If you’re a parent looking for a good phone plan for your child, you may be surprised to find that there are few plans actually tailored for children – after all, a phone plan is generally a phone plan, regardless of your age. However, some telcos offer kid-friendly phone plans, so if you’ve made the decision to give your child their first phone — or want to find a better deal than their current plan — you’ve come to the right place.
While some mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) offer cheap phone plans, a few of them will offer additional incentives for the kids’ plans, such as access to cyber safety programs, which allow parents to monitor their child’s online activity.
Some of the best mobile phone plans for kids with extras such as cyber security, come from the smaller telcos including:
Cheap Phone Plans for Kids
Before we talk about specific phone plans for kids, here’s a quick glance at some cheap phone plans that might be suitable for your child. The following table shows a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest, then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.
Want more plans?
Read on as we go through the child-friendly options worth considering, and provide tips and advice on finding the best plan for your child.
- What to look for in a phone plan for your child
- Specific phone plans for kids
- Other plans to consider
- Prepaid vs. postpaid
- iPhone plans for kids
What to look for when choosing a phone plan for kids
When it comes to picking the best features for your child’s mobile plan, you’ll need to consider what type of phone user they will be. Will they be a light or heavy data user? Kids generally love to text and use data, but having a limit on calls is also hugely beneficial. Their age might also determine the inclusions they need — younger kids might use less data while teenagers are more likely to use more data. Therefore, consider the following as bare minimum requirements for a good phone plan for kids:
- Unlimited texts: No matter your child’s age, unlimited texts are a really good idea, because it means they will always be able to reach you in the event of an emergency and text their friends without exceeding any plan limits.
- Data limits and costs: A phone plan with at least 1GB of data should be enough for light use of basics like Google Maps, web browsing and using messaging apps. Heavier data use, especially social media apps with video, such as TikTok, will use a lot more data. Also consider any postpaid plans with cheap excess data rates (or no excess data charges), and with a usage warning system – for example, SMS alerts when 50%, 85%, and 100% of the monthly data allowance has been used.
- Longer expiry periods: Be wary of the expiry period of some cheap prepaid plans as these are sometimes only 7-10 days. Instead, look at prepaid plans with 28-30 day expiries, as this reduces the risk of your child having no credit to call or text you, while also taking away the hassle of recharging regularly. Those short-term plans might be cheap but consider how many times you’ll need to recharge each month, which can really add up.
Keep in mind that the type of features that best meet your child’s phone use may also be related to their age. Younger kids generally won’t need much data, while older teenagers more likely to use and therefore need much more data for video streaming, social media, and more. The good news is that there are lots of phone plans out there with reasonably big chunks of data for well under $50.
Specific phone plans for kids
These days its generally accepted that kids need their own phone plan. Several of the smaller telcos, most notably Woolworths Mobile and Yomojo, have recognised this and now offer specific phone plans ‘for kids’ at reasonably cheap prices and with extras such as cyber security, while other telcos, like Amaysim, offer simple, cheap plans that could be a good option. Below we’ll take a look at these telcos and the best phone plans for kids on offer in April 2021, including:
- Yomojo Kids Plan for $9.90 with 1GB data
- Woolworths Mobile 1GB Prepaid for $10 with 1GB data
- Amaysim Unlimited 2GB for $12 with 2GB data
While Woolworths Mobile doesn’t have a specific phone plan for children, the telco does offer incentives such as access to Family Zone cyber security with the FZ ONE phone and will sometimes run special offers such as bonus data or half-price SIM cards. Woolies also offers data banking on all plans and you can store up to 200GB in your data bank on both postpaid and prepaid plans. The only catch is you need to pay your bill on time or recharge your prepaid plan before expiry.
If you’re interested in a plan with Woolworths Mobile, you’ll be able to choose from three SIM-only postpaid plans, prepaid plans (which are listed below) and plans bundled in with a new smartphone (including the latest Samsung and OPPO devices). There are three postpaid plans at $25, $35, and $45 per month, all of which come with unlimited standard national talk and text in Australia. However, if you want a simple low-cost option for a child, Woolworths’ $10 prepaid plan features 1GB of data, plus unlimited talk and text, over a 30-day expiry.
Ideal for young or low-level phone users, Yomojo’s $9.90 Kids Plan features 200 minutes of standard talk, plus unlimited texts and 1GB of monthly data. This plan also includes unlimited Yomojo-to-Yomojo calls, so families on multi-line plans can stay in touch without affecting the 200 minute monthly talk limit.
Parents who want to keep their children safe online can sign on for Yomojo’s Family Eye service – an optional add-on that allows parents to keep track of their kids’ physical whereabouts and internet activity. Family Eye includes safe browsing features, location alerts, app and camera management, and more, and is priced at $5 per month, per child (but free for your first month of use).
Finally, if you have multiple kids —or want to keep the whole family’s phone lines on a single account and bill— Yomojo also offers Family Bundles. Bundles allow you to sign up to six separate mobile lines under one account and also offer monthly discounts of up to 15% for your entire mobile service.
