Finder’s 10 best mobile phone plans August 2019

After the best phone plan to meet your needs? We've analysed the market and chosen our top picks for you.

Summary

With more than 30 years of experience covering the Australian technology industry, we know that there's no single plan that suits everybody's needs perfectly. Every month we look at all the plans on the market and compile a list of the best mobile plans for different types of users.

Whether you need stacks of data or just want to spend as little as possible, this page is designed to help you find the best mobile phone plan for your needs.


Best cheap mobile plan

Finder's pick

Despite being one of the youngest telcos in the business, Catch Connect has quickly established itself as the home of low-price, high-value mobile plans. Its SIM-only prepaid plans beat out even the most aggressively-priced alternatives, and Catch often runs promotions that slash its prices even further.

Also consider: If that's still too expensive, OVO's Mini plan gets you 2GB of data with 500mins of talk and unlimited text for $9.95/month.


Best plan for data

Finder's pick

If you're after big GBs without the wince-worthy price tag, OVO's Large SIM-only plan is an easy recommendation. Not only do you get 50GB of data for just $34.95 every 30 days, you score 600 international minutes to use calling OVO's most popular countries as well as data-free streaming of OVO's sports service, OVOPlay.

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.

Finder's pick

Vodafone has a seriously impressive deal for the iPhone XS, so long as you're happy to commit to a 36-month contract. For just $100 a month, you get the 64GB iPhone XS, a whopping 80GB of data per month and unlimited standard national calls and texts.

Also Consider: Telstra is always on the premium side of the pricing scales, but if you're prepared to sign up for the pricey new iPhone XS, then getting the phone on the Telstra network could be a worthwhile investment. You can get the 64GB iPhone XS on the Telstra M plan for a $105.33 a month over 36 months, and that comes with 60GB of data, a 12-month subscription to the Telstra AFL, NRL and Netball Live app, access to the Telstra Air Wi-Fi network and unlimited talk and text throughout Australia.


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 8 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.

Finder's pick

With the arrival of the Galaxy S10, mobile carriers are offering some solid offers on the new handset over long-term contracts. Woolworths is the standout here, offering the Galaxy S10 at the cheapest monthly rate while packing in unlimited calls and a respectable 12GB 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.

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Best international plans

Best plan for roaming

Finder's pick

Remember that for extended trips overseas, $5 a day can still add up pretty quickly, so it may be worth picking up an international prepaid SIM card from the country you visit in order to save your tourist dollars for more important things. If you'll be jumping from country to country, global SIM cards are also a valid option.

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

Finder's pick

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.

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Best plans on each mobile network

Best mobile plan on the Telstra network

Finder's pick

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

Finder's pick

Catch Connect is the most recent provider to jump on the Optus network, and it has jumped into the market swinging value around like a cricket bat. Its $35 prepaid plan has a 30 day expiry and 20GB of data, which is quite a bit more than many other Optus plans at this price.

Also Consider: As mentioned above, Optus plays big on the bonus front with its plans, which can be especially enticing if you're after a new smartphone. Signing up for the new 64GB iPhone XS Max on the Optus $65 My Plan Plus (at a monthly cost of $124 when you add phone repayments) will get you unlimited talk and text, 20GB of monthly data, the new Apple flagship phone and a bonus Optus Sports subscription so you can watch the English Premiere League. That's pretty impressive value.


Best mobile plan on the Vodafone network

Finder's pick

Think Ultimate's $30 SIM-only plan is quite a deal, scoring you an impressive 20GB of data at an excellent rate. The only catch is that you need to sign up for 12 months, but given how much you're saving compared to many other plans on the market, it's a worthwhile trade-off.

Also Consider: Vodafone itself has a massive range of plans on offer with bonuses targeting different types of users, from extra data to more international call inclusions. On the prepaid front, Vodafone stands apart by offering its standard plans with a 35-day expiry, meaning you don't have to recharge as frequently and ultimately meaning you get more bang for your buck. The $50 Combo Plus plan includes a hefty 30GB of data, and you can score a discount if you pay for multiple recharges in advance.


Best long-expiry plan

Finder's pick

Boost Mobile has recently added long-expiry plans to its catalogue of prepaid mobile plans, and they're easily among the best deals you'll find going around. For an upfront cost of $300, you get an impressive 240GB of data (20GB per month), plus you benefit from the faster speeds and wider coverage of Telstra's 3G and 4G networks.

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.

Essential reading

Telstra vs Optus vs Vodafone

telstra vs optus vs vodafone
Compare the three networks that provide 3G/4G connectivity to all mobile carriers in Australia.

Best budget phones

Budget phones
We help you find the best budget phone for your needs with our comprehensive guide to the finest budget phones you can buy in Australia right now.

What is an MVNO and how can it save you money?

telstra vs optus vs vodafone
Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) provide a cheaper alternative to Telstra, Vodafone and Optus. Here's how MVNOs can save you money on your mobile bill.

What warranty will I get with a new mobile phone?

5g
What happens if your new shiny phone stops working six months after you buy it? Finder explains your warranty rights in Australia.

Image: Shutterstock

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    RoyAugust 7, 2019

    Optus have offered, on a 24 month plan, a new iPhone 7 with unlimited text and national calls together with 10GB of data discounted to $45.20 per month. Is this a good deal?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiAugust 8, 2019Staff

      Hi Roy,

      Thanks for getting in touch! It’s helpful to know that when choosing a mobile plan, it should be one that fits your monthly budget and lifestyle. Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    SamyMarch 14, 2018

    Hi,
    I would like to know which MVNO using full strength 4G network for voice and data. I heard that Boost is using Telstra’s full network and Virgin is using Optus. Is there any other MVNO using full strength network for both voice and data ??
    Cheers!
    Samy

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Samy,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      I may not be able to give you a specific answer, Sam. The network strength depends on different factors such as time and place.

      However, in terms of network coverage, the service an MVNO offers shouldn’t differ in any way at all from the service that you’d get from the underlying network provider at the same location. That makes sense because it’s the exact same network infrastructure. If there’s an outage or a reception problem with an MVNO, it’s a question of the underlying carrier’s network, not the MVNO.

      We also have a list of MVNOs on this page along with the networks they use. Please check and see if it answers your question.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  3. Default Gravatar
    ZitaMarch 6, 2018

    I need a new mobile phone (keeping my existing mobile number) + prepaid monthly plan to receive incoming calls from work and reply back fast and easy … as my job based on how fast I receive the messages from work and can take the shift … so coverage is important … between Caboolture, the Sunshine Coast and Bribie Island . Best/lowest price deals with fast and safe/reliable network even in rain/storm? Any suggestions? Thanks*

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayMarch 7, 2018Staff

      Hi Zita,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      In terms of speed when it comes to calls and messaging, all Australian telcos are largely using 3G networks. So we couldn’t single out who’s fast and who’s not. If you like to compare your prepaid monthly + phone plan, you can check your options here. From that page, you can click on “Build your own” option. You can also narrow down your options by navigating the panel of the page and customise your preferences. Please see image below:

      Mobile plan+phone

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

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