A First-Timer Guide to Mobile Phone Plans in Australia

Australian Mobile Phone Plans


Due to numerous choices in Australia, choosing a mobile plan that works for you can be a huge task. New mobile customers will need to sort through companies’ offered plans and choose a network that offers the plan that best suits their needs and budget.


And before choosing a plan, you will need to think about your usage. Some questions to consider might be:

  • Do you make a lot of phone calls? 
  • Is data important to you? 
  • How much data will you need? 
  • Do you need a device? 
  • Are you happy to commit to a long term plan?

There is a wide range of telecommunication companies to choose from, and they offer a massive number of plans, so it’s a good idea to have your needs in mind before you start looking.


Here is a basic guide to choosing an Australian mobile phone plan:


Major Telecommunications Providers vs. MVNOs.

  Major Telecommunications Providers vs MVNOs  

There are two main types of telcos in Australia – those who own infrastructure, and those who use another telco’s infrastructure to offer their mobile plans.


A plan can only operate using the network of the three major Australian telcos.


These networks are referred to as ‘major’ networks because they own the infrastructure which all the Australian telcos operate. The infrastructure includes masts, satellites, and small cells.


The other type of operator is called Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). MVNOs are smaller service providers who work by leasing bandwidth and coverage from larger telecommunications brands. They purchase access to larger service networks and then resell. Essentially, MVNOs cellphone plans on the same networks (in many cases) for less money.


They are able to sell extremely affordable plans because they usually heavily restrict their overhead costs in a number of ways – a reduced advertising budget, fewer workforce, few or no actual stores, no costs relating to upgrading and maintaining infrastructure, and by mostly operating online.


There are numerous MVNOs within the nation, some of which include;

  • Hive Mobile
  • Lebara
  • Amaysim
  • Woolworths
  • Belong
  • Aldi mobile

All MVNOs are linked to major telecommunications networks because they need to use their network to operate.  No matter the service provider you have chosen to subscribe to, you will end up using the network of one of the three major telcos.


Types of Phone Plans

  Types of Phone Plans  

Telecommunications networks offer their subscribers a wide range of plans to choose from. Customers can choose from:


Prepaid vs. Postpaid Plans


Prepaid phone plans are plans in which a subscriber is required to pay the service fee for their usage before they are granted access to the network.


Postpaid plans, on the other hand, are phone plans in which a subscriber is allowed to pay the service fee for their usage after the billing period. Postpaid plans are more likely to come with a contract period, such as 12 or 24 months.


All major Australian telcos, as well as many MVNOs, offer both prepaid and postpaid plans to their customers.


Phone Plans vs. SIM Only


Phone plans are contract plans which include a mobile device as well as a SIM. The cost of the plan covers the network usage and also pays off the phone over the length of the contract as part of the price – often over 12, 24 or 36 months. Phone plans are primarily offered by major telcos, however, a few MVNOs including Kogan Mobile and Woolworths offer plans that include a device.


SIM-only plans do not include a phone or device. The subscriber who wishes to join their network must have their own mobile device which the SIM will be used with.


Contract vs. Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Plans


In a contracted phone plan, a telco and subscriber enter into an agreement for a specified length of time. These plans can be both prepaid and postpaid.


Pay-As-You-Go plans allow a subscriber to pay only for the services they use. The plan will specify the cost of their services, and the customer is charged according to how they use them.


It is important to note that although PAYG plans may sound appealing as customers only pay for what they use, they can be expensive for heavy mobile or data users as the services tend to cost more when priced individually.


Unlimited Plans


Unlimited plans are phone plans which grant subscribers unlimited access to particular services across the network. Unlimited access can be granted to call and text plans as well as data plans.


On these plans, subscribers may utilize the services on the network as they please. It is important to note, however, that many telcos offer clauses alongside unlimited plans. These clauses may include data caps, restrictions to call numbers and many others.


Make sure to read the fine print before committing to an unlimited plan.


The Choice is Yours


There are so many options available for customers looking for a new phone plan, it’s a good idea to have a solid idea of what type of plan would suit you and how much you are willing to pay before you compare.


Don’t be afraid to choose one of the cheaper MVNO options if you don’t mind a company that mostly operates online, as they are using the same network as the more expensive 3 major telcos. Each offers benefits and drawbacks to their customers, so it’s important to choose a company that meets your needs.


There is so much choice that is can be daunting to look for an Australian mobile phone plan, but the huge number of plans on offer means that with some research, there is sure to be an option that is right for you.

Ralf Llanasas

Ralf is a tech blogger, he writes about the latest news on mobile phones and technology. He currently works at Whatphone.com.au as a content manager and his writings can be seen on several publications aimed at IT industry. He also into photography and loves taking pictures when free.


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