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Best long expiry prepaid phone plans

Want a phone SIM plan with extremely long expiry? Here are your best options.

Most prepaid phone plans have traditionally run on a 30-day monthly cycle, although we have been seeing a surge in plans that only last 28 days, which has alarming consequences for overall value.

But what if you don’t want the hassle of making monthly payments, or only want to make a single, preferably small payment for continual phone service? That’s where a long expiry plan can make sense.

Long Expiry Prepaid Plans: Why You’d Want One

The appeal of a long expiry plan is somewhat inherent in the name, in that they’re plans where your credit lasts a longer time than a normal 28 or 30 day plan. Expanding beyond that limit offers you plans with 90 day, 180 day and 365 day expiry periods.

The key reason why a long expiry plan might make sense to you is if you want uninterrupted access to a phone number for others calling in, because all too often, long expiry plans don’t offer spectacular value or even inclusions that last a great deal of time. As such, if you want a number that others can call over a long span of time, which uses more of their credit but none of yours, they can be a good low-cost way to achieve that aim. This means they’re often seen as a good fit for giving to elderly relatives or children, because they provide a simple, low-cost long term way to maintain a channel of communication.

Long Expiry Prepaid Plans: The Downsides

As noted, what you get in terms of long expiry periods you give up in terms of inclusions or even particularly compelling plan pricing. Where unlimited texts and even calls are becoming commonplace in 28 and 30 day plans, most long expiry plans charge you for every outgoing text or call, or any incoming or outgoing data, often at higher prices than you’d pay on a comparable monthly prepaid plan.

Most long expiry plans also operate on a Pay As You Go basis, which means that you get the credit you’ve recharged with to use up until a specified date period has elapsed or you’ve used up all your credit, which means that while they might theoretically have long expiry dates, it could be quite easy to fly through all your quota in a short period of time.

In other words: if you’re a heavy phone user, these plans are not generally advised as a good choice.

Long Expiry Prepaid Plans: What Are My Choices?

Because of their position in terms of overall value and long recharge cycles, there’s not a lot of choice in the long expiry plan market. Here are the lowest-cost options for long expiry plans in Australia at the time of writing; for many of these plans you can opt for larger recharge amounts if you wanted to have more credit in store, and some will vary the expiry period depending on the recharge amount paid.

Long Expiry Prepaid Plans: How Should I Compare?

Not all long expiry plans are made equal, but there’s a few key areas to consider:

  • How long is "long" expiry?: The shortest period we’d consider a "long" expiry plan to run would be 90 days, but you can opt for plans with either 180 days or 365 day expiry as well
  • Do I want to use it, or just be called on it? This is quite key, as you’ll generally have to spend quite a bit more for a long expiry plan if you make lots of calls, send texts or use a lot of mobile data. Conversely, you can pick up quite cheap plans if all you want is a phone you can get calls and texts on, or that you’ll use for data only when you absolutely can't use nearby Wi-Fi sources.
  • Do I just want to keep the same number? If you're travelling overseas for an extended period of time, it can make sense to buy the cheapest long expiry plan possible if only so that you can keep your mobile number, but be aware that the vast majority of plans don't support any kind of global roaming. As such, those would be SIMs that you'd be best served buying and associating with a number before securely storing somewhere until you return.

Long Expiry Prepaid Plans: Best choices

At the time of writing, there are three long expiry plans that really stand out for overall value in the long expiry space, depending on your needs.

ALDImobile's PAYG plans can be recharged for as little as $5 with that full amount lasting 365 days, which makes them a good choice if you just want a contact number and not much else. ALDImobile has recently shifted over to using Telstra's 4G networks, but its data prices aren't spectacular at the PAYG level, so if you did need data, it might pay to look elsewhere.

If you're in an area where your Optus coverage is better than Telstra's, consider amaysim's As You Go plan. Like ALDImobile, amaysim offers a long expiry pay as you go solution with a minimum upfront payment of only $5 for 365 days expiry. amaysim has access to the full Optus 4G network where ALDImobile only gets parts of Telstra's 4G offering, but like ALDImobile, data prices on this plan are rather high.

That's where Kogan Mobile's 1XL 365 day option stands out. Kogan's approach to prepaid 365 day plans is subtly different to the rest of the market, because 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.

Image: Shutterstock

Alex Kidman

Alex is the Telco Editor at finder.com.au. He's been writing about consumer technology topics for the best part of two decades, and enjoys breaking down complex topics into their component parts.

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2 Responses to Best long expiry prepaid phone plans

  1. Default Gravatar
    Aldimobile | November 15, 2016

    Can these SIM cards be used in a Telstra mobile phone?

    • Staff
      Jason | November 15, 2016

      Hi Aldimobile,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      You can use any of the SIM cards featured on this page if you have an unlocked mobile phone, however, you can only use a Telstra SIM card on a Telstra locked phone. You can get in touch with Telstra for assistance in unlocking your Telstra locked phone.

      Cheers,
      Jason

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