Prepaid Mobile SIM Plans: Cheap and reliable

Not a fan of gasping in horror at your phone bill each month? Then you’ll be a big fan of upfront, no-hidden-fees prepaid mobile plans. 

In this guide, we’re unpacking how you can find a great deal with our insider tips, and giving you a peek at our favourite prepaid mobile plans for this month.

We’re fans of prepaid because they often work out a little cheaper than postpaid ones, are budget-friendly and are more flexible than you think.

🏆 Our top picks for prepaid SIM plans

When we choose favourites, we focus on finding good data at a lower price point. We also compare current deals and discounts, and the plan’s network coverage. Our team update these top picks each month.

Remember to check that the plan suits what you need before you buy.

💡 You can find and compare more mobile phone plans here.

A snapshot of prepaid SIM plans

A prepaid mobile plan lets you:

  • Choose your plan based on data, price or length
  • Pay upfront so there are no surprises
  • Recharge online when it expires
  • Switch providers if you like

You’ll only pay extra charges if you add features such as an international roaming pack.

What’s the alternative to prepaid mobile plans?

The other common phone plan type is a postpaid plan, where you’ll pay after all your usage is added up. You can learn about postpaid plans here. If you’re after more certainty with your phone budget, you could stick to a prepaid plan. 

The basics of prepaid plans

You need a phone plan to make calls, send texts and use the internet on your phone. Prepaid mobile plans keep it very simple by charging the cost upfront, which means you can’t overspend unless you opt for more inclusions.

Prepaid SIM plans are a great option if you:

  • Want to save money
  • Like to control your budget
  • Need a plan for a teen or new phone owner
  • Run a business and need to manage employee use

When you buy a prepaid SIM plan, you can choose the data limit (more on that in a moment) and the length of time your plan goes for. Here are the most common expiry lengths:

Month-to-month (28 or 30 days)

Lots of people use month-to-month plans because they can switch frequently to nab discounts or if they’re unhappy with the service. 

You’ll typically get data, unlimited calls and texts and the option to add other inclusions. 
❌If you run out of data, you’ll need to recharge your plan early. 

Long expiry (90 to 365 days)

Plans with a long expiry period often work out the cheapest overall, but you’ll need to fork out the entire cost upfront. 

Set and forget your phone plan for months.
❌ Can’t take advantage of other plan discounts in the meantime.

Pay As You Go (PAYG)

PAYG plans typically suit people who don’t use their phones much, like seniors or younger kids. You pay a set amount upfront and use it up like a bar tab when you make calls, send texts or use the internet. 

Much cheaper than a plan for people who don’t use their phones much.
❌ Far more expensive for regular phone users (and not recommended).

The most important factor in choosing a prepaid SIM plan

Data. It’s the most important factor besides price. 

You see, when you buy prepaid plan, you have to assume the amount of data you’ll use. If you run out, you have to recharge your plan early, which sucks. You’re not getting great value from your plan. 

So, let’s get into the weeds for a moment and calculate how much data you need. 

If you’ve used a phone plan before, you can look at your average monthly data usage. Use that figure as a starting point for your prepaid mobile plan.

But, suppose it’s your first phone plan or your circumstances have changed. In that case, you can use this as a guide: 

Typical internet useData needed per month
Email, general browsing and some social media3GB – 7GB
All of the above plus:
Music streaming, some online gaming and streaming YouTube
7GB – 15GB
All of the above plus:
Streaming TV, downloading games and movies
15B – 20GB

💡 If you’re still not sure, that’s ok. Prepaid SIM plans let you switch your data amount when you recharge. So, guess the amount for now and slide the data amount up or down each month until you find the sweet spot. 

How do recharges work with prepaid SIM plans?

Also called a renewal or ‘top up’, recharging keeps your current plan going without missing a beat (or a single second on TikTok). Most plans have auto-recharge turned on as a default setting, which you can switch off via the app.

If you turn off the auto-renew function, just remember to set a reminder on your phone to renew or change your plan before it expires.

⚠ If you use your data up before the expiry date, your plan may auto-renew without you noticing. Constantly recharging your plan early will cost far more than adding more data, so keep an eye on your usage and change your plan accordingly.

