The top phone plans for international calling

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While phone plans are becoming much more competitive in regards to regular calls, texts and data, international credit has somewhat fallen by the wayside. Many providers shed international credit from their plans entirely, but there are a handful of telcos offering international texts and minutes as part of their standard plans. If you need to call overseas a fair bit, or you just like having that feature, Canstar Blue compares the top phone plans with international credit below.

What are the top phone plans for calling overseas?

There are more than 30 providers out there operating on the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks as Mobile Virtual Network Operators, yet it seems that only a handful offer international minutes or texts as part of their plans. The top SIM-only providers with international credit are listed below. If you need an easy SIM plan to call overseas, these may be worth a look into.

ALDI Mobile International Credit

ALDI Mobile is already a Customer Satisfaction Award winner in the prepaid sphere, but it also provides international credit on some of its higher-end plans.

  • The $25 plan has 100 international minutes, while the $35 plan has 200, and the $45 plan has 300 minutes
  • These minutes apply to 50 countries, including popular destinations such as Canada, China, USA, UK and so on

On top of that, data allowances start at 3GB and you also get data rollover included, making ALDI Mobile a handy provider if you want a bit of everything. All of these plans come with standard unlimited calls & texts, too.

Amaysim International Credit

Amaysim is a favourite among postpaid providers and it has generous international inclusions on most of its plans. Amaysim operates on a 28-day basis and all of its standard plans come with domestic calls and texts. Plans from $25 also come with generous international credit.

  • Plans include unlimited texts and MMS to 32 countries, as well as calls to 10 countries
  • The 10 countries include China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, UK and the USA
  • The $40 and $50 plans also come with 300 minutes to a further 22 countries

Amaysim has a concise range of phone plans, and are available either on a prepaid or postpaid basis, which means great flexibility. All plans come with some form of international credit, but the more you spend the more you stand to receive.

Bendigo Bank Telco International Credit

Yes, Bendigo Bank now offers postpaid phone plans. It operates on the Optus network, and plans start at under $10. But to get international credit you’ll need to be willing to spend around $25.

  • The $24.50 plan has $50 international credit, while the $34.50 plan has $300 and the $49.50 plan has $500
  • Be aware, that 12 month and month-to-month plans come with international credit, but by signing up for a year you stand to save some money or get extra data
  • You can call pretty much any country, but they each attract a different fee. The lowest seems to be the USA, which is rated at 38c/minute

So if you need to call your hot Californian surfer boyfriend, Bendigo Bank Telco offers competitive rates to the USA. Alternatively, it has such a large range of countries to call but be prepared to pay for it – $10 a minute in some cases!

Jeenee Mobile International Credit

Jeenee Mobile is arguably one of the more exciting postpaid mobile phone carriers out there, with all of its plans coming with unlimited calls & texts, starting at under $10 a month. Jeenee Mobile is another Optus MVNO, and to get international credit you’ll need to be willing to spend at least $30 a month.

  • The $30 plan comes with $50 credit, while the $35 comes with $300 and $50 comes with $500
  • This can be used with nearly every country and territory around the world; the US for example is just 37c a minute. All international calls incur a 35c flagfall

Jeenee offers data incentives if you sign up for 6 or 12 months, but international credit is included on plans over $30 no matter what contract length you go for. In the postpaid sphere, Jeenee is seemingly one of the most generous when it comes to international credit, but be wary if you are calling places like North Korea, which can cost over $11 a minute!

Lebara Mobile International Credit

Founded in Norway, Lebara perhaps unsurprisingly has some pretty interesting plans with international credit as standard. It is already one of the cheapest providers to offer 5GB of data, and its international inclusions bolster value even further.

  • The $24.90 plan comes with 1000 minutes, while the $29.90 and $39.90 plans come with 250 minutes, and the $49.90 plan comes with unlimited calls to 60 countries plus $5 extra credit
  • Most countries are available and popular countries such as the USA are included in the available destinations where minute restrictions are applied

With Lebara, you can generally take a path that gives you more international credit, or one with more stuff to use at home – be it calls, texts or data. It is peculiar, however, that if you spend more you aren’t necessarily getting more international credit.

LycaMobile International Credit

LycaMobile is another internationally-inclined telco with varied international credit allowances. Its plans start at around $20 a month, for which you’ll get 1000 call minutes, 1000 texts and 1GB data. However, to get international credit you’ll need to be willing to spend closer to $30:

  • The standard offer from plans starting at $29.90 come with unlimited calls to 10 countries, plus the choice of 30 minutes to countries like Bangladesh, or 10 minutes to mainly Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon, Egypt and Iran

It’s promising to see that with LycaMobile you get unlimited calls to 10 countries on the bulk of its plans, which is handy and we imagine a large proportion of the expat population in Australia would come from these 10 countries.

