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Why it pays to simplify your mobile phone plan

Smiling young man and woman sharing cell phone on the beach

Changing phone habits mean time for a change of plan. Here's how to save money by switching your service.

This guide is sponsored by Gomo Mobile. Get more data for less plus unlimited standard national talk & text with Gomo. Now $10 for 18GB for the first month, $25/mth thereafter. Online SIM sale ends 10/01/21. Buy 3 months, get 3 months free if activated by 28/2/21. T&Cs apply.

Your mobile phone plan includes a lot of features: calls in Australia, data, international calls and other extras. But why pay for those extras if you never actually use them?

Phone usage has changed dramatically in 2020, so a plan that made sense two years ago doesn't necessarily make sense now. Here's why it makes sense to reassess what you're paying for your mobile service and simplify what's on offer.

Australians are paying too much

Finder research shows that the average Australian is paying $56 a month for their mobile phone bill. That's expensive, given that there are mobile plans with generous allowances that cost a lot less than that. For instance, Gomo's prepaid plan costs $25 a month and includes 18GB of data.

Mobile plan prices fell by 17% over the 2019–2020 financial year, according to the ACCC. So if your phone plan price hasn't dropped during that period, it's definitely time to shop around.

Our data needs are changing

Cat with smartphone
For most people, the key feature of a mobile phone plan is data. Most plans include unlimited calls and texts in Australia, so that's not a distinguishing feature.

The typical Australian phone plan includes 40GB of data, according to a recent Finder consumer survey. But you might not actually need that much. With many more of us now working from home, demand for data has dropped, since we're spending much of the day connected to our home Wi-Fi. There's no point paying extra for data you don't use. (Our data usage calculator can help you calculate your expected usage.)

Even if you think you'll need extra data occasionally, that doesn't mean you need to pay for it all the time. For instance, mobile usage often goes up when you're on holiday. If your plan offers data rollover, that doesn't need to be an issue, since you can save up unused data for when you need it.

For example, Gomo's plan lets you roll over unused data each month, and you can accumulate up to 200GB this way – plenty enough to let you use your phone more heavily during a week away.

Roaming extras aren't much use right now

Pricier phone plans often include global roaming, letting you use your Australian number overseas. But the painful truth is that no-one is going to be using that feature any time soon, with international travel not expected to resume until late 2021 at the earliest. That's an extra which simply isn't worth paying for right now.

Contracts don't make sense

Men on couch with phone
The mobile plan market is fiercely competitive. But you can't take advantage of that if you've signed up for an ongoing contract. If you're not paying off your existing handset, then being on a long-term contract simply doesn't make sense.

We're often reluctant to switch. Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker shows that just 17% of Australians have switched mobile providers in the last 6 months. That means many of us are missing out on big potential savings from special offers.

For instance, Gomo right now is featuring introductory offers for new customers, who can buy a Gomo SIM online before 10 January 2021 and pay just $10 for the first month of their subscription ($25 per month thereafter), plus a "buy 3 months and get 3 months free" offer for customers who activate their subscription by 28 February 2021 and pay for the first three consecutive months. That effectively means you can get 18GB a month for 6 months for a total cost of just $60.

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