Unlimited mobile data plans
Tired of excess data charges? Compare unlimited mobile data plans that will let you browse and stream to your heart’s content.
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With unlimited data Internet plans popping up all over the place, you'd think that unlimited mobile plans would be next to follow. Right now, Telstra and Vodafone are the only two Australian providers with so-called "endless data" plans, while Optus has introduced the ability to purchase unlimited data for short bursts, 24 hours at a time.
We'll explore the unlimited options available and whether they're worth investing in.
Unlimited mobile data: Quick facts
- Unlimited data plans still come with a data limit. Once you hit that limit, your download speeds are cut down from full speed to a restricted value.
- Optus has "Unlimited Data Day" add-ons where you pay $5 to get 24 hours of unlimited data at full speed. You can refresh this every day if you so desire.
- TPG used to offer unlimited mobile data plans, but doesn't anymore.
Compare unlimited mobile data plans
You can grab any of Telstra or Vodafone's SIM only plans and it'll come with the endless data feature. You can also pair these SIM only plans with a handset if you're after a new phone to go with your plan.
Unlimited data SIM only plans
Both Telstra and Vodafone's SIM only plans have "unlimited" data, plus a certain amount of "full speed" data. The catch is that once you exceed that "full speed" data limit, you'll have your connection throttled.
With Telstra, it's reduced to 1.5Mbps on every plan. With Vodafone, the speed cap ranges from 2Mbps to 25Mbps depending on which plan you've bought.
So for example, if you use 60GB in a month on a 40GB Telstra unlimited data plan, you'll get the first 40GB at your full download speed, while the next 20GB will be reduced to a maximum of 1.5Mbps.
What do 1.5Mbps speeds look like?A regular 4G connection in Australia has an average speed of around 38Mbps and a maximum speed of 150Mbps. Since 1.5Mbps is about 4% of that average speed, you'll certainly notice a difference in browsing and streaming.
Netflix, for example, lists 1.5Mbps as the absolute minimum speed for watching anything at all, though it's unlikely to be particularly crisp. You need a stable 3Mbps to watch a video in decent SD quality.
Which network is best for unlimited data?
If you're looking for an unlimited mobile data plan, you'll most likely be choosing between Telstra and Vodafone. Each offers slightly different benefits, so the best choice will depend on what you're looking for. Here's how their unlimited plans compare:
|Monthly plan prices||$40-$120||$55-$115|
|Full speed data||10GB-150GB||40GB-180GB|
|Phone available with the plans|
|Data-free media streaming|
For a more in-depth look at the extra inclusions from Telstra and Vodafone, check out our comparative lists below:
Telstra's extra features
- 5G access. On Medium or larger plans, for customers with an eligible device in serviced areas.
- Telstra Air WiFi. You gain access to over 1 million free Wi-Fi hotspots across Australia on any Telstra plan.
- Free sports streaming. No data use when you stream certain sports like AFL, NRL and others.
- Free music streaming. No data use when listening to Apple Music, but you need your own subscription.
Vodafone's extra features
- Discounts on bundled plans. Putting your plans together on the same account can make you eligible for discounts.
- International minutes. All but the cheapest plan offer minutes for calling or texting various countries around the world.
- Network satisfaction guarantee. Drop your plan with no penalty if you aren't happy with Vodafone in the first 30 days of service.
- $5 roaming. You can get some international roaming packs for $5 a month.
Both Vodafone and Telstra offer unlimited plans with handsets, so you can pick up a new phone with one if you need it.
While neither provider is outright better, Vodafone's more expensive plans offer unlimited data at a much higher potential speed than the 1.5Mbps from Telstra. However, Telstra has more bonus features for customers who will use them, and Vodafone's extra unlimited speed only applies once you've run through your full speed data.
The table below shows unlimited data plans with a phone from Telstra and Vodafone. The iPhone 11 64GB is selected by default, but you can hit "filter results" to add any other handset you might be after with the +add more button, such as the Samsung Galaxy S20.
What about Optus unlimited mobile data?
The unlimited mobile data options with Optus don't work the same way as with Telstra and Vodafone. With Telstra and Vodafone, there are specific plans to sign up to if you're after unlimited data, but Optus's options are available on nearly all its mobile plans.
Optus's "Unlimited Data Day" add-on is available for postpaid customers on Optus Choice, Optus One, Optus Family and Optus Kids plans, plus Prepaid Epic Data customers paying $30 or more for recharges. You pay $5 and get 24 hours of unlimited, full speed data, before returning to your regular plan inclusions.
It can be added through the My Optus app. There's no limit as to how many unlimited add-ons you purchase, so you could buy one every day if you wanted to – just be careful because the prices will stack up!
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Do you actually need unlimited data?
The prospect of unlimited data may be tempting, but consider how much data you actually use – it's probably less than you think. You can check your usage via your phone, your last monthly phone bill, or you can make an estimate with our data usage calculator.
While unlimited mobile data sounds like a great idea, think about whether you actually need it while you're out and about on your phone. Here are a couple of things to consider:
What do you actually use your mobile data for?
Most things you do on your phone only use a small amount of data – the only activities that really chew through it are high quality video streaming and big file downloads.
If you're not regularly streaming videos on your phone, you could probably get away with a data-capped mobile plan.
Unlimited data isn't necessarily at full speed
Even if video streaming on mobile data is a hobby of yours, unlimited data won't really help if it's not downloading at full speed.
If you choose one of Telstra or Vodafone's plans, you'll be subject to your speeds getting slowed down. 1.5Mbps with Telstra won't be enough to stream video as anything more than a blurry, pixelated mess.
How much data do you really need?
Even for huge data guzzlers, there are cheaper big data plans on offer.
The cheapest "unlimited data" plan is Vodafone's $40 option, offering 10GB full speed data. If you're using around 20-30GB in a month, you can grab a plan that offers that at full speed for around $20 to $30, instead.
Whether you need unlimited mobile data or not obviously depends on what you're planning to use it for. If you use your mobile data at home instead of using a fixed-line Internet connection, these unlimited mobile data plans could be a great way to avoid accidentally going over your data limit.
But if price is a factor for you, you could be better off getting a data-capped plan that suits your usage habits at a lower monthly cost.
Take a look at these big data mobile plans
If you're looking for a mobile plan with decent data but not unlimited, we've put a few below that offer 40GB and above.
Otherwise, your best bet is to look for plans with unlimited streaming options on services like Apple Music, Spotify, or bonus data offers for video streaming on platforms like Apple TV or Netflix. These will preserve your data when you're streaming certain types of media. Most of the time you'll need an existing subscription to the service to take advantage of the offer.
FAQ about unlimited mobile data
Is unlimited data really unlimited?
Does Telstra have unlimited data?
Does Telstra have unlimited data?
Does Telstra have unlimited data?
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