If you’re an Australian senior or pensioner adjusting to a smaller income, or you’re simply looking to save yourself a few bucks, an easy way to free up some room in the budget is to take a fresh look at your mobile phone plan. Our research indicates that Aussies are paying around $30 a month for their postpaid SIM-only deal, and over $70 if they are repaying a phone as well.
Chances are if you haven’t taken a look at your phone plan lately, you could be paying too much. Let’s take a look at some of the best prepaid, postpaid and phone on a plan deals that could be suitable phone plans for seniors and pensioners in Australia. In this guide, we will cover:
- BYO phone plans from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone
- No-Data plan from Dodo Mobile
- Cheap prepaid mobile plans
- Cheap postpaid phone plans
- Cheap ‘long expiry’ mobile plans
- iPhone plans
- Seniors discounts
SIM-only phone plans for under $20 — a quick summary
Before we jump into prepaid vs postpaid, long expiry and iPhone plans, to give you an idea of what value is out there, we’ve put together a selection of SIM-only postpaid phone plans to give you an idea of what plans could be good options for seniors. This table will give you some idea of what call, SMS and data inclusions are available on phone plans for around $20.
The table below shows a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $20 or under, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.
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What are my phone options if I’m a senior or pensioner?
With big data phone plans and the expensive phone bill that comes with it, you might think that seniors and pensioners might be left out of phone plan considerations in Australia. However, this isn’t necessarily so – there are many cheap phone plan options out there and some telcos offer discounts for seniors and pensioners.
If you’re after a regular phone plan, unlimited calls and texts plus one gigabyte (1GB) of data is often available for less than $10 a month and you can even pick up phone plans without data. Pay-as-you-go options can offer cheap rates with a 365-day expiry, which can be a good plan for light users who like the freedom to recharge when they please. You simply pay for what you use, as you use it — calls are usually charged per minute, texts per message sent, and data use is charged per kilobyte (KB) or megabyte (MB). If you don’t use much data, this can also be a good option.
Whatever you’re after, there are lots of options to choose from and comparing phone plans is a great place to start. It often pays to shop around to find the best deal for you, with some plans available to buy online only and others have SIM cards available in stores such as Coles, Woolworths, 7-Eleven, ALDI.
What should you look for in a good phone plan for seniors?
- Flexibility: A plan with no lock-in contracts gives you room to move around if you’re not happy. Look for month-to-month postpaid or prepaid options.
- Inclusions you can use: Paying too much on a larger plan may see you paying for extras you don’t need, such as overseas calling and roaming, or data-free music and video streaming on your phone. If you only need talk, text and a little data, skip the extras and save.
- Prepaid: A prepaid plan is a great way to avoid surprise charges or unexpectedly high bills, as you pay for everything in advance. Once your month’s talk, text and data is used up, you’ll need to recharge your service by paying for another month (or however long the plan’s expiry is) — so there’s no worry that you’ll accidentally overspend. Scroll down the page for more info on prepaid plans.
- Postpaid: The great thing about a postpaid plan is that you don’t have to worry about recharging if you use up your included value. While you will get a bill to pay at the end of the month, postpaid plans are more affordable than ever, with unlimited calls and SMS are pretty standard across even the cheapest plans. Scroll down to find out more about postpaid plans.
- SIM-only/BYO: These plans mean you’re connecting your own phone to the service, rather than buying a new device as part of your plan. They’re a great option if you’re happy with your existing phone. Again, we’ve outlined some SIM-only options below.
- Mobile data: The best amount of data for a phone plan will differ from person to person. Some seniors might not use much data at all, while others might use their smartphone for web browsing, looking at maps, checking email, etc. If you have a smartphone and don’t use your phone’s internet much, you might still need a phone plan with a small amount of data. Many apps, such as the weather app on your phone, will usually use a small amount of data to run in the background and show the latest information.
Bring-your-own-phone plans for seniors and pensioners from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone
If you prefer to stick with the big names you already know, and have your own phone that you’d like to keep using —or just want to purchase a cheap smartphone without being locked into a contract— you can sign up for a SIM-only plan from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. This means that you’ll get a SIM card to insert in your phone, which will connect you to the network and your plan. All three telcos now only offer postpaid plans on a month-to-month basis, so you’re free to switch between plans without being locked in long term.
Here are some of the cheaper options available from each provider, some of which may feature referral links to the retailer’s website. Keep in mind that you can get cheaper options by going with less well-known telcos, such as those listed further down this page.
No-Data plan from Dodo
While it’s not a specific plan for seniors, Dodo offers a No-Data plan, which is perhaps one of the most unique phone plan offerings on the market. Rather than a PAYG plan where you are billed for what you use, or your usage comes out of prepaid credit, Dodo has a $5 per month plan with unlimited standard national calls and SMS, unlimited standard international SMS but no data inclusions.
If you do want to use data, you’ll simply need to pay an extra $10 per month for 3GB of data, bringing the total price up to $15 per month. This plan may suit users who don’t need or use mobile data monthly, but like the option of adding it on as required.
The following table shows Dodo’s $5 Data plan with the $10 3GB data pack included as published on Canstar Blue’s database. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This table includes products with links to a referral partner.
Cheap prepaid mobile plans for seniors and pensioners
For less than $20 these days many providers manage to pack quite a lot in with 1GB of data can be found easily, while unlimited calls and texts are standard across most phone plans. Keep in mind that prepaid plans run on different expiry periods, which can vary from telco to telco. Some of the cheapest plans might only be a 7 or 10-day expiry period, which means you’ll need to recharge several times each month. Look for plans with a 28 or 30-day expiry period, or even long-term plans such as six months or 12-month plans.