Other low-data plans
For kids just starting out on their first phone plan, cheaper options from Yomojo and other providers, such as Amaysim, are a low-cost, low-risk way of working out how much they’ll use their phone. And since these are prepaid plans, they can’t rack up excess data charges with either provider. While Woolworths does have some extra incentives, the plans are a little pricier than the kids’ plans from the other two telcos, but it might be a good option if you’re looking at a new phone for your child as Woolies also offers phone plans bundled with a new smartphone.
Other plans to consider for kids
You’ll have noticed that, when it comes to prepaid and postpaid plans, it’s often the smaller service providers offering the cheapest phone plans for kids. But if your child uses their phone for social media, plus streaming and other data-intensive applications, it could make sense to get a phone plan with around 10GB.
But don’t stress! There are many providers that pack in lots of data for a lower monthly price than you’d expect. The table below shows a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $30 or less, listed in order of advertised standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.
Prepaid vs postpaid for kids
The first (and most important) decision to make in regards to your child’s phone plan is whether you want to go prepaid or postpaid. Postpaid plans see you pay your bill after the billing cycle is complete, while prepaid means you’ll pay in advance (and can only use the plan inclusions you’ve paid for upfront).
The best thing about prepaid phone plans is that child can only spend the set amount of call, text and data inclusions that come with their plan. There is no bill shock with prepaid: once your credit is up, that’s it, unless you manually recharge.
This can be a great way to help kids understand budgeting. Another positive is that, if you’re short on money one month or if you need to take your child’s privileges away, you can simply not recharge their plan. With postpaid plans, you would have to cancel the contract entirely.
The most significant drawback to prepaid plans is that, once you use all your inclusions, you can no longer use data, make any calls or send text messages. This lack of credit potentially takes away the safety net of your child being able to call you in an emergency.
Prepaid plans also tend to have shorter expiry periods, which could mean you find yourself having to recharge every week or so, or 13 times a year rather than 12 times. And as a general rule, prepaid plans may lack the same value as postpaid plans, where you often get more for your money (and a lot more providers on offer).
The best thing about postpaid phone plans is that you will always have a service to call on when it’s needed. Postpaid provides the extra security of being able call home in an emergency no matter what — your provider will simply charge you extra if you go over the plan’s limitations.
Postpaid plans also take away the hassle of having to manually recharge your plan (although some prepaid plans do allow users to auto-recharge). You are also likely to get better value with a postpaid plan.
The biggest negative of postpaid plans is basically the biggest positive in reverse. Being able to exceed your plan’s limits in emergencies is great, but this also means the feature is there to be abused. Bill shock is a real thing, as extra credit is usually automatically added to your account. The going rate is $10 per 1GB, so if you go over your data cap, you may find you’ve spent a lot more than you budgeted for!
The other negative is that you can’t just take a break in your service when you want, unless you cancel your contract. The nature of postpaid plans means you sacrifice this flexibility, even if you’re on a month-to-month contract that doesn’t lock you in for a year.
Whatever type of phone plan you go with for your kid(s), the take-home message is that there are some awesome deals available if you’re prepared to shop around. In the prepaid space, it’s hard to beat Yomojo’s plans for overall value and cyber security add ons, but the likes of Vodafone, Boost Mobile, Moose Mobile, and Catch Connect are great for low-cost, big-data plans.
Should I get my child the latest iPhone?
Your child may be begging you for the latest iPhone 12 or 12 Pro, or even older devices (such as the iPhone XR or iPhone 11), either of which are serious financial commitments. Earlier in 2020, Apple released the iPhone SE — a more budget-friendly phone similar to the popular iPhone 8, but still far from affordable for the average teen. Even bundled-in with a plan, you’re looking at spending around $60-$80 a month with a lock-in contract of between 12, 24 or 36 months (depending on your telco).
If you choose to buy an iPhone outright, these premium phones cost around $1,200 and $1,800 at a minimum respectively, while the iPhone SE is just under $800 — so even buying upfront can be a huge hit to your budget.
As you are the one paying the bill, you ultimately have the final say. Nevertheless, if you’re happy with them having the newest iPhone, there are a few considerations to take in:
- The more you spend, the more bonuses you stand to receive, but these costs start to add up. Postpaid plans also mean excess data packs are automatically added; rather than being given a hard cap for data, you’ll be billed for an extra 1GB the moment you exceed your plan’s data allowance.
- You may be tempted to opt in for a ‘family data sharing’ deal, which pools data together for everyone in the family to use; this can simplify the bill paying process, but may mean one family member doesn’t get their fair share (while another gobbles up all the gigabytes).
- While iPhones are one of the most popular devices around, don’t discount other brands, such as Samsung and OPPO. Both offer premium devices and more budget-friendly smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy A series.
In any case, there are three key providers that offer plans with the latest iPhones bundled in – Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone. All have their unique selling points, so it can pay to compare them all if you’re after the latest and greatest from Apple.
The below table lists some of the cheapest 24-month plans bundled with the 64GB iPhone SE on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This table includes products with links to a referral partner.
Choosing the best mobile plan for kids — it’s your (the parent’s) call
At the end of the day, you know your child best, and if you’re paying the bill you get to decide where the money goes. It pays to look at the smaller telcos offering cheap plans: there are over 30 providers out there, many with plans under $15. We’re here to help you with your homework, so you can find the best mobile plan for your child.