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Finder’s 10 best mobile phone plans January 2020
After the best phone plan to meet your needs? We've analysed the market and chosen our top picks for you.
Best cheap mobile plan
Despite being one of the lesser-known telcos in the business, Cole's SIM-only prepaid plans beat out most of the market's aggressively-priced plans. We've excluded some plans under $25 which have heavily discounted first recharge periods in favour of value over time.
Also consider: If you're game to switch plans after a month or two, Catch, Lebara or Lycamobile all have cheap, heavily discounted offers available.
Best plan for data
If you're after big GBs without the wince-worthy price tag, Optus's Prepaid Epic Data SIM-only plan is an easy recommendation. Not only do you get 35GB of data for just $30 every 28 days — you also score unlimited international calls to 15 countries on top of the unlimited standard national calls and texts.
Also consider: If you're happy to commit to a fixed-term contract, Moose Mobile's 12-month 80GB plan will provide you with ample data for staying connected on the go.
Best iPhone and Samsung Galaxy plans
Best iPhone mobile phone plan
Right now, Apple fans are spoiled for choice when it comes to iPhone plans. With three new models on the market, there's never been a better time to get a new iPhone.
Vodafone has a seriously cheap monthly deal for the iPhone 11, so long as you're happy to commit to a 36-month contract. For just $73.30 a month, you get the 64GB iPhone 11, 5GB of data per month and unlimited standard national calls and texts.
Also Consider: Telstra is always on the more expensive side of the pricing, but if you're ready to sign up for the shiny new iPhone 11, then getting the phone on the Telstra network could be a worthwhile investment. On the Telstra Phone Plan S, you'll pay $83.30 per month, but you'll get 15GB of data to spend before you're throttled to 1.5Mbps.
Best Samsung Galaxy mobile phone plan
While Apple has taken a definite step up in the quality stakes this year, that doesn't mean that Samsung has slowed down. The combination of Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10e smartphones means that Samsung has the top end of the market covered especially well. If you're looking to grab one of these smartphones on a contract, there are plenty of options to choose from.
With the arrival of the Galaxy S10, mobile carriers are offering some solid offers on the new handset over long-term contracts. Telstra is the standout here, offering the Galaxy S10 at the cheapest monthly rate while packing in unlimited calls and a respectable 15GB of mobile data.
Also Consider: Vodafone will let you buy a phone interest free over 36 months these days, which helps keep those monthly charges down. So if you're looking for the new Galaxy S10, Vodafone's $55 Red Phone plan will let you have the device, 80GB of monthly data and unlimited standard talk and text for just $92.47 a month over 36 months.Back to top
Best international plans
Best plan for roaming
Thanks to its $5 a day global roaming inclusions, Vodafone has this category pretty much locked up, as no other provider offers anything near the same level of value.
By paying $5 for every day you use your phone's service in eligible countries, you get to access your phone plan's regular inclusions. As a bonus, the $5-a-day fee is waived if you happen to be travelling to New Zealand as well.
Also Consider: If you can do without the data but still want the freedom to call home, Vodafone's $30 Combo Plus plan has unlimited talk and text plus 10GB of data for just $30 per recharge.
Best plan for international calls
While there are plenty of great options for international calling, the $40 SIM plan from amaysim gets the nod for its versatility. You get unlimited standard calls to both mobile and landlines in 10 selected countries: China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, UK and the US.
In addition to those included countries, the plan also provides 300 minutes for standard calls to 22 more countries: Austria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey and Vietnam.
Also Consider: Lebara has built its entire business model on affordable international calls, with the Lebara Large Plan for $39.90 offering unlimited calls to 45 countries.
Best plans on each mobile network
Best mobile plan on the Telstra network
Boost Mobile is in the enviable position in that it has access to the full Telstra 4G network. It won't hit the full speeds you'll get on a Telstra connection in capital cities, but you do get the full coverage. When paired with its affordable prepaid plans, this makes Boost Mobile the pick of the bunch.
Also Consider: It's impossible to compare Telstra's network and not suggest a plan from the carrier itself. For the best deal, you'll want to consider one of Telstra's SIM-only plans, each of which comes with plenty of data and no excess charges for blowing through your monthly cap.
