Prepaid mobile plans

Talk, text and browse with the ultimate in mobile plan flexibility. It's super easy to avoid bill shock & save money with a prepaid plan.

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Prepaid plans are one of the most popular mobile plan options around. It's easy to get the appeal - there's no contract involved so you've got heaps of flexibility, and because you're paying for your usage at the beginning of the month, you avoid any bill shock from unexpected spending.

Compare prepaid plans and deals below

If you're looking for a specific plan to suit your needs, make sure to click the 'filter results' button and put in any particular price or data usage amount you're after.

What is a prepaid plan?

Prepaid mobile plans allow you to purchase a certain amount of credit or data upfront, which you can then use freely until it expires. Once all your credit has been used up or expired, you'll have to recharge your plan to get more.

This is different to a postpaid plan, where excess calls and data charges are simply added to your monthly bill, but your service isn't cut off.

Is a prepaid plan right for me?

A prepaid plan can really suit someone who doesn't use their phone very often, has different usage habits month to month or wants to strictly control how much they spend on mobile bills. If you're unsure about committing to a prepaid plan, we've broken down the main points for you below:

Pros

  • No bill shock or excess use charges
  • No lock-in contracts
  • Low commitment – switch carriers easily

Cons

  • Service is cut off when you hit your limit
  • Generally lower value on data per dollar basis
  • Misleading expiry periods, e.g. 28 days vs 1 month
  • Can't get a phone with a prepaid plan, unless you buy the phone outright

How do I compare prepaid mobile plans?

Here's a couple things to keep in mind when you're choosing a prepaid plan:

  • Recharge cost. If you don't use your phone the same amount month to month, you can vary what prepaid plan you get. Just make sure you know how much you need to maintain your basic service.
  • Data. Different plans don't always charge for data the same way. Some will sell you a flat data allotment, while others will subtract data charges from your overall plan credit. In the case of the latter, make sure they're charging per KB block because anything larger than this can run down your credit quickly.
  • International inclusions. Some providers offer international minutes or cheap calls to certain countries, while others have data roaming options so you can access services overseas.
  • Data-free streaming. Some plans will let you stream a certain amount of music or video from selected services, like Apple Music or Netflix. These can really save on costs if you frequently use your data for these activities.
  • Expiry period. Generally, any credit you have left expires once this period is over. Watch out especially for 28-day expiry periods that fall just short of a month, forcing you to make an extra recharge or two over the year.

Prepaid plans vs postpaid plans

PrepaidPostpaid
Bill is paidAt the beginning of the monthAt the end of the month
Excess usage chargesNeverYes
Available as a contractNoYes
Data/credit expiresAnywhere from 7 days to a year, frequently 28- or 30-day periodsMonthly
Bring your own phone?YesYes, or phones can be purchased as part of the plan
Bonus featuresRarelyFrequent promotional deals

For more information about the difference between prepaid and postpaid plans, check out our video with Alex Kidman, a multi-award-winning consumer technology journalist and Finder's own Tech & Telco Editor.

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Prepaid plans for kids and seniors

If you have a younger child, a prepaid plan is an excellent way to make sure they don't end up going way over their data limit and geting slammed with excess use charges. With unlimited talk and text on all prepaid plans, you'll always be able to get in touch with them. You can choose a data cap that works for both of you. We've written up some quick guides to help you choose the best prepaid plans for kids and teenagers.

If you're older, you may not use your mobile phone very much, which prepaid plans are perfect for. You can even consider springing for a long expiry mobile plan so that your credit stretches out a long way and you don't have to worry about monthly recharges.

Prepaid plan providers

We've outlined the prepaid plans offered by the three major mobile network providers below.

Telstra

Telstra offers two main types of prepaid plans:

  • Pre-Paid Max. These are intended as high-value prepaid plans with longer expiry periods on the more expensive offerings. They range from 2GB for $10 with a 7-day expiry to 150GB for $300 with a 12-month expiry. All versions offer unlimited domestic calls and texts plus up to 200GB data rollover.
  • Long Life Plus. A pay-as-you-go plan where credit is deducted for calls, texts and data use. Get $30 of credit with 6-month expiry.
    In addition to what's outlined above, all Telstra prepaid plans include data-free streaming of certain sports and Apple Music so long as you have a subscription, as well as access to the Telstra Air national Wi-Fi system.

Find out more about Telstra's prepaid plans here.

Optus

With Optus, you can choose from four different kinds of prepaid plans:

  • Epic data. These focus on data, with bonus GBs for your first few recharges. All but the cheapest have 28-day expiry and they range from 12GB for $20 to 30GB for $55. Features data rollover between recharges, unlimited national talk and text and 10GB of free video streaming data on selected platforms.
  • Epic value. Cheaper plans with longer expiries as they get more expensive. Go between 500MB for $10 with a 21-day expiry and 60GB for $180 with a year-long expiry. Includes data rollover between recharges and unlimited national talk and text.
  • Daily plus. Pay $2 for each day you make a call or use any data, subtracted from a fixed amount of credit. Get between $10 and $60 of credit with expiry periods up to 186 days.
  • Long expiry. Pay-as-you-go talk, text and data, subtracted from your credit. Credit choices available span from $10 to $60 and carry 45- to 365-day expiry periods.

