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The Latest Phone Plans Compared

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Compare Samsung Phone Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Samsung Galaxy S20 5G plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Compare iPhone Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 64GB iPhone 11 Pro plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Compare Postpaid SIM-Only Plans

The following table shows a selection of comparable postpaid SIM-only plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Compare Prepaid Plans

The following table shows a selection of comparable prepaid SIM-only plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Compare Phone Plans on Customer Satisfaction & Price

How our phone comparison service works

At Canstar Blue, we compare a range of mobile phone plans from all the major providers to help you find the best offer for your needs.

By using our comparison tool, you’ll be able to compare phone plans depending on what type of plan you want — prepaid, postpaid or phone on a plan. Once you’ve chosen what plan type you wish to compare, you can then filter by providers, price and data inclusions. Our comparison service also includes a unique value score feature, which is generated by our expert methodology to determine the overall value of a phone plan, not just based on the cheapest plan.

To help you compare, we also have a range of articles and guides so you can better-understand the difference between the various types of mobile plans and providers. You’ll also find reviews of the newest smartphones and industry news to keep you up to date with everything going on in the world of mobile phones and technology — including the best new deals and any price changes you need to know about.

Meet our telco experts

Simon
Simon Downes
Editor-in-Chief & PR Manager
Tara
Tara Donnelly
Telco Editor
Emma
Emma Bradstock
Telco Specialist
Melissa
Melissa Martens
Telco Data Analyst
Mitch
Mitch Watson
Group Manager, Research & Ratings
Henry
Henry Harbeck
Telco Research Analyst

Your Phone Plan Questions Answered

What is the best phone plan?

The best phone plan for you will be the one that has the right balance between price, inclusions and contract length, as well as the plan type itself and even the network provider. There are more than 30 reputable plan providers out there, so it’s worth keeping your options open and shopping around for the right deal.

Here are some things to consider when considering which plan is best for you:

  • Do you need a new smartphone with your plan? If so, you’ll only have four or five providers to pick from, depending on the brand of phone you want. If you don’t need a phone, there’s 30 plus telcos offering good SIM-only plans.
  • What is your preferred type of payment? If you prefer to pay upfront for what you’ll use, then a prepaid plan is the way to go. But if you like the idea of paying for what you use at the end of the month, a postpaid plan is probably right for you.
  • What about contracts? Would you prefer to keep it month-to-month and chase the best deals whenever you want? Or would you like to lock-in a competitive deal for a year or two, given that committing to a telco usually sees you rewarded with better value. Big decision!
  • Do you want to try 5G, or are you happy with 4G network coverage? Only the major providers have 5G networks – and coverage is limited to certain areas of big cities – whereas you can score 4G coverage with any mobile carrier. Also keep in mind that only certain phones are capable of accessing 5G.
  • Which mobile network do you want to use? Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all operate their own mobile networks in Australia, with Telstra generally considered to have the most comprehensive in regional areas. However, if you live in a big city, then Optus and Vodafone should have you well covered. Going with Telstra usually means a higher cost. Keep in mind that all the other mobile carriers pay to use one of the big networks.

When you start to think about it, there’s actually a lot to consider when it comes to picking a new plan, especially if you’re going with a new carrier for the first time.

You might want to set yourself a budget and compare plans within that price range. Also consider how much data you’ll need on your plan. If you don’t use your phone data much, you might look at plans with around 1-5GB of data. If you like streaming video on the go, you might need a phone plan with lots of included data, with some plans even including over 100GB.

If you’re looking at buying a new phone on a plan, your first starting point when comparing plans should be the device and storage size you want. Then you can take a look at which telcos are offering your phone of choice and what plans are available with the phone.

How to switch phone plans

The first thing to say is that switching phone plans has become incredibly easy in recent years, so don’t be put off by the process. It can take just a matter of moments to switch your phone number from one provider to another. See below for a guide to switching plans.

Switching to a new mobile plan

If you’re keeping your phone and going SIM-only, you’ll want to make sure you know your device’s SIM card size before you swap. Most providers now offer a three-in-one SIM so you’re able to easily pop out the right size for your device, but you’ll find most newer phones are compatible with the smallest Nano SIM size.

You’ll also need to double check that your phone is network unlocked. Almost all 4G-capable phones will be fine to use on a different network, but if you bought your device on a prepaid plan from a telco you may need to check with your provider before you switch.

If you want to keep your current phone number, you’ll be able to take it with you to a new plan and provider – but only if you don’t cancel your old plan before you switch over. Your new service will cancel the old one automatically if you’re keeping your number, but terminating your existing plan too soon could mean you lose your digits forever.

Once you’ve picked your new plan, the next steps are easy.

