Expert Picks: Best Value iPhone Plans (December 2019)

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iPhones don’t come cheap, but if you’re absolutely set on a new Apple smartphone, you can still find a great telco deal. The newest iPhones are available on plans from Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone, with each provider offering a range of inclusions and perks for your dollars.

The best plan for you will depend on your own unique usage and budget needs. But if you’re looking for standout iPhone options from each provider, our mobile experts are happy to do the work for you.

How we help you find the best plan

Using Canstar Blue’s unique Value Score, we’ve singled out several plans that combine great features with competitive monthly pricing. This ranking is determined by looking at each plan’s average monthly cost compared with similar plans on the market, as well as functionality and features such as plan inclusions, provider customer service and support, and billing and payment options. Overall, if a plan has a lower cost but better features and inclusions, it’s likely to receive a higher Value Score than a more expensive plan, or one with less features.

The Value Scores for mobile products are displayed on Canstar Blue’s comparison tool, and are the default sort method when searching for mobile plans. Each included plan is given a Value Score of between 0 and 10, with a higher number indicating a better value product. More information on how Canstar Blue’s Value Rank works can be found here.

If you’re searching for an iPhone plan that offers more than just the cheapest monthly price, searching by Value Score is a great way to compare your options. That’s why we’ve highlighted our Expert Picks for the iPhone 11 below. To keep this comparison simple, we’ve looked at 24-month plan options from Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus, although other contract terms are available.

Best Value iPhone Plans December 2019

Best Value Telstra iPhone Plan

$50 Small Plan

Value score: 8.0

Telstra has streamlined its plan range over the last 12 months, and now offers four postpaid plans which can be paired with your choice of iPhone. The telco’s $50 Small plan offers a huge 15GB of full-speed data each month, plus unlimited standard talk and text in Australia. Like Vodafone, Telstra also provides bill shock backup, including unlimited speed-capped data (limited to 1.5Mbps) on all postpaid plans.

The Small plan also features data-free streaming from Apple Music, plus data-free AFL, AFLW, NRL and Netball streaming. Paired with a 64GB iPhone 11 on a 24-month payment plan, and you’ll pay $99.95 per month ($2,398.80 over 24 months). This pricing includes $50 per month for the plan itself, and a $49.95 monthly device payment.

The following table shows Telstra’s $50 Small Plan for the 64GB iPhone 11 on a 24-month device contract. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a product from a referral partner.

What’s good about this plan:

  • Unlimited data capped at 1.5Mbps – no data overage fees in Australia.
  • Separate from your phone payments, so you can change between Telstra plans without affecting your repayments.
  • Plenty of extras, including data-free Telstra Sport and data-free Apple Music streaming (subscription not included).

What to look out for:

  • International extras aren’t included, but are available as optional add-ons from $10 per month.
  • Users with heavy data needs may prefer a plan with more included full-speed gigabytes.
  • Most expensive entry-level iPhone plan on the Aussie market.

Best Value Vodafone iPhone Plan

$35 Red Plan

Value score: 8.9

If you’re looking for a simple plan with average monthly data inclusions, Vodafone’s $35 Red plan has you covered. This plan includes 5GB of monthly full-speed data, plus unlimited standard national talk and text in Australia and unlimited standard texts to overseas. If you’re wanting more data for streaming, chat or social media, you can also add Vodafone Passes from $5 per month – these give you unlimited data for specific apps, albeit capped at 1.5Mbps speeds.

Combined with the 64GB iPhone 11 on a 24-month payment plan, you’ll pay $84.95 per month (or $2,038.80 over two years). This price includes your $35 monthly plan cost, plus a $49.95 device payment per month.

The following table shows Vodafone’s $35 Red Plus Plan for the 64GB iPhone 11 on a 24-month device contract. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a product from a referral partner.

