4th Dec 2012

Best mobile phone plans

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Rachel Tyler Jones

When choosing a mobile phone plan it is important to remember that the cheapest plan is not always the best value. You need to look at what is included, such as texting, data and international calls, and weigh this up against what you need and how much you can afford.

Some lower-cost mobile phone providers use networks which belong to other companies. Virgin is a good example of this, as all Virgin coverage comes from the Optus network. The upside to this is that Virgin customers potentially have access to coverage over 98 per cent of Australia. The downside is that Virgin customers get lower priority than Optus customers, so you are more likely to lose reception if there are a high number of people using the network at the same time. It’s not life or death, but it is something to keep in mind when choosing a provider.

 

Prepaid (no phone included)

 

Value

Data

Cost per month

Telstra

$30 credit plus $220 bonus credit, total $250

 

400Mb

$30

Optus

Unlimited calls to other Optus mobiles, unlimited standard texting nationally, plus $30 credit for calling non-Optus numbers

 

500Mb

$30

Vodafone

$450 credit plus unlimited standard texting nationally

 

500Mb

$30

Virgin

$450 credit, which increases to $600 if you recharge four times consecutively

1Gb

$29

 


Post-paid plans with an iPhone 5 16Gb

 

Value

Data

Cost per month

Telstra

$600 credit plus unlimited standard texting nationally

 

1Gb

$67

Optus

$200 credit

 

$200Mb

$53

Vodafone

$180 credit plus $70 credit to call other Vodaphone numbers

 

200Mb

$48

Virgin

$250 credit

250Mb

$47

 

 

As a bit of an Apple fan, my personal favourite here is the Virgin $47 plan for an iPhone 5 16Gb. I like that all of your credit can be used how you wish – you don’t have some set aside for calling other Virgin numbers, which you can’t access any other way. I also think the data allowance is good given the price and it is possible to double the data for an extra $5 per month.

From the prepaid section I think Vodafone wins out, as it includes almost as much credit as Virgin, plus you get unlimited standard texting to anywhere in Australia. Virgin does offer 1Gb of data, while Vodafone only has 500Mb, but I use the internet on my phone heavily most days and I have never exceeded my current 500Mb limit. As long as you’re not downloading videos on your phone, such as from YouTube, 50Mb should be more than sufficient.

The last thing to remember is that you get what you pay for. I am currently a Virgin customer and am very happy with the service, given I am only paying $30 per month. The reception I get, however, is nothing to write home about. There are areas of my house where the reception drops out altogether, which can be frustrating. Telstra is, overall, the best choice in terms of Australia-wide reception, especially if you live in or visit remote areas, but it is a more expensive service.

Check these coverage maps to ensure the provider you are considering covers your area:





