Expert Picks: Best Value SIM-Only Mobile Plans (December 2019)

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If you’re looking to save money and break the ‘new phone every two years’ contract cycle, a postpaid SIM-only mobile plan is the way to go. Swapping to SIM-only gives you almost all of the benefits of a standard postpaid phone-on-a-plan deal, without the added expense of a new phone or the commitment of a long-term contract. And if you’d rather not be caught out running low on credit, it’s also a great alternative to prepaid plans.

Of course, with so many options on the market, it’s not always easy to the find the right plan for your needs. That’s why we’ve compiled this quick guide to some of the best value bring-your-own-phone plans available right now.

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 ready to pair your phone with the flexibility of a SIM-only plan, we’ve picked out several high-scoring options below. Whether you’re after a bare-bones deal, or something with plenty of monthly data, read on to see our highest-ranked options in the below categories.

Best Value SIM-Only Plans December 2019

Best value budget plan

Moose Mobile 9.8 SIM Only Plan

Value score: 9.3

If you’re a very light data user who prefers to use your phone for calls and texts, Moose Mobile’s $9.80 SIM plan gives you everything you need for less than $10 per month. This plan includes 1GB of data each month, as well as unlimited calls and texts to standard Australian numbers. You will need to sign up for 12 months, but the year-long commitment does offer more value than Moose Mobile’s equivalent month-to-month SIM plan.

The following table shows Moose Mobile’s $9.80 SIM Plan on a 12-month 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:

  • Complete Optus 4G Plus network coverage.
  • Unlimited talk and text in Australia, plus data, for less than $10 per month.
  • No setup fees or SIM card charges.

What to look out for:

  • Plan does require a 12-month commitment, so not as flexible as other low-cost options.
  • Users with heavy data needs may prefer a plan with more included full-speed gigabytes, such as Moose Mobile’s current $14.80 bonus offer with 8GB.
  • Excess data is charged at 1.5 cents per megabyte, or $15 per gigabyte.

Best value plan for everyday use

TeleChoice Medium Plan (12M)

Value score: 9.1

TeleChoice offers no-contract, 12-month, and 24-month SIM-only plans, with longer-term options offering more value. If you’re looking for a great everyday option with plenty of data and international extras, TeleChoice’s Medium 12 or 24-month plans include 20GB of data, unlimited international texts, and unlimited standard international calls to 15 selected countries. You’ll also get unlimited talk and text to standard Australian numbers.

The following table shows TeleChoice’s Medium SIM-only plan on a 12-month 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:

  • 12- or 24-month terms available.
  • Unlimited standard calls to countries including China, Canada, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, the UK, and the US, plus unlimited international texts.
  • Coverage on Telstra 4G and 3G networks.

What to look out for:

  • An early termination fee applies if you cancel your plan mid-contract.
  • Users with heavy data needs may prefer a plan with more included full-speed gigabytes.
  • Customers won’t have access to the full Telstra mobile network, so no 4GX speeds.

Best value plan with big data

Optus Medium Choice Plan

Value score: 8.7

Optus has become a go-to option for Aussies wanting plenty of monthly gigabytes, and its new $49 Medium Choice SIM-only plan is no exception. For under $50 per month, you’ll get 60GB of data, plus unlimited standard talk and text in Australia and unlimited standard international talk and texting to 35 selected countries. This plan also includes data pooling and free access to Optus Sport, as well as a free six-month Apple Music trial.

The following table shows Optus’ Medium Choice SIM-only plan. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers.

What’s good about this plan:

  • Plenty of international and entertainment extras.
  • No lock-in contract, allowing customers to switch between Optus plans as required.
  • Generous data which can be shared between other Optus plans on the same account.

What to look out for:

  • International roaming isn’t included, but customers can add this to their account via the Build Your Own Plan option.
  • Doesn’t include unlimited speed capped data, which is available on similar plans from Telstra and Vodafone.
  • If you combine your plan with an Optus device payment, you’ll be under contract for your phone repayments.

Best value Telstra SIM plan

Small Plan

Value score: 4.6

Telstra’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.

The following table shows Telstra’s Small SIM-only plan. 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.
  • 3G and 4GX networks cover around 99% of Australians.
  • 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.
  • Comparatively more expensive than other plans with similar data inclusions.

Best value Vodafone SIM plan

$35 SIM Only 12 Month

Value score: 6.8

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.

The following table shows Vodafone’s Medium $35 Red SIM-only plan. 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 international texts as well as unlimited standard Australian inclusions.
  • 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.
  • 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 SIM plan

Small Choice Plan

Value score: 6.1

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. The telco’s Small Choice plan with 10GB is priced at just $39 per month, and includes unlimited standard talk and text in Australia, plus the option to pool data across multiple plans on a single account.

The following table shows Optus’ Small Choice plan. 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 Budget Plan: The best-ranked SIM-only postpaid plan under $10 per month, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.
  2. Best Value Everyday Use Plan: The best-ranked SIM-only postpaid plan with around 20GB of monthly data, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.
  3. Best Value Big Data Plan: The best-ranked SIM-only postpaid plan with a minimum of 60GB of monthly data, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.
  4. Best Value Telstra SIM Plan: The best-ranked Telstra SIM-only postpaid plan, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.
  5. Best Value Vodafone SIM Plan: The best-ranked Vodafone SIM-only postpaid plan, as determined by Canstar Blue’s Value Score.
  6. Best Value Optus SIM Plan: The best-ranked Optus SIM-only postpaid plan, 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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