Which supermarket mobile plan is best?

Alex Kidman 30 October 2015


Do Coles, Woolworths or ALDI offer the best mobile value?

Alongside spuds, shaving cream and cheap milk, you can’t have missed the fact that your local supermarket now wants you to sign up to a mobile plan. Unless you do your shopping at an IGA supermarket, that is -- the IGA group is somewhat late to the mobile party.

Coles has Coles Mobile, Woolworths has Woolworths Mobile and ALDI has ALDImobile, all running slightly different deals across two different networks.

ALDIMobile and Woolworths Mobile use "parts of" Telstra’s 4G network, which means in some areas it will drop to 3G. Coles uses Optus’ full 4G and 3G networks. If you want to know more about 3G versus 4G, check out our detailed guide.)

There’s one other difference to date between the supermarket telcos, 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.

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 also offers a variety of contract phone plans for Samsung and Oppo phones, which we haven't listed here, but are worth considering if you want a phone plan on contract. Woolworths often runs promotional deals with its contract phones that are worth consideration alongside competing deals. In the prepaid space, if you have a Woolworths Reward card, you can shave 10% off the cost of recharges. Reward Cards are free, so there’s really no reason not to do so.

Both Woolworths Mobile and ALDImobile use "parts" of Telstra’s 4G network, which means they’re slightly speed limited and operate on a marginally smaller network map than that of the full Telstra network. By contrast, Coles Mobile has access to the full Optus 4G network, but that’s one with slightly less coverage than the full Telstra network.

Both Woolworths Mobile and ALDImobile offer a data rollover functionality for their prepaid plans, although not for all plans. Higher recharge plans will allow you to save your unused data from one month to another, up to a maximum of 15GB on Woolworths Mobile plans, and once only for any amount on ALDImobile plans. Up until recently Coles Mobile’s plans were primarily pushed towards short-term low cost usage for mostly calls and texts, so data rollover wasn’t a priority. Its newer plans offer longer expiry periods and larger data quotas, but there’s no sign of a rollover function as yet.

If you’re after international calling minutes, all three telcos offer slightly different international calling perks on their higher recharge plans. For Woolworths Mobile customers, this comes in the form of either $100 or $200 of value towards international calls during your recharge period. Customers of ALDImobile get from 100-300 international calling minutes to a range of locations worldwide. Coles Mobile offers 250 minutes of calls on its $40 recharge tier to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, UK and USA specifically.

Here’s how the various supermarket prepaid deals compare:

I can’t decide! Which deal should I go for?

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 into 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 similar short period, or if you know you’re in an area with 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, or if you’re interested in a contract phone.

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