Canstar Blue’s annual review of business phone plan providers compares Optus, Vodafone and Telstra on their customer service, value for money, network coverage, billing, plan flexibility, and overall customer satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
A business is only as good as its communications. So, when it comes to picking a new phone and mobile plan for your business, you can’t afford to take any chances – the last thing you’ll want is clients dropping out mid-call! But how do you know which mobile service provider and plan best meets your specific business needs? Canstar Blue’s 2021 review of business phone plans and providers can offer some guidance.
For our 2021 ratings, we surveyed more than 2,100 small business owners and key decision-makers across Australia, asking them to rate their mobile phone provider based on factors such as network coverage, plan flexibility, customer service and value for money. We do this to make the decision-making process a little easier the next time you’re shopping around for a new phone deal. So, what did we find?
This year, our highest-rated small business mobile provider is Optus, which took home an overall satisfaction rating of five stars. Optus also received five stars for value for money, customer service, plan flexibility and billing, with a four-star score for network coverage.
In second place is last year’s winner Vodafone, with an overall satisfaction score of four stars and five star results for value for money and plan flexibility. Finally, Telstra achieved four stars for overall satisfaction this year, securing its third-place spot for the second year in a row.
The three business phone plan providers in Canstar Blue’s 2021 review were compared and rated in the following order for overall satisfaction:
Last year’s fourth-place winner TPG was absent in our 2021 ratings, with just the ‘big three’ mobile providers represented.
Read on to see just what the three providers in our 2021 review have to offer business customers.
Optus provides a great selection of business phone plans, whether you operate as a sole trader or have a whole workforce behind you. Plans are available for small, medium and enterprise-size businesses, with phone-on-a-plan and SIM-only postpaid options offered.
Prices will vary depending on the number of employees you need to connect, but Optus’ SIM-only Business Mobile Plus plans begin at $50 per month for a single SIM, with each line including unlimited standard national talk and text and 50GB of shareable fast monthly data (plus unlimited ‘endless data’ capped at speeds of 1.5Mbps). Additional SIMs are available with a discount, e.g. your second SIM is $45 per month, your 3rd is $40, and your 4th is $37.
If you’re looking instead for a plan with a handset, Optus offers a range of devices from brands such as Apple, Samsung, OPPO, and Motorola. All phones can be paid off over 12, 24, or 36-month terms, and can be added to any Optus SIM-only Business Choice plan: while your handset is bought on a contract, you’re free to switch between plans month-to-month. Business Choice plans vary from Business Mobile Plus, and offer a range of data allowances and price points beginning from $45 per month.
Optus allows business customers to mix and match up to 300 different mobile plans with its Business Builder tools, and provides customised support through a team of business specialists. Business customers can both bring their own devices, or add new phones on Optus plans, offering flexible options to support small and large teams.
Vodafone offers a range of SIM-only and phone-on-a-plan mobile options for businesses, offering connections for small, medium, and large workplaces. Plans can be bundled to save up to 20% on fees, and businesses with 10 or more connections will receive their own Australian-based Personal Account Manager.
Business customers can sign up to Vodafone’s Team Plan with or without included smartphones, which allows up to ten employees to share maximum speed data, alongside unlimited data capped at speeds of 2Mbps. These plans need to be combined with a Vodafone Infinite Plan, which will determine the maximum speed data inclusions and total monthly costs.
Vodafone’s selection of business-plan phones includes high-end devices such as the iPhone 12 series, the Samsung Galaxy S21 range, and Nokia and Motorola smartphones. All new phones are now available on Vodafone’s 12, 24, or 36-month payment plans, with loyalty discounts also offered on selected handsets.
If your business requires overseas travel, then Vodafone $5 per day roaming is also activated on all business mobile plans. This allows you to use your plan’s talk, text, and data inclusions outside of Australia for just $5 per day in 80 countries.
Tablet data plans are also available to Vodafone business customers on both a device-on-a-plan and SIM-only basis. Popular tablets, including models by Samsung and Apple, are available on 12, 24, or 36-month payment plans, with data-sharing Team Plans also available.