  1. Order your new SIM card and plan from your intended telco’s website, or buy in-store (you can pick up SIM starter packs for many telcos from supermarkets and retail stores).
  2. Once it arrives, remove the SIM card slot from the side of your phone, and pop out the existing SIM.
  3. Pop out your new SIM card and insert it into the slot – you may need a few tries to get it to fit the right way – and insert the SIM slot back in your phone.
  4. Have your phone turned on, and begin the activation process. Many SIM cards come with activation keys or codes you’ll need to enter, or you may receive a text from your new provider with the details.
  5. Follow the instructions given to you by your new provider, and have a valid form of ID ready. You may be directed to your new telco’s website to complete activation and sign-up online.
  6. If you want to keep your current phone number, you’ll have the option to ‘port’ your number during this activation process.
  7. Once you’ve completed setup, your new SIM and plan should be ready to go, although providers advise that it may take up to four hours for your new service to be fully activated. If you’re porting over your number, you may need to wait longer, especially if you switch your plan outside of business hours.

If you’re picking up a smartphone on a brand new SIM plan, the above steps also apply – you just won’t need to remove an older SIM card from your new device’s card slot.

More information on SIM cards and switching mobile plans can be found in the below guides.

Types of Phone Plans

When you’re choosing a new phone plan, you’ll need to decide if you want a SIM-only plan or if you’d prefer a plan bundled with a new mobile phone.

What is a SIM-only phone plan?

SIM-only plans are simply mobile plans that include a SIM card to use in your existing handset, rather than buying a new phone as part of the deal. SIM-only plans can be either prepaid or postpaid.

The great thing about a SIM-only plan is that it gives you more flexibility and freedom. If you choose to buy a handset outright, you will own the phone and won’t be locked into a device contract.

What is a phone on a plan?

A phone on a plan is when you receive a phone bundled with a postpaid phone plan. These plans are mostly over 12, 24 or 36-month payment periods. Your monthly bill is the cost of your chosen postpaid plan, plus the repayment cost of your smartphone. The price you pay each month for your phone depends on the storage size, overall device price, and length of payment plan.

The postpaid plan you bundle with will most likely have a set amount of data, calls, texts and any other extras on offer from the telco. Like any postpaid phone plan, you might be charged excess usage fees if you go over your inclusions, especially your data allowance.

Choosing a phone on a plan is great if you want a new smartphone but don’t have the money to buy it outright. The downside is that you’ll typically be locked into a one, two or three-year contract for your device and unable to switch plans or providers without paying termination fees. You’ll also have less choice of providers and your monthly phone bill can easily cost over $100 per month, depending on the phone you choose.

What are postpaid phone plans?

Postpaid mobile plans are plans that see you billed at the end of the month for the calls, texts and data you’ve used. Because the amount you pay depends on your usage, you could be charged more if you exceed your plan’s standard inclusions. Postpaid plans can be SIM-only or include a new handset.

Postpaid phone plans can be month-to-month or on a contract over 12 months, or longer. Month-to-month plans usually don’t include termination fees if you decide to switch phone plans or providers.

What are prepaid phone plans?

Prepaid mobile plans are plans that you pay for upfront at the start of the month or expiry period. Paying upfront means you’ll have a set amount of calls, texts and data to use within that expiry period, but if you reach these limits before the end of the billing period, your service will be cut off and you’ll need to recharge your plan at an extra cost. Some prepaid plans include an automatic recharge so you don’t need to worry about having no service if you forget to recharge at the end of your expiry period.

Plans can run for as short as a week (a great option for overseas visitors or short-term use) or as long as a year. This varies greatly between providers, so keep an eye out for these expiry periods when you’re comparing prepaid plans. A cheap $10 deal might only last you for seven days – then it’s not so cheap if you’re recharging several times a month.

Should I buy a phone outright or on a plan?

When you’re deciding whether to buy a new phone on a plan or outright, keep in mind there are pros and cons to both, and the choice really depends on your situation.

Buying outright

If you choose to buy a phone outright, the benefit is that you’re not locked into a contract and have more freedom and choice of SIM-only plans. Of course the downside is that depending on which phone you choose, you could pay upwards of $1,000 for your smartphone. Premium devices such as iPhones and some Samsung Galaxy phones can even cost around $2,000, so you’ll need to work out if this upfront price is something you can afford. Of course there are some great smartphones under $1,000 which may be more affordable.

Buying on a plan

Buying a phone on a plan saves that upfront device cost, instead spreading your device payment over 12, 24 or 36 months. The payment period or contract length differs from telco to telco. For example, Optus and Vodafone offer phone payment periods over 12, 24 and 36 months, while Telstra offers 12 or 24 months and Woolworths Mobile offers 24 and 36 months. The longer the contract, the less you’ll pay for your device each month, but you will be stuck on that plan for two or even three years, with cancellations usually requiring you to pay off the remainder of your device.

Consider your financial situation and take a look at your budget to help determine what the best option is for you. Also consider that when you buy a phone on a plan, you’ll be restricted to the choice of postpaid plans offered by that one provider. Therefore, you’ll also need to consider which telco is best for you in terms of plan prices, data inclusions and mobile coverage.

Mobile networks in Australia

When you’re choosing the best phone plan for your needs, you might also need to consider which mobile network your phone plan will be using.

In Australia, there are three mobile networks: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. These networks offer 3G, 4G and 5G network coverage, however you might find access to these networks depends on where you live and what your phone is capable of connecting to.