All of Optus's prepaid plans can be customised with extra options at purchase, including Optus Sport and data roaming. Get the full details on Optus prepaid plans here.

Vodafone

Vodafone prepaid plans come in two types:

  • Combo Plus. These are straightforward prepaid plans, ranging from $30 for 10GB to $50 for 30GB. The cheapest version expires after 28 days, while the others expire after 35. All plans involve unlimited national talk and text.
  • Pay and Go. Pay-as-you-go talk, text and data, subtracted from the credit you purchase. Buy $30 of credit with 185-day expiry, or $40 or $50 for a period of 365 days.

Some Combo Plus plans also include international minutes. Find out all about Vodafone prepaid plans and deals here.

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Frequently asked questions

Can I use my existing phone number on a prepaid plan?

Yes, if you'd like to keep the number you currently have, you can transfer your existing number to a new prepaid plan. This is called porting your mobile number. Make sure you don't cancel your previous service or else you'll lose your number.

Do prepaid plans come with a phone?

You can't explicitly get a new handset to pay off as part of a prepaid plan, but some providers like Telstra or Optus sell cheap prepaid phones to go with what they offer. These phones are network-locked, so you'll have to pay to unlock them or wait until a particular length of time passes before you can use a different provider's service with them. The phones on offer tend to be cheap or older models, so don't expect to get the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.

Alternatively, you can buy a new phone outright and then find a prepaid plan to use with it.

Why is prepaid cheaper than postpaid?

Prepaid plans often give you less value than postpaid plans (on a dollar-to-dollar basis). Because prepaid plans are targeted more towards non-heavy users, they often don't include all the bells and whistles that postpaid plans do. That means less promotional deals, and extra entertainment add-ons. If you're just looking for a simple mobile plan, prepaid is cheaper option out of the two, but just know that you won't get all the fancy packaging that postpaid generally has.

Is postpaid better than prepaid?

It really depends on what kind of mobile user you are to determine which type of plan is best for you. Prepaid plans tend to suit people who don't use their phones heavily, whereas postpaid plans are often the choice for regular mobile users as its features are targeted towards those who are looking for more deals and add-ons.

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36 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    CherylSeptember 25, 2019

    What is the cheapest prepaid plan for 28-35days, small amount of data unlimited calls & texts?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiSeptember 26, 2019Staff

      Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for getting in touch! The cheapest prepaid plan that is within the 28-35 days period with, minimum date of 4GB + unlimited call and text is the Catch Connect 4G 40GB $49.90 30 Days. To get started with your application, click the GO TO SITE button.

      Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    frankJuly 5, 2019

    I am on long term prepaid 365 plan.Is my data being used even if idon’t make any
    calls?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiJuly 6, 2019Staff

      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Your data is not being used when you make regular outgoing calls, however, if you make other calls that uses internet such as Viber, Whatsapp or other apps that need internet to be able to work, this will use up your data.

      Hope this helps! For any further questions, feel free to reach out to us again, we’re here to help.

      Best,
      Nikki

  3. Default Gravatar
    HarryApril 19, 2019

    Actually I don’t have a valid visa, I want to register my number in Lyca, is it possible??

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniApril 20, 2019Staff

      Hi Harry,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      If you wish to activate your new number Lycamobile, please visit their official page and follow their step-by-step guide on this matter. You just need a proof of identification like your passport to register online.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  4. Default Gravatar
    SherylApril 5, 2019

    Husband needs a prepaid plan to call and receive the odd call and perhaps the odd text. Currently has $20 Telstra prepaid every month he has used minimal. I acknowledge this can get credited to the next month but he just doesn’t use it.
    Is there a better/cheaper option than what he currently has?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnApril 8, 2019Staff

      Hi Sheryl,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Yes, there are cheaper options available for you to choose from. Please click this Finder link, I have already filtered the results to your preferences. Kindly review and compare your options on the table displaying the available providers. Once you have chosen a particular provider, you may then click on the “Go to site” button and you will be redirected to the provider’s website where you can proceed with the application or get in touch with their representatives for further inquiries you may have.

      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  5. Default Gravatar
    DrMarch 12, 2019

    I am a prepaid Telstra mobile customer since 2012 but unfortunately last week I change to prepaid plan to Telstra prepaid Max. This plan is very good for the people who use the internet continually because it gives a lot of gigabytes which is helpful. Also it gives a free standard national voice calls in Australia. Now, because I go overseas I need cheaper international voice calls which is not provided by Telstra. So I am thinking that I need to return back to my old plan which I were happy with it from 2012 til last week.

