What is an MVNO and how will it help me save money?

SIM Only deals – Shop around & save $ hundreds.

Phones are cool but they’re not a part of life that most Australians think about much. We’ve got too much else to worry about. Over time, we’ve been taught by phone companies that the most up to date smart mobile phones are unaffordable. Because of the price and the fact we’ve got too much else to do, we’ve fallen in to a trap. We’ve started  thinking that we need to sign a 24 month contract to get an up to date device.

The truth is we can do better than contracts. In fact if you shop around and get the best SIM Only deal, plus buy the phone yourself outright, the simple fact is that you’ll save hundreds of dollars.

But you’ve got to look around. We have some suggestions here of some of the best value SIM Only plans. See below for  some great SIM Only deals.

Recommended Plans

Who has the best SIM Only deals?

The answer is MVNOs. Technically, an MVNO is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator. In essence, MVNOs are wireless companies that don’t own their own network. These typically small brands act as an alternative to the major phone companies like Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.

Without doubt, the people with the best SIM Only deals are MVNOs. To you, MVNOs are resellers of the major phone company networks. If you shop around with them for a deal that suits you, you can save a fortune.

Better yet, MVNOs don’t tie you in to contracts

When you sign a contract, consider that it gives the phone companies legal control over you. If you fail to make a payment, it’ll result in penalties. And if your deficit is large enough, and you don’t pay, your service will be cut off. Eventually you’ll be referred to a collection agency that will harass you.

With MVNOs, it’s the other end of the scale. If you take out a SIM Only agreement with an MVNO, you will not be committed beyond the money you have spent with them or the month you’re in. If you don’t like the way they’ve treated you, if their pricing changes and it’s not as advantageous any more or if you see a better deal elsewhere, you can quickly change to take advantage of it.


The increasing popularity of MVNOs over traditional cell service carries in the last couple of years can be accounted for by some of items listed below:

  • Cost – MVNOs offer network plans which are more cost effective than traditional cell phone plans. Taking into consideration the financial differences of its consumers, MVNOs are able to create the best possible services to cater for a range of financial capabilities. They let you get much more for less!
  • Variety – There are a multitude of MVNO plans to be chosen from at any given point in time. These plans are tailored to suit the different needs of a wide pool of consumers based on a number of factors inherently balancing cost and services provided. The ball is in your court! (You can take a look at some available plans here.
  • Plan Flexibility – MVNOs allow users remain flexible with their cell service plans. Plans are renewable by the month so should a consumer find they are dissatisfied with their current plan, on its expiry, they can opt for a new, more fitting one. These plans do not pan out for lengthy periods of time as traditional cell plans usually would.
  • Accessibility – MVNOs are extremely accessible! You do not need to go to a physical store to access their cell services because they do not have these stores. They are ‘virtual’ network providers. You can access MVNO plans from the comfort of your home or anywhere with sim cards being delivered upon payment between 1-3 business days.
  • No Contract – Yup! That’s right! MVNOs do not require users to sign binding contracts for up to two years – as with most prominent telecommunication brands – to access their services.
  • No Credit Check – Unlike traditional cell providers, getting an MVNO sim will not require a credit check from the service provider.
Amaysim, An MVNO Service Provider packaged sim.

An MVNO Sim. Source


As with everything in the world, MVNOs come with certain disadvantages. Though the advantages vast outweigh the disadvantages, it is important to keep these in mind when opting to subscribe to an MVNO service.

  • Restriction – Due to the fact that MVNOs operate under lease with a larger brands, their consumers do not always have access to the full range of offers afforded by the network.
  • Physical Services – MVNOs function virtually; they have no physical stores or outlets consumers can visit in the event of a service problem. While this is not usually a hindrance to services, it may prove a problem when clients are not getting satisfactory service through customer care centres.
  • Prioritization – Though MVNOs are linked to larger cell carriers, when the network is saturated – in cases such as natural disasters or emergencies – the primary consumers would take priority over the MVNO subscribers.

The advantages of MVNOs are set to keep them a consumer favourite in the Australian mobile market. Their ability to remain affordable while offering quality services to the average phone user will continually place them at the forefront of service provision. Truly, less is more.

Starting to see change in Australia

The appetite for low-cost mobile plans is driving the Australian telco industry into unprecedented competitive levels with MVNOs leading the charge. The half year to June 2017 performance, saw the mobile services market grow by a whopping 444,000 new Services in Operation (SIOs). Out of this, MVNOs accounted for 200,000. Collectively, this performance beats what Vodafone, Telstra, and Optus achieved at individual levels.

MVNOs Showing Huge Growth

The Top Performing MVNOs

The Australian Mobile Services Market Study for financial year 2017 puts the total mobile services connections at 33.7 million. ALDImobile, Kogan Mobile, and Amaysim were ranked the top performing MVNOs. This metric was calculated based on the MVNOs net additions in the first half of the year. On the other hand, Amaysim, TPG, ALDImobile, and the Vocus Group made the cut as the top 4 MVNOs in Australia by market share in that order.

The Demand for Low Cost Plans

The average Australian consumer values pricing more than network performance in choosing a mobile services provider. Back in 2012, network performance was cited as the most crucial factor, but ever since, it has been overtaken by price. Based on the survey, if a subscriber is to change mobile providers, the competitor must have better price and promotions. The Australian mobile services market is in the pre-5G period and competition has shifted towards pricing of mobile plans.

The Demand for Low Cost Plans

The rise of non-contract handset plans was also noted. As a matter of fact, the research revealed that more than 50% of the handset plans are off contract. This is a trend that has been steady for quite a while now. As the research indicates, fewer of the off-contract plans, about 15% of them, have gone back to contract plans within the past 5 years.

Conclusion: Buy your phone outright and get a SIM Only deal from an MVNO

MVNOs function as the middlemen for wireless spectrum. They buy in bulk and then sell to customers for a lot less than bigger phone companies that you already don’t like.

The news is in and the results are clear. It makes heaps more sense to buy your phone outright and get a SIM Only deal.