Samsung Galaxy S10: Outright vs contract

Surprising results for those wanting to save money on Samsung's latest handsets.

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Fast facts

  • Thanks to some steep discounts, Woolworths Mobile's contract plans are the cheapest option for folks with relatively light data needs.
  • For larger amounts of data, a contract plan with Optus is the cheapest option.
  • Purchasing outright and pairing with a SIM-only plan is still cheaper than contract plans from Telstra and Vodafone.

With Samsung unveiling its new Galaxy S10 handsets at its February Unpacked event, fans of the Korean smartphone manufacturer have a tough decision ahead of them: should you pony up the $1,000+ to purchase one of the phones outright, or are you better off signing up for a contract plan with an Aussie telco?

It's a tricky question. Not everyone has that much cash burning a hole in their wallet, after all. But let's assume for a moment that you do. Is it worth buying a Galaxy S10 outright and pairing it with a SIM-only plan instead of signing up to a fixed-term contract with Telstra or Optus? We've crunched the numbers to find out.

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.


Samsung Galaxy S10e

Cheapest contract plan

Woolworths Mobile successfully undercuts the big three telcos with its Samsung Galaxy S10e plans, charging considerably less than Telstra, Optus and Vodafone for its cheapest contract plan over the course of 24 months. Pairing its Extra Small plan with the 128GB Galaxy S10e will set you back $59.53 a month, or a total of $1,428.72 over the full two-year term.

Plan Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Woolworths Mobile Extra Small $59.53 3GB $1,428.72
Optus My Plan Plus $45 $64.00 4GB $1,536.00
Vodafone Red $35 $84.95 6GB $2,038.80
Telstra S $94.00 3GB $2,256.00

On the other hand, purchasing the 128GB Galaxy S10e outright will cost you $1,199. This means that on the Woolworths plan, you're effectively only paying an additional $229.72 for 24 months of 3GB of data and unlimited standard talk and text. The cheapest comparable SIM-only plans sit at around $15 a month, or roughly $360 over the course of two years. So that's an extra $130 to buy the phone outright instead of going on a plan.

It's cheaper in both the long and short-term, then, to go the contract route with Woolworths Mobile.

Cheapest mid-range contract plan

3GB of data isn't going to get you very far, especially if you want to make the most of the Galaxy S10e's AMOLED screen by streaming Netflix on the go. 20GB is significantly more versatile, and Woolworths Mobile again offers the best deal here with its Medium contract plan. At $79.53 a month, you're looking at a total minimum spend of $1,908.72 over 24 months.

Plan Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Woolworths Mobile Medium $79.53 22GB $1,908.72
Optus My Plan Plus $65 $85.00 20GB $2,040.00
Vodafone Red $45 $96.95 50GB $2,326.80
Telstra M $99.00 20GB $2,376.00

On the SIM-only front, ALDImobile's Value Pack XL plan is one of the cheapest 20GB plans you'll find, at just $35 for 30 days. That works out to roughly $840 over two years, making for a grand total of $2,039 after factoring in the outright cost of the Galaxy S10e.

Once again, then, it's cheaper to make the long-term commitment and enjoy the lower upfront costs with Woolworths Mobile than it is to scrounge up the cash for an outright purchase.

Cheapest premium contract plan

If your mobile browsing has you using up more than 100GB of data per month, Optus is your best option for getting the Galaxy S10e on contract. Its $105 My Plan Plus comes with a hefty 200GB of monthly data for a total minimum cost of $2,520 over the course of 24 months.

Plan Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Optus My Plan Plus $105 $105.00 200GB $2,520.00
Vodafone Red Plus $80 $123.95 150GB $2,974.80
Telstra XL $129.00 120GB $3,096.00

You won't actually find any SIM-only plans with that much data. The closest you'll get is Lebara Mobile's 62GB prepaid plan or amaysim's 60GB prepaid plan. They'll set you back $69.90 and $60 per recharge respectively. Over 24 months, you're looking at around $1,700 (since both Lebara and amaysim operate on daily expiry cycles rather than monthly ones). Combine that with the $1,199 outright cost of the Galaxy S10e, and you'll have spent around $2,899 across a two-year term. Considering you get more data for less by going on a contract, the choice here is pretty clear.

Samsung Galaxy S10

Cheapest contract plan

The cheapest way to get the vanilla Samsung Galaxy S10 on contract is through Woolworths Mobile. Its Extra Small plan with 3GB of data clocks in at $65.78 a month over 24 months. This works out to a minimum total cost of $1,578.72 over the full two years, several hundreds of dollars cheaper than similar plans from other telcos.

Plan Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Woolworths Mobile Extra Small $65.78 3GB $1,578.72
Optus My Plan Plus $45 $79.00 4GB $1,896.00
Vodafone Red $35 $91.20 6GB $2,188.80
Telstra S $99.00 3GB $2,376.00

Outright, you're looking at $1,349 for the 128GB Galaxy S10. Since the cheapest 3GB SIM-only plans typically cost around $15 a month, or $360 over two years, you'd save roughly $130 by signing up to the Woolworths Mobile plan.

Cheapest mid-range contract plan

Woolworths Mobile continues to serve up the best contract deal for folks wanting a sizeable chunk of monthly data to go with their Samsung Galaxy S10. The Woolworths Mobile Medium plan gets you 22GB of data for a monthly cost of $85.78. That ends up being $2,058.72 over the full two-year contract term.

