Everyone likes to save a bit of money, but for students especially, any cash saved can make a big difference. Luckily for Aussie students, there are plenty of cheap phone plans around, not to mention specific student discounts and bonuses on offer from some of the bigger telcos.
Before you begin your comparison, you’ll need to consider what is important for you when it comes to a phone plan. Whether you’re looking to save money on a prepaid or postpaid plan, you want lots of data, or you’d like a plan with some entertainment extras to enjoy during study breaks, it’s important to have an idea of what you want from a phone plan. Read on for all the details, but first, here is a quick comparison of plans from our database that could be a good bet for students.
Phone Plans for Students – Quick Comparison
The table below shows a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $50 or under, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.
Finding the best student phone plan
Before you sign up to a student phone plan, here are some things to consider when comparing telcos and mobile options.
- Budget: What price per month or recharge can you afford?
- Prepaid vs. postpaid: Do you want to pay in advance, or be billed at the end of each month?
- Phone vs SIM only: Do you have an unlocked phone you’d like to keep, or do you need to upgrade your handset?
- Data: How many gigabytes of data do you typically use over each month or expiry period?
- Coverage: Does your prospective telco provide reliable mobile network coverage where you live, work and study (including 3G, 4G and 5G coverage if applicable)
- Contracts: Do you want to avoid being locked into a contract for your plan or phone?
- Discounts: Are you eligible for discounts or special offers through your school or student ID?
Read on for more
For students looking to save a bit on their postpaid phone bill, the following providers have some cheap phone plans:
If a cheap prepaid plan is your preference, the following telcos offer a range of cheap phone plans:
Once you know what you need from a phone plan, and how much you have to spend in your budget, you can delve into what student-friendly phone plans are available from the telcos. Read on for the latest offers from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.
Telstra phone deals for students
Telstra offers a range of reasonably priced postpaid and prepaid plans for its customers. The telco has reintroduced a range of student-specific deals, which requires you to sign up with your student email address. Once you sign up, you’ll be eligible to receive 10% off eligible postpaid month-to-month plans for a full year, along with deals on a selection of devices. You’ll find what’s on offer on Telstra’s ‘Student Deals’ page, which you can find via the Telstra website’s drop down menu.
Students may find benefit in the extra perks that Telstra can provide. A great perk is access to data-free music streaming with Apple Music (separate subscription required), and unlimited texts to select countries, along with 30 minutes of calls to any standard international number. Another deal frequently offered is free BINGE streaming, so keep an eye out for what’s available on mobile plans when you sign up.
For students who are more inclined to stay up-to-date with the latest smartphones, Telstra also offers a wide range of phone plans. Prices vary depending on the device, but you do have the option of paying off your phone over a 12 or 24-month period, while not being locked into a single mobile data plan for the during of your repayments. While not the cheapest provider, Telstra’s list of extra perks could be useful for students.
The following table includes selected Upfront SIM-only Telstra plans on Canstar Blue’s database listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.
Optus phone deals for students
Optus currently offers deals and options for students through its dedicated Student Hub, the most notable being a 10% plan discount for eligible customers. As with Telstra, you’ll need a valid student email address to qualify; enter your email, and you’ll receive a promo code which can redeemed for a 10% cut on selected SIM only, phone-on-a-plan, and home internet options. The discount is valid on SIM only and phone plans for your first 12 months, and on 4G home internet plans for up to 24 months.
In addition to student-specific deals, Optus also offers plenty of extras, with these perks included on many of its mobile and internet plans. You’ll get data-free access to Optus Sport & Fitness, which includes exclusive access to many of the European football championships, along with shareable data and no excess data cahrges in Australia.
Optus’ range of SIM-only deals are reasonably priced, and you can get some pretty big data inclusions for your money. Along with five standard SIM-only plans, customers can now ‘build their own’ mobile plan by selecting their preferred data allowance, along with international call and roaming extras. This could come in handy if you want lots of data but don’t need international extras, or perhaps you don’t need as much data but want unlimited international calls, as you’ll only pay for the features you select.
The following table includes selected postpaid SIM-only Optus plans on Canstar Blue’s database listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.
Vodafone phone deals for students
Vodafone has traditionally offered a wide range of deals and extras to tertiary students, but has recently narrowed its focus to discounts for all customers under the age of 25. While this means many mature age students are exempt, new customers aged between 18 and 25 can claim a 10% discount on plan fees for selected mobile, SIM-only, tablet and mobile plans for their first 12 months.
This offers applies to all of Vodafone’s Infinite SIM-only mobile plans, as well as both tablet and mobile plans of $30 per month or higher. You’ll need to provide valid ID confirming your date of birth to claim this offer, and terms and conditions apply.
Vodafone also provides offers and extras that are useful to students, including ‘infinite’ data on mobile plans (unlimited data at speeds capped at either 2Mbps, 10Mbps or 25Mbps, depending on your plan), plus $5 per day roaming when overseas. The telco also runs frequent loyalty and device discounts on new smartphones, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re after a new device.
The following table includes all postpaid SIM-only Vodafone plans on Canstar Blue’s database listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.
Postpaid phone plans from smaller telcos
As students know, it’s always best to shop around to find the best deals. While the big three telcos often have the most enticing deals for the majority of users (thanks to extras like data-free entertainment streaming), it can still pay to go with a smaller provider. One thing to remember is that most of these telcos only offer SIM-only plans: so if you’re after a new phone, you’ll most likely need to look at the big three telcos unless you buy your phone outright.
Companies such as Woolworths Mobile, Moose Mobile, TeleChoice and Southern Phone all offer competitive phone plans, with periodical data bonuses and other discounts from time to time. You might also find some of these telcos offer both month-to-month and contract versions of plans. Often if you’re willing to stick to a contract —whether it’s 12 or 24 months— you could get extra data or a cheaper monthly rate, so it’s worth considering whether you’re happy to be locked in or not.
While these smaller providers generally don’t offer student-only discounts, the competitive pricing is enough of a draw if you’re looking to save money. The table below shows a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $25 or under, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest. These are products with links to referral partners.
Prepaid phone plans from smaller telcos
For those who like to avoid bill shock, a prepaid phone plan could be the right option for you. You’ll find that prepaid plans don’t tend to vary much from postpaid options — you can still get good call, SMS and mobile data inclusions, but quite often for a lower monthly fee. Some prepaid providers even include generous international call inclusions, along with some entertainment extras. If you’ve already got a phone you’re happy with, switching to a prepaid deal could save some money.
While prepaid isn’t as popular as it once was, the smaller telcos that do focus on prepaid plans — such as Boost Mobile and Catch Connect — manage to squeeze some good value in. Boost Mobile, for example, includes unlimited international calls to select countries on all plans (plus data-free streaming of Apple Music).
Whatever value you’re after, you might find the right deal for you if you’re looking at prepaid plans. The table below shows a selection of prepaid plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest. These are products with links to referral partners.
Are student phone deals good value?
Realistically, determining if a phone plan is good value depends on your situation. How you use your phone is the biggest factor when it comes to which provider and plan will suit you, so it’s still best to shop around and compare. If you’re looking for student-specific phone deals, Vodafone does put the most effort into a range of student-only offers, however you might struggle to find the student deals on the Telstra and Optus websites, but once you do find them, you could grab yourself a good deal.
For students who are penny-pinching and looking for a cheaper phone plan, staying on top of the latest deals can save you money in the long run. It’s also worth considering a plan from a telco that provides data-free streaming and other perks, if this is something you know you’ll use a lot of. Overall, it’s a good time to be a student on the hunt for a phone deal – there are so many providers out there with attractive offers, all you have to do is shop around.