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


$ 40.00

/month Visit Site
Value
Unlimited calls & text to standard national numbers
Data
Up to 12GB (5GB anytime + 1GB every weekend)
Contract
28 days
Includes
Bonus 3GB when you purchase a $40 SIM and activate before 3 August 2017
Network
4G on the Telstra Mobile Network

$ 10.00

/month Visit Site
Value
Unlimited calls & text to standard national numbers
Data
1GB anytime
Contract
7 days
Includes
Half price $10 SIM, now $5. Online only. Offer ends 19 July 2017
Network
4G on the Telstra Mobile Network

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.

How can MVNOs save you money

MVNOs save their customers money by leasing network access ‘in bulk’ from the three, major Australian phone companies. Then they sell it, to customers like you, at a significant discount.

With MVNOs, you can take advantage of lower rates, and SIMs that are contract-free.  They almost always offer better deals than the major phone companies. They don’t have the same marketing spends to pass on in the costs they charge you. They don’t spend nearly as much on advertising their brand as the others. By keeping their business models simple, they reduce the support costs and pass the savings on to you. They also need to charge less because they’re not as well known as their multinational competitors.

By keeping their business models simple, MVNOs reduce the support costs and pass the savings on to you in their SIM Only plans.

It’s important to realize that the network coverage component of the ‘product’ the MVNOs sell is very often exactly the same thing being sold by Optus or Vodafone. The coverage you’ll get from an Optus MVNO is exactly the same as the coverage you’ll get from Optus itself. There are a few exceptions and ‘gotchas’ to think about. We’ve covered those in detail, below.

Optus Network or MVNO Comparison

 

Myths about MVNOs: Prioritization

Some shoppers suspect that MVNOs are getting low quality network bandwidth. For example, minutes that aren’t used by carriers during peak activity. That’s just not true.  In many ways, network access is like electricity. It’s a utility which is the same whomever or whichever company you buy it from. You will not get a lower priority on the network if you go with an MVNO.

Why are MVNO deals cheaper?

The MVNOs marketplace is highly competitive. The competition is focused where you want it. MVNOs have an agreed charter with the major phone companies. Each MVNO is set up to focus on servicing ( selling to ) a particular segment.

A segment is just a group of users. Here are a couple of our favorite MVNOs and the segments they are designed to address.

 

Australia’s best Phone Plans :

Need great value on the Telstra Mobile Network + 4G ?

boost mobile logo

Boost’s Plan range

Boost’s prepaid offer is exceptionally strong in comparison to other Australian plans. It provides highly sought after access to Telstra’s Mobile Network, and now Boost is faster on 4G data!

  • $2 Prepaid SIM = 4G on the Telstra Mobile Network
  • $10 = Unlimited talk time and SMS + up to 1 GB of 4G data. Up to 7 day expiry or next recharge
  • $30 = Unlimited talk time and SMS + up to 7 GB of 4G data.
    7.0GB = 3GB + 1GB each weekend
  • $40 = Unlimited talk time and SMS + up to 9 GB of 4G data.
    9.0GB = 5GB + 1GB each weekend
  • $50 = Unlimited talk time and SMS. Up to 11 GB of 4G data.
    Unlimited International calls to 10 countries.
    11GB = 7GB + 1GB each weekend

Note: All plans : Data for use in Australia. Talk time to Australian numbers when you’re in Australia. Bonus weekend data for use between 9PM Friday night ( AEST ) and 11.59 Sunday night ( AEST. )

 

Why consider Boost ?

  • Boost use The Telstra Mobile Network : Now faster on 4G!
    Boost Mobile Australia use the Telstra Mobile Network – Now with 4G ! With Boost, you’ll get 4G in every major city in Australia, most of their surrounding suburbs, every airport for a big city and 600 towns nationwide.
  • Range of plans: Always Unltd SMS, 150 minutes or Unlimited Voice, heaps of data options :
    From $10, $30, $40 and $50 per recharge, you’ll choose between 150 minutes / unlimited calls and SMS to Australian numbers and a variety of data options.
  • Now they have an unlimited International Calls Option:
    Now you can even call unlimited international numbers in 10 countries on their $50 recharge.

Boost provide huge data allocations with bonus data provided between 9PM Friday night and midnight Sunday (AEST). The weekends are when people are out and about – away from their office or home.

Read our full review of Boost Mobile.

Just getting started with Boost ? Then you need a $2 Starter. Buy today and add the plan when you’re ready.

CHECK $2 Boost SIM

Best plan on the Vodafone network at $30 + above ?

Lebara use the Vodafone’s 3G + 4G network

Winner :  Lebara $29.90 National Unlimited

If you’re after an unlimited plan with incredible included value or you make calls overseas, in our view, you need look no further than Lebara. Lebara use the much improved Vodafone 3G + 4G network which covers more than 96% of Australians. In recent ( mid 2016 ) tests, the Vodafone network matched Telstra’s for 4G coverage.

Lebara 'National Plan' Unlimited $29.90 ( with 5GB of data )

This is the lowest price on our site for a plan which has unlimited Australian voice calls and SMS, anywhere in Australia. It’ll give you :

  • Big Data on the Vodafone 3G + 4G network :
    5GB should be plenty for even the most ravenous data eaters. This data inclusion has just been increased and now represents the biggest data bundle you’ll find on a plan of this sort.
  • Unlimited voice calls to Australian numbers :
    Your plan has unlimited included calls to Australian mobile and landline phone numbers on the Vodafone 4G network plus up to 150 international minutes included.
  • Unlimited SMS :
    Unlimited National texts. Nice and simple. You can send as many text messages each month to as many Australian phone numbers as you’d like to with no additional charge.
  • Lebara use the Vodafone 3G + 4G network :
    Remember, Lebara use the Vodafone 4G network. Vodafone’s network has improved dramatically since it’s lows of 2010. In major Australian cities, Vodafone’s network is as strong as Telstra’s or Optus’.
Deal icon

Get Lebara Mini Mega Plan $24.90 now with 1.5GB data included!

10c/ min for national calls and 10c/ SMS for national/international SMS

 

Best International Unlimited Voice & SMS + Huge Data?

Lebara-new-logo

Winner : Lebara 'Unlimited National and International Calls' $49.90 ( with 10GB of data )

Lebara’s cheaper international call rates cover all the major destinations including : UK, USA, Greece, China, Canada, Germany, Denmark, France, South Korea and Switzerland.

  • Best value for overseas calls :
    If you need to make calls overseas, Money Magazine awarded this plan the best value plan for that in Australia.
  • 60 international call destinations :
    Unlimited voice and SMS to 60 destinations including India, China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Bangladesh, UK, France, Greece, Italy, Germany. See the full list.
  • Unlimited National Voice and SMS :
    Call who you like when you like and you can text them too. All day every day. These are genuinely unlimited allowances for calls and SMS to other Australian numbers from your mobile.
  • Huge 4G Data :
    10 GB of 4G data (5GB + 5GB bonus ends 30/04/17) on the Vodafone network. on Again, you can add more mid month if you need to.

Or you can read our full Lebara Review.

Deal icon

Get Unlimited Plan Starter Pack for only $49.90 now with 10GB data included!

Unlimited calls to 60 country and Unlimited National Standard Talk,Text and MMS plus 10GB Data (5GB + 5GB bonus ends 30/04/17).

 

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.

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.

 

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.