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Your Phone Plan Questions Answered

You may have noticed we rate prepaid plans, postpaid SIM-only plans and phones on a plan. So what do these mean? A simple explanation is below:

  • Prepaid: You load credit, pay first and then go. By default, these plans are contract-free, and credit can run out unless you manually recharge. Expiry periods can also vary, from one to 365 days! Popular prepaid providers include ALDI Mobile, Amaysim and Kogan Mobile.  
  • Postpaid, SIM-only: This is where it gets tricky. Postpaid means you are debited every month, which means you can’t just pick up a SIM card at a convenience store. Postpaid plans can come either on a monthly, 6-month or 12-month contract, and you are usually subject to a credit and ID check when signing up. If you run out of credit, it is automatically topped up, usually to the tune of $10/1GB data. Popular providers here include Jeenee Mobile, Moose Mobile, Amaysim (can be either prepaid or postpaid) and Optus. 
  • Phones on a Plan: As the name suggests, these plans come with a phone bundled in, usually over a 24 month contract, and are ‘postpaid’ by default. 12-month and 36-month contracts are also becoming more popular. Often, to get the latest phones you have to be willing to spend $70+ a month, with some plans costing over $100 a month. Popular providers include Optus, Telstra, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile. Woolworths Mobile also allows you to bundle in some phones.

All in all, these points are generally arranged in order from least commitment to most commitment. With prepaid, you can come and go as you please; SIM-only deals are postpaid, direct-debited, and you will likely have to contact your provider directly to cancel your plan; and phones on a plan usually carry a lengthy contract of around two years.

The cheapest plans for the newest iPhones hover around the $70 mark. You have the traditional big three providers – Telstra, Vodafone and Optus – as well as some smaller providers.

While iPhone X plans are closer to $100 a month, iPhone 8 plans are usually somewhat cheaper. With these plans you’ll have to look at what goes into the price – often it’s more than just data, calls and texts. Telcos often include extra stuff such as Apple Music memberships, data-free Netflix and music streaming, entertainment packs, and more.

These days, it’s not hard to find cheap plans for $10 or under with 1GB data on board. In fact, it’s become quite the norm, with most providers also including unlimited calls and texts. Providers worth keeping an eye out for include:

Keep in mind that some providers, such as OVO, are prepaid, which can be good for those who don’t want to incur any automatic top-ups. You should also be aware that to get the tip-top deals, you may have to sign up to a 6 or 12-month contract.

Phone Plans $30 and Under

For less than the price of a ticket to the footy, $30 can get you a great monthly mobile deal. Realistically, you can expect to get unlimited calls and texts, plus around 5GB of data each month. Once again, providers worth looking out for are:

One of the take-home messages here is that to get the best deals, you may have to sign up for 6 or 12 months – but there are still great contract-free offers out there. Also note that the four providers listed above are just some of the telcos regularly offering good deals – there are often a lot more to choose from.

If it’s data you crave, you have a fair few options. A number of providers offer lots of data for a comparatively small price – the catch being that you get the 3G data spectrum only. Usually you can get 90GB for $70 or so each month, and providers worth keeping an eye out for are:

These providers operate on the Optus network, and include unlimited calls & texts. However, once again, only 3G data is offered, instead of the faster 4G or 4G Plus. If you desire something more high-speed, there are some great large data plans out there, but expect to pay more. See the below tab for more information.

If you want 100GB of data on your phone plan, but with 4G speeds, you need to be willing to spend the big bucks. You may also need to bundle in a phone, but at these prices the phone is often included at no extra cost. Providers worth looking at are:

Overall, 100GB for around $80 -$130 seems to be the going rate, and you will likely have to go with the big guys here. However, it’s more than just data; often you’ll get extra stuff such as data-free Netflix and music, streaming bundles, entertainment packs, and even Foxtel and other goodies. If you have a mammoth budget and an appetite for data, the big telcos do reward you.

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