Best mobile plan on the Optus network
Circles.Life's 40GB for $38 SIM-only plan offers one of the best value available on the Optus network. It's hard to beat $28 for 40GB, especially since it comes with an extra 3GB bill shock protection in case you go over the data cap.
Also Consider: The Optus Prepaid Epic Data $30 is also tremendous value, costing $30 for 35GB for the first three recharges. You also get all the benefits of the provider's own network, with unlimited standard international calls to 15 selected destinations, expiry extension, and add-ons such as Optus Sport available.
Best mobile plan on the Vodafone network
Lebara's Large 30-day plan is quite a deal. You'll get 22GB data for $39.90 along with unlimited standard calls & texts — plus a 16GB recharge bonus, which we don't think too bad at all! Couple that with unlimited international calls and texts and this plan packs quite a punch.
Also Consider: Think Mobile's Ultimate 40GB plan offers a similar deal at $37 per month — but you'll have to sign up for 12 months to take advantage.
Best long-expiry plan
Catch Connect's 365-day plan is among the best deals you'll find going around. For an upfront cost of $529.90, you get an impressive 486GB of data, plus you benefit from the faster speeds and wider coverage of Telstra's 3G and 4G networks. New customers can also get this plan for only $315.10 for the first year, and then pay the standard rate after.
Also Consider: Some users opt for a long expiry plan just to have an active number for receiving calls rather than trying to save over a longer period of time, and for these users inclusions are a much lower priority compared to price. If this sounds more like your needs, it's hard to go past the ALDImobile Pay As You Go plan, which costs $15 and has a 365-day expiry, with $15 worth of calls but no data included in the price.
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How to compare phone plans
What are the different types of phone plans?
There are two main types of plans you need to think about before signing a contract or buying a SIM card.
- Prepaid plans. With these types of plans, you pay in advance for the mobile services you will use. When you use up all of your allotted data, calls or texts (or the expiry period ends), you won't be charged more money automatically – your phone service will instead just stop working. To prevent this from happening, you recharge your phone by purchasing another batch of credit in advance, which usually costs $10 or more. This credit lets you make phone calls, use data and send SMS messages. Prepaid plans are ideal for those who don't want to commit to a contract. They are a good option for kids, as they allow you to control their spending and phone use by pre-purchasing their credit for them. There are also long expiry options, which let you prepay in bulk, saving significant sums of money.
- Postpaid plans. These plans require you to sign a contract that lasts anywhere between 1 and 24 months. Every month, you will be given a certain amount of usage for phone calls, texts and data, and if you exceed that amount you will be automatically billed for the excess usage. If you break your contract before it expires, you will also be charged a fee. Heavy phone users are best suited to postpaid plans, as these plans tend to offer greater data inclusions alongside unlimited talk and text. There's also the option to bundle a new phone with a contract, which can be a more affordable way to upgrade your smartphone.
Frequently asked questions
Can I bring my existing number to a new phone plan?
In most circumstances, you can bring your existing number to a new plan. It's best to check this first directly with the service carrier to see if you can keep your number. Our guide to mobile number porting will help guide you through the process.
Is it cheaper to purchase my phone and plan together?
There's no definitive answer, but Finder's comparison engine conveniently lets you compare the overall costs between buying a phone on contract or buying it outright and then getting a cheaper SIM plan. Simply select the phone you want to buy, then choose the Outright vs Contract button above the table.
Who has the best unlimited data plan?
Very few providers currently offer truly unlimited data mobile plans in Australia. Telstra has the first truly unlimited mobile data plan available on the market – although it's expensive at $199 per month. For those who can't afford it, they also have an unlimited data but speed-capped option called "Peace of Mind Data". For $10 extra per month on certain contract and BYO phone plans, users can enjoy unlimited data – but after you reach your data allowance, speeds are slowed to 1.5Mbps. Some Vodafone SIM-only and contract plans feature an almost identical arrangement with "Endless data" (throttled to 1.5Mbps after quota reached).
Is unlimited data really unlimited?
Except for Telstra's eye-wateringly expensive $199 plan, not really. Telstra's "Peace of Mind Data" and Vodafone's "Endless Data" are importantly only full-speed with your initial data quota. Once this is exhausted, you'll be throttled to 1.5Mbps, which isn't very fast in this day and age. Initially labelled "unlimited" by the telcos, the ACCC cracked down on this terminology in 2018.
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