    Could you please help me in this matter?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 14, 2019Staff

      Hi Dr Abdulhadi,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      If you need cheap international calls, you may check out this page to compare your mobile plan options. If you are travelling abroad and would be staying long in the said country, I suggest that you use the country’s mobile service as using your Telstra SIM or any Australian mobile service abroad would cost you roaming charges on top of your phone calls and data usage.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  6. Default Gravatar
    AnnieFebruary 28, 2019

    I currently have a $30 monthly prepaid with Telstra. I’m going overseas for about 2 years and need to keep my current mobile number to receive a few texts per month. I won’t be making calls or needing data for internet. Telsta is offering me the ”long life plus” for $70/year to keep my number. Are there any other phone companies that are cheaper than $70/year?

    Thanks.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 2, 2019Staff

      Hi Annie,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Currently, most mobile plans on this long expiry page have included data usage which does not suit you since you wouldn’t be using the data overseas but just a few SMS. While on this mobile plan comparison page we have basically have 28 days to 6 months plans – inclusive of data, calls and text.

      I suggest that you contact your top 3 providers to confirm if they offer a long life plan that would suit your needs.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  7. Default Gravatar
    WubbleupSeptember 29, 2018

    I am living in Lakewood nsw(2443) mob signal is not great! I have wifi and a landline with unlimited calls . I need a mobile phone service with unlimited calls when away from home …. I have my own phone , I don’t want to be locked into a plan and want to keep my mobile number. Can you suggest the cheapest and best carrier for my needs ?
    Wendy

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaOctober 1, 2018Staff

      Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      As a comparison website, we are not permitted to provide specific recommendations. However, what I can suggest is for you to use our table above. You may also want to use the filters of the table to narrow down your options. With the filter, you can eliminate those plans that come with a lockdown contract and display those plans with unlimited calls.

      When you switch to another carrier, you can also keep your mobile number. You may know more about that here.

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

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  8. Default Gravatar
    JoSeptember 27, 2018

    Would amaysim $10 prepay suffice if phone only used for making calls to landlines and mobiles ie no data use?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiOctober 1, 2018Staff

      Hi Jo,

      Thanks for your message and for contacting finder.

      This will depend entirely on how often you’ll be making calls.

      You may review the other options on the page above and find one that you think would fit your usage.

      Hope this helps. Feel free to message us again should you have further questions.

      Cheers,
      Nikki

  9. Default Gravatar
    LisaMarch 21, 2018

    I’m looking for a prepaid sim that uses Telstra 4g as that’s what works the best in our location. I also want a plan that rolls over the left over data. I came across a company called ‘Belong’ that has a good plan but they don’t seem to get any good reviews. Any recommendations about them or other companies would like at least 5gb and max $30 per mths. thanks for your help :)

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 27, 2018Staff

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      Data rollover is treated slightly differently depending on your carrier, but at the time of writing, Optus, Virgin, Telstra and Vodafone all have rollover provisions that work slightly differently depending on which network you’re actually using.

      Regarding Belong, it was founded back in 2013 with the aim of disrupting the Australian broadband market with value-priced ADSL and NBN plans. It later branched out in October 2017 by adding SIM-only mobile phone plans to its repertoire. Operating on parts of Telstra’s 4G and 3G networks, these plans are targeted squarely at heavy data users, packing plenty of GBs at the expense of only being able to receive phone calls by default. To make outgoing calls, you’ll need to purchase a separate call pack add-on.

      Belong’s mobile plans are strictly SIM-only, post-paid affairs, with minimal options for customisation. They all come with a no lock-in, month-to-month contract giving you the freedom to cancel at any time without having to pay any termination fees.

      I may not be able to give you specific recommendations, but you can use the table found on this page. Use our filters to narrow down your choices and specify which provider you want to show up.

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

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

    • Default Gravatar
      LisaMarch 27, 2018

      Thanks Joshua we have decided to give Belong a go but my only concerns are the claim that they only operate on Parts of Telstra 4g & 3g! if they’re not totally using the Telstra lines whos else are they using or am i understanding it wrong? We have signal issues where we live and only seem to get Telstra here.

      thanks Lisa

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for your reply.

      “Parts of Telstra’s 4G or 3G” means that Belong is using some of the available technology created by Telstra. According to our page, Belong only uses Telstra’s network. So, if your area has Telstra’s network, then you can expect that your phone will receive a signal. If there’s none, then you won’t be able to use your phone’s data.

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

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  10. Default Gravatar
    ricardoFebruary 13, 2018

    hi im looking for a prepaid phone company (just simcard) that has unlimited international calls and text to USA

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Ricardo,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      Please refer to this page to find the right sim-only plan for you.

      On that page, you will find that Lebara and Lycamobile provides unlimited calls and texts to the US.

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

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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