The Cheapest Australian Phone Plans
Cheap phone plans have never been more accessible than they are now
We define a phone plan as cheap if it costs under $30 per month. There are options, however, on this page which cost as little as $10 per month. All the recommendations we make on this page are for Australian phone plans.
It is no exaggeration to say that 2016 was of the most significant years for phone plans in some time. Network investments made by Optus and Vodafone have made 4G accessible to more people, than ever before. Competition between Optus, Vodafone and Telstra, has led to plans including more data than ever before at prices below $30 per month. New plans have been floated, targeted at the youth market with ‘pocket money’ spend levels and including device management software. One phone company has included more data in a cheap phone plan than we’ve ever seen – so far, the inclusion stands at 6GB. Finally, phone plans with International Calls are now increasingly common under the magic $30 mark.
Below, we point out these changes, recommend cheap plans which have the inclusions you need. Importantly, we also explain how you can keep your plan cheap after you’ve signed up by avoiding unnecessary data overage and additional charges.
The best of the best phone plans < $30
|Mobile Phone Company||Voice||Data||Network||Partner Site|
$500 of cap Voice Calls
Optus 3G + 4G Plus Network
$200 of cap Voice Calls
Unlimited Voice and SMS in Australia
Unlimited Voice and SMS in Australia
Optus 3G + 4G Plus Network
How to get a cheap phone plan
First, understand whether you are in a position to benefit from a cheap plan. Then consider the extra services which are available (like streamed data free entertainment) that might influence the plan you pick. Third, select one. Then the real work begins. To keep your phone service cheap you’ll need to manage it using your phone company’s app.
Who uses cheap phone plans ?
Anyone can get a cheap phone plan. However, if you’re in one of these groups, you stand to benefit most from cheap phone plans.
Those who own their own phone will gain the most from these schemes. Do you identify with these groups ?
- People whose 24 month contract has just finished :
The people who benefit most from cheap phone plans are those whose contracts have just finished. If you took a contract out a couple of years ago, which gave you a phone and a plan paid off over 2 years, we suggest you don’t renew it.
- New arrivals to Australia :
International students, long term visitors and people brought to Australia by their work commitments all stand to benefit from cheap phone plans. Most arrive with their own phones and no commitments in Australia. The main benefit new arrivals have is that they are not already influenced to the brands that advertise here. They are simply because they are prepared to try a new brand which offers better value.
- Everyone :
Learn from these other groups. Just because they have a head start or a bigger incentive, doesn’t mean you can’t benefit.
What is a cheap phone plan ?
We define a cheap phone plan as one costing less than $30 per month. We use this $30 benchmark because phone plans from Optus, Vodafone or Telstra, whether they’re prepaid or postpaid, start at the $30 / month mark. By definition, the plans we talk about on this page are far more likely to come from smaller phone companies – because they offer value in plans that cost under $30.
(Note : We say ‘a month’ here but include plans with slightly different ‘expiries’. Plans shown on this page may have 28 day expiries, 30 day expiries or be postpaid which renew on the same day each calendar month. )
When shopping for a phone plan in this bracket, we recommend the following to get you going :
- Be realistic about what you use :
Voice minutes, SMS and data : There is no escaping your responsibility in being clear on the ways you use your phone. You need to know roughly your monthly data usage, roughly how many calls you make a month and whether international calls are something that is important to you. You can fudge around these facts and buy bigger plans if you’d like to. However, if you do that, you won’t be getting the cheapest possible plan – which is the goal we’ve set.
- Be prepared to try something new :
We make recommendations on this page around prepaid plans and plans from small phone companies which tend to offer better value than the big brands you’re likely used to. If you want the cheapest plans, you might have to step outside your comfort zone when it comes to brand decisions.
- Be prepared to manage your service :
Keeping track of your usage during the month is no longer an onerous pursuit. Just use the Self Service app from your phone company. They are ubiquitous, easy to use, free and incredibly effective. Minimizing your bill, however, means that this will have to become part of your routine in the same way that checking your bank’s app is. We explain how you can do this, below.
- Choose a plan which is reliably cheap in an ongoing way :
Our commitment to the recommendations that we make on cheap phone plans is that they can be relied upon to give you not just a cheap first month but a reliably low bill. The advice we give on this page does not include introductory offers and makes clear where additional charges might catch you out.
If that all sounds like boot camp, don’t worry. It’s not ! You might well get far more for your money than you think you will. Some options available in the cheapest phone plans will surprise you. They include….
Even in a cheap phone plan ? The incredible extras you’ll get
Before we start, two things are worth bearing in mind as you read through these.
- What we show you is real :
All the inclusions we are talking about here are free of charge in the core phone plan. These are not ‘bolt ons’ which have to be paid for separately.
