The cheapest mobile plans in Australia

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Have you ever thought you’re paying too much for the mobile phone service you receive? A lot of people question their phone plan’s value, but Canstar Blue research has found that only one in ten Aussies have switched providers over a 12 month period. This means many of you are likely overpaying for your calls, text and data each month.

To get the best deal, you’ll usually have to choose a SIM-Only plan (i.e. not bundled with a phone) from one of the many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) that use the wholesale Telstra, Optus or Vodafone networks for cheap phone plans. These plans can come in either a prepaid or postpaid format.

Our industry research on the average cost of a mobile phone plan found that prepaid mobile users spend an average of $28 per month with their service, while postpaid users spend $43. Consider how this compares to your normal spending and see if any of the plans featured below might offer you better value. So, what are Australia’s cheapest phone plans? We’ll compare both prepaid plans and postpaid plans to help you save some cash.

Hit a link below to jump to some cheap offers, or keep scrolling for a selection of standout deals from our database:

Cheap mobile plans – a quick summary

If you’re looking for some good deals, especially with more data, the following table shows a selection of plans with 20GB or more of data as published 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 phone plan comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

 

The Top 5 cheapest phone plans in Australia

Before we jump into comparing phone plans at different price points, here’s a list of some of the cheapest mobile phone plans from Canstar Blue’s database with unlimited calls across prepaid and postpaid:

Provider Plan Price Data
Tangerine 1GB Mobile SIM $9.90 1GB
Dodo $10 SIM Only $10 2GB
Southern Phone Small plan $10 2GB
Pennytel Extra Small 1GB $10.99 1GB
Amaysim Unlimited 2GB Prepaid $12 2GB

 

Cheap mobile plans under $10

Looking to save some cash with a cheap phone plan to pair with the new budget smartphone that you’ve decided to buy outright? The good news is that there are some great prepaid and postpaid phone plans available for $10 or less. While you might think that $10 won’t get you much in terms of included value, you might be surprised. You can also pick up some great phone plans for kids and equally excellent phone plans for seniors around this price point.

What to expect from a $10 plan

  • Some of the cheapest phone plans might restrict your national call value, rather than offering unlimited calls — consider if this call value is enough for you.
  • Generally you can expect around 1GB of data at this price point, but is that enough for you? If you only use data for occasional web browsing, it might be enough.
  • Some of these plans will run on 5, 7 or 10-day billing cycles, meaning you’ll have to recharge a few times a month. This is fine for travellers or if you’re looking for a short-term, temporary plan, but it probably won’t be ideal if you want this plan long-term. You can still grab a plan at $10 or under that runs on a monthly billing cycle.

If you’re looking into prepaid providers, you can find plans on a range of billing cycles from telcos including Amaysim, Yomojo and LycaMobile. Both Telstra and Optus offer $10 prepaid plans, but these are on shorter expiry periods.

Prefer postpaid? You can pick up cheap plans for $10 or less on a range of billing cycles from telcos including Exetel, Dodo and Moose Mobile.

Prepaid Plans Under $10

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $10 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Compare more cheap prepaid mobile plans using our comparison tool. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Postpaid Plans Under $10

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $10 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Compare more cheap postpaid mobile plans using our comparison tool. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Cheap mobile plans under $20

Have a bit more in the budget? Jumping up to plans for $20 or less can give you significantly more inclusions. You’ll also see a few more telcos in the mix if you’re looking in this price range, which gives you even more plans and providers to choose from.

What to expect from a $20 plan

  • At these price points, you can generally expect unlimited standard national calls and some will include international call inclusions too.
  • As for your data, what the telcos offer really varies around this price range, with inclusions starting at 1GB and going up to around 8GB.

If you’re interested in prepaid phone plans for $20 or less, there are even more providers to choose from including ALDI Mobile, Catch Connect, Kogan, TPG, Woolworths Mobile and Lebara.

Likewise with postpaid, there are a wider range of telcos offering plans around this mark around $20 or less, including Southern Phone, Spintel, TeleChoice, Bendigo Telco, Vaya and Dodo.

Prepaid Plans Under $20

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $20 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by standard data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our mobile phone comparison tool to see a wider range of prepaid plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Postpaid Plans Under $20

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $20 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by standard data allowance, largest to smallest. Compare postpaid mobile plans from a wider range of providers using our comparison tool. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Cheap mobile plans under $40

Moderate to heavy phone users can expect some good deals at the $20-$40 mark. While $40 per month might seem a bit steep, it can definitely be worth the price tag if you like lots of data and even entertainment extras included. This is also the price point where Vodafone and Optus start introducing SIM-only postpaid plans in addition to prepaid plans.

What to expect from a $40 plan

  • The data inclusions around these prices can really vary from telco to telco, with the average around 10GB, and you definitely see a bit more competition.
  • Most telcos offer plans at these price points across both prepaid and postpaid, and you can expect many of the cheaper providers to offer their top-level plans for under $50.

