SIM-Only Mobile Phone Plans

If you’ve been locked into the two-year new-phone-and-plan cycle, you may not be familiar with SIM-only phone plans. An alternative to signing a standard 24-month phone contract, a SIM-only plan allows you to bring your own device to the provider and plan of your choice.

Instead of a new handset, you’ll simply receive a SIM card that’s connected to your telco’s network. Insert it into your unlocked phone, activate and set up your plan, and you’re good to go – without the long-term contracts and hassle of signing up for a new device.

Generally, a SIM-only plan will feature all the inclusions and extras provided on your telco’s standard two-year plans. But because you’re not adding in the cost of buying a brand-new smartphone, you’ll pay less each month, and won’t be required to sign a lock-in contract (unless, of course, you opt for a 12-month plan).

You’ll also get to pick your own device: whether it’s brand new, pre-owned, or your mum’s old Nokia, you’re not limited to the often small range of new phones stocked by providers. Telcos use the promise of a new, shiny smartphone as a means of chaining customers to a network long-term; skip the phone upgrade, and you’ll enjoy more flexibility, more choice, and higher savings.

Loading...

Reasons to go SIM-Only

The obvious reason to jump to a SIM-only plan – also known as a bring-your-own-phone (BYO) plan –  is the potential to save cash, even just short-term. Reasons you might be better off on a SIM-only plan include:

  • You love your current phone and don’t need to replace it.
  • You’re looking to cut down on your monthly mobile costs.
  • You’re waiting for an upcoming phone release, and don’t want to upgrade or sign a new contract just yet.
  • You like to swap between phones, your mobile usage can vary month-to-month, or you just want more flexibility from your mobile plan.

Essentially, if you’re happy with your current phone and want to save on your mobile bill, SIM-only is worth looking into. What you’ll need to decide, besides how much data you’ll need, is if you want to go month-to-month or sign up on a year-long plan, and if you’d prefer a postpaid or prepaid service.

Prepaid SIM-Only Plans

If you like to pay in advance, and don’t want the worry of potential overages, prepaid plans are your best bet. You’ll pay for a set number of inclusions or credit each billing period (usually 28, 30, or 35 days); once this is exceeded, you’ll need to manually recharge before you can call, text or use data.

Prepaid mobile phone plans can be every bit as competitive as postpaid options, and brands such as Boost Mobile, Amaysim and OVO Mobile can offer great deals (as listed below). You’ll also find great value in supermarket mobile brands, such as ALDI Mobile.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Yomojo Logo

15GB Plan

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 50% off for the first 3 months with promo code: FESTIVE18 . Ends 31/01/19

min. cost $34.90 over 30 day plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $34.90Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Ovo Logo

Large

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Special offer: 15GB + 10GB bonus data ongoing, buy before 31/01/19
  • 300 international minutes to 32 countries

min. cost $34.95 over 30 day billing period

25GBMax Data**/billing period $34.95Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Boost Mobile

$40 Prepaid

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited international calls to 15 countries, 100 mins to 35 countries, 100 texts to 50 countries
  • Get 23GB bonus data on the first 5 recharges. Terms Apply. Ends 25 Feb 19

min. cost $40 over 28 day billing period

22GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$40 Combo Plus

  • Unlimited national calls & SMS
  • 500 mins to Zone 1 countries, 100 mins to Zone 2
  • Half price starter pack offer: now $20 (ends 27/11/18)

min. cost $20 over 35 days

17GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

12-Month SIM-Only Plans

Although many people opt for a SIM-only plan to avoid signing contracts, the biggest deals are usually reserved for customers on 12-month BYO postpaid phone plans. Telcos want you to stick around, so it makes sense that year-long plans come with the biggest value; if you’re not afraid to commit, it’s a great way to lock down a good price and score some great plan inclusions.

Vodafone and Telstra’s SIM-only plans offer great incentives, but smaller brands such as Southern Phone and Moose Mobile are also worth checking out. Below are just some of the 12-month SIM-only plans featured on Canstar Blue, all of which include unlimited talk and text, and plenty of gigabytes each month.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Southern Phones Logo

Green 35

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS

min. cost $420 over 12 month plan period

18GBMax Data**/billing period $35Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Moose Mobile Logo

Moose 29 SIM Only – 12M

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS

min. cost $348 over 12 month plan period

10GBMax Data**/billing period $29Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$45 Red SIM Only

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Special offer: $5 discount and 25GB bonus data each month

min. cost $540 over 12 month plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Amaysim Logo

Value 4G

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS

min. cost $299.88 over 12 month plan period

10GBMax Data**/billing period $24.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited Calls & Texts to 15 countries
  • 30GB + 30GB bonus data
  • ‘Peace of Mind’ data included
  • Special offer: $10 monthly credit

min. cost $828 over 12 month plan period

60GBMax Data**/billing period $69Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

 

Month-to-Month SIM-Only Plans

Not ready to be locked into a single plan or provider? You can always sign up for a month-to-month SIM plan. Most telcos will offer no-contract plans for customers bringing their own devices, although they may come with slightly less data or inclusions than equivalent plans on a 12-month agreement.

