If you have friends or family overseas, Bendigo Telco's SIM-only mobile plans have plenty to offer you.
Despite what the name might suggest, Bendigo Telco doesn't just provide telecommunications services to residents of the central Victorian town; as part of the Bendigo Telco Group, it works in conjunction with other regional telcos to serve Aussies right across the country. These telcos include VicWest Telco, Tastel, South East QLD Telco, Central Coast Telco and Goulburn Valley Telco, and each one offers the same services at the same price regardless of where you live.
On the mobile front, Bendigo Telco (along with its regional equivalents) offers SIM-only mobile plans operating on Optus' 4G network. These plans are available on both month-to-month contracts and 12-month contracts for the same price, though the 12-month contracts come with larger data caps to offset the long-term commitment.
Bendigo Telco's no-lock-in, month-to-month SIM-only plans begin with 1GB of data and limited monthly call credit and top out at 15GB of data with unlimited national calls plus an allowance of international call credit every month. All plans also include unlimited national SMS and MMS.
Current plan pricing is as follows:
- XS plan: $11.50 a month for $220 of call credit and 1GB of data
- S plan: $17.50 a month for $330 of call credit and 1.5GB of data
- M plan: $30 a month for unlimited national calls, $50 of international call credit and 6GB of data
- L plan: $40 a month for unlimited national calls, $300 of international call credit and 10GB of data
- XL plan: $50 a month for unlimited national calls, $500 of international call credit and 15GB of data
Exceeding the included national or international call credit on any of Bendigo Telco's plans will incur additional charges at Bendigo Telco's standard call rates. If you exhaust your monthly data allowance, you will continue to automatically receive data in 1GB blocks for $10 each.
Beyond the standard call inclusions, Bendigo Telco offers international roaming for using your mobile service outside of Australia – a feature you'll need to activate separately before you can take advantage of it.
Committing to a full year with Bendigo Telco gets you quite a bit more bang for the buck compared to the provider's month-to-month plans. All 12-month plans come with unlimited national talk and text right off the bat, and data caps range from 1.5GB up to 20GB.
Four 12-month plans are currently available:
- S plan: $17.50 a month for unlimited national calls and 2.5GB of data
- M plan: $30 a month for unlimited national calls, $50 of international call credit and 10GB of data
- L plan: $40 a month for unlimited national calls, $300 of international call credit and 18GB of data
- XL plan: $50 a month for unlimited national calls, $500 of international call credit and 23GB of data
As with its month-to-month plans, Bendigo Telco charges at its standard rates for any calls over and above your monthly inclusions. Excess data is calculated in 1GB chunks, with a $10 charge for every additional 1GB beyond your monthly cap.
If you sign up with one of Bendigo Telco's 12-month plans and want to cancel before the year is up, you'll have to pay an early termination fee. On the S and M plans, this fee is $60; on the L plan it's $85; and on the XL plan it's $190.
Since Bendigo Telco offers different inclusions on its month-to-month and 12-month plans, it's worth comparing the two separately.
Bendigo Telco faces a lot of stiff competition in the month-to-month mobile space. For example, its entry-level XS plan goes up against a raft of cheaper plans from Spintel, Yomojo, OVO and amaysim, all of which include similar or even more-generous call and data inclusions.
The gap between Bendigo Telco and the frontrunners of the mobile market only gets larger as prices increase. Bendigo Telco's L plan suffers here, charging significantly more per month than providers like Catch Connect, Moose Mobile and Kogan Mobile for the same amount of data. The only advantage Bendigo Telco holds here is its inclusion of international credit, but even that fails to offer the same value that Vodafone's Talk Combo does.
Little changes with Bendigo Telco's top-tier XL plan. Catch Connect, Moose Mobile and Boost Mobile all offer considerably cheaper alternatives if you're only interested in standard national calls and mobile data, while Jeenee Mobile presents a more compelling option for those who need international credit bundled in, too.
The extra data Bendigo Telco packs in with its 12-month plans certainly makes them more attractive than its month-to-month plans if you're willing to commit to the full year, but they still lack the value of many competing options out there. Comparing Bendigo Telco's S plan, TeleChoice offers a comparable plan at a cheaper monthly rate, while Dodo makes a compelling argument with its slightly more expensive but significantly more data-packed Regular plan.
Bendigo Telco's higher-tier 12-month plans fare much the same as its month-to-month plans. Vaya, Exetel and Dodo all charge quite a bit less for the same amount of standard calls and data, while TeleChoice combines a cheaper price and a higher data cap with included international minutes.
At the top end of Bendigo Telco's 12-month plans, it is once again outmatched by the likes of Dodo and even Optus itself. Optus' plan is especially tough to beat, with 1.5x as much data as Bendigo Telco's along with plenty of international minutes plus a free subscription to Optus Sport.
Bendigo Telco's mobile plans might not deliver the best value for Aussies only interested in standard calls and mobile data, but they do offer something a lot of competing plans don't: international credit. If you've got friends, family or business associates overseas, adding up to $500 of international call credit every month can make Bendigo Telco's mobile plans quite compelling.
There's also the fact that Bendigo Telco throws in extra data if you're willing to sign up for a 12-month contract. Few SIM-only mobile providers offer such deals these days, preferring instead to focus on month-to-month plans alone. So long as you're happy making a long-term commitment, Bendigo Telco can actually be cheaper than similar month-to-month providers.