- There may be some new terminology :
Some relate to features which are so new ( streamed video entertainment, for example ) that we have linked to articles which have more information on those subjects.
As we said in the intro, 2016 saw more change than most years when it comes to phone plan inclusions, even at the cheapest end of the market.
- Family Zone :
OVO Mobile launched a plan least year which sits as one of our cheapest. It includes free access to ‘Family Zone’ software. The plan is designed to be cheap enough to give to your child as a pocket money plan and comes with basic entitlements.
- Streamed Video Entertainment :
OVO Mobile also offer streamed video entertainment as part of all of their plans. The details are covered in our OVO Mobile review but, if you’re a fan of V8 Supercars, or a petrol head generally, we suggest you might like to take a look.
- Unlimited minutes :
Unlimited minutes are now available on plans which cost $16.90 and above. Check out our Kogan Mobile ( the provider which offers this plan ) or see the table above for more details.
- Pretty incredible data inclusions :
Yomojo have the cheapest plans with the biggest data inclusions we’ve seen. Average data usage is around 2GB per month these days and you’ll get that, with unlimited calls for $20 per month.
- Streamed Audio :
Optus now offers free streamed audio in many of it’s prepaid plans which start at our $30 cut off point. There are rumors in the industry that other telco providers may soon follow suit on this valuable plan addition.
- Assurances that if the plan gets cheaper, you’ll know about it :
Finally, OVO Mobile’s plans have another unique feature. If they drop their pricing, they pass it on to you there and then, without you having to do anything to get the benefit.
Reading this, you might be surprised. Did you think you’d get those features in phone plans under $30 ?
Keeping your cheap phone plan under $30 per month
Now you’ve got a cheap phone plan, you’re going to want to keep it cheap. There’s no point in buying a low priced plan and getting hit with extras which cost you more than you were expecting, further down the line. Here are the steps we’d recommend.
- Use your phone company’s Self Service App :
Downloading and installing a phone company app could not be simpler. It’s the first and most important thing we would recommend you do. Apps are all free from the Google Play or iTunes store and they all do very much the same thing. You can track your usage and buy extra services cheap ( like more data if you need it ) rather than paying exorbitant out of bundle rates.
- Track your usage – especially data :
Both Android and iOS phones now allow you to measure your data usage through their settings. This is a good guide to your data usage, too. Bear in mind though. The number displayed in your data settings usage section is what the phone thinks it’s used. In some cases, that will differ from what the phone company thinks you’ve used. Treat these are useful indicators – but only as indicative.
- Avoid overage especially data :
Any overage will cost you. Data tends to cost the lot. There’s no point worrying about it, just make sure you keep an eye on your data allocation. Always remember, the video you watch is 90% of all your data consumption so keep it low if you can.
- Use your phone smartly :
There are a number of inexpensive ways you can work around being charged by your phone company for their services and keep your bill down. Install, update your contacts and get as much use as you can out of WiFi calling apps. Viber, Skype over WiFi won’t cost you a penny when your monthly bill arrives.
- Keep it cheap when you can – with WiFi for data where possible :
Make the most of free data over WiFi at home. Tune in to WiFi when you’re out and about. Think about whether you really need to watch that cat video using your cellular connection. Some simple ‘mindfulness’ can minimize the wastage of your plan.
- Be prepared to swap plans :
None of the plans we recommend on this page oblige you to stay with your current provider for more than 30 days. You can change whenever you want to. Be ready to move if you see a better deal, especially if it includes an introductory offer.
- The trend is your friend – change plans :
Finally, in a related subject, we explore what data deflation is. By being on a month to month plan, you are opening yourself to plan improvements of the sort we’ve outlined above, over the course of time.
The value in these phone plans is genuinely amazing
It’s a general rule, when it comes to products, that the lazier you are, the more you’ll pay : Think mortgage, car insurance and phone plan. A willingness to undertake a small amount of research in to the ways phone plans have changed over the last 12 months delivers some incredible results.
Sustaining the low cost of these plans will involve closer monitoring than the alternative : Buying a plan with far more of everything than you need and ignoring it. But with apps now freely available from big and small phone companies, that’s hardly arduous.
With a GB of data, a value add of Family Zone, unlimited SMS and some voice minutes, we think OVO Mobile take the deal for the cheapest phone plan on the market.. When you see the plans available here from Kogan Mobile, Lebara Mobile OVO Mobile, Boost Mobile and Yomojo, a couple of things become clear. First, you see that the $30 cut off point for ‘cheap’ is really the maximum you should be paying unless you have some extreme data needs. Second, you come to the realization that these are not bargain basement phone plans. They include some serious value adds. No wonder the majority of people now take a phone and add a cheap SIM themselves.