Huawei P30: Should you buy outright or on contract?

We've compared your options to ensure you get the best deal on Huawei's latest smartphones.

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Fast facts

  • Optus delivers the best bang for your buck across data caps large and small with its contract plans.
  • Purchasing a P30 or P30 Pro outright and coupling it with a SIM-only plan can work out cheaper than contracting with Vodafone and Telstra.
  • If you're after loads of data, though, a contract plan is the only way to go.

Over the past few years, Huawei has built a reputation for producing the best smartphone cameras in the business. Its latest flagship handsets continue this trend. Announced on 27 March 2019 at a special launch event in Paris, the Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro take full advantage of Huawei's partnership with premium camera brand Leica to deliver photographic capabilities beyond anything else on the market.

Of course, market-leading camera hardware doesn't come cheap. Buy-in starts at $1,099 for the Huawei P30, and if you want the full quad-camera set-up of the P30 Pro, you're looking at a cool $1,599 to purchase outright.

Alternatively, you can snag either handset on a fixed-term contract from Aussie telcos, spreading that cost over multiple instalments to lessen the upfront shock. The catch there is that you're locked to that telco's phone plans for the duration of the contract, limiting your ability to shop around for cheaper or more value-packed options.

So which approach is the least-taxing on your wallet over the long run: buying outright and signing up to a SIM-only plan, or committing to a fixed-term contract with Telstra, Optus or Vodafone? Let's take a look.

Note: All minimum costs are based on 24 months of plan and handset repayments, even when a plan only has a minimum term of one month.

Huawei P30

Cheapest contract plan

You don't have a lot of options for grabbing the Huawei P30 on contract. Telstra isn't offering it, so that leaves you picking between Optus and Vodafone. Of the two, Optus is the clear winner for lowest overall cost with its $45 plan clocking in almost $400 cheaper than Vodafone's $35 plan over 24 months. However, you do get an extra 2GB of data every month with Vodafone's plan.

Provider Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Optus $65.00 4GB $1,560.00
Vodafone $80.79 6GB $1,938.96

How does this compare to purchasing outright? Take out the $1,099 sticker price of the P30 and you're left with Optus effectively charging $461 for a 4GB plan over 24 months (roughly $19.20/month). Telcos like TPG and Moose Mobile charge pretty much the same price for their 4GB month-to-month SIM-only plans, plus they offer even more data if you commit to a 12-month contract. It's not a drastic difference, but if you can afford to purchase outright, you will end up with a better deal in the long run.

Cheapest mid-range contract plan

Pairing a premium handset like the P30 with just a couple GBs of data is going to limit its utility. Springing for a 50GB plan is far more practical, and the competition in this space isn't so one-sided. Here, Vodafone edges out Optus by a hair, charging $40 less over 24 months with its $45 Red Plan compared to Optus' $85 My Plan Plus.

Provider Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Vodafone $83.29 50GB $1,998.96
Optus $85.00 50GB $2,040.00

SIM-only plans often struggle to maintain their cut-price value at higher data tiers, and this is evident when coupling 50GB SIM-only plans with an outright purchase of the Huawei P30. Leading plans like Moose Mobile's 12-month 50GB deal come to $2,059 over 24 months once you factor in the cost of the P30. That's more expensive than both Optus and Vodafone's fixed-term contracts, though you could potentially cut that down by jumping from plan to plan to take advantage of the many introductory deals offered by SIM-only providers.

Cheapest premium contract plan

If you want a P30 contract plan with all the trimmings, Optus should be your number one choice. Its $105 My Plan Plus packs a hefty 200GB along with unlimited international talk and text to 35 countries for a grand total of $2,520 over 24 months. That's more than $300 cheaper than Vodafone's top option, and Vodafone only gives you 150GB of monthly data.

Provider Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Optus $105.00 200GB $2,520.00
Vodafone $83.29 150GB $2,838.96

You won't find much competition in the SIM-only space, either. The biggest SIM-only plans currently available are Lebara's 62GB prepaid plan and Boost Mobile's 65GB prepaid plan. At around $70 per recharge, you're looking at roughly $2,779 over the course of two years – that's a fair chunk more than Optus' plan despite including less than a third of the data.

Huawei P30 Pro

Cheapest contract plan

If you're after the cheapest possible way of snapping up the Huawei P30 Pro, Optus' $45 My Plan Plus is it. With a total minimum cost of $1,920 over 24 months, it's hundreds of dollars cheaper than both Telstra and Vodafone's equivalent plans, though you do get a smidge more data with Vodafone.

Provider Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Optus $80.00 4GB $1,920.00
Telstra $89.00 3GB $2,136.00
Vodafone $101.62 6GB $2,438.88

Ponying up the $1,599 to purchase the P30 Pro outright isn't going to save you a whole lot in the long run, either. A 4GB SIM-only plan will run you around $20 a month, meaning you'd be paying $2,079 over the course of two years – that's $159 more than you'd pay on contract through Optus. That said, if you're willing to regularly switch plans, you could take advantage of the numerous limited-time deals from SIM-only telcos to undercut Optus' plan.

Cheapest mid-range contract plan

You're going to have a tough time making the most of the P30 Pro's premium features without a decent data cap, and for that, Optus is once again the standout option. Its 50GB My Plan Plus beats out Telstra and Vodafone's 50GB plans by almost $400 over the course of a two-year contract, making it the superior option for folks wanting the cheapest deal available.

Provider Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Optus $95.00 50GB $2,280.00
Vodafone $108.62 50GB $2,606.88
Telstra $109.00 50GB $2,616.00

Even buying the P30 Pro outright and going the SIM-only route ends up more expensive than signing up with Optus. Combining the P30 Pro's $1,599 RRP with Moose Mobile's 12-month 50GB plan results in a total cost of $2,559 over 24 months, nearly $300 more than what you'd pay on contract with Optus. You could potentially reduce that by hopping back and forth between SIM-only telcos and leveraging their frequent introductory discounts, though that's going to require a lot of time and effort that may not pay off in the long run.

Cheapest premium contract plan

As with the vanilla P30, Optus takes the cake for folks wanting a premium plan to pair with their P30 Pro. In fact, Optus charges the same $2,520 over 24 months for both the P30 and P30 Pro on its 200GB My Plan Plus plan, so if you're a heavy data user, you might as well grab the more-powerful P30 Pro while you're at it.

Provider Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Optus $105.00 200GB $2,520.00
Vodafone $131.62 150GB $3,158.88
Telstra $139.00 160GB $3,336.00

You won't find any competition in the SIM-only space, either. The largest 4G SIM-only plans top out around 60GB, with pricing for those plans averaging at $70 per recharge. That works out at roughly $3,279 over the course of two years once you factor in the P30 Pro's sticker price. Paying $700 more for a fraction of the monthly data doesn't make a whole lot of sense, leaving Optus' contract plan as the far more compelling option.

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