Good phone plans for Aussie kids

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If you’re a parent looking for a good phone plan for your child, then you’ve come to the right place. But we must first confess that there are very few plans actually tailored for children – after all, a phone plan is generally a phone plan, regardless of your age. However, in this article we will review the child-friendly options worth considering, and provide some tips on what kind of phone plan may be the best bet for your son or daughter.

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Should I Get My Child the Latest iPhone?

Your son or daughter may be begging you for the latest and greatest iPhone 8 or even iPhone X, which are both serious financial commitments. Even bundled-in with a plan, you’re looking at spending at least around $70 a month, and lock-in contract of up to 36 months (depending on your telco). Outright, the phones cost around $1,000 and $1,500 at a minimum respectively – so even buying upfront can be a huge hit to your budget.

If you’re paying the bill, you ultimately have the final say.  Nevertheless, if you want them to have the newest iPhone on, there are a few considerations to take in:

  • Be wary of ‘Lease’ plans; while they may offer financial incentives or data bonuses, you do have to return your phone in good working order at the end of your term. This is no easy feat for a teen, and a cracked screen or totally broken phone could cost hundreds!
  • 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 lots of data.

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. Below are three of the cheapest published postpaid plans from each provider, in price order.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$35 Red SIM Only

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS

min. cost $420 over 12 month plan period

3GBMax Data**/billing period $35Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Optus Logo

$45 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Stream Optus Sport & Nat Geo data free
  • Stream Music data free
  • Double Data

min. cost $1080 over 24 month plan period

2GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

$59 Small

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS

min. cost $1416 over 24 month plan period

3GBMax Data**/billing period $59Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Specific Phone Plans for Kids

Until recently, there were no phone plans from the mainstream Aussie carriers that could justifiably label themselves as ‘for kids’. However, that’s changed with several low-cost MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) that have phone plans targeted at the younger members of the family.

  • Bringing unlimited calls, plus unlimited text messages and 2GB of data for just $19.95 per 30 days, the ‘Small’ plan from OVO Mobile has many other low-cost prepaid plans beaten hands down.
  • But what makes it stand out as a phone plan for kids is that it comes with a free lifetime subscription to Family Zone – an online cyber safety service which gives parents control over their child’s smartphone, allowing them to restrict access to inappropriate content, as well as set time controls to ensure they don’t stay up all night chatting with friends.
  • Yomojo is another provider with a specific ‘Kids” phone plan, with 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB data on board for under 10 bucks.
  • Hive Mobile, Boost Mobile, Moose Mobile

OVO Mobile  and Yomojo can fairly call this a phone plan for kids, but genuine plans for young people are in very short supply. Not only will you want to make sure your child has an appropriate plan for their age and usage habits, but you’ll also be the one paying for it – so you’ll want great value, too. For kids just starting out on their first phone plan, these cheaper options could make sense to get a sense of how much they’ll use their phone – and being prepaid, you won’t incur any automatic excess data charges. 

Here are two of cheapest published deals from the providers on our database, that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are sponsored products and are listed in price order.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Yomojo Logo

Kid’s Plan

  • 200 mins talk, unlimited text

min. cost $9.90 over 30 day plan period

1GBMax Data**/billing period $9.90Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Ovo Logo

Small

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS

min. cost $19.95 over 30 day billing period

2GBMax Data**/billing period $19.95Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Other Plans to Consider

You’ll have noticed that, when it comes to postpaid plans for kids, it’s often the smaller service providers offering the cheapest deals. But if your son or daughter 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 less than $50 a month.

  • Keep an eye out for providers such as Kogan Mobile and ALDI Mobile in the prepaid space, as well as Vodafone and Vaya in the postpaid space.
  • Many come with big data bonuses and other perks, as well as incentives to sign up or prepay for a year’s worth of mobile.

All in all, the world is your oyster when it comes to phone plans. With more than 30 providers out there – with many offering cheap prices – your kids’ first phone plans don’t necessarily have to be a hassle. Below are several published deals from the providers on our database; you can use our comparison tool to find more plans and prices.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Vaya Logo

Unlimited 24

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS

min. cost $144 over 6 Months

8GBMax Data**/billing period $24Advertised Data^^/billing period
Kogan Logo

Large

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS

min. cost $36.90 over 30 day billing period

16GBMax Data**/billing period $36.90Advertised Data^^/billing period
ALDIMobile Logo

XXL Value Pack

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited calls to 15 countries
  • 300 mins to 35 countries
  • $5 Upfront Cost inc. $5 credit

min. cost $45 over 30 day billing period

20GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$45 Red SIM Only

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Students get Double Data

min. cost $540 over 12 month plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Prepaid vs Postpaid for Kids

Mother Arguing With Daughter Over Use Of Mobile Phone
The first and one of the most important decisions to make in regards to your child’s phone plan is whether you want to go prepaid or postpaid, with both bringing their fair share of pros and cons:

Prepaid Pros

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 your child has been naughty and you want to find a way to punish them, you can simply not recharge their plan. With postpaid plans, you would have to cancel the contract entirely, which is a bit of a hassle.

Prepaid Cons

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 message.

  • Lack of credit potentially takes away the safety net of being able to call mum or dad 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. And as a general rule, prepaid plans may lack the same value as postpaid plans where you often get more for your money with a lot more providers on offer.

Postpaid Pros

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 because your provider will simply charge you extra once you go over the plan’s limitations.

Postpaid plans also take away the hassle of having to manually recharge your plan, which is the case with most prepaid plans, although some also allow users to auto-recharge. You are also likely to get better value with a postpaid plan as there are a lot more providers out there with more plans on offer.

Postpaid Cons

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 auto-recharged. The going rate is $10 per 1GB so if you go over your data cap, you may find you 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 the contract, even if it’s just a month’s contract. The nature of postpaid plans means you sacrifice this flexibility.

As you can see, there are lots of things to think about with both prepaid and postpaid plans for kids. But regardless of which type you decide to go with, here are some general tips on what features to look for.

Features to look for in children’s phone plans

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 some modicum of calls is also hugely beneficial. 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. They will also enjoy being able to message their friends as much as they like, so it’s win-win for everyone.
  • Data Limits & Costs: A phone plan with at least 1GB data will enable them to use social media, use Google Maps to get around and more. Due to the auto-recharging feature of postpaid plans, it may also pay to look at any plans with cheap excess data rates, and ones with an in-depth usage warning system – for example, SMS alerts at 50%/85%/100% of data usage.
  • Longer Expiry Periods: Cheap prepaid plans tend to come with very short expiry periods of 7-10 days, but you might want to consider a plan with a long expiry. This would reduce the risk of your child being left with no credit to call or text you, while also taking away the hassle of having to recharge regularly. This will not be an issue with postpaid plans which provide a constant service.

The type of features that best meet your child’s phone use may also be related to their age, with older teenagers more likely to require a lot of data for video streaming and Facebook.

What Phone Plan is Right for My Child?

Whatever type of phone plan you go with for your kid(s), the take home message is that there are some awesome deals around. In the prepaid space, it’s hard to beat OVO Mobile and Yomojo plans for overall value, while the likes of Vodafone and Kogan Mobile are great for low-cost, big-data plans.

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 MVNOs offering cheap plans, and know that you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg for your child to have a mobile phone plan that suits all their need. There are over 30 providers out there, many with plans under $20. There’s a lot to choose from – you’ll just have to do your homework!

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