Compare mobile phone plans in Australia

  • Our experts compare data, price and extras
  • Choose from great SIM Only plans
  • Get tips on comparing and using your plan
We independently review and compile Aussie phone plans so you can easily compare them in one place, for free.


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A quick guide to buying an Australian mobile phone plan

Finding the best plan for you means comparing plans from different brands (often called telcos). To help you get started, you can look at some of our easy guides and resources.

Phone plan guides to help you get started

 

Resources that explain how mobile plans work in Australia:

Tips from our experts

1. Smaller plan providers usually have better deals.
Smaller companies, called MVNOs, don’t have the big costs of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone that have to maintain entire networks. Instead, MVNOs ‘borrow’ a network and pass the savings on to you.

2. Don’t be scared to switch plans often.
Most plans are month-to-month, which means when it expires you can either renew or switch to another company. New deals are always cropping up and it’s worth doing a quick check each month to see if you can snag a half-price discount or some bonus data.

3. If you’re keen on big savings, check out long expiry plans.
Long expiry plans can go for 3, 6, 12 or 18 months. Because you’re buying in bulk, you can get huge savings with long expiry plans – up to 32% compared to month-long plans – as long as you’re sure about the length of the contract.

4. Ask if the expiry period works in your favour.
Some plans have 30-day expiries, and some only have 28. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but over the year those 2 lost days per month add up. You’ll end up needing to buy 13 months rather than 12, so calculate if the savings are still going to work in your favour.

5. SIM Only is the most popular plan type for a reason.
Rather than buy a phone and a plan from Telstra or Optus with a 2-year contract, most people today opt to buy a phone outright and use SIM Only plans. They’re cheaper, more flexible and easy to switch for a better deal.

Let’s talk basics: what is a mobile phone plan?

To make calls, send texts and use the internet, your phone needs to be connected to a network. Australia has three major network providers: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. These network providers have laid the infrastructure that all other phone companies use, which is why you’ll see smaller companies like Boost Mobile say it “uses” the Telstra network.

Your job (and ours) is to find a plan that gives you the amount of data (internet download) you need at a good price.

 

What will you get with a mobile phone plan?

Every phone plan will come with three basics:

  • A voice plan: making and receiving calls
  • A messaging plan: sending and receiving texts and MMS (images/video messaging)
  • A data plan: using the internet

 

1. How voice plans work

Most plans today have unlimited incoming and outgoing calls to Australian numbers. You can make as many calls as you like for as long as you like. Some plans will also include limited talk time and texts to certain international numbers.

2. How texting works

Texts include SMS (regular text messages) and MMS (multimedia texting, which includes images, videos, gifs etc). Most plans have unlimited texting as standard.

3. How data plans work

Data plans are a little more complicated. You need data to access the internet from your phone when you’re not connected to WiFi. With data, you can watch videos, use internet messaging like iMessage with iPhones, check your bank balance and scroll social media.

Phone plans include a certain amount of data that you use up until the plan expires or until you run out, whichever comes first. Some plan providers will say they offer unlimited data, but that usually means your data is limited to frustrating snail-speed once you hit the data cap!

💡 If you don’t know how much data you use, you might need to choose a small plan to start, see how much you use over the month and go up or down in data from there.

Sorting out prepaid, postpaid and long-expiry

In the beginning, phone plans can seem confusing. Let’s look at the different types and who they’re tailored for.

Prepaid plans: you’ll buy a plan with a set amount of data to use until the plan expires. If you run out early, you’ll either have to wait for the plan to renew or buy another plan. These plans keep unexpected costs down.

You can find out more and compare prepaid plans here.

Postpaid plans: much like a power bill, you’ll pay for your phone usage after the plan expires. You’ll have a set data amount, but if you go over you won’t be cut off – you’ll just pay a fee for the extra you use.

You can find out more and compare postpaid plans here.

☎ SIM Only plans: these are the most common phone plans today. SIM Only means you’ll be sent a physical SIM card (or a digital eSIM) that you activate via the plan’s app. These plans aren’t tied to any telco or phone and can be switched to any other telco when it expires.

You can find out more and compare SIM Only plans here.

