What is the best phone plan expiry period?

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If you’ve spotted yourself a cheap phone deal then later been turned off by its expiry period, you’re not alone. Often a phone plan can look good until you look at its expiry period and realise that it’s not what you need. Whether it’s too short, or too long, expiry periods can play a big part in how much you ultimately pay. If it’s 7 or 10 days, 28 or 30, or up to 365 days, the choice of expiry period you go with is yours. But which expiry period offers the best overall value? Canstar Blue seeks to find out.

28, 30 Day or Monthly Expiry Periods: Which is Best?

Most SIM only plans these days come on 28, 30 or monthly terms, so which is the best option? Some considerations include:

  • 28 Days: Effectively an extra bill per year (13 instead of 12), but makes it easier to budget as it’s four weeks exactly. Data can be used more frequently as plans are recharged more often.
  • 30 Days: A solid ‘median’ option with set terms so you can always count the days until your next recharge. Data may be stretched with two extra days on board.
  • Monthly: You always know what date you’ll be billed, and terms can carry up to 31 days. This can mean in February you are billed for 28 days, and in 31-day months your data may need to stretch further.

Compare Phone Plans with Different Expiry Periods

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28 Day Phone Plans

A lot of service providers offer 28 day plans, but you usually have to hop on a prepaid option as postpaid 28 day are scarce. These days you can expect unlimited calls & texts and 1GB data to cost as little as $10.

Here is a selection of 28-day prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database at the $30 price point, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

30 Day Phone Plans

Once again, to go on a 30 day plan, you usually have to opt for a prepaid plan. While your data may be stretched further, you won’t incur a 13th bill for the year. Some great value can be found here too, with providers offering 1GB or 2GB data for under $10.

Catch Connect and Yomojo use the Optus mobile network, Lebara and Kogan use the Vodafone network, while Woolworths and ALDI use the Telstra network. All offer pretty competitive plans – it may just depend on the network you prefer.

Here is a selection of 30-day prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for under $50, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Monthly Phone Plans

This is where the majority of providers do business in the postpaid realm. Plans are billed on the same date each month, no matter if it’s a 28, 30 or 31 day month. Some providers offer data bonuses and other goodies if you sign up for 12 months or more.

  • For no lock-in contract plans, it’s tough to beat TeleChoiceMoose Mobile, Dodo and Belong Mobile. All offer at least 10GB for $30 or under per month.
  • Most providers in this space use the Optus network, with the exception of Belong, Pennytel, and TeleChoice – all three telcos are Telstra MVNOs.

While flexibility is important, you may stand to receive some extra data – and other goodies – if you’re willing to sign up for 12 months. This is where the bigger providers tend to do battle as well. If you’re paying over $30 for 5GB, you could be paying too much!

If you’re not a commitment-phobe, then 12 month plans present a solid option. However, you’ll have to ask yourself what plans could be available in 12 months, and whether signing up for a good deal now could mean a bad deal later on.

Here is a selection of month-to-month postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $50 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

While being locked into a 12-month contract isn’t the same as a month-to-month plan, you are still paying monthly like you would with the above listed plans. To give you an idea of how these plans compare, the following table includes a selection of 12-month postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $50 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

35 Day Phone Plans: What’s Out There?

A relatively new phenomenon is the existence of 35-day plans. Currently very few providers offer such a service, but if you’re not eating up all your data in a traditional monthly plan, a 35 day deal could work out cheaper.

  • A 35 day plan means you’ll receive less than 11 bills per year, which could be more cost effective if you’re not getting anywhere near your data cap on shorter plans.
  • Coles Mobile and Vodafone now offer 35 day plans on a prepaid basis.

Prices start at just $20 in which Coles leads the charge. With its 35 day term, this works out to be just over $17 a month, and at this price you get 3GB.

Here is a selection of 35-day prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $40, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Go Long: 365 Day Phone Plans Compared

If you’re not a big phone user, or you just want something that lasts a long time, a 365 day plan could be right for you. You only need to recharge once a year as credit lasts that long, and you can add credit on as you see fit. This makes it ideal as a low-maintenance plan.

  • You usually have to go prepaid with this option, and leaders here include Catch Connect, ALDI Mobile, Kogan, Boost Mobile, Vodafone, Amaysim, Optus and Telstra.

One word of warning, however: You may have to ration out your credit. However, providers may offer discounted rates by pre-paying for 12 months’ worth of phone plans upfront. These plans are prepaid by default, and data may be pooled, so you will have to ration out your data over 12 months!

If you’re not afraid of commitment, a 365 day plan can be a bargain in the long run; it all depends on how often you use your phone and whether you can restrain or ration your data usage.

Here is a selection of 365-day prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 100GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Short & Sweet: 7-10 Day Phone Plans

If you’re going on holiday where you know one network is better than the other, or if you’re in Australia for only a short period, a 7-10 day phone plan may be ideal.

  • Coles, Optus, Boost and Telstra all offer short-expiry prepaid plans from just $10.

Optus tends to lead the charge in terms of starting offers, while Boost uses the full Telstra network, and Coles has an easy plan on the Telstra network. Most plans have unlimited calls & texts as standard.

Here is a selection of 7 and 10-day prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $10, listed alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

What expiry period is right for me?

Which expiry period is right for you depends on your needs. First, you’ll need to look at how often you use your phone, and how much data you think you’ll need.

  • The majority of providers offer competitive plans on 28, 30 day or monthly plans. Monthly plans are usually postpaid, and customers can get extra data if they sign up for 12 months.
  • 35 day plans are rarer but they can provide better ‘bang for buck’ for people who can stretch their data for a few more days.
  • 365 day plans suit those who are low-use customers or those who desire a spare phone with an ongoing connection. Bulk-buying 12 months’ worth of regular phone plans can give extra ‘bang for buck’.
  • Short expiry plans of 7 to 10 days suit those who may be on holiday or just ‘testing out’ a provider or network.

In any case, with well over 30 providers and 200 individual plans out there, there’s likely something out there for everyone. All you need to do is shop around to find the best deal for you.

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