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.
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.
Amaysim makes use of the Optus network, while TPG uses the Vodafone network and LycaMobile and Boost use the Telstra network. Boost is the only mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) to offer plans on the full Telstra network – others use only half of it.
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 data for under $10.
OVO Mobile uses the Optus 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.
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 also 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 Jeenee Mobile, SpinTel, Moose Mobile and Think Mobile. All offer at least 5GB for under $30 a month. Most providers here use the Optus network, but Think uses the Vodafone network.
However, you 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!
- For 12 month plans, it’s tough to beat Jeenee once again, as well as Virgin Mobile, Optus and
- The latter three tend to offer big data bonuses from time to time, able to be locked in for the life of the plan.
If you’re not a commitment-phobe, 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.
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.
- 35 day plans mean there are 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.
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 Amaysim, ALDI Mobile, Vodafone, Optus and
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 have or do offer these types of plans, and 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.
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.