Coming in third place for business customer satisfaction in 2021, Telstra has traditionally been a go-to provider for those who value a strong and reliable network, particularly in regional areas. The telco giant provides a small business range similar in pricing and value to its personal mobile options, including phone-on-a-plan and SIM-only solutions, as well as access to its new 5G network.
Telstra now offers just four flexible monthly mobile plans, with no lock-in contracts. Prices begin at $55 per month for a generous 40GB of data, up to $115 for 180GB, and all plans include unlimited standard talk and text in Australia. Plans also feature unlimited slowed data capped at 1.5Mbps, in addition to a full-speed data allowance.
These plans can be combined with a variety of handsets, with phones offered on 24-month repayment periods. Available devices include the new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 range, the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, iPhone 12, and Google Pixel 5, as well as more affordable models from a variety of brands. Telstra postpaid plans are also available on a SIM-only basis, again with no lock-in contract and the flexibility to switch options month-to-month.
Telstra offers convenient 24/7 support and account management, and a range of add-on extras to customise your service. Additionally, all mobile plans include data sharing across eligible plans on the same account, plus the option of supercharging speeds with Telstra’s $10 Mobile Accelerator add-on.
If you’re looking for a total business package, Telstra also provides a range of hand-picked apps and programs, including Telstra Digital Marketing, Microsoft 365, MYOB Essentials, and secure online storage. Telstra also offers tablets on 12 or 24-month plans, with data prices beginning at $15 per month for 5GB.
This year’s survey featured 951 participants. 23% of individuals surveyed have a phone and plan bundled on a contract, and 37% stated they have ‘always’ been with the same provider for business purposes.
When asked why they prefer to stick with their telco, 29% of respondents who have never switched said they wanted to keep their current provider’s network coverage, with 28% stating that they believe their plan offers good value for money. However, 17% admitted they just don’t have the time to look around for a better deal, while 18% say their telco offers good customer service.
Still, with survey respondents splashing out an average of $176 a month on their business phone plans, it pays to give a little more thought to where you’re spending your company’s money. Taking a quick 20 minutes to look through the deals available to your business could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year.
There are a number of important differences between a business mobile plan and a personal mobile plan. Depending on the size of your business and the number of phones you need, it is worth comparing the two, as even if you don’t sign up to a business phone plan now, you might need one further down the line as your business expands.
The advantages of a business plan include:
The disadvantages of a business plan include:
Purchasing a business plan is an important decision, particularly if it’ll help you run your business better, or simply not have to worry about the phone bill every month. But what you should you be looking out for before you sign on the dotted line? Important areas to consider include:
Choosing a phone plan to suit your business needs can be a challenge. Add into the mix factors like where you’re located, how many staff you have, or how important technology is to your workforce, and sorting through business phone plans can seem daunting. But the good news is it’s not only the big three telcos competing for your dollars, but also a growing number of small providers offering good deals and promotions, so you’ll have plenty of choice.
Many small businesses simply ‘set and forget’ with their current provider, but this may prove a costly mistake in the long-run. Like you would with your personal mobile plan, shopping around is always the key to finding a better deal. The only way to do this is to be proactive and compare your options.
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This page was written and is regularly updated by Canstar Blue’s Telco Editor, Tara Donnelly. Having spent around a decade writing for and editing telco comparison websites, she’s an expert in all things phone & internet, including phone plans and how to find the best deal for your family. She loves to highlight the next best phone deals, while also flagging the things you need to be aware of. Tara also acts as a spokesperson for Canstar Blue.
Image credits: Dedy Pramu/Shutterstock.com, Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.com, Chiociolla/Shutterstock.com
Canstar Blue surveyed 2,107 Australian small business owners and key decision makers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group whose business currently pays for a mobile phone plan that is used for business purposes– in this case, 951 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
Here are past winners of Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers – Business Phone Plans Providers ratings:
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*Prices correct as of publication date.