Be Smarter Than Your Neighbour – The Latest Trend In Phone Plans

The latest trends in phone plans

Trends in phone plans

The Australian telecommunications sphere is changing. Aussies are now in the process of reinventing the dynamics that governed their phone usage in the past. Nowadays, more and more phone users are breaking away from the rigid, inflexible mobile trends of the past, embracing newer, fresher offers by telcos and MVNOs alike.

By embracing these newer plans, many Australians are saving hundreds of dollars while being very satisfied with a wide range of services being offered to them. Now, more than ever, mobile users are spoiled for choice!

Let’s take a closer look at some of Australia’s biggest phone trends at the moment.

Prepaid phone plans

With a prepaid phone plan, a subscriber must pay in advance before the services are rendered. Essentially, the subscriber is required to pay an allocated fee before being granted access to a voice, text or data plan on the cellular network.

Australian telcos have witnessed a steady rise in the procurement of prepaid mobile plans over the last decade. Formerly perceived as the least glamorous service on any network, many more Australians are now subscribing to prepaid services by the minute. According to statistics offered by Roy Morgan, prepaid phones now represent 32.9 percent of the Australian mobile market. This is a record 2.5% increase within the last two years.

Prepaid plans are  now offered by all major Australian telcos (Optus, Telstra and Vodafone) as well as numerous MVNOs.

SIM Only plans

With SIM Only plans, the network provides the subscriber with a SIM card only. The subscriber  must have their own mobile device where the SIM will be activated on.

SIM only plans have become increasingly popular with postpaid subscribers. Postpaid plans are the opposite of prepaid plans — postpaid plan subscribers pay the service fees after the service has been rendered.

According to statistics offered by Roy Morgan, 26.8% of Australia’s current postpaid users are on SIM Only plans with mobile devices they brought outright. This value is up 5.8% than it was two years ago.

To add a bit more context to these stats, mobile phone usage within the last two years only went up by 2.1%.

BYO SIM Only plans are becoming the norm for Australians.

BYO SIM Only plans are becoming the norm for Australians. Source

No phone leasing

A phone lease plan allows subscribers on a telco’s network rent selected mobile devices for a contractual period of time. These contracts are often undertaken for lengthy periods of time — normally between 12 to 36 months. On receiving the device, the subscriber is expected to pay a stipulated amount of money to the telco every month as a means of ‘paying off’ the device. At the end of the lease period, the device is returned to the telco it was acquired from.

Prior to this time, two of Australia’s ‘Big Three’ telecommunication brands  — Optus and Telstra — allowed its subscribers lease mobile devices from the network. Now, both telcos have scrapped the service from their line ups permanently. This is great news, as only 6% of Aussies actually understand how phone leasing plans work.

Telstra scrapped its classic handset lease plans on the 25th of June, 2019 following a public announcement on its various platforms.

Optus removed its options for leasing handsets on the 22nd of July, 2019, roughly a month after Telstra. The announcement to this effect was made via Optus’ online forum Yes Crowd.

No lock-in contracts

With a ‘No Lock-In Contract’, the telco does not hold the subscriber in stiffly in regards to its products and services. Here, the subscriber is at liberty to switch between products and services depending on their needs.

Nowadays, many of Australia’s major telcos are ditching lock-in contracts for ‘No lock-in’ contracts as this affords their subscribers more flexibility and ease.

Vodafone became the first telco to rid itself of lock in contracts in August 2017. Eventually, Telstra followed suit in 2019, following a massive overhaul on the structure of its phone plans and electronic products.

Prepaid SIM plans and SIM only plans are excellent examples of ‘no lock-in’ contracts. However, some prepaid and SIM only plans can be ‘lock-in’. To be sure, check the fine print before committing to a telco’s plans.

Final words: Finding a plan that suits me

Trends are a neat way of knowing what is obtainable in any mobile market. By taking a close look at phone trends, one is at liberty to tweak any aspect of their current phone plans based on the influences of these trends. In the end, the choice is yours as things that may seem trendy today may not be in vogue tomorrow.


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.