Every month, our team of experts looks for the best 365 day and long expiry prepaid mobile plans from dozens of products in the market. We break down plan details and costs to find you the best value plans. Keep in mind that our "best" picks may not always be the best for you, and you're always welcome to use our long expiry plans comparison table to find one that works for you.
Best 365 day expiry mobile plan
With Optus' current offer, giving you double the amount of data on their long expiry plan, they've come up as the top winner for this month. You've got a whole year to use up 120GB, which is about 10GB a month and should definitely be enough to keep you afloat.
With 365 day expiry plans, we've tried to be realistic about what an average user would need for a phone plan that lasts them for a year. That means, we'll preference plans with data inclusions rather than those with none or low data allowances. We've therefore focused on plans that give you the most calls and data per dollar, but with enough data to allow you to lightly browse the Internet during the year.
Best 180 day expiry mobile plan
Whilst a lot of long expiry plans come with little to no data, Lebara's long expiry plan works out to be great value, with a 22GB monthly allowance. That's enough for you to keep active on social media, browse and email, and you could even do a bit of light video streaming. You also get the best of both worlds in regards to calls and text - free if it's in Australia, and also free if you're calling to any of the 45 countries that Lebara has selected.
Similar to our best 365 day plan, we've put preference on plans with data inclusions rather than those with none or low data allowances for our choice of best 180 day expiry mobile plan. We've looked at plans that give you the most calls and data per dollar, but with enough data to allow you to lightly browse the Internet during the year.
Best long expiry on the Telstra network
Boost's prepaid plan includes 60GB data and unlimited calls and texts, all valid for six months. Boost's plan also has some great inclusions for international use. If you have family and friends abroad, you can benefit from the extra international credits on this plan, with unlimited international calls to 20 countries. You've also got the option to pay extra for international roaming, which you can use in 15 selected countries.
We've looked at mobile plans with 90-365 day expiries that are on the Telstra network to help you find the best deal. This includes plans from Boost Mobile, ALDImobile, Woolworths Mobile, Better Life Mobile, and Telstra themselves. We've put preference on plans with a decent amount of data, and unlimited calls and texts in Australia to make sure you can stay connected whether you're on- or offline.
Best long expiry on the Optus network
If you're not looking for a heap of data, consider the Optus My Prepaid Daily Plus plan. The prepaid plan recharges can be as little as $30 and includes 500MB data, with 186 days expiry. If you need extra data, you can get another 500MB block for $2. Optus also has some other great long expiry prepaid plan options, depending on what your needs are.
We've taken a slightly different approach when it comes to long expiry plans on the Optus network. The plans covered by the Optus network tend to be better deals when lower data allowances are involved, so we've looked at value per dollar amount to choose our best pick. If you're looking for a plan on the Optus network with more data inclusions, check out more long expiry plans offered by Catch Connect, Coles, and amaysim.
Best long expiry on the Vodafone network
Kogan has a decent rage of long expiry plans, and their Small 365 day plan came out as our best pick this month. It was a close call between this and their Large plan, but if you're not looking for a crazy amount of data to use per month, 80GB over a year should be enough to tie you over. If you do find you need more data though, check out Kogan's other long expiry plans which have higher data amounts.
In terms of long expiry plans, many of them seem to be under Vodafone's network, which means there's a lot to choose from. We've looked at keeping the balance between data and price in choosing our best pick. If you're looking for international calls to be included, you can check out long expiry plans from Lebara and even some from Vodafone themselves. If data isn't a big deal for you, gotalk, CMobile and Hello Mobile all offer long expiry plans that have little to no data.
How do long expiry mobile plans work?
Long expiry plans are prepaid plans where credit lasts longer than your usual month-to-month grind, up to a full 365 days. You pay upfront in return for a 3-, 6- or 12-month expiry period, meaning you won't need to recharge for ages so long as your credit holds out.
Long expiry plans typically suit infrequent mobile users, people with minimal data needs, or even people who just want to park a rarely-used number on a cheap, long-lasting plan, though that's less prevalent these days.
These plans come in two types:
Pay as you go (PAYG). Under the PAYG model, you plonk down some credit upfront and then are charged a flat rate for minutes of talk, texts and MB of data use. Usage charges are deducted from your credit until it's exhausted. Some versions of this plan deduct a flat fee for each day you use your phone, rather than how much you use it.
Set inclusion. Pay upfront and get an allotment of data that you can use as you wish during the expiry period, just like regular prepaid plans. Set inclusions plans tend to come with unlimited talk and text in Australia. Be aware that some plans may come with a monthly allocation for data amounts. For example, a six-month plan might come with a total of 60GB of data but only give you access to 10GB each month.
If you're unsure whether a long expiry mobile plan is right for you, we've broken down the pros and cons for you below:
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 for receiving calls. 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 option for the elderly. Long expiry plans are usually simple and suit light mobile users.
Use it to reserve your number. For as little as $5, you can secure your number on your SIM card for up to a year, whether you're travelling or just want a back-up number.
Lower value. Compared to a monthly prepaid or postpaid plan, you trade value for a long expiry period.
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.
Compare more long expiry prepaid mobile plans below
If you'd prefer to compare long expiry plans for yourself, check out the table below. You can click the 'filter results' button if you're looking for a specific data amount, price or provider.
Alex Kidman was the tech and telco editor at Finder and is now a freelance technology writer. 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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