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New Samsung Note 20 5G plans from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone: Where is the best value?


The big telcos have opened up pre-orders for the 5G models of the brand-new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but whose plans offer the best value?

Overnight, Samsung announced a slew of new Galaxy Note smartphones, and like clockwork, Australia's biggest telcos have lined up their pre-order deals for both the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

You can order now, but you won't actually get your shiny new Samsung phone until at least 21 August 2020, because that's when the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra go on sale in Australia.

While customers now have the choice of buying phones outright and signing up to a separate mobile plan, grabbing a mobile phone contract with a handset is an easy option to take. Remember, the price you're paying for the handset never changes, whether you're buying it from a provider or outright. The only thing that changes is the amount you pay for your mobile plan.

If you sign up to a phone contract, you'll still have flexibility to shift up and down mobile plan types if you need more or less data, as well as the potential to switch providers, as long as you're happy to pay out the remainder of your contract.

With that in mind, we'll look at what you'll pay for the lowest cost Note 20 5G model, the lowest cost Note 20 Ultra 5G – which is more or less the mid-range of this particular family – and then the top tier Note 20 Ultra 5G handset.

The standard pre-order bonus across all of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 phones is a pair of Samsung headphones. Note 20 buyers get the Galaxy Buds+ valued at $299, while Note 20 Ultra buyers score Samsung's new Galaxy Buds Live, valued at $319. We're not counting that in our equations, because if you opt to pre-order a Note 20 or Note 20 Ultra outright, you get the same bonuses.

Cheapest deal overall Cheapest Ultra deal Best "all inclusive" option

Cheapest option: Galaxy Note 20 5G 256GB

Vodafone is easily the cheapest option over a period of time for the 256GB Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G, but that's over a 36-month term based on what Vodafone has announced so far. It's also tricky because Vodafone isn't taking online pre-orders at this time. If you want to pre-order a Galaxy Note 20 5G through Vodafone you have to do so in-store or over the phone, which is pretty weird in 2020. Vodafone is offering $5 off per month for the first 12 months for this plan tier on the plan cost.

Telstra's Small plan would be the cheapest over the full 24-month term, but you'd actually be better off signing up under the Medium plan, because as a promotional deal, Telstra is giving you a $10 credit for 10 months if you opt for a Note 20 on any Medium or better plan. The price difference between the Small and Medium plans is precisely $10, so there's no reason not to for the first year of your Note 20 ownership.

Optus' plan appears pretty affordable, but you do have to factor in that unlike the Telstra and Vodafone offerings, where you have "endless data", Optus' small plan charges $10/GB for excess usage. With 5G connectivity in mind, you could blow through that price difference very quickly indeed. If you went over just twice you'd be essentially at the total cost price of the Vodafone plan – and that's for 12 months less service too.

Cheapest Ultra option: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G 256GB

If you fancy the Note 20 Ultra, the pricing gets a little more diverse, although we're again hamstrung by the limited plan information that Vodafone is surfacing at the time of writing.

Again, you'd be better served picking up the Telstra Medium plan to start with for the Note 20 Ultra, because that $10 bonus deal still applies. Still, it's by far the most expensive of the Note 20 Ultra 5G phone plans right now.

Best everything-included Ultra option: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G 256GB

If you want the absolute top tier plans along with Samsung's newest flagship, it's going to cost you. Let's see how the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G plans compare across the big 3.

None of the carriers is offering the top tier 512GB model of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, so the pricing for the actual handset remains identical no matter which plan you choose. If you're looking at 24-month contracts, Optus has the teensiest of advantages here, charging exactly 1c less per month than Telstra. The 24c saving over 24 months doesn't seem that exciting, really.

However, there's a huge difference between their total plan costs, and it's one that mathematically favours Optus, as long as you keep your mobile data usage under 240GB/month. If you don't want to ever deal with excess data charges, Telstra might be a smarter bet.

If you don't mind signing up to a 36-month contract, check out Vodafone's Ultra 5G plan which comes off cheaper than the other two. You'll even get access to 'endless data' as well.

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