A guide to data rollover phone plans

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If you’ve traditionally struggled to consistently use all or most of your mobile phone data allowance every month, a data rollover plan may be for you. Quite a few providers do ‘data rollover’, but it may be a feature that’s a little tricky to find. Canstar Blue knuckles down the key phone plans that feature data rollover as standard to help you find the best deal for your needs.

A lot of service providers simply give you 28 or 30 days, or a month, to use up all your data before it simply disappears into the abyss. What happens to that data allowance? Phone providers probably like customers who don’t use anywhere near their data limit because it means they’re paying for a level of service they just don’t need, thus saving the telco some money. Some people might be happy enough to pay extra ‘just in case’ they need the extra data, but for others this is just a waste of money! For them, data rollover should be a key feature to look out for.

If you’re the type to use only 1GB of your 6GB phone plan one month, then need something like 7GB the next month, data rollover could be your ticket to data freedom. For those who might be out of the loop, here’s a guide to data rollover – the handy little feature that’s bringing relief to phone users across the country.

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What is data rollover?

Data rollover is a service which allows you to make use of unused data from the previous month by having it rolled over and lumped in with your data for the current month. A few providers offer it, but not on all plans, so it may be hard to find a suitable plan with data rollover. Data may be rolled over for an unlimited period in rare cases, but you often only get the rolled-over data from the previous billing period.

Data rollover is understandably pretty popular, as it can give you significantly more value for money – especially if you’re a heavy data user.  As you may know, there are three main ways to get yourself some mobile data – a prepaid phone plan, a postpaid phone plan (often referred to as a contract), or a mobile data plan. Providers tend to offer rollover for some plan types but not others, and this can sometimes get confusing. Generally speaking, more providers tend to offer it on prepaid plans rather than postpaid. Find out what providers offer data rollover below.

The Top Data Rollover Plans

Providers such as Telstra, OptusALDI Mobile, Belong Mobile and Woolworths Mobile all offer data rollover with some plans. Data rollover often features in their prepaid plans, with the proviso that you recharge before the credit expiry. Most are SIM-only:

  • Telstra: ‘Plus’ Prepaid plans from $30
  • Optus: ‘Ultimate Plus’ prepaid plans from $10
  • ALDI Mobile: Prepaid ‘Value’ plans from $15
  • Belong Mobile: Postpaid plans from $30
  • Woolworths Mobile: Prepaid plans from $30

Telstra Data Rollover Plans

Australia’s largest mobile plan provider offers credit rollover for all of its prepaid plans – this means you can get rollover of your calls and texts for all prepaid plans, but not data rollover as such. To get data rollover, you’ll usually be stuck with a ‘Plus’ plan. As usual, the rule of having to recharge before the expiry applies here.

  • If you’re worried about data, keep in mind that many of Telstra’s plans come with Telstra Air data, as well as data-free streaming of the NRL, AFL and Netball
  • Data rollover commonly features on plans with prepaid phones bundled in, so you may have to keep this in mind as well

With Telstra, prepaid plans with data rollover start at $30, and cost up to $50 a month. The cheapest plan with unlimited calls and texts is $40 per 28-day recharge. The rollover limit applies to the data you didn’t use on the previous recharge, unlike Virgin Mobile, which has a 12GB cap.

Optus Data Rollover Plans

Similar to Telstra, Optus lets you roll over up to 10GB of unused data on your prepaid phone plan if you recharge before your expiry date.

  • Plans start at just $10, in which you get 500MB data, plus  100 minutes of calls and unlimited texts over 7 days

Optus is also known to provide data-free music streaming with many of its plans, plus other perks. Optus also commonly offers bonus data if you set your plan to auto-recharge. So if you’re not particularly impressed by what Optus has to offer, you may find yourself getting a lot more data if you think about both the recharge data bonus, as well as the data rollover of up to 10GB.

ALDI Mobile Data Rollover Plans

ALDI Mobile is notably one of the only Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) to let customers roll over their data into the next recharge. ALDI operates on the Telstra network but its data rollover feature is only present on a few plans.

  • All five ‘Value’ plans are available with data rollover: Small ($15), Large ($25), XL ($35), XXL ($45), Jumbo ($55)

All of these plans come with unlimited calls and texts as well. Unlike other providers, ALDI’s plans are available with a 30 day expiry. However, data rollover is not time-unlimited; your rolled-over data only lasts one extra recharge. Below is how ALDI’s plans with data-rollover look.

Belong Mobile Data Rollover Plans

Belong has burst onto the SIM only mobile scene, with unlimited calls & texts plus 5GB data starting at only $30. It operates on the Telstra network, and is the only provider in this list to offer data rollover on postpaid plans. Belong calls it ‘data banking’.

  • All unused data is able to be banked and stored away for when you need it.

As it stands, Belong offers one of the most generous data rollover set-ups in the game, with unlimited banking with plans on a postpaid basis – a rare feat. Belong SIM cards are available in some 7-Elevens, Coles, Officeworks, JB Hi Fi and Australia Post outlets.

Woolworths Mobile Data Rollover Plans

Good old Woolies allows you to rollover your trolley wheels and rollover your data. Woolworths Mobile operates on the Telstra network and has prepaid plans starting at just $15. However to get data rollover you’ll need to spend at least $30.

  • Data rollover is available on plans $30 and over, and up to 15GB can be rolled over. Everyday Rewards Card holders get a 10% discount, too.

Woolworths benefits from having international minutes on many plans, plus bonus data from time to time. It also has a suite of phones on a plan, including the Galaxy S8.

What about Vodafone?

Vodafone notably does not feature data rollover on its plans. Vodafone does have credit rollover on a lot of its prepaid plans, which means that your call and text allowances may rollover. However, this is probably pointless for someone looking at an unlimited plan anyway. In such a competitive market, where prepaid plans are still popular, this is a bit of a letdown given that both Optus and Telstra offer data rollover – two carriers Vodafone tries hard to compete with. In any case, if you’re not so concerned with data, Vodafone is known to provide data bonuses from time to time and its credit rollover feature may still be worth a look into.

Is data rollover worth rolling out of bed for?

There aren’t many negatives when it comes to data rollover – who doesn’t want to get the most value from their mobile phone plan? But a small word of warning – make sure you check the conditions and restrictions that apply to your particular plan. Among other specifications, it may be the case that you can only roll over your unused data once and not every month, for example. And the question also remains – aside from the data rollover, are you getting the best value?

While there aren’t exactly any downsides to data rollover, it is a feature that looks good, but may not actually get much use.

  • If you often use up nearly all your data cap, you won’t have much data to rollover in the first place
  • If you don’t get anywhere near your plan’s data cap then the rolled-over data will likely remain unused next time anyway
  • Often only prepaid plans feature data rollover; those wanting a postpaid plan may have to miss out

In the case of not using anywhere near your data cap, you may want to consider switching to a cheaper plan with less data. Data rollover suits those with fluctuating data usage. What this means is that in one month, you might only use 1GB of your 6GB data limit, then in busier months you may want to use more. There’s no exact downside to data rollover, but customers could struggle to get use out of it. In any case, don’t just pick a plan because it has data rollover, but if you find comparable plans, it’s a good point of difference.

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