Does Coles, Woolworths or ALDI offer the best mobile value?
Coles vs Woolworths vs ALDI
Alongside spuds, shaving cream and cheap milk, the big three Australian supermarket providers all offer a variety of mobile phone plans. The only holdout in this regard is IGA, which has yet to join the mobile plan party.
ALDIMobile and Woolworths Mobile use "parts of" Telstra’s 4G network, which means in some areas it will drop to 3G. Coles uses Optus’s full 4G and 3G networks. If you want to know more about the difference between the two, check out our detailed guide to the 3G and 4G networks.
There’s one other difference to date between the supermarket mobile plans, and that’s in the types of plans they offer. Coles Mobile and ALDImobile both operate on a prepaid basis, although both have plans that work in a similar way to many monthly plans as well as longer expiry offerings. Woolworths Mobile has prepaid SIM-only deals but also offers a wide range of premium Samsung Galaxy and Oppo Android handsets on a 24-month contract basis as well. We've got more detail on Woolworths Mobile's contract offerings here.
It’s a complex matter comparing the various supermarket deals because while two of the providers share the exact same network via Telstra wholesale, the value proposition across all three is quite different.
Woolworths Mobile offers prepaid plans operate on parts of the Telstra 4G and 3G network with unlimited standard national calls and texts on its $20, $30 and $45 recharge tiers. At the lower priced $15 recharge tier, you get a $250 credit towards calls, with standard calls charged at 90 cents per minute plus a 40-cent flag fall. Woolworths Mobile gives a 10% discount for any recharge to holders of Woolworths Reward cards, and given that they're free, there's no reason not to use one to save yourself a little cash.
Woolworths Mobile allows for data rollover if you don't use up all your data within a given recharge period as long as you continue to recharge. You can collect up to a maximum of 15GB of rolled-over data in this fashion. Except for the $15 recharge, all tiers include a value of international calls, either as call credit, minutes or, for higher tier plans, unlimited standard international calls to selected locations.
ALDIMobile's plans operate on the same "parts of" the Telstra 4G and 3G network as Woolworths Mobile because both are provided services by Telstra's wholesale arm. ALDImobile has a couple of different approaches to prepaid, with Pay As You Go plans that give you a healthy 365-day expiry period with fixed call, text and data costs alongside 30-day expiry plans, all of which come with unlimited standard national calls and texts.
ALDIMobile's 30-day expiry plans do allow for data rollover, but only for a further 30-day span, and only if you recharge at a value equal to or greater than your original recharge. In terms of international call inclusions, all but the entry-level plan offer a number of minutes to 50 set international destinations as part of the recharge.
Coles Mobile operates its prepaid SIM-only plans on the Optus 4G network. It has the distinction of having what is technically the lowest cost prepaid offering of any of the supermarket telcos at just $10 per recharge, but that's for a plan with a short 10-day expiry period. All of Coles Mobile's plans offer unlimited standard national calls and texts as well as data inclusions, but only the top tier plan includes any quantity of international calling inclusions. Coles Mobile's higher tier plans operate on 28-day expiry terms where its competitors work on 30-day recharge cycles for the most part. There's no facility for data or credit rollover at Coles Mobile, although it does sell a range of extras, including extra data or international calling credit.
The supermarkets compete fiercely when it comes to getting us to buy milk, but when it comes to telco selection, it’s a little tougher. All three MVNOs offer some enticing extras, so it’s worth working out which options suit you best.
Go with Coles Mobile if you’re travelling in Australia (or passing a handset onto another traveller) and only need mobile access for a short period of time or unlimited calling/texting capability for a similarly short period. You should also pick Coles Mobile if you know you’re in an area with markedly better Optus than Telstra coverage.
Go with ALDI Mobile if you want either a long expiry deal or one with a solid quantity of data.
Go with Woolworths Mobile if you want a heavy data deal, or it makes sense to do so because of the 10% discount you get with a Woolworths Reward Card. You should also go with Woolworths Mobile if you’re interested in a contract phone.