Long expiry plans give you more time between recharges.
They're typically suited for light phone users.
Not usually a good match for heavy data users.
We've selected the plans with the best overall value for long expiry plan users.
Best low-cost pay-as-you-go plan on the Optus network
If you're in an area where your Optus coverage is better than Telstra's, consider amaysim's As You Go plan. The As You Go plan recharges can be as little as $10. Optus offers up its full 4G network to amaysim. Like ALDIMobile's Pay As You Go Plan, data prices are rather high.
Best low-cost pay-as-you-go plan on the Telstra network
ALDImobile's PAYG plans can be recharged for as little as $5 with that full amount lasting 365 days. This makes them a good choice if you just want a contact number and not much else. ALDImobile uses Telstra's 3G and 4G networks, so coverage is generally good. Its data prices aren't spectacular at the PAYG level, so if you did need data, it might pay to look elsewhere.
Best heavy data plan on the Optus network
If you're after lots of data to use on a long expiry plan, Catch Connect's 365 Day plan may be a good fit. The headline feature here is a hefty 375GB of data to use across that year's expiry, but you also get unlimited standard calls and texts, plus 500 international calling minutes as well. $410 is a fair amount to lay down in one hit for a prepaid plan, but it does make your next year's worth of mobile usage easy to deal with.
Best heavy data plan on the Telstra network
Boost Mobile offers full access to the Telstra 4G network for its 12-month prepaid plan. You get 240GB of data along with unlimited standard calls and texts. If your Telstra coverage is better than competing networks, it's a great value deal.
Best heavy data plan on the Vodafone network
Kogan Mobile's Large 365-day option is a standout choice if you're a data-hungry user with good coverage on the Vodafone network. Kogan's approach to prepaid 365-day plans is subtly different to the rest of the market. What you get is essentially a discount on the monthly plan price if you pre-purchase all 12 months at once. It's significantly more expensive than any other comparable "Long Expiry" plan, but if you just wanted to pay once for a year's service and not have to think about it again, it's worth consideration.
Long expiry prepaid plans explained
Credit lasts a long time. You can simply pay once, and you don't have to think about it again until your expiry period comes up.
Good if you get called more than you phone out. If you just want a phone so that family and friends can stay in touch by calling you, a long expiry plan is a great way to save money.
Good for the elderly. Long expiry plans aren't complex or weighed down with hard-to-understand exclusions or offers.
Easy to keep your number. If you're heading overseas and want to retain your Australian number, it's a low-cost way to do that and leave your SIM at home. For as little as $5, you can secure your number on your SIM card for up to a year, ready for when you return.
Lower value. Compared to a monthly prepaid plan, you pay more on a PAYG basis or get less value for longer expiry data plans.
Not great for heavy data users. Even for the plans with bundled data inclusions, you're looking at less data than if you paid monthly.
You've got to pay upfront. Long expiry plans are all prepaid, so you've got to stump up the cash before you've even made your first call.
Locks you into a provider. The beauty of a prepaid plan is that typically, you can change providers on a whim. That's a less attractive prospect if you've already sunk a lot of money into a 365-day expiry plan.
Long expiry plans use a prepaid plan structure, so you make an upfront payment for a mobile service that you can then use for 3, 6 or even 12 months without recharging – provided you don't use up all your data or call credit, of course.
There are three main types of long-expiry plans. The simplest operate on a pay-as-you-go basis, so you pay for every call, text and byte of data used.
Then there are the plans that give you a lump sum of call and data inclusions that you can use at your leisure throughout the plan period.
Finally, some plans portion out call and data inclusions on a monthly basis. These plans function much like a regular monthly plan that you're simply paying for in advance. In this case, a six-month plan might come with a total of 60GB of data but only give you access to 10GB each month.
Compare more long expiry plans
If you'd prefer to compare long expiry plans for yourself, check out the table below. You can click "Show More" at the bottom of the table to reveal even more long expiry plan options.
Alex Kidman is the tech and telco editor at Finder. He's been a technology writer with experience spanning more than 20 years, writing and editing at Gizmodo, CNET, PC Magazine, Kotaku and many more. Alex has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New England and a serious passion for retro gaming.
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