What is data rollover and which telcos offer it?

If you find your data usage varies drastically from month-to-month, finding a phone plan with data rollover or data baking could be a smart option. On most phone plans, you’ll have a set number of days to use your plan’s included value before it expires or resets, with that leftover data simply disappearing.

This is why data rollover, or data banking, is great news if you’re an inconsistent data user. However, not many telcos offer this, so finding a provider and plan with this option might be a bit tricky. At Canstar Blue, we’ve had a look at the Aussie telcos offering data rollover to help you find the best phone plan for your needs.

Plans with data rollover: at a glance

Postpaid plans with data rollover

Here is a selection of postpaid plans, then prepaid, that feature data rollover/data banking from Canstar Blue’s database for $40 or less, 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. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Prepaid plans with data rollover

What is data rollover?

Data rollover, which is also referred to as data banking, is a service which allows you to keep the unused data from the previous month (or billing cycle) by rolling it over into your data allowance for the following billing cycle. This means if you have 10GB of data each month, and in one month you only use 6GB, the remaining 4GB will then be added on to the next month, giving you a total of 14GB of data to use. You’ll then need to use up your usual monthly data inclusion before your plan taps into your data bank.

If your data use is fairly consistent, and you generally don’t go over your data allowance, data banking might not make much of a difference to you. However, if your data use changes drastically with each billing cycle, having access to a data bank could protect you from excess data charges, or from having to frequently recharge a prepaid plan.

Only a handful of providers offer data rollover or banking, but not on all plans, so it may be hard to find the right plan with data rollover to suit your needs. Some telcos allow for data to roll over for an unlimited time or up to a certain amount of data in your data ‘bank’, while others might only give you the rolled-over data from the previous billing period.

Data rollover is understandably useful, as it can give you significantly more value for money. While there are two main plan types – prepaid and postpaid – most telcos will offer this option on prepaid plans only, with the requirement that you recharge before your plan expires in order to maintain your data bank.

Which telcos offer data rollover (data banking)?

Data rollover isn’t the most common feature from the telcos, so if data banking is high on your list of ‘must haves’ in a phone plan, your options are somewhat limited. If you’re after a postpaid phone plan with data rollover, you’ll find your choices limited even further, as its a more common service on prepaid plans.

The following telcos include data rollover/banking in some form:

It’s worth noting that Woolworths Mobile is the only telco to include data banking across its whole suite of plans. Whether you’re looking at a prepaid, postpaid or plan with a new handset, you’ll receive access to data banking.

Woolworths Mobile phone plans with data rollover

The real stand out from all the telcos offering data rollover has to be Woolworths Mobile. While many telcos offer only one type of phone plan — whether it’s prepaid or postpaid — Woolies offers a suite of plans across prepaid, postpaid, and plans bundled with handsets. The best news is that all of these plans include data banking.

You’ll be able to bank up to 500GB of data on postpaid and 30-day prepaid plans, with the condition that you recharge before your prepaid plan expires, or that you’re up to date with your active postpaid plan bills in order to keep your data bank active. Prepaid long-expiry plans include data rollover (rather than data banking) when you recharge before the plan expiry.

The following table includes all Woolworths Mobile SIM-only postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Telstra phone plans with data rollover

Australia’s largest telco only offers data banking on its range of Pre-Paid Max plans. Whether you choose the $10 recharge with seven days of expiry, or the $300 plan with a 12 month expiry period, any unused data will roll over into your next billing cycle, provided you recharge before the expiry. Telstra gives you a maximum of 200GB of data in your data bank.

If you’re interested in the Telstra Pre-Paid Max plans with data rollover included, we’ve listed these plans and the inclusions in the below table. This table includes links to a referral partner.

Boost Mobile phone plans with data rollover

Boost Mobile offers prepaid phone plans across 28-day expiry periods, as well as long-term 12-month expiry periods. The data rollover option is only available on the 28-day plans, and this rollover data is only available to use within the next recharge; you’ll also need to recharge before your plan’s expiry. The following table includes all of the 28-day Boost Mobile plans with data rollover available.

Belong Mobile phone plans with data rollover

Belong Mobile offers a simple range of three postpaid plans with data banking, so you’re able to rollover unused data into the next payment cycle. The telco also offers a rather unique way to not let the unused data go to waste, through data gifting. Essentially you can gift your unused data (in chunks of 1GB) to another active Belong Mobile customer.

With both of these options, its clear that Belong Mobile doesn’t seem to like unused data going to waste, which could be an incentive if you’re looking into SIM-only postpaid plans. The following table includes Belong Mobile plans with access to data rollover. This table includes links to a referral partner.

Optus phone plans with data rollover

Similar to Telstra, Optus only offers data rollover on prepaid plans. Both the ‘Epic Data’ and ‘Epic Value’ plans let you roll over unused data if you recharge before your expiry date, with up to 200GB of data rollover available on Epic Data plans and 50GB on Epic Value.

Plans start at just $10, in which you get 5GB data on the Epic Data plan, plus 100 minutes of calls and unlimited texts over 5 days. Rollover data doesn’t include the 10GB per month reserved exclusively for streaming video. The following table includes a selection of the Optus Epic Data plans, all with access to data rollover.

ALDI Mobile phone plans with data rollover

ALDI Mobile operates on the Telstra network with a range of prepaid SIM-only plans, with data rollover available on its suite of Value Pack plans. The supermarket telco also offers the most generous form of data rollover: continuous data rollover. This means that as long as you recharge your plan before the expiry period, or within 24 hours of the expiry, you’ll roll over your unused data, and continue rolling over all unused data with every recharge (just as long as you recharge in time).

All of these plans come with unlimited calls and texts as well, all on a 30-day expiry. The following table includes ALDI Mobile’s standard prepaid plans with continuous data rollover.

Lebara phone plans with data rollover

Rounding off the list is Lebara. While this telco isn’t the most well known of all the Mobile Virtual Network Operators, Lebara does have a lot going for it, having won the 2019 Canstar Blue Provider of the Year award for its prepaid mobile plans.

Lebara offers a range of 30-day and long-expiry plans, with data banking available on its range of 30-day prepaid plans and long-term plans. You’ll be able to bank up to 200GB of data, provided you recharge your plan before the expiry or within 48 hours of expiry to keep your bank active. The below table includes a range of Lebara’s 30-day prepaid plans with data rollover.

What about Vodafone?

Vodafone notably does not feature data rollover on its plans. 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.

However Vodafone has put effort into increasing data on its suite of postpaid plans, including phone plans with unlimited data (at a capped speed of 1.5Mbps). If you’re looking into Australia’s third-largest telco, you might not even need a data rollover option.

Is data rollover right for me?

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. The amount of data you can roll over, and how long this data is accessible for, will vary from telco to telco. If you’re looking into a postpaid phone plan, you’ll also have a smaller group of telcos to choose from, as it’s a mostly prepaid plan feature.

While there aren’t exactly any downsides to data rollover, it might not be useful to you if:

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

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 best suits those with fluctuating data usage, so unless you fit into that category, it might not be your highest priority when comparing phone plans.

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