Prepaid Plans Under $40

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $40 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by standard data allowance, largest to smallest. If you want to see a wider range of plans from other providers our phone plan comparison tool can help. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Postpaid Plans Under $40

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $40 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by standard data allowance, largest to smallest. If you want to see a wider range of plans from other providers our phone plan comparison tool can help. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Cheap mobile plans under $80

You might think that $80 isn’t cheap, but it depends on what you’re looking for in a phone plan. Generally at these price points, you’re looking at phone plans with huge data allowances. These plans are ideal for people who use their phone a lot, especially for video streaming.

What to expect from a $80 plan

  • Considering that one hour of standard-definition Netflix streaming uses around 1GB of your data, its clear why there is a market for big data plans, especially if you like to stream video on your daily commute.
  • Some telcos, namely Telstra and Optus, offer some pretty generous extras, such as data-free sports streaming, although these plans tend to be priced a bit higher than MVNO competitors.
  • You can also score unlimited data from $40 with Vodafone, $45 with Optus and $55 with Telstra, but your data speed is capped after you use up your included allowance of high-speed data each month.

So, just how much data can you get for $80? The good news is that you can pick up either prepaid or postpaid phone plans with big chunks of data for under $80. Some telcos will offer these generous plans with 3G data only, but for our comparison, we’re taking a look at plans with access to 4G networks.

Prepaid Plans Under $80

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $80 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Try using our phone plan comparison tool to see a wider range of prepaid plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Postpaid Plans Under $80

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $80 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our mobile plan comparison tool to compare from a larger range of postpaid plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Cheap iPhone 13 Plans

Apple’s iPhone 13 range landed in September of 2021. The following table lists a selection of published 24-month plans for the 128GB iPhone 13 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This table includes products with links to a referral partner.

If you’re looking for the absolute cheapest way to get your hands on the iPhone 13, you might have to make some compromises. All three of the big telcos offer options for your plan length, with cheaper prices generally on a 36-month plan compared to the 24 or 12-month options. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all offer plans on 12, 24 and 36-month payment periods. Keep in mind, with these longer plans you will be paying the same amount for your device as on the 12 or 24-month contracts.

The cheapest way to get a 128GB iPhone 13

Telco Mobile Plan Monthly Handset Cost for iPhone 13 Total Monthly Plan Cost Total Cost
Vodafone $40 Lite Plan $37.47 $77.47 $2,788.92 over 36 months
Optus $45 Small Choice Plus Plan $37.46 $82.46 $2,968.56 over 36 months
Telstra $55 Small Plan $37.47 $92.47 $3,328.92 over 36 months
Prices correct as of November 2021.

Cheap Samsung Galaxy S22 5G Plans

If Samsung is more your thing, the 2022 range of Samsung Galaxy devices will give you plenty of choice. All three of the Samsung Galaxy S22 devices are 5G-capable, and available from telcos including Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, and Woolworths Mobile.

The following table lists a selection of published 24-month plans for the 128GB Samsung Galaxy S22 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. If you want to more that just Samsung plans, use our comparison tool to compare mobile plans from a range of providers. This table includes products with links to a referral partner.

Like with the iPhone 13, you can pick up the Samsung Galaxy S22 at a cheaper price than listed above, but there are compromises. If you’re considering Telstra, Vodafone or Optus, device repayments can be split over 12, 24 or 36 months, Woolworths Mobile offers plans over 24 or 36-month payment periods, while Southern Phone offers 24 months only. Opting for the 36 months will give you a cheaper monthly price, but you will pay the same overall.

The cheapest way to get a 128GB Samsung Galaxy S22

Telco Mobile Plan Monthly Handset Cost for Galaxy S22 Total Monthly Plan Cost Total Cost
Woolworths Mobile $25 Plan $37 $62 $2,232 over 36 months
Vodafone $40 Lite Plan $34.69 $74.69 $2,688.84 over 36 months
Optus $45 Small Choice Plan $34.68 $79.68 $2,868.48 over 36 months
Telstra $55 Small Plan $34.69 $89.69 $3,228.84 over 36 months
Prices correct as of March 2022

Cheap pay-as-you-go (PAYG) plans

There are a number of prepaid providers offering cheap phone plans for under $10 per month, or with very short expiry periods of just 7-10 days. However, the first lesson to learn here is that cheapest does not mean best, because these cheap plans come with minimal inclusions, sometimes with no data. They are often simple pay-as-you-go (PAYG) plans, where you get the dollar value that you pay for. You will likely require more than these plans can offer, but if your usage requirements are modest, there are some cheap options.

The Pros and Cons of cheap phone plans

Just because a plan is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best plan for you. Here are some of the pros and cons you might want to consider about cheap phone plans. In this instance, we’re talking about plans that are $30 per month or less.

Pros:

  • They’re cheap — obviously!
  • Plenty of choices of SIM-only prepaid and postpaid plans
  • Data inclusions at cheaper prices can be rather generous and suit many users

Cons:

  • Not great for big data users
  • Might not include any extras such as entertainment or international calls
  • Only available as SIM-only (no new smartphone included)

A competitive market means cheaper mobile plans for you

The good news is that the phone plan market has never been more competitive. Not only do customers have the choice of the big name telcos, but also a huge number of smaller telcos, all vying for your business. However, while everyone likes to save money, the cheapest plans aren’t going to suit everyone.

