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 make 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.

Below are several 28-day prepaid plans at the $30 price point. This table includes links from referral partners.

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

UNLIMITED 30GB

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited standard international calls to 10 countries

min. cost $30 over 28 day expiry

30GBMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Boost Mobile

$30 Prepaid

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited standard international calls & SMS to 20 countries, 100 mins & SMS to 20 countries, 100 MMS to 55 countries

min. cost $30 over 28 day expiry

20GBMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Prepaid Max $30

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited standard calls to 20 countries
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network
  • $5 extra credit
  • 17GB Data Bank bonus on your first 5 recharges

min. cost $30 over 28 day expiry

10GBMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$30 Combo Plus

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $30 over 28 day expiry

10GBMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

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.

OVO Mobile, 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.

Below are several 30-day plans at the $30-$36 price point. This table includes links from referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Woolworths Mobile

Small

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Special offer: 10GB data + 28GB bonus data per month (offer expires 25/08/19).

min. cost $30 over 30 day expiry

38GBMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period
Catch Connect Logo

20GB 30 Day Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $35 over 30 day expiry

20GBMax Data**/billing period $35Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
ALDIMobile Logo

XL Value Pack

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited standard calls & SMS to 15 countries
  • 200 mins to 35 countries
  • $5 upfront cost inc. $5 credit

min. cost $35 over 30 day expiry

35GBMax Data**/billing period $35Advertised Data^^/billing period
Yomojo Logo

25GB Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $35.90 over 30 day plan period

25GBMax Data**/billing period $35.90Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

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 Hive Mobile, Pennytel, TeleChoiceMoose Mobile and Belong Mobile. All offer at least 10GB for under $30 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.

Below are several one-month plans at the $25-$35 price point. This table includes links from referral partners.

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

10GB SIM Only

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Add international talk & text for $5 extra

min. cost $25 over one month plan period

10GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Hive Mobile

$28.80 SIM Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $28.80 over one month plan period

10GBMax Data**/billing period $28.80Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Pennytel Mobile

Large 10GB

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited standard international calls & SMS to 15 select countries

min. cost $24.99 over one month plan period

10GBMax Data**/billing period $24.99Advertised Data^^/billing period
Moose Mobile Logo

Moose 29 SIM Only

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • $300 international credit

min. cost $29 over one month plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $29Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
TeleChoice Logo

LIVE 29 M2M

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited texts to any country

min. cost $29 over one month plan period

10GBMax Data**/billing period $29Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Green 35

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $35 over one month plan period

10GBMax Data**/billing period $35Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

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.

Below are several 35-day plans at the $40 price point. This table includes links from referral partners.

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

Prepaid Max $40

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited standard calls to 20 countries
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network
  • $10 extra credit
  • 15GB Data Bank bonus on your first 5 recharges

min. cost $40 over 35 day expiry

20GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$40 Combo Plus

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • 500 mins to Zone 1 countries, 100 mins to Zone 2 countries

min. cost $40 over 35 day expiry

20GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Coles Mobile Logo

Prepaid $40 for 35 Days

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • 250 minutes to 10 countries

min. cost $40 over 35 day expiry

10GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

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, Vodafone, Optus and Telstra.

One word of warning, however: You usually get minimal data included and you may have to ration out your credit. Calls can cost nearly a dollar a minute, while data can be billed at 5c-15c a megabyte, so don’t go too crazy!

Another popular option in this category is the rise of ‘bulk buy’ phone plans. Service 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!

  • ALDI, Kogan and Coles frequently offer these types of plans, and these can work out to be better value than their traditional phone plan counterparts.

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.

Below are several 365-day plans offering at least 150GB of data. This table includes links from referral partners.

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

Prepaid Max $300

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited standard calls to 20 countries
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network
  • $100 extra credit

min. cost $300 over 12 month expiry

150GBMax Data**/billing period $300Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Catch Connect

205GB 365 Day Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SM

min. cost $340 over 365 day billing period

205GBMax Data**/billing period $340Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

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.

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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