- Amaysim offers unlimited calls and texts plus 1GB for just $10. Plans are over 28 days, and run on the Optus network. Amaysim SIM cards can be found in Coles, Woolworths, Australia Post and 7-Eleven stores. Amaysim also lets you choose your mobile number to something memorable for $0 or for $30 for some numbers.
- Catch Connect offers a range of plans across different expiry periods — 30, 90 and 365 days. You’ll often get a big discount on your first month’s plan fees when you sign up and Catch is also powered by the Optus network.
- Boost Mobile offers great value prepaid plans starting at $10 on a 7-day expiry or $20 on a 28-day expiry, along with six and 12-month plans. SIM cards can be ordered online, or bought in stores from selected retailers, including Woolworths, Coles, Target, Kmart, 7-Eleven and Telstra stores. Boost Mobile runs on the Telstra network.
- Vodafone, Optus and Telstra also all offer prepaid, bring-your-own-phone plans, at varying price points.
No matter what you’re after or where you live, there is likely a competitive SIM card phone plan in the local Coles, Woolies, or 7-Eleven. This makes it easy to purchase and plans are easy to recharge. Unfortunately, it can be a hard task finding prepaid plans with just calls and texts (no data) these days, but with unlimited plans costing as little as $10 these days, having that little bit of data can still come in handy. The following table includes links from referral partners.
Cheap postpaid phone plans for seniors and pensioners
If you prefer to pay a bill at the end of the month, rather than recharging and tracking your usage, postpaid phone plans are the way to go. The only thing to look out for is going over your data inclusions as you’ll most likely be charged for excess data use. However, some telcos don’t charge excess data, so they’ll either restrict or slow your data until the next billing period unless you purchase a data top up.
- Moose Mobile has made a lot of noise when it comes to cheap postpaid phone plans. This small telco operating on the Optus network is known for occasionally offering deals for its cheap phone plans for as little as 1c for the first month. Excess data is charged in KB increments.
- TeleChoice operates on the Telstra network and offers a range of postpaid phone plans on both a month-to-month basis and fixed-term contracts. This telco also sells phones through the online store and bricks and mortar retail stores. Excess data is charged in GB increments.
- Southern Phone offers a range of plans on the Optus network with the aim to provide great service and choice to regional Australia. Postpaid plans are available as month-to-month or 12-month contracts with extra data for 12-month contracts. Southern Phone’s plans charge excess data in GB increments.
- Woolworths Mobile offers both prepaid and postpaid plans on the Telstra network, along with plans bundled with new handsets. The plan prices and inclusions stay the same on the three options, with the billing period being the only difference. Unlimited standard national talk and text is available on all plans. No excess data is charged, so you’ll need to purchase a separate data add-on for more data.
Cheap ‘long expiry’ mobile plans for seniors and pensioners
If you’re not a heavy user and don’t want to recharge every month, it can be tempting to hop onto a long-expiry plan, commonly labelled ‘pay as you go’ or ‘PAYG’ plans. These plans often don’t expire for 60 days or more, with some lasting an entire year. This enables you to add credit as you see fit, with cheap rates on offer.
- Amaysim has a $10 starter pack that lasts 365 days: Calls are 15c/minute, texts 15c each, MMS 49c and data 15.4c/MB.
- ALDI Mobile has a competitive plan that also lasts 365 days. $15 or $30 recharges are available. Calls are 12c/minute, texts 12c each, MMS 35c each and data is 5c/MB.
- Optus has long expiry plans starting at just $10 and this plan lasts for 45 days. Plans can then last up to 365 days. Credit rollover applies up to $500 worth. Calls are 25c/minute, texts and MMS are 25c each, and data is 5c/MB.
- Vodafone has plans running over 180 days and 365 days, with pay-as-you-go pricing for calls, texts and data: calls are 20c/minute, SMS is 20c/text, and data is 4c/megabyte.
All in all, the bigger players aren’t the only players in the long life game. Other providers such as ALDI Mobile and Amaysim also offer competitive rates. With some telcos you’ll have to watch out for hefty data charges — 15c/mb may not seem like much, but can certainly add up.
|Brand||Features||Max Data**/billing period||Advertised Cost^^/billing period|
min. cost $40 over 365 day expiry
|PAYG||$40||Go To Site|
|View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue||**^^View important information|
iPhone Plans for Seniors
While many seniors and pensioners will be looking for a cheap and cheerful prepaid option, you may be more interested in getting your hands on a shiny new smartphone, with the iPhone 11 typically the most sought-after device (although the new 2020 iPhone 12 range has just arrived in stores). While you can buy the phone outright and take your pick of SIM-only deals, you can also sign up to a plan whereby you can pay off the cost over 12, 24 or 36 months. Generally the cheapest plans cost about $40, but device repayments are an additional cost, and can make the total plan repayment every month cost in excess of $80 and even well over $100 per month!
You’ll only be able to pick up an iPhone plan from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. The following table includes a selection of published 24-month plans for the 64GB iPhone 12 Mini on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost from lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This table includes products with links to a referral partner.
If you’re a Seniors card holder, you may be eligible for discounted rates on your mobile service. Several of Australia’s biggest mobile providers offer reduced fees for seniors, including:
- Vodafone: Seniors card holders can claim a 10% discount on select Vodafone’s plans. Visit the website to find out which plans are currently eligible for a discount. Terms and conditions apply.
- Telstra: Valid Pension Concession card holders can claim a discount on home phone services, but this hasn’t yet been extended to Telstra’s mobile plans.