In addition to Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, there are lots of other smaller telcos which offer phone plans. These are known as MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) and each of these MVNOs use either the Telstra, Optus or Vodafone networks to deliver their services. In most cases, these smaller providers don’t receive access to the entire network. For example, the 5G networks operated by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are not available on plans offered by an MVNO.

The best way to find out which network and which telco is right for you, is to visit the website of your telco of choice and check the network coverage map. This should give you some indication as to whether you have that network coverage in your area. If you live in a rural or regional community, your options for coverage might be limited.

For more information and plans available on these networks, you can read more here:

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Apple’s iPhones are some of the most popular smartphones in Australia. If you’re looking at picking up a new iPhone on a mobile phone plan, you’ll be limited to Telstra, Vodafone and Optus if you want the latest iPhone on a plan.

iPhones are not the cheapest smartphones around. The iPhone SE released in 2020, is Apple’s more ‘affordable’ iPhone, however it’s still rather pricey. This device is available for around $60 per month on a 24-month plan.

The more premium iPhone, the iPhone 11, can cost closer to that $90 per month mark if you’re looking at a 24-month plan. While iPhone 11 Pro plans are closer to $100 a month. With these plans you’ll have to look at what goes into the price – often it’s more than just the data, calls and texts. Telcos often include extra stuff such as data-free sports and music streaming, entertainment extras, and more.

Samsung Galaxy S20 in blue

The most popular alternative to the iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone range offers something for almost everyone — from low and mid-priced devices such as the Galaxy A series, to premium handsets. However, the Galaxy S series is undoubtedly Samsung’s flagship device range, and the current Galaxy S20 range (including the S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra) are some of this year’s most sought after Android-powered phones in Australia.

You can pick up the S20 range on postpaid plans through Telstra, Vodafone, Optus, Woolworths Mobile, Southern Phone and TeleChoice. Depending on your choice of plan and payment term, expect to pay prices from $60-ish per month, up to well over $100. Lower-data plans and longer repayment periods will result in smaller monthly payments, with Woolworths Mobile generally offering some the cheapest options. However, if you like big data and plan extras, you may prefer a pricier plan from Vodafone, Telstra, or Optus.

How Canstar Blue compares phone plans

Canstar Blue compares hundreds of phone plans from more than 30 service providers across Australia to help you find a better deal. Prices are updated as soon as we are made aware of changes. We also publish customer satisfaction ratings based on different plan types to help you compare providers on factors including customer service, billing, and value for money.

Our mobile plan comparison service includes a unique ‘value score’ feature that lists plans based on which offer the best overall value, rather than just the cheapest prices. The value score is a rating out of 10, combining price and features data to help you make an informed decision about your next provider. Click here for more details on our pricing and value scores methodology.

Our comparison service includes phone plans and prices from over 30 providers. They are:

  • ALDI Mobile
  • Amaysim
  • Belong
  • Bendigo Telco
  • Boost Mobile
  • Catch Connect
  • Circles.Life
  • Coles Mobile
  • Dodo
  • Exetel
  • GoTalk
  • Hello Mobile
  • iiNet
  • iPrimus
  • Kogan
  • Lebara
  • Lycamobile
  • Moose Mobile
  • Optus
  • Pennytel
  • Southern Phone
  • SpinTel
  • Tangerine Telecom
  • TeleChoice
  • Telstra
  • Think Mobile
  • TPG
  • Vaya
  • Vodafone
  • Woolworths Mobile
  • Yomojo

Our phone plan comparison tool is free to use, and we’ll never ask for your phone number or personal details.

How to use our phone plan comparison service

Canstar Blue exists to help you compare mobile plans on both price and overall value. By selecting your desired monthly data and call allowance, your preferred plan type and smartphone model (where applicable), you’ll receive a selection of plans and prices that match your preferences, taken from our list of Australian providers.

Screenshot of mobile phone plan comparison tool on Canstar Blue website

To compare, select the plan type you’re looking for from the options on the left: either phone on a plan, SIM-only prepaid, or SIM-only postpaid. If you’re looking for a phone and plan, you can select your preferred model from the drop-down menu in the centre. You’re also able to compare specific providers under the Provider menu. If you want to see plans from all listed providers, you don’t need to click this option.

You can then use the sliders on the right of the comparison tool to select how much data and how many minutes and SMS you’ll need each month. You have the option of filtering your results to only show plans which feature a link to a referral partner’s website – this option can be toggled on or off at the bottom of the tool. Once you’ve made your adjustments, hit the green Compare button, and you’ll be taken to your matching list of plans.

Once the screen loads, you can make further changes to your requirements (including adjusting inclusions and monthly pricing), as well as change your plan type or your preferred providers. You can also sort your results by Canstar Blue’s value score, as well as brand, advertised cost, included data, satisfaction score, and more.

If you find a plan you like, you can see more in-depth information by selecting the blue More Details link. This will bring up additional plan, billing and account management information. To go to a provider’s website for further information, click the green Go To Site button featured on plans from Canstar Blue’s referral partners.

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Want to know more? Look at our phone guides!

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