- The price of unlimited calls within Australia was reduced to unprecedented sub $10 per month levels.
- The cost of a GB of data has fallen nearly 50% just in the last 12 months.
- New entrants to the market brought variety and fairer data management facilities, something that is sorely needed. Consumers are confused by the changes in the amount of data they need and 28% have been charged $10 or more for extra data in the last 12 months.
- New categories of product have been created. Huge Mobile Broadband data bundles now offer affordable mobile access and bundles which can support a family or business person’s mobile needs for a month.
- Entry level pricing for International Calls in phone plans continues to fall with many options now starting at the $25 or $30 per month mark. For those making more than a couple of hours of international calls per month, the cost of phone plans with Unlimited International calls has also fallen.
- Entertainment in phone plans continues to evolve. Bigger and smaller phone companies are offering ever more innovative plan structures, many with data free access to streamed audio and / or streamed video services.
The 2018 WhatPhone Awards
WhatPhone aims to help visitors quickly navigate to the right SIM Only or prepaid plan for them. The WhatPhone awards are designed to help them do that quickly and safely.
Here is our list of categories, winners and where you can find more information about the phone plans which might interest you.
WhatPhone Awards 2018 : Best Plans Overall.
Winner: Moose Mobile
Moose Mobile is a new phone company, launched mid 2018, on the Optus 3G and 4G mobile network. They have been a consistently strong performer on our site, offering postpaid SIM Only plans with market leading value. Moose have lowered the price of Unlimited national calls and SMS to a tiny $8 per month. Customer satisfaction with their plans, as evidenced by the strength of reviews they’ve received show that this Queensland based telco is doing everything right.
Whatever you’re looking for in your phone plan, Moose Mobile should, in our view, be on your consideration list.
You can find out more about them in our Moose Mobile review.
WhatPhone Awards 2018 : Best Plans With Entertainment.
Winner: OVO Mobile
OVO offer a ‘forthefans’ (for the fans) promise and have built a base of loyal customers providing access to niche sports that people love.
Take an OVO Mobile prepaid plan and, with it, you’ll get access to streamed video content including drag racing, gymnastics, sailing and a suite of other entertainment facilities including streamed audio from a slew of radio stations. Best of all, any video or audio you get through on your free ‘OVOPlay’ app, will not count against the data they provide in your plan. You can find out more about them in our OVO Mobile review.
WhatPhone Awards 2018 : Best Data Plans.
Winner: Belong Mobile
Belong Mobile are another new phone company which arrived in 2017. They are one of the few who offer postpaid plans on the Telstra Mobile 3G + 4G network. What we love about Belong’s data inclusions is not simply that they are so huge. Belong have what we consider to be the fairest treatment of mobile data in a phone plan of any Australian operator.
Belong offer a ‘data vault’ in their phone plans. Whatever data you buy is yours to keep – forever. If you have a plan with 15G per month of included data and you use only 5 GB, the 10GB will rollover to the next month, and for every other month until you use it. When you’ve bought it, its yours forever.
Our own primary research, conducted in 2017, shows how disappointed Australians are at the way their phone companies treat them. People don’t have the time or inclination to track their own data usage behaviour. With Belong, you don’t need to. If data is important to you, we suggest you consider Belong Mobile. You can find out more about Belong in our Belong Mobile review.
WhatPhone Awards 2018 : Best Value Plans.
Vaya Mobile have had a difficult history. Looking back over the last 5 years, their plans have always been towards the upper end of the value spectrum. Unfortunately, in the past, customer reviews and dissatisfaction with customer service interactions meant many people avoided them.
Vaya were bought by Amaysim, Australia’s 4th largest telco (who have also won an award – see below) at the start of 2016. Amaysim targeted no small amount of what they knew about Australian customer need on Vaya and have turned the company around. Customer service levels have improved, their plan structure (including out of bundle data fees) have improved substantially and Vaya now offer the only price match promise in Australia. If you can find a better deal elsewhere, Vaya will match it. They were a shoe in for best value plans.You can find out more about this company in our Vaya Mobile review.
WhatPhone Awards 2018 : Best Big Mobile Broadband Plans.
Amaysim are one of Australia’s biggest phone companies, with over 1m customers. They operate on the Optus mobile network and have been around for a long, long time in Australia giving them one of the few telco brands which stands out for consumers.
2017 saw the rise of a new type of mobile plan – huge mobile broadband bundles. Until last year, data only plans tended to be available between 2GB and 15GB per month and were primarily designed to meet the needs of tablet users. Amaysim were one of several companies which stood out for leading the evolution of this plan type, offering bundles 25GB and larger. These Big Mobile Broadband Plans now sell in large quantity and are used by a wide variety of users from renters to students and families looking to keep kids entertained in the back of the car on long journeys.
With Intel and others building SIMs in to the microprocessors they provide laptop makers, this plan type is going to continue rising in importance. Many industry observers suggest that with data pricing halving every 12 months and 5G already on the horizon, mobile broadband could, soon, become a viable alternative to the much maligned NBN. Amaysim offer the best value we’ve seen, especially at the higher end (100GB / month) of these big data bundles and we love the fact that users can buy them either prepaid or postpaid according to their need.
WhatPhone Awards 2018 : Best For International Cals.
Winner: Lebara Mobile
Lebara Mobile are another mainstay of the Australian market. They have consistently led the way when it comes to included International Calls in their phone plans. 2017 saw Lebara raise their data inclusions to be even more in line with the best of the rest without removing any of their Unlimited International call inclusions. We’ve run the numbers and, if you spend 2 hours or more a month on the phone, calling internationally to friends and family overseas, Lebara is almost certainly your best bet.
You can find out more about these international plans in our Lebara Mobile review.
Looking towards 2019
Next year, 2019 promises even more movement in the SIM Only market. We believe TPG will launch a new plan suite on their own mobile networks. That means 2019 could be the first time in a decade that Australia has had phone plans with unlimited data available. Data pricing will continue to fall and the early trial 5G networks we’ve been talking about for years will start to be delivered.
There has never been a better time to shop around and consider moving your phone plan to one of these alternatives. Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 WhatPhone Awards.