Expert Picks: Best Phone Plans (April 2021)

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When it’s time to upgrade to a new smartphone, buying on a telco plan is a simple way to spread out your payments and avoid dropping hundreds on a device upfront. But with more providers offering handset plans than ever before – including Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, TeleChoice, Woolworths Mobile and Southern Phone – finding the best deal on your desired device can be a challenge.

If you’re looking to take home a new phone, we’ve picked out some of the highest-rated two-year contract options for some of Australia’s most-wanted devices. Whether you’re after a new iPhone, the latest Samsung Galaxy release, or something from Huawei, OPPO or Google, here’s where to find the best value phone plans.

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. So, see our list of the best value phone plans around right now.

Best Phone Plans April 2021

Best Value iPhone Plan

Optus $39 Small Choice Plan

Value score: 7.9

If you’re looking for a simple plan with above-average data inclusions, Optus’ $39 Small Choice plan features unlimited standard talk and text in Australia, as well as 10GB of monthly data. International features are not included, but you do have the option of adding an Optus Roaming pass when needed.

Combined with the 64GB iPhone 12 on a 24-month payment plan, you’ll pay $95.19 per month (or $2,284.56 over two years). This price includes your $39 monthly plan cost, plus a $56.19 device payment per month.

The following table shows Optus’ $39 Small Choice Plan for the 64GB iPhone 12 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, such as Optus Sport
  • International calls and texts not included
  • Heavy data users may prefer to upgrade to a larger plan with more monthly gigabytes

Best Value Samsung Plan

Vodafone $40 Lite Plan

Value score: 7.7

Vodafone’s newly-introduced Infinite Data plans provide a full-speed data allowance each month, as well as unlimited extra data capped at speeds of either 2Mbps, 10Mbps, or 25Mbps depending on your plan. The telco’s $40 Lite plan includes Infinite Data at 2Mbps, and can be combined with the 5G-ready Samsung Galaxy Note 20 on a 12, 24, or 36-month device payment plan.

Paired with a 256GB Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G on a 24-month payment plan, you’ll pay $96.20 per month ($2,308,80 over 24 months). This includes $40 per month for the plan itself, and a $56.20 monthly device payment.

The following table shows Vodafone’s $40 Lite plan for the 256GB Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G 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.
  • 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, and 5G coverage still in early stages.
  • Doesn’t include overseas calls.
  • International roaming not included, but $5 and $10 Roaming available in selected countries.

Best Value OPPO Plan

Woolworths Mobile $25 Plan

Value score: 9.8

Canstar Blue’s number-one rated smartphone brand of 2020, OPPO offers several phones on plans from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, TeleChoice and Woolworths Mobile. If you’re looking for a solid mid-level device on a 24-month plan, OPPO’S Find X2 Pro 5G is available on Woolworths Mobile’s $25 plan, with unlimited standard talk and text in Australia and 18GB of data per month.

Combined with your monthly X2 Pro payment, you’ll pay $92.50 per month over 24 months – $25 for your plan, and $67.50 per month for your phone ($2,220 over two years).

Here is Woolworths Mobile’s $25 Plan for the OPPO Find X2 Pro 5G 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:

  • Can bank up to 200GB of unused data, provided your account is up-to-date.
  • 10% off one grocery shop every month for Woolworths Rewards members.
  • Woolworths’ Zero Bill Shock Promise means you won’t pay excess usage fees when you hit your data limit: customers can choose from buying extra data, or ceasing data service until their plan resets.

What to look out for:

  • International extras aren’t included, but are available as optional add-ons.
  • Users with heavy data needs may prefer a plan with more included full-speed gigabytes.
  • Your plan and phone are combined, so you’re limited to one plan option for the whole payment term.

Best Value Google Pixel Plan

Optus $39 Small Choice Plan

Value score: 8.8

The newly-launched Google Pixel 5 is available now to pair with Optus’ Choice range of postpaid plans, including the $39 Small option with 10GB of data. This plan includes unlimited standard national talk and text in Australia, data sharing across plans on your Optus account, and free access to Optus’ 5G network – perfect if you’re looking for coverage for the 5G-ready Pixel.

Pick up the 128GB Google Pixel 5 on a Small Optus plan, and you’ll pay $74.61 per month over 24 months – $39 for your plan, and $35.61 per month for your phone ($1,790.64 over two years).

The following table shows Optus’ $39 Small Choice plan for the 128GB Google Pixel 5 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 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, such as Optus Sport
  • International calls and texts not included
  • Heavy data users may prefer to upgrade to a larger plan with more monthly gigabytes

Best Value 5G Phone Plan

Optus $39 Small Choice Plan (with the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G)

Value score: 9.0

If you’re looking for a 5G-capable phone, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone now offer devices that are compatible with their respective 5G networks. It might be early days for 5G coverage, but the Apple iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+and S20 Ultra 5G, the Samsung Note 20 5G and Note 20 Ultra 5G, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, and the OPPO Find X2 Pro and Neo are available on plans from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone (and some are even available from Woolworths Mobile, Southern Phone and TeleChoice). However, for the sake of this comparison we’ll look at the best value phone plan with access to a 5G network.

One of the lowest priced 5G devices available on telco plans is the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G. As of November 1, Optus has the best value 24-month plan at $80.61 per month ($39 plan + $41.61 device payment). Over 24 months, you’ll pay $1,934.64 for your device and plan‬.

The following table shows Optus’ $39 Small Choice Plan for the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G 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, such as Optus Sport
  • International calls and texts not included
  • Heavy data users may prefer to upgrade to a larger plan with more monthly gigabytes

Phone Plans Compared

Cheap iPhone Plans Compared

The following table shows a selection of 24-month plans for the 64GB iPhone 12 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This selection of products includes links to referral partners.

Cheap Samsung Plans Compared

The following table shows a selection of 24-month plans for the 256GB Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This selection of products includes links to referral partners.

Cheap OPPO Plans Compared

The following table shows a selection of 24-month plans for the OPPO Find X2 Pro on Canstar Blue’s phone database, listed in order of cost, from lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This selection of products includes links to referral partners.

Our Value Score Methodology for Phone Plans

There’s so much more to finding the right phone plan than just price alone. Especially when you’re looking for a great new handset, you’re unlikely to want the cheapest deal around because it inevitably means you’ll be sacrificing plan inclusions, or even the type of device itself. That’s why, in addition to comparing on price alone, Canstar Blue gives readers the opportunity to search for plans based on our unique Value Score, which ranks based on the best value, rather than just lowest price.

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 iPhone Plan: The best-ranked 24-month 64GB iPhone 12 plan, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.
  2. Best Value Samsung Plan: The best-ranked 24-month 256GB Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G plan, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.
  3. Best Value OPPO Plan: The best-ranked 24-month OPPO Find X2 Pro plan, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.
  4. Best Value Google Plan: The best-ranked 24-month 128GB Google Pixel 5 plan, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.
  5. Best Value 5G Phone Plan: The best-ranked 24-month plan for a 5G device from Vodafone, Optus and Telstra, 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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