Moose Mobile International Credit

Moose Mobile is already one of the cheapest no lock-in contract unlimited providers, and on one of its plans also includes some international credit to use as you see fit.

  • The $34 plan already provides 10GB data for just $34 a month, and now also includes $300 international credit
  • Most countries and territories are available, and popular countries like Canada can be called for pretty cheap – 51c a minute for example

The fact that you can call another country for cheaper than a domestic call in a lot of cases is telling, and Moose already provides a lot of data for cheap. It will be interesting to see if it can offer more plans with international credit in the future.

Optus International Credit

As the first non-MVNO in this list, Optus’ SIM-only plans do include a fair bit of international credit in some cases.

  • Many plans over $40 a month see international credit starting at 300 minutes to selected countries
  • There are over 20 countries included, including a lot of Asian and European nations

If you want a ‘do anything’ kind of plan, Optus’ 12-month postpaid plans also include data-free music streaming, plus lots of data bonuses from time to time. All plans here come with domestic unlimited calls & texts as standard, and the more you spend, the more international credit you generally receive.

Telstra International Credit

As the biggest kahuna in this list, Telstra is a little bit lacklustre when it comes to international stuff, as far as its SIM-only plans go. However, under the ‘Go Mobile Plus BYO’ plans that can be bought online, some include unlimited calls and texts to 10 eligible countries.

  • These countries are mainly the most popular ones, including the USA and the like

While Telstra does lack a bit in terms of international credit, you do get other perks like NRL and AFL data-free streaming and Telstra Air Data in a lot of cases.

Virgin Mobile International Credit

As a multinational company, it is probably no surprise that Virgin has generous international credit inclusions in its Virgin Mobile plans. From $30 a month you stand to receive at least $50 credit for both calls and texts. This limit only increases the more you spend and you don’t have to compromise if you opt for a month-to-month plan.

  • Virgin’s rates vary from country to country and from different plan groups, but its postpaid 12-month rate to Canada is 80c a minute, billed every 30 seconds, and texts are 35c

Virgin Mobile, while it includes a lot of credit on a lot of its plans, has comparatively expensive international rates to a lot of countries. While this doesn’t affect popular countries as much, you might want to watch out if you’re calling Cuba or some other far-flung country!

Vodafone International Credit

As far as SIM-only plans go, Vodafone, out of the three carriers in Australia, arguably offers the most straightforward plans. You can generally choose between either more data or more international credit, labelled ‘Data’ and ‘Global’ plans respectively.

  • These plans start at $40 a month, in which you receive 300 minutes to over 10 countries
  • Dearer plans also include ‘Super 1000’ countries, which means you get 1000 minutes to 12 prominent countries

Vodafone also offers generous data bonuses from time to time, so you nary have to compromise data for too long. Still, you can see the difference between ‘Data’ and ‘Global’ plans below:

Woolworths Mobile International Credit

Good old Woolies now offers mobile phone plans, so while you shop for bread, you can also chuck a SIM card in your trolley. Woolworths offers both phones on a plan and prepaid plans.

  • On the $30 prepaid plan you get 150 minutes to 10 countries, and on the $45 plan you get unlimited calls to the same 10, including China, USA, New Zealand and a few other popular destinations

Woolies’ postpaid phones on a plan also include much the same type of deal, so it pays to shop around. Woolworths Mobile also offers 10% off your prepaid recharge if you use your Everyday Rewards card to pay, and from time to time also gives big rewards point bonuses.

Are cheap international rates worth writing home about?

If you’re an expat, have friends or conduct business overseas, having a phone plan with cheap international rates or international credit is surely enticing. As seen above, there are many providers that offer some form of international credit, across postpaid and prepaid platforms. MVNOs tend to lead the way, but that doesn’t mean Telstra, Optus or Vodafone are not worth a look into. However, if you decide on a plan with international credit, there are several things to consider as such as:

  • Most providers only give international calls & texts on plans $30 and over
  • If a provider has a fair few plans around the same price, you tend to sacrifice some data in turn for international credit
  • Not all countries are available; a common feature is unlimited calls to 10 countries, which is obviously fairly limiting – you often can’t call Vatican City, for example!

In any case, if you need international minutes, consider shopping around. There are lots of providers out there that offer some form of international credit, whether it’s minutes or dollar values. Some are better than others, so it pays to shop around with your destination country in mind.

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