Our mobile phones are as much an essential part of our monthly expenses as any other utility. However, not all phone plans are created equal. You might be wondering if you’re paying a little ‘too much’ for your phone bill, although price doesn’t always equal value when it comes to phone plans.
So, if you’re wondering what the average Aussie pays for their phone bill — whether you’re looking for a new plan or you’re setting a household budget — in this guide we’ll take a look at prepaid, postpaid and phone on a plan options and how much Aussies pay on average and by state/territory, plus which data allowances are most popular. This guide uses research conducted by Canstar Blue, taken from our customer satisfaction ratings for prepaid and postpaid SIM plans (published in 2020) and phone on a plan (published in 2021).
Average phone bill: Prepaid phone plans
In 2020, the average Australian prepaid phone bill is $29 per month, which works out to be $348 each year. Customers in South Australia and the ACT paid less for their prepaid plan over the monthly average, while those in Tasmania paid more than the average. Typically you will need to pay more for your plan if you want more data included, which could account for why those in Tasmania are paying slightly more on average if they have greater data needs. Let’s take a look at the average prepaid bills by state and territory:
- Queensland: $28
- New South Wales: $31
- Victoria: $28
- South Australia: $26
- Western Australia: $28
- Tasmania: $36
- Australian Capital Territory: $26
The same research report found that 10% of respondents have 10GB to 14.99GB of data included, 9% have 3GB to 4.99GB data included and 8% have 2GB to 2.99GB of data included. 12% claim to not have any data included and 13% are unsure of their data inclusions.
Keep in mind with prepaid that plans run on different expiry periods — usually 28 or 30 days. There are also short-term plans such as seven days, or long-term plans that can run over 12 months.
If you want to compare prepaid phone plans, the following table includes a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database costing $40 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.
Average phone bill: Postpaid phone plans
Customers who choose a SIM-only postpaid plan tend to pay more a month, on average, than those with a prepaid plan. The average postpaid phone plan in Australia is $41 per month — that’s $492 per year. Once again, we see that customers in South Australia are paying less than the average each month for postpaid and those in the Tasmania are paying slightly more than the national average for their plans. Here is a breakdown of the average postpaid phone bill by state and territory:
- Queensland: $40
- New South Wales: $43
- Victoria: $41
- South Australia: $38
- Western Australia: $42
- Tasmania: $45
- Australian Capital Territory: $43
Of those surveyed, 10% have 30GB to 39.99GB of data included, 9% had 1GB to 1.99GB, another 9% had 10GB to 14.99GB of data, and a further 9% had 50GB to 99.99GB of data. 10% were unsure how much data they had on their plan and 3% claimed to have no data. The popularity of larger data inclusions on postpaid plans may also account for why postpaid customers typically pay more each month for their plan compared to those on prepaid.
The following table includes a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $50 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.
Average phone bill: Phone on a plan
When it comes to phone on a plan, naturally the average bill for customers on this option is more expensive as you’re paying for a phone plan (usually postpaid) and the price of your phone on the one bill. The average phone bill for customers with phone-on-a-plan is $81 per month — that’s $972 over a year. Queenslanders and Tasmanians pay the most on average for their plan, while it’s those in South Australia that pay the least each month. Here is a break down of the average bill for phone on a plan, from each state and territory:
- Queensland: $87
- New South Wales: $82
- Victoria: $77
- South Australia: $72
- Western Australia: $84
- Tasmania: $87
- Australian Capital Territory: $75
These costs are hardly surprising as the most premium smartphones can easily add $50 or more on to your plan costs each month. Also, considering that there are only a small number of telcos offering phone on a plan, there are less options for cheaper plans to bundle with, and plans from the big three providers start at $40 per month for Vodafone, $45 per month for Optus and $55 per month for Telstra.
The same survey, conducted in 2021, found that 14% of respondents had 50GB to 99.99GB of data included in their plan, 8% had 10GB to 14.99GB, and 7% had 20GB to 29.99GB of data included and another 7% had 100GB of data or more. 15% were unsure how much data they had and only 1% claimed to have no included data.
The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Apple iPhone 12 Pro plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wide range of telco providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.
The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Samsung Galaxy S21+ 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 which may contain links to a referral partner.
Am I paying too much for my phone bill?
If you’ve seen any of the above averages and worried that you’re paying too much for your phone bill, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a phone plan. If you’re currently happy with your plan’s price, inclusions and service, you might be happy to stick with the same plan, or look at similar plans from other providers to see if you can get a better deal.
Otherwise if you feel like you are paying too much for your phone bill and want to switch plans, you’ll need to compare phone plans from a range of telcos. Your first step is making sure you know what sort of inclusions you want, especially how much mobile data you need. Consider how much data you use on average with your current plan and go from there. While we’ve already shared a range of phone plans in this guide, there are plenty of other plans and providers that you can compare with our free phone plan comparison tool. Remember that before you sign up to any plan, you should check the information and details of that plan so you’re aware of any fees, setup costs and what you’re signing up for.