Plan Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Woolworths Mobile Medium $85.78 22GB $2,058.72
Optus My Plan Plus $65 $90.00 20GB $2,160.00
Vodafone Red $45 $99.70 50GB $2,392.80
Telstra M $104.00 20GB $2,496.00

The cheapest comparable SIM-only plan is currently ALDImobile's Value Pack XL, which includes 20GB of data for $35 every 30 days. All told, that comes to around $840 over 24 months. Couple that with the $1,349 outright cost of the Galaxy S10, and you get a total of $2,189, approximately $130 more than you'd pay by signing up to the Woolworths Mobile contract.

Cheapest premium contract plan

At the premium end of mobile plans, your options are somewhat limited. Of those limited options, Optus is far and away the most attractive, with its $105 My Plan Plus coming to a total minimum cost of $2,520 over 24 months. That gets you a whopping 200GB of data, more than both Telstra and Vodafone offer with their more expensive contract plans.

Plan Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Optus My Plan Plus $105 $105.00 200GB $2,520.00
Telstra XL $129.00 120GB $3,096.00
Vodafone Red Plus $80 $130.20 150GB $3,124.80

Unfortunately, there aren't any SIM-only plans currently on the market that can compete with these top-tier contract plans. The closest you'll get is around 60GB from providers like amaysim and Lebara Mobile. With recharge rates of $60-$70, they'll set you back approximately $1,700 over the course of two years. That means you'll be paying around $3,049 total after factoring in the $1,349 sticker price of the Galaxy S10. Given that Optus charges less for much more data, there isn't much reason to go the SIM-only route.

Samsung Galaxy S10+

Cheapest contract plan

Maintaining its price lead, Woolworths Mobile offers the cheapest means of picking up the Samsung Galaxy S10+ on contract. Its 3GB Extra Small plan weighs in at $72.03 a month, or $1,728.72 over the course of the 24-month contract. That's a significant discount on what you'd pay from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone.

Plan Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Woolworths Mobile Extra Small $72.03 3GB $1,728.72
Optus My Plan Plus $45 $89.00 4GB $2,136.00
Vodafone Red $35 $97.45 6GB $2,338.80
Telstra S $114.00 3GB $2,736.00

It's also cheaper than purchasing the Galaxy S10+ outright for its RRP of $1,499 and pairing it with a cheap 3GB SIM-only plan. Considering most 3GB SIM-only plans hover around the $15 per month mark, you're going to be spending roughly $1,859 over the course of two years. By signing up with Woolworths Mobile instead, you're saving a solid $130, plus you don't have to worry about fronting the $1,499 price tag all at once.

Cheapest mid-range contract plan

Woolworths Mobile cements its dominance in the Galaxy S10 contract space with its Medium Galaxy S10+ plan. The 22GB of included data is enough to handle typical mobile use and the $92.03 monthly price tag works out considerably cheaper than the competition. Over 24 months, you're looking at $2,208.72, hundreds less than similar plans from Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.

Plan Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Woolworths Mobile Medium $92.03 22GB $2,208.72
Optus My Plan Plus $65 $100.00 20GB $2,400.00
Vodafone Red $45 $107.45 50GB $2,578.80
Telstra M $119.00 20GB $2,856.00

Taking ALDImobile's top-value 20GB Value Pack XL SIM-only plan as a point of comparison, it's clear once again that contracting through Woolworths is the cheapest way to go. Spending $1,499 to purchase a Galaxy S10+ outright and factoring in the 24-month cost of the $35 Value Pack XL plan will see you forking out a grand total of $2,339, $130 more than you end up paying with Woolworths Mobile's Medium contract plan.

Cheapest premium contract plan

For the smartphone buyer that wants a premium plan to go with their premium Samsung Galaxy S10+, there's one clear winner: Optus. The $105 Optus My Plan Plus gets you an enormous 200GB of monthly data for $110 a month when coupled with the Galaxy S10+. Over the 24-month contract, that works out to be $2,640, more than $500 cheaper than comparable plans from Telstra and Vodafone.

Provider Monthly cost Monthly data Total minimum cost (over 24 months)
Optus My Plan Plus $105 $110.00 200GB $2,640.00
Vodafone Red Plus $80 $136.45 150GB $3,274.80
Telstra XL $139.00 120GB $3,336.00

There's little competition for Optus in the SIM-only space, either, as no SIM-only telcos offer such large data caps. The largest SIM-only plans you'll find from smaller telcos are 60GB prepaid plans from the likes of amaysim and Lebara Mobile. These typically sit at around $60-$70 per recharge at the cheapest, meaning you'll be paying roughly $1,700 over the course of 24 months. Add to that the $1,499 price of the Galaxy S10+, and you're talking approximately $3,200 over two years. Since you can spend much less than that by signing up with Optus and get more than double the data, there isn't much argument for purchasing outright.



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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AnthonyMarch 3, 2019

    I’m spending alternative six month periods in Australia and the UK Is having a locked phone going to be a problem and as a result do I have to buy outright?
    Thanks.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MattMarch 3, 2019Staff

      Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for your question. If you’re going to be moving between Australia and the UK, having a locked phone could be difficult. Buying a locked phone in Australia, for instance, would mean you’d need to pay roaming charges when using that phone in the UK. If you’re happy to pay those roaming charges, the phone should still work overseas, but it could get quite expensive.

      Buying outright, on the other hand, would let you purchase short-term prepaid or SIM-only plans locally in both Australia and the UK. This would most likely be cheaper in the long run, but will require a significant upfront investment in purchasing the phone outright.

      I hope this helps!

      Regards,

      Matt

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