Plenty of MVNOs (the smaller operators using the Telstra, Vodafone and Optus networks) sell affordable, data-packed SIM-only plans with no lock-in contract (for example, Yomojo and Exetel). Below is a selection of month-to-month plans compared by Canstar Blue.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Moose Mobile Logo

Moose 29 SIM Only

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS

min. cost $29 over billing period

5GBMax Data**/billing period $29Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Yomojo Logo

15GB Plan

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 50% off for the first 3 months with promo code: FESTIVE18 . Ends 31/01/19

min. cost $34.90 over 30 day plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $34.90Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Ovo Logo

Large

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Special offer: 15GB + 10GB bonus data ongoing, buy before 31/01/19
  • 300 international minutes to 32 countries

min. cost $34.95 over 30 day billing period

25GBMax Data**/billing period $34.95Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Amaysim Logo

Extra Value 4G

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • $300 International Calls

min. cost $34.99 over 1 month plan period

10GBMax Data**/billing period $34.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Unlimited Data on SIM-Only Plans

If you think going SIM-only means limits on your data, think again. Vodafone launched two unlimited data postpaid options earlier this year, and the good news is they’re both BYO-phone compatible.

Vodafone’s $60 Plus Plan and $80 Plus Plan both feature unlimited data, although speeds are capped at 1.5Mbps. But each plan also includes a hefty amount of high-speed 4G gigabytes: 40GB on the $60 option, and 80GB on the $80 plan. The telco also frequently offers bonus data on both unlimited plans, so depending on when you sign up, you can score even more monthly fast gigabytes.

Both plans also include unlimited standard national talk and text, plus up to 3300 standard international call minutes each month. However, these plans are only offered on a 12-month contract, so you do need to be prepared to stick around.

Not to be outdone, Telstra now also includes unlimited data on its Medium and Large 12-month SIM-only plans. Like Vodafone, this unlimited ‘Peace of Mind’ data is capped at speeds of 1.5Mbps, but you’ll also get great full-speed data inclusions on both plans: currently, the $69 Medium plan features 40GB per month (30GB + 10GB of bonus data), while the $89 Large option includes 60GB.

Telstra’s unlimited data SIM plans also come with unlimited international talk and text to 15 countries, and the Large plan throws in 2GB of overseas data roaming each month. If you opt for the Large plan, you’ll also get a bonus 12-month Foxtel Now starter pack subscription.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$60 Unlimited SIM Only

  • Unlimited Data*(Capped at 1.5Mbps after 80GB)
  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 10,000 Qantas Points

min. cost $720.00 over 12 month billing period

Unlimited*Max Data**/billing period $60Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$80 Unlimited SIM Only

  • Unlimited Data*(Capped at 1.5Mbps after 100GB)
  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 20,000 Qantas Points

min. cost $960.00 over 12 month billing period

Unlimited*Max Data**/billing period $80Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited Calls & Texts to 15 countries
  • 30GB + 30GB bonus data
  • ‘Peace of Mind’ data included
  • Special offer: $10 monthly credit

min. cost $828 over 12 month plan period

60GBMax Data**/billing period $69Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Large

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited Calls & Texts to 15 Countries
  • 60GB + 30GB bonus data
  • ‘Peace of Mind’ data included
  • Special offer: $10 monthly credit

min. cost $1068 over 12 month plan period

90GBMax Data**/billing period $89Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Unlocking your phone

Before you take your phone to a SIM-only plan, you’ll need to make sure that it’s unlocked from its original network. If you bought your device on a postpaid plan, it’s probably already unlocked, but there are exceptions. Fortunately, unlocking a device from a specific telco’s network is easier than ever; you can usually do it yourself online, provided you have your phone’s IMEI number.

To find this number, simply dial *#06# from your mobile phone. Once you’ve got this number ready, head to the website of the telco that you bought the phone from originally, or call its customer service centre. Be aware that while it’s normally free to unlock your phone, you may be asked to pay a fee for prepaid phones if you service is still relatively new.

If you bought your device at full price directly from the manufacturer, or from a retailer such as JB HiFi, great news: your phone is unlocked out-of-the-box, and free to take to your choice of provider and plan.

 

Which SIM-Only plan is right for me?

So you’ve reviewed an array of SIM-only phone plans in a variety of price brackets, and now you’re ready to make a change. Before you switch, there’s still a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself to make sure you’re jumping on the right plan.

  • Which phone network do I prefer? There are three phone networks in Australia – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, with TPG set to launch its own network in the near-ish future. Smaller service providers use one or more of these networks to deliver their services.
  • What inclusions do I need? There is little point paying for unlimited calls and texts if you’re not going to make the most of them. Likewise, give serious thought to how much data you actually need.
  • What is my budget? If you’re bound by a budget like most of us, compare plans in a particular price segment, and search for the best value you can get for your money.

At the end of the day, a SIM-only plan is a great choice if you want the freedom to choose your phone, or you’re after more variety in plan offerings – the choice of which plan, however, is completely up to you!

Canstar Blue’s Customer Ratings

Featured SIM-only plans

Telco Mobile Plan Included Data Monthly Cost Contract Term
Boost Mobile $40 Prepaid 22GB $40 No contract
Vodafone $40 Combo Plus 17GB $40 No contract
OVO Mobile Large 15GB $34.95 No contract
 Yomojo  15GB Plan 15GB $34.90 No contract
Southern Phone Green 35 18GB $35 12 months
Moose Mobile Moose 29 SIM Only 12M 10GB $29 12 months
Vodafone $45 Red SIM Only 15GB $45 12 months
Exetel Value 4G 10GB $24.99 12 months
Telstra Medium 60GB $69 12 months
Moose Mobile Moose 29 SIM Only 5GB $29 No contract
Exetel Extra Value 4G 10GB $34.99 No contract
Vodafone $60 Unlimited SIM Only Unlimited (capped at 1.5Mbps after 40GB) $60 12 months
Vodafone $80 Unlimited SIM Only Unlimited (capped at 1.5Mbps after 80GB) $80 12 months
Telstra Medium 60GB + unlimited 1.5Mbps data $69 12 months
Telstra Large 90GB + unlimited 1.5Mbps data $35.99 12 months
Advertisement