 per month and SIM-only plans with the same unlimited features from $60. Phone plans with limited features start from $30 and SIM-only deals begin from $20.

Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 801 small business owners and decision makers (i.e. the main decision maker for a small business) across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction with products and services related to their business. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who currently have a mobile phone plan from a service provider that is used for business purposes – in this case, 682 small business owners/main decision makers.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.