COMMENTS

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ozimarco
4th Dec 2012
4:15pm
My wife and I use our mobiles infrequently. We are with Savvytel, which runs on Optus. There is no monthly charge or minimum spend and, what's best of all, credit never expires. I have just recharged $20 after more than a year's use. My wife used hers a bit more so I recharged hers with $30. Those amounts should last us for all of 2013. Very happy customer.
Jen
4th Dec 2012
4:27pm
Sounds excellent for those of us who don't use our phones much. Is there a data allowance? Where do ya geddit?
Tom Tank
4th Dec 2012
5:07pm
A point to remember is that despite what Rachel said Optus coverage is NOT 98% of Australia but 98% of the Australian population which is dramatically different. I recommend Amaysim who also use the Optus network with some good offerings and are worth checking out.
Maca1939
4th Dec 2012
8:05pm
I agree fully with you I did a great deal of research and certainly Amaysim is the best we have been using it for sometime now and I could highly recommend it - FANTASTIC - excellent for those who have limited income and much cheaper than having Telstra connected to your home phone also we also use iinet for our broadband and our home phone service GREAT
FrankC
4th Dec 2012
10:22pm
What Rachel seems to be missing is the fact that a lot of pensioners, to whom this site is sent, do not want loads of gigabyte data and downloading you tube, They quite likely wouldn't know how to do it, apart from not needing to. All they want from a mobile phone is calls and perhaps texting. That is why I have been using Amaysim since their inception. At 12 cents per minute, yes per minute, why would you want anyone else.
Annamaria
15th Jan 2013
8:25pm
Changing to Amaysim is the best move I have ever made. I highly recommend them.
Penqueen1949
8th Mar 2013
11:27pm
Frank, I am on my second Android phone as I wore the Sony Ericsson Xperia 10 out before the contract was due to expire. I bought an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Duos and am very happy with my hand held computer....and my new phone service only costs me $17 a month for $700 credit plus $900 Vaya to Vaya and 2G of data. No landline for me ever again. :-)
label
4th Dec 2012
5:17pm
Check out TPG. Good coverage and very cheap. $10 per month for $180 calls, $2000 TPG to TPG mobile and 250MB data.
Golfer
4th Dec 2012
5:23pm
My recent personal experience has been an unsatisfactory one with Vodafone. Not very good with coverage. I am off the air 80% of the time and presently in dialogue with Vodafone.
If you want coverage; if you need coverage then pay the extra and get Telstra.
Penqueen1949
8th Mar 2013
11:18pm
Vodafone are known as Vodafail...... there are different carriers on the Optus network who give good to excellent coverage for most Aussies and are far cheaper than Telstra.....
inkman
4th Dec 2012
5:30pm
You should look at Amaysim, $40.00 per month 4gig date and unlimited calls to landline and mobiles. It is on the Optus system.
FrankC
4th Dec 2012
10:27pm
With Amaysim, you can buy credit from $20 to $50, ( it might be $100, but I have never used that) and once credited to your phone, that will expire in 3 months, not one month, but three. I Generally buy $30 one month and then $20 the next time, as any credit is carried over, and that easily lasts me 3 months.
lwcarden
4th Dec 2012
10:43pm
I agree you can't beat Amaysim for price even if you take a package at a very good price for unlimited calls etc. I only buy $15 at a time and it doesn't run out after 3 months if you renew they add it to your total of the carryover. Uses the Optus network but it is as good as any that I have used
RichF
4th Dec 2012
11:10pm
Amaysim yes for phones. Prepaid and with long expiry, especially if you recharge via Woolies - an extra month to use it. But for broadband or at least wireless, Virgin tales a lot of beating. About $100 to $150 (look out for specials) will get you 10Gb to 12 Gb (again look out for specials) . Not bad, but the best bit is that it lasts for 365 days and if you use BB like we do, that's enough. No, you don't have to pay $29, $49 or whatever a month; just one payment that equates to somewhere between $10 and $15 a month
NannyMac
5th Dec 2012
9:56am
I think the best deal for prepaid is Woolworths Mobile, which is covered through the Optus network. $29 gets you $500 credit per 6 weeks (1-1/2 months) made up of $250 national/other mobile calls and $250 worth of Optus to Optus calls PLUS 5GB (yes 5GB) data per 6 weeks!! And if you buy your recharge through Woolies using your Everday rewards card you get a 10% discount off that $29 (=$26.10)......and no, this is NOT an advertisement!! lol I just actually love this deal! :)
Wendy
5th Dec 2012
1:35pm
I can't believe Amaysim Unlimited wasn't included. $40/month includes calls to any phone in Australia + 4GB data and no contract. It even includes 1300 and 1800 numbers. I love it!
Mim
6th Dec 2012
12:15pm
I am with TPG ( use Optus ) Pay as you go plan $ 1.00 a month , phone calls 9.9 ct a minute
to mobile or landline .include 50mb data a month . I am very happy with TPG !
missmarple
8th Dec 2012
12:28pm
I am with DODO I get very good coverage it cost's me $19.00 per month, on a 2year contract I can't remember how much data I am allowed as I don't use the internet on my phone But I get $200.00 talk and text which is ample for me
Mr Grumpy
16th Jan 2013
4:43pm
I am a avid Dodo fan and with my post paid plan I get $100.00 worth of calls and 1/2 gig download, which I never use anyway for only $9.90 monthly. I believe that this plan is no longer available, but with all my services with Dodo, they look after me well.
label
16th Jan 2013
5:30pm
How about doing another article on other service providers - the smaller and usually cheaper ones.
Penqueen1949
8th Mar 2013
11:14pm