The bigger telcos might offer the flashier extras and bonuses, but the smaller telcos are trying to win customers over by offering more data at cheaper prices. This has been much more noticeable in recent years as the competition heats up and telcos continually add on more data to plans and lower prices. Plans between $20-$30 and with around 10GB of data or more are now widely available.

The cheapest phone plans come from smaller telcos

You will find these cheaper plans come from smaller telcos, known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). Some of these telcos might be unfamiliar names and, understandably, you could feel hesitant about signing up to a lesser-known provider. While it’s important to note that you won’t get the exact same service as you would signing up to the big three telcos (which all own and operate their own mobile network), the MVNOs typically still have a wide network range, and will use one of the three mobile networks to deliver services.

Typically the MVNOs will only have access to parts of these networks, often not including 5G networks (with only a small number of MVNOs offering plans on the Optus 5G network), so you’ll want to check network coverage on the website of your chosen telco before signing up. How much of the networks are made available to MVNOs will differ between the network providers.

What you can expect from a cheap plan with a smaller provider is a straightforward product, usually with great value for money. Extras such as international calls will typically be included on more expensive plans — if they’re available at all— so you’ll need to keep in mind if the simple call, SMS and data inclusions are all you require on a plan or not.

How to choose the best cheap phone plan

When it comes to choosing a phone plan, the key to comparing plans — considering most plans include unlimited standard national calls and SMS — is how much mobile data is offered. It’s a great indication as to which telcos offer what value for money.

The most important thing to consider is data

Data inclusions are perhaps the most important part of a plan for many of us — it lets us check maps, upload to social media and stream video on the go and without the need for WiFi. That’s why knowing how much mobile data you actually need on your plan will help you to determine if a cheap plan will have enough gigabytes for you.

Check the data usage on your current plan

One of the easiest ways to work out how much data you use is to check your current mobile plan — you can either check your mobile bill, or log in to your account on the website or via the telco’s app (if applicable). Usually you can check or monitor your usage by logging into your account. Check back during different billing cycles, or look at old bills, to work out how much you typically use on average.

Check your device to see how much mobile data your apps use

Most devices should offer this information in some form (Apple’s iOS shows how much over a certain period of time, which could be for as long as you’ve had your phone) — simply go to your device’s settings and find the ‘mobile data’ section to see what information is available (navigating to this will vary between devices).

What kind of mobile user are you?

  • Light user — you mostly use your phone when connected to a WiFi network, however when you’re using mobile data, you occasionally use maps, browse the web and check emails, only for a few hours per month (less than 10 hours per month): requires 1GB to 10GB of data.
  • Moderate user — you use WiFi but are also out of the house frequently and rely on mobile data for regular social media checking, web browsing, emails, music streaming and occasional video streaming for several hours each week (around 20 hours per month): requires 10GB to 40GB data.
  • Heavy user — you use mobile data every day for several hours and for activities like video streaming, gaming, social media, music streaming and general web browsing: requires 50GB data or more.

Once you have a clearer picture of how much data you need, you’ll know which data inclusions to look for when you compare phone plans. Heavy users will of course need to fork out a bit more cash for a higher data plan, while light and moderate users can easily find cheap plans with the right amount of data for their needs.

If you’ve signed up to a cheap plan that doesn’t have enough data for your usage requirements, you could find yourself paying excess data charges or constantly recharging your prepaid plan, and suddenly the plan isn’t so cheap. Be realistic about how much you’ll need, and look for plans with the right data inclusions for you.

Do cheap phone plans have a catch?

You might look at a cheap phone plan and think that what it’s offering is too good to be true, and it very well may be. A couple of the key things you’ll need to be on the lookout for with a cheap plan is the plan length and any limitations on inclusions.

Check the expiry period

The cheapest prepaid phone plans are often offered on a short expiry period of around seven days. That means you’ll need to recharge your plan at least four times a month and suddenly it isn’t so cheap.

Are there any limits on calls or SMS?

Another thing to look out for is if the plan has limitations on calls and/or SMS. While it’s not very common anymore (and unlimited standard national calls and SMS is offered by default from most telcos), there are still a few cheap prepaid and postpaid plans floating around with limited minutes for phone calls. If you make a lot of calls, you might want to look at plans with unlimited calls.

Try a plan out before committing long term

If you’re unsure about signing up to a cheap plan from a smaller provider, look for plans where there aren’t any cancellation or early exit fees — such as prepaid plans or month-to-month postpaid plans — so you can cancel your plan if you’re unhappy or if it isn’t meeting your needs. But be sure to check the plan’s critical information summary for any exit or cancellation fees or other catches, before signing up.

Otherwise cheap phone plans can offer some great value for money — just make sure the plan suits your needs.

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