☎ Long expiry plans: rather than a monthly expiry, long expiry plans can last up to 18 months. You’ll purchase an amount of data (for example, 150GB) and use it up over the course of the plan term. If you run out of data early, you’ll need to purchase more. Long expiry plans often work out cheaper by the month because you’re getting a bulk discount.

You can find out more and compare long expiry plans here.

☎ Phone + plan contracts: you would be put on a contract if you were to buy a new phone from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone and sign up for a plan at the same time. You’ll get the phone at a discounted price (hence the appeal) because the telco will make money back on your plan. But, you’re bound to that provider until the phone is paid off.

 

☎ Pay As You Go (PAYG) plans: these plans suit occasional phone users. You can buy a certain amount of data and talk/text minutes, and only renew once you’ve used them up.

How to compare and choose a phone plan

Comparing phone plans means looking at three factors:

The cost per month: make sure you choose something you can afford each month. Look for new customer discounts and special offers.
The amount of data: you want to have enough, but not pay too much for data you don’t use. It might take some trial and error to work out your average data use per month.
Any extras you might want: most plans are pretty basic, but some do come with extras. For instance, you can add data roaming to some plans for an extra fee, so you can take your phone overseas easily. Others have limited talk minutes to international countries.

Do you own your phone? An important question before you compare plans.
If you own your phone or buy it outright, you can choose any plan you like. When it expires, you can renew it or switch it for a better deal.

If you bought your phone as part of a contract with Telstra, Optus or Vodafone, you’re likely locked into a phone plan contract for two years or so. While the cost of the phone is cheaper this way, the plans are more expensive.

Being able to compare and choose your plan regularly generally works out much cheaper than a contract. Over 69% of Aussies avoid contracts and choose their plans.

Which mobile plan will give you the best coverage?

For people who live in suburban and metropolitan areas, any of the three major networks will likely give you great coverage. But, there is a difference in areas covered, and that could impact which brand you choose to use.

Telstra owns the largest network in Australia with the greatest coverage.

✔ 99.5% of the population can access Telstra’s 3G/4G network
✔ Telstra’s 5G coverage is the largest of all three networks
✔ A good option if you live or travel in regional areas

These brands use the Telstra network and often have cheaper plans than Telstra itself:

1. Boost Mobile
2. ALDImobile
3. Belong Mobile
4. Everyday Mobile (woolworths)
5. Tangerine
6. TeleChoice
7. CMobile


Optus is slightly behind Telstra for coverage, which is only a concern if you live in or travel to regional areas.

✔ 98.8% of the population is covered by the Optus network
✔ Optus is rolling out 5G Max but is still a little behind Telstra
✔ Its plans are often better priced than Telstra

These brands use the Optus network:

1. AGL  Mobile
2. amaysim
3. Moose Mobile
4. Dodo
5. Circles.Life
6. Southern Phone
7. Yomojo
8. Flip


It may have the smallest network, but Vodafone still covers a lot of airspace and has the advantage of cheaper plans.

✔ Vodafone covers 96% of the population with 3G/4G
✔ 5G has been rolled out to over 3,000 suburbs with more on the schedule
✔ Vodafone has well-priced plans but may not be the best choice if you live regionally where coverage is spotty

These brands use the Vodafone network:

1. felix
2. TPG
3. iiNet
4. Kogan Mobile
5. Lebara
6. Internode

Why should you trust us at WhatPhone?

  Our team at WhatPhone have one goal: to make it easier for Aussies to get great plans at great prices. 

Here’s how we do it:

✔ We’ve researched plans from Australia’s top telcos and compiled them in one place to make it easier for you to compare.
✔ Our comparison guides are updated daily, and our reviews and guides are regularly fact-checked.
✔ We include as many brands as we can, even if we don’t earn a commission.

At WhatPhone Headquarters, we spend a lot of time reading terms and understanding features. There are so many options for plans, prices and discounts that we believe there’s no reason any Aussie should be overpaying for their phone.

We know it takes time to compare phone plans, but considering you can save hundreds of dollars a year by switching your plan for better deals and discounts, we think it’s worth the extra few minutes! Phones are part of life, and comparing plans is just another part of how we live today.

That’s why we started WhatPhone all those years ago. Our goal is to be an independent voice, helping you choose a better, cheaper phone plan that makes life easier.

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