Yes definitely, Vaya has not been mentioned either. I opted to not renew my postpaid Virgin contract especially as they have reduced the phone allowance from $450 a month to $250. My Sony Experia 10 did not last the distance either so I bought an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Duos for $ 189 fom Big W. As soon as my plan expired I changed to Vaya who are a smaller 100% Australian company. I have the prepaid $17 a month plan that gives me $700 worth of credit as well as $900 Vaya to Vaya and 2G data allowance. Virgin mobile broadband leaves a lot to be desired here as the Optus towers badly need upgrading. Later on I am going to try Kogan as they are with the Telstra network and my son tells me the data speed is double that of Virgin on the Optus network. The plan I will use is unlimited calls to both Australian mobiles and landlines including 1300 numbers plus 6G data and all for $29. These prices are all far better than the four bigger carriers...... I have not had a landline for over two years and do not miss it one bit.
Penqueen1949
8th Mar 2013
11:14pm
Yes definitely, Vaya has not been mentioned either. I opted to not renew my postpaid Virgin contract especially as they have reduced the phone allowance from $450 a month to $250. My Sony Experia 10 did not last the distance either so I bought an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Duos for $ 189 fom Big W. As soon as my plan expired I changed to Vaya who are a smaller 100% Australian company. I have the prepaid $17 a month plan that gives me $700 worth of credit as well as $900 Vaya to Vaya and 2G data allowance. Virgin mobile broadband leaves a lot to be desired here as the Optus towers badly need upgrading. Later on I am going to try Kogan as they are with the Telstra network and my son tells me the data speed is double that of Virgin on the Optus network. The plan I will use is unlimited calls to both Australian mobiles and landlines including 1300 numbers plus 6G data and all for $29. These prices are all far better than the four bigger carriers...... I have not had a landline for over two years and do not miss it one bit.
Penqueen1949
8th Mar 2013
11:14pm
Yes definitely, Vaya has not been mentioned either. I opted to not renew my postpaid Virgin contract especially as they have reduced the phone allowance from $450 a month to $250. My Sony Experia 10 did not last the distance either so I bought an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Duos for $ 189 fom Big W. As soon as my plan expired I changed to Vaya who are a smaller 100% Australian company. I have the prepaid $17 a month plan that gives me $700 worth of credit as well as $900 Vaya to Vaya and 2G data allowance. Virgin mobile broadband leaves a lot to be desired here as the Optus towers badly need upgrading. Later on I am going to try Kogan as they are with the Telstra network and my son tells me the data speed is double that of Virgin on the Optus network. The plan I will use is unlimited calls to both Australian mobiles and landlines including 1300 numbers plus 6G data and all for $29. These prices are all far better than the four bigger carriers...... I have not had a landline for over two years and do not miss it one bit.
Penqueen1949
8th Mar 2013
11:31pm
Blasted lousy Virgin Wifi broadband and Optus towers...... by the time my posts were finally uploaded, the option to delete the second and third tries have been removed.....
PlanB
9th Mar 2013
7:11am
If you want the best coverage you have to be with the dreaded Telstra as the others just do not give the cover in many places
Penqueen1949
9th Mar 2013
10:59am
Plan B I will never ever have Hellstra as my phone carrier.....Optus and the related carriers can and do service 98% of Australians. My issue is the slow wireless and wifi broadband but as I can't afford anything else I put up with it. My mobile phone service is always perfect with Virgin and Vaya. I also do not live in a capital city and have travelled to towns all over the Darling Downs with perfect Virgin mobile phone coverage.
PlanB
9th Mar 2013
11:07am
Pen, others might cover 98% of PEOPLE not 98% of the country, I have been with friends that were on other servers and they were unable to get out when I could, I hate Telstra too but no point in having a phone that doesn't work I am on NEXT G that has even better cover
Penqueen1949
9th Mar 2013
11:15am
Lol no mobile carrier in Australia covers 98% of the country...... I said 98% of Australians.....as in the people......whoever started this thread said 98% of Australia and probably has not tried to use a mobile phone outside of a capital city.....
Penqueen1949
9th Mar 2013
11:19am
PS all mobile phones are Next 3 capable now and have been for quite awhile..... My little Sony Ericsson was bought with Telstra as the carrier because they were needed at the time then 8 months later I switched to Virgin.
Penqueen1949
9th Mar 2013
11:30am
The above mentioned is with Hello Mobile who have calls to mobiles and home numbers free with 35c connection fee and talk to up to 3 hours. Their 1300 numbers cost 5c a minute. There are great deals out there if people look. The beauty of my main mobile phone is as it's an Android it is a palm held computer too so emails and Google, weather apps ect are all accessible. I love my Android. :-)
Penqueen1949
9th Mar 2013
11:37am
Android phones at the higher end of the market and Iphones are now Next 4 capable but so far the service is restricted to eastern capital cities as far as I am aware. Optus has this service and Virgin and Telstra of course.
PlanB
9th Mar 2013
11:35am
Next 3 is mostly in capitol cities the Next G is for remote areas
ShazzamB
30th Dec 2013
7:38am
I was with Red Bull Mobile which used Vodafone - that was fantastic $367 for the whole year prepaid - unlimited calls & 5 GB data per month, it was so good that the company decided to cease the service so I chose Aldi mobile - which for $35 per month I get 2500 minutes of talk (41 hours) & 2.5GB per month which seems to exceed any other offers available & uses the Telstra network. I don't have the option of using Optus/Virgin or AMaysim as I can't get reception very well when I am home & as I am on call, I can't afford awful or no reception. I live in suburban sydney & we had great reception with virgin & amaysim & would have happily stayed with them, but the reception suddenly went from great to almost nothing (you can't a phone conversation by asking people to wait while you go to the letterbox to be able to hear them). When we contacted both providers their response was extremely ordinary - both providers merely pointing out their coverage maps & not even addressing the fact that we had good reception and now had virtually none at all - for that I can't recommend them.


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