Best mobile phone plans

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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:

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35 Comments

Total Comments: 35
  1. 0
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    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.

  2. 0
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    Sounds excellent for those of us who don’t use our phones much. Is there a data allowance? Where do ya geddit?

  3. 0
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    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.

    • 0
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      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

    • 0
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      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.

    • 0
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      Changing to Amaysim is the best move I have ever made. I highly recommend them.

    • 0
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      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. 🙂

  4. 0
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    Check out TPG. Good coverage and very cheap. $10 per month for $180 calls, $2000 TPG to TPG mobile and 250MB data.

  5. 0
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    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.

    • 0
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      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…..

  6. 0
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    You should look at Amaysim, $40.00 per month 4gig date and unlimited calls to landline and mobiles. It is on the Optus system.

  7. 0
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    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.

  8. 0
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    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

  9. 0
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    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

  10. 0
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    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! 🙂

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