In the battle of the big-name budget telcos, whose prepaid deals offer superior value?
There are countless prepaid mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that you can choose from if you're after a low-cost mobile plan, but many consumers like to go with a known brand to ensure continuity of service. Both Boost Mobile and amaysim have been offering prepaid plans to Australian mobile consumers for many years now. But what are the primary differences between these prepaid competitors?
What to consider
Boost Mobile and amaysim both offer plans with unlimited standard national calls as the default. However, this doesn't cover every single call you might make, since some premium services still attract additional charges.
Where amaysim and Boost Mobile differ is in the range of offered plans. Boost Mobile currently offers four tiers at $10, $30, $40 and $50 per recharge, while amaysim's price tiers operate at $10, $25, $30, $40 and $50.
It's worth noting that amaysim's $10 As You Go Plan doesn't include unlimited calls. Instead, it's a pay as you go plan with a very long expiry of 365 days. This could be a good fit for someone who wants a phone number as a contact point and doesn't need to make many calls or use much data. Plus, you can always top it up if you need to.
Boost Mobile's $10 plan does include unlimited calls and texts as well as 1GB of data usage, but its expiry is only a scant 7 days. That makes it a better match for tourists who just need short-term simplicity more than anything else.
Still, the main point of comparison for these plans is the data inclusions you get with them. We're all using a lot more data than we used to, so making the most out of your prepaid spend in data terms is vital.
There's one important caveat here for Boost Mobile's plans when it comes to data. Except for the entry level $10 plan, all plans come with a stock data quota plus a quantity of "weekend data". You can use the standard quota at any time, but the weekend data is only available on (you guessed it) weekends. This means that Boost Mobile quotes its data usage figures as "up to" in its plan descriptions because in theory if you used all your weekend data and quota data, it's the maximum you could get. Use all your regular data during the week, though, and you can't dip into that weekend data.
Boost Mobile and amaysim operate on different mobile networks in Australia. Boost Mobile uses Telstra's full 3G and 4G networks, while amaysim operates on the Optus 4G network. This gives you slightly different coverage profiles with each plan, although for the majority of city and town-dwelling Australians there's arguably not that much of a difference. If you travel regionally or rurally a lot, Telstra's network is hard to beat, but if you're more metropolitan, the extra data you get on many of amaysim's Optus-backed plans is hard to beat.
Still, a little research can go a long way, so if you're weighing up Boost Mobile or amaysim, it pays to check your particular location against their expected coverage maps. Coverage maps are only a guideline, not a guarantee, but they're a good first step.
While Telstra's full "4GX" network can deliver blistering speeds of up to 1Gbps (at least in theory), Boost Mobile's access to the network is the same as any other Telstra MVNO. This means that your download speeds are limited to a maximum of 100Mbps. In near-identical fashion, the speeds you'll get on amaysim through the Optus 4G network also top out at 100Mbps.
In real-world testing, you're not likely to hit that 100Mbps point all that frequently, with speeds in the 20-50Mbps range far more likely. For all but the most demanding applications, that should be plenty.
If you frequently call overseas (or want to), then having the ability to do so at a low cost is an ideal inclusion. amaysim gets a high score for its upper-tier plans which provide unlimited standard calls to a selection of countries and the option of calling minutes for other countries bundled into your prepaid deal.
Boost Mobile likewise bundles in unlimited calls and texts to 10 selected countries in its upper-tier plans, but there's no specific option for a bundle with calling minutes.