What’s good about this plan:

  • Separate from your phone payments, so you can change between Vodafone plans without affecting your repayments.
  • Trade-up options available if you have an unwanted device – save up to $750 on the cost of your iPhone.
  • Customers can bundle this plan with other eligible Vodafone mobile and NBN plans to save up to 20% on plan fees.

What to look out for:

  • Network coverage not as extensive regionally when compared to Telstra or Optus.
  • Doesn’t include unlimited 1.5Mbps data, which is available on Vodafone Red Plus plans – watch out for data overages.
  • International roaming not included, but $5 and $10 Roaming available in selected countries.

Best Value Optus iPhone Plan

$39 Small Choice Plan

Value score: 8.6

Winner of Canstar Blue’s 2019 Provider of the Year award for Phone on a Plan, Optus offers something for everyone, including massive data allowances, international extras, and bonus features. If you’re looking for an iPhone plan with a healthy data allowance that’s under $40 per month, our rankings recommend the Small Choice option with 10GB – you’ll get unlimited standard talk and text in Australia, plus the option to pool data across multiple plans on a single account.

Add a monthly device payment for the 64GB iPhone 11, and you’ll pay $90 per month over 24 months (or $2,160 in total): $39 per month for your plan, and $51 monthly for your device.

The following table shows Optus’ $39 Small Choice Plan for the 64GB iPhone 11 on a 24-month device contract. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers.

What’s good about this plan:

  • Separate from your phone payments, so you can change between Optus plans without affecting your repayments.
  • Data pooling available – share data across eligible plans on a single account.
  • Build-your-own-plan options available if you decide to upgrade – customers can add or subtract international features and save on monthly fees.

What to look out for:

  • Doesn’t include features found on other Optus Choice plans, including Optus Sport and free Apple Music subscriptions.
  • International calls and texts not included.
  • Heavy data users may prefer to upgrade to a larger plan with more monthly gigabytes.

Our Value Score & Methodology Explained

While pricing is always a major concern for consumers, there’s more to finding a great phone plan than simply looking for the cheapest deal. In addition to comparing on pricing alone, Canstar Blue also gives readers the opportunity to sort and search for plans based on our unique Value Score.

As mentioned above, Value Scores range from 1 to 10, with a higher score indicating a better value product. The Value Score consists of a Price Score and Feature Score: the Price Score accounts for 70% of Canstar Blue’s overall ranking, with the Feature Score contributing to 30%.

Phone Plan Value

Price Score

Price Scores are calculated by comparing a plan’s average monthly cost to the price of other plans available in the Aussie market. Canstar Blue uses a plan’s average cost, rather than advertised prices, to account for plans that don’t renew on a standard monthly basis – for example, prepaid plans that expire every 10, 14, or 28 days. Using a plan’s average monthly cost, mean average monthly cost, and the standard deviation of the average monthly cost, Canstar Blue calculates and assigns a Price Score between 0 and 100.

Feature Score

The Feature Score compares over 100 features found on mobile plans, which are grouped into the following three categories:

  • Customer Service and Support (40% of score): Application channels, website functionality, online help/support, call centres, etc.
  • Inclusions (35% of score): Call, data, and SMS allowances, additional plan inclusions such as international calls or data free streaming.
  • Billing and Payments (25% of score): Payment, statement, and billing frequency and options

The Value Score, Pricing Score and Feature Scores of plans and products are re-calculated daily, with changes then reflected on Canstar Blue’s comparison tool.

For a better understanding of how Canstar Blue’s Value Score works, view our Phone Methodology Document here.

How we pick the best value plans

  1. Best Value Telstra iPhone Plan: The best-ranked 24-month Telstra plan for the 64GB iPhone 11, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.
  2. Best Value Vodafone iPhone Plan: The best-ranked 24-month Vodafone plan for the 64GB iPhone 11, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.
  3. Best Value Optus iPhone Plan: The best-ranked 24-month Optus plan for the 64GB iPhone 11, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.

In the event that two or more plans have the same value score in any given category, the cheapest option will be featured.

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