7 Tips To Choosing A Mobile Phone And Plan In Australia

7 Tips To Choosing A Mobile Phone And Plan In Australia

The team at WhatPhone have worked for Australian phone companies for years. We’ve managed their online stores. We’ve studied the market for mobile phones. We’ve gone deep in to understanding the information people need to make a choice that’s right for them about the next phone they buy. Using that research, we’ve put together a list of the helpful information you’ll want to get your hands on in order to avoid a mistake.

Here are the WhatPhone top 7 Tips To Choosing A Mobile Phone And Plan In Australia.

1. Budget – Plan. SIM Only / Contract

The first thing you’ll want to get a handle on is how much you have to spend. Phones are one of the most significant single expenses in people’s lives these days.

Consider your bills over the last few months. Did you go over the limits of your existing cap ? Did you end up paying more than you had budgeted for ? Or, alternatively, did you leave a lot of your bundle / cap unused at the end of the month ? Your answer might be different when you consider your voice and data usage separately. The best way to check this sort of information is through the online self service portal of your existing phone company. All of them offer online billing information these days. Or, if you can stand it, you might like to ring their call center and work through the process with the Service staff there.

What you’re looking for, in summary, is an indication of the plan you need to be on. If you used most of your cap for the last few months, stick with the spend you were on. If you used less than you were entitled to, you might like to move down a tier or two. If you exceeded your cap, consider moving up.

Everything follows from your spend !

2. Pick a Phone

There are a couple of common ways to figure out the right phone for you.  Early on, you’ll probably have two or three devices that you’re seriously considering.

What’s your favourite phone brand ? Some people love Apple and that’s OK. It’s a safe bet, that’s for sure. The key alternative these days is Samsung. Generally, sales are grouping around the major, annual releases from each  of these manufacturers.  If you want their flagship product ( say the latest iPhone or latest Samsung Galaxy phone, you probably know it already !

You can also navigate by Operating System. The key players are Android ( Google’s Phone Operating System ) and iOS ( which is Apple’s ‘equivalent’ to Android. ) There are other handset operating systems though. You can find more about the differenced between them in this WhatPhone article, Android vs IOS.

Buying a phone outright can sound like it makes sense. Especially if, like most people, you don’t want to be tied in to a contract. However, for most people, it makes sense to sign up with an Australian carrier. Get it wrong and you could end up paying hundreds of dollars more than you wanted to when you pick your phone. You can read more about that in this WhatPhone article – Buying a Phone Outright – Will I Save Money ?

3. Network and Customer Service

You’re likely to have some idea in your head about the network you’d like to sign up with. Make sure you shop around and get the best deal you can. The key to this part of your research is access to accurate information that’s nice and easy to understand. Luckily, we’ve got that covered for you too ! You can check out our simple WhatPhone infographic to find out what phone company has the best network and customer service – and how the others compare.

7 Tips To Choosing A Mobile Phone And Plan In Australia

4. Extras

Don’t just focus on the headline value in the plans. There are some sweet little extras for those who know where to look. Vodafone often offer a gift with purchase for those who buy online from them. They also throw in a free month or two, as part of your contract, again, if people are buying online.

7 Tips To Choosing A Mobile Phone and Plan In Australia

As a result of their terrible press coverage over the last couple of years, Vodafone have also added The Vodafone Network Guarantee ( click the link to find out more ) which is a great facility to be aware of if you’re considering them.

Finally, check out the Virgin Mobile benefits. They offer great deal on line and have pricing which is even as competitive as Vodafone’s. Virgin is a good choice because they use the Optus network. That gives you access to Optus’ coverage and 4G network ( if you have a 4G phone. )  On top of that, you’ll get free voicemail in Virgin Mobile’s plans and unused credit rolls over to the next month. Why don’t all the phone companies offer that  ?!

Optus have frequent flyer points for tcr plan. If you’re going to spend the money anyway, you may as well get the points !

And finally Telstra have their ‘thanks’ campaign which offers freebies and goodies for their customers to reward them.

5. Short List

OK, so, you’ve got the basics sorted and you know what you’re getting yourself in to. Now it gets hard. You’ve got to whittle your short list down to a single device.

The best place to do this and keep it simple is on the WhatPhone Product Pages. In each, you’ll see ‘What’s Good’, ‘What’s Not So Good’ and ‘Why Users Like It.’

Compare the specifications of the phone. There are bound to be bits which are important to you which are better on one device or the other. Is the camera better on this phone or that one ? Which has more memory ? Are they both 4G ?

WhatPhone has in depth comparisons of most of the phones we offer. Check out the links at the bottom of every page ( including this one ! ) if you’d like to explore the pros and cons of each device in depth.

7 Tips To Choosing A Mobile Phone And Plan In Australia

6. Think About It

Most people spend between 2 and 4 weeks researching a mobile phone. They don’t spend the whole time researching ! Almost everyone needs a few days to think it through and to let the idea settle in their head. After all, they’re going to be spending 24 months with their new phones. They want to be sure.

Sleep on it. Talk to friends. Make sure you’re sure. And then …

7. Buy Online

You will always get the best deals online. That’s the best way to shop for a new phone. Compare the pricing on the Whatphone product page, across Australian Operators and then click through to buy.


Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.