Last updated: March 2023
Canstar Blue’s mobile comparison tool, allows consumers to compare the estimated cost of a plan against its included features, by providing an estimated monthly cost, and feature score (out of 10) for each of these three main categories:
Canstar Blue considers plan features most relevant to consumers in the calculation of Value Rank. However, not every feature is included in the Value Rank, nor every feature that is relevant to you.
Canstar Blue’s mobile comparison tool, allows consumers to compare three distinct types of plans: Prepaid SIM only plans, Postpaid SIM only plans and Plans with a device included.
|Plan Type||Description||Eligibility Criteria|
|SIM-only||BYO device and either pay upfront or enter a contract for regular payments over a selected period.||Plan must be a SIM only plan that meets the data requirements of the user.|
|Prepaid SIM-only||BYO device and pay upfront for each selected period.||Plan must be a SIM only plan that meets the data, calls and SMS requirements of the user.|
|Postpaid SIM-only||BYO device and enter a contract for regular payments over a selected period.||Plan must be a SIM only plan that meets the data, calls and SMS requirements of the user.|
|Phone on a Plan||Enter a contract for regular payments over a selected period which include the cost of a device.||Plan must be available for the selected device/s as well as meeting the data, calls and SMS requirements of the user.|
Canstar Blue takes into account data, call and SMS allowances. The following combination of variables determine the plan requirements for each profile.
|Plan Type||Data Required*||Device/s Required|
|Prepaid SIM-Only||500MB +
Popular Devices Available
|Phone on a Plan|
*Data required is based on plans’ standard data allowance.
The plan’s display order, or Value Rank, is determined by the Price Score and the Feature Score. Canstar ranks Mobile plans based on value-for-money. Whereby, the Value Rank takes into account a plans’ estimated cost and features offered as compared to the market. The plans that are lower in cost and have higher features will be ranked higher than plans which have higher cost and less features.
The plans are ordered by Value Rank (i.e. total score), which incorporates a price score weighted at 70% and a feature score of 30%. Below is an example of how the Value Rank score is derived, using the raw weighted figures from the price score and feature score.
The Price Score is calculated based on a comparison of a plan’s average monthly cost compared to the cost of the plans available in the market. The price score is calculated by indexing each plans’ average monthly cost along a normal distribution based on the standard deviation and mean of the plans which meet the eligibility criteria.
The average monthly cost of a plan is used rather than the advertised price because some plans renew on the basis of a number of days (e.g. 10, 28, or 30 days) rather than once a month. This enables a comparison to be done on a like-for-like basis.
A minimum of 12 months is considered when calculating average monthly cost of a plan less than or equal to 12 months, so as to capture the average cost of a plan (including device cost and benefits) over a 12-month period.
The following is a general representation for calculating the average monthly cost of a plan:
|Average Monthly Cost Components|
|Period||The average monthly cost is calculated over the period stated in the table below, based on the duration and type of the plan.|
|Monthly Cost/Renewal Cost||Ongoing monthly cost of plan (if plan renews monthly), or, the cost of renewal of plan for the specified period of the plan.|
|Cost of Device Above Plan||Additional cost of device above the monthly cost of the plan (if applicable).|
|Discounts||Any discounts, or, credits that may be applied to the plan, either at signup, for a defined period, or ongoing. This does not include conditional discounts, such as, but not limited to: bundle discounts (bundle mobile and broadband to receive a discount), or discounts which require a reference code on sign-up.|
|Setup Fees||Any initial account setup and activation fees that may be applicable.|
Please refer to the table below for the average monthly cost consideration period, per plan type and period.
|Contract Type||Contract/Prepaid Period of Plan||Period Considered for Average Monthly Cost Calculation|
|Postpaid Phone on a Plan||< 12 months||12 months|
|All other periods||The contract period of the plan|
|Prepaid||All prepaid periods||365 days|
Canstar Blue’s mobile feature scores use a unique methodology that compares the functionality and flexibility of mobile providers and their plans. Over 100 features are captured on each plan and grouped into three categories as outlined below:
The plan with the highest feature score is allocated the maximum score, with all remaining plans within the profile scored against it. Canstar Blue considers plan features most relevant to consumers in the feature score. However, not every feature is included in the feature score, nor every feature that is relevant to you.
|Customer Service & Support||40%|
|Enquiries||35%||Availability of call centre, store, online support, support for billing and enquiries, technical support, etc.|
|Self Service||35%||Access previous bills, usage insights, check data balances, etc.|
|Customer Satisfaction||20%||The score from Canstar Blue’s Customer Satisfaction survey (if no score, then average)|
|Research, Tools & Education||20%||Accessibility to educational material, tools and calculators, FAQs, and community forums.|
|Data Inclusions||50%||Based on standard and bonus data usage within Australia without shaping.|
|Network Coverage||40%||Percentage of population coverage, customer satisfaction, and network bandwidth.|
|Additional Inclusions||10%||Call/SMS and additional data inclusions, Subscription streaming inclusions, back-up network, data sharing, data rollover, bundle and loyalty discounts, bonus sign up incentives, and rewards programs.|
|Billing & Payments||25%|
|Options & Charges||50%||Ability to pay via various channels (e.g. BPAY, Direct Debit, Credit Card, cheque, etc.) and fees that may apply.|
|Contract Terms||40%||Considers the duration of and flexibility in the contract or renewal period, including break costs. For example, a shorter term may mean that you have paid more of the handset up front, which may make any break cost lower if you need to exit the plan early.|
|Alerts & Reminders||10%||Payment reminders, outstanding bill alerts, SMS alerts, etc.|
The feature categories are displayed on Canstar Blue’s comparison tool as a rounded number between 1 & 10. The unweighted scores of the feature categories are used for this display purpose.
We endeavour to include the majority of product providers in the market and to compare the product features most relevant to consumers in our ratings. However, this process is not always possible and it may be that not every product in the market is included in the rating nor every feature compared that is relevant to you.
Canstar monitors changes on an ongoing basis, and the Value Rank, Price Score and Feature Scores of each plan are fully re-calculated every day.
Canstar ranks mobile plans based on value-for-money. Whereby, the Value Rank takes into account a plans’ estimated cost and features offered as compared to the market. The plans that are lower in cost and have higher features will be ranked higher than plans which have higher cost and less features.