Choosing a good prepaid SIM plan provider

Most phone plan providers have prepaid options. Bigger names like Optus, Telstra and Vodafone may have more impressive data packages and features, but they’re often more expensive than the smaller brands. 

Smaller brands don’t have a physical phone network to upkeep, expand and improve. Instead, they borrow from the big names and pass the savings on to customers. Don’t be afraid to look at smaller companies! Some, like Boost, are even owned by one of the big telcos, so you’ll get the perks of a big network with the price of a smaller brand. 

Click here to skip to our favourite prepaid phone plans

Choosing your prepaid mobile plan features

Almost all plans include unlimited calls and texts. These are other features you can look for to help you decide on a plan.

Data rollover. Check if the plan has a rollover feature or data banking that carries your unused data over when you recharge. Some plans also have an option to ‘gift’ your data to someone else.

Network coverage. Most Aussies don’t need to worry about coverage since the main 3 telcos cover between 96% and 98.8% of the population. But, if you live rurally, you might want to look at the plan provider’s coverage map first. Telstra has the greatest coverage, followed by Optus and Vodafone. Smaller brands also use one of these 3 networks.

Expiry date. Prepaid mobile plans have expiry dates anywhere between 28 and 365 days. Typically, the longer the plan the greater the discount, but remember you’ll pay the full amount upfront and won’t be able to get a refund. And, if the plan is 28 days you’ll likely have to recharge 13 times per year rather than 12 (yes, it’s a bit of a sneaky ploy).

eSIMs. Not all plans have eSIM compatibility yet, but it’s the way the market is going. eSIMs can be instantly ‘downloaded’ and activated on your phone without any physical card needed. Most new smartphones are eSIM-ready.

Extras. Some plans may include extras such as limited international calls and texts, Wi-Fi calling capabilities and endless data. It’s common for brands to offer big discounts and bonus data to entice you over.

💡 You can find and compare more prepaid mobile plans here.

The best SIM only plan providers

Here are some pros and cons of a few top phone plan providers. You’ll need to think about what you want from your plan to see which provider can meet your needs.

optus logo

Optus has the second-largest network in Australia behind Telstra. It offers similar plan features to Telstra but we’ve found its prices are often slightly cheaper.

✔ Great coverage and 5G
✔ Plans as short as 7 days (perfect for travellers)
✔ Good data limits for the price

💡 You can find and compare Optus mobile phone plans here.

iinet logo

We’re impressed with iiNet’s plans which have some of the best discounts you’ll find. Its plans aren’t brimming with extras but come at a great price if you’re after a basic plan to make unlimited calls and texts.

✔ 50% off all plans for the first 6 months
✔ Free next-day SIM delivery in metro areas
✔ Bonus data if you bundle with iiNet home internet

💡 You can find and compare iinet mobile phone plans here.

TPG logo

TPG has excellent offers on its plans. You can add-on extras such as international calls and roaming, and use the 5G network on its Extra Large plan.

✔ Ongoing discounts for TPG broadband customers
✔ 50% off all plans for the first 6 months
✔ Free next-day SIM delivery in metro areas

💡 You can find and compare TPG mobile phone plans here.

boost mobile logo

Boost Mobile is the only small provider that uses the entire Telstra 4G network. It often has great discounts and bonus data.

✔ The best coverage in Australia (alongside Telstra)
✔ Bonus data for a limited time
✔ Some plans include unlimited international calls to specific countries

💡 You can find and compare Boost Mobile phone plans here.

kogan mobile logo

Kogan Mobile specialises in good deals for long-expiry plans. It has extras other plan providers don’t, although its customer service is only available by phone and doesn’t offer online support.

✔ Instantly download your eSIM
✔ Includes Wi-Fi calling
✔ Earn 1 Qantas Point for every $2 spent with Kogan Mobile

💡 You can find and compare Kogan mobile phone plans here.

Yomojo logo

Famous for its family plans, Yomojo offers great discounts if you add multiple SIMs to your account.  Kogan specialises in good deals for long-expiry plans. It has extras other plan providers don’t, although its customer service is only available by phone and doesn’t offer online support.

✔ Up to 15% discount when you bundle multiple SIMs
✔ Yomojo’s security app lets you track your child’s calls, texts and online usage
✔ Uses the Optus network which has 98% coverage in Australia

💡 You can find and compare Yomojo mobile phone plans here.