What is the definition of a cheap phone plan?
Any phone plan which costs less than $30 per month is generally regarded as a cheap phone plan. We’ve used that definition across this page.
What are the best phone plans under $30?
Australia has some of the best value phone plans anywhere in the world. If you’re an average user and don’t need truckloads of data, you’ll get everything you need in a plan costing $30 or less.
Our top picks:
- Moose SIM Only: Usually $19 a month, this plan is currently $12 for the first 12 months.
- felix Unlimited Data: A huge data allowance with a 3 month promo for new users.
- Boost Prepaid: Bonus data and no lock-in commitments.
- TPG: If you’re not a big data user, you can get a plan for $10 for the first 6 months.
Disclaimer: Boost is $35 but the generous data allowance makes up for being a tad over $30.
Which plans under $30 have the most data?
You’ll find most plans have great data allowances for under $30. Some of the best value plans come with 50GB or more data allocations per month at this price. Almost certainly (and reassuringly) more than you need.
If you only need data, you might want to consider a dedicated mobile broadband plan. And, whoever you choose for your SIM Only plan, you should be able to add more data later in the month for an extra $10 or so.
Do you recommend any cheap prepaid plans under $30?
Yes. Most Australian prepaid plans have entry level price points of less than $30 per month. We do recommend them – often in fact.
Often MVNOs (the smaller carriers like Boost and Kogan Mobile) have better deals than the big guys like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.
What is a PAYG plan?
A PAYG plan is a Pay As You Go plan.
There are 3 types of phone plan. Prepaid, postpaid and PAYG.
Prepaid plan means you pay for it before you use it, and once you run out of data you either go without until the next recharge date (usually 28 days or a month). You can opt to pay a little extra to get more data.
Postpaid plans are paid after the month is up, based on your data usage and any extra services you used. It’s slightly riskier than prepaid because you don’t know what your bill will be.
A PAYG plan involves you recharging your SIM and using it at your own pace. These plans often have very long expiry dates and are best suited for light phone users.
What features are missing from cheap plans?
Honestly, plans are so good these days you won’t be missing much. Almost all of the Australian based services you’d expect are included in almost all plans.
You can check the Critical Information Statement which comes with your plan to be absolutely certain but generally, all of your Australian calls to mobiles and landlines will be included. There is even a small chance that your plan will include some international minutes.
It’s unlikely you’ll get roaming services on a cheap plan, but you’ve got a fair chance of finding everything else you need in there.
- Small companies are often cheaper than Telstra, Optus & Vodafone
- Great variety of cheap plans with unlimited talk and text
- Most people find they can spend $10 to $20 per month
- Some offers are only for new customers
- Not a good fit for high-end data users
- 4G & 5G speeds may be capped
You can get phone plans as cheap as $10 per month. Some providers might also include 50% discounts for several months if you’re a new customer.
However, the advice we give on this page does not include introductory offers and makes clear where additional charges might catch you out.
Note: When you compare mobile phone plans, you need to consider the number of days they’re active for. We say ‘a month’ here but some plans may have 28 day expiries, 30 day expiries (prepaid plans) or be postpaid plans which renew on the same day each calendar month.
You can use these tips when you’re comparing phone plans:
- Be realistic about what you use:
Consider how much data you realistically use. Try to avoid paying for more data than you use.
- Be prepared to try something new:
We make recommendations on this page around prepaid plans and plans from small phone companies. These sorts of plans tend to offer better value than the big brands you might have felt an affinity for purely because they were the first on the scene.
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Across the board, telcos are adding more data and features to attract people like you to their plans. Even Andy Penn, the CEO of Telstra said “lower cost bases and agile, innovative business models“ is driving the competition. So, we can thank the growth of the industry for giving us cheap plans.
New inclusions for cheap plans
Along with extra data, you’ll also find cheap plans can come with other perks:
- Lower entry points:
New plans have been floated, targeted at the youth market with ‘pocket money’ spend levels.
- New phone companies have entered the market:
Small providers such as Moose Mobile and Belong Mobile have are adding innovative features and better value to the mix, particularly when it comes to data. Keep an eye out for half-price discounts.
Coverage has also improved with the phone companies spending billions of dollars on their networks.
- Network investments:
The enormous investments from big names like Optus and Vodafone have made 4G and 5G accessible to more people at lower prices. On a cheap phone plan, you’re likely to get similar network coverage as anyone on a more expensive version.
Of course, cheap plans can’t include all the extras of the premium plans. Here’s what you might not get:
- You’ll probably have to pay extra for International calls:
The cost of international calls in phone plans has reduced in recent years, but you’ll still struggle to get decent plan inclusions for calls from within Australia to other phones around the world, for under $25.
- No entertainment services:
Content and entertainment in phone plans is an increasingly prevalent inclusion. The plans which offer this sort of inclusion tend to be more expensive than $25 per month.
- No roaming access:
If you’re planning on using your phone overseas, you might not get the same extras with a smaller player than you would with a big telco. Check the fine print before you leave before you turn on roaming.
You may not know it but there are around 50 phone companies in Australia. Smaller phone companies give you what you need – clear, simple plans with lots of data at a low price.
However, people can be nervous about moving to a smaller phone company. A survey conducted by Whatphone showed 45% of people would consider buying from a smaller phone company but 24% of those said they’d need some reassurance.
So, here’s the reassurance: Once you try them, you’ll realize that there was nothing to worry about. These phone companies are regulated in the same way the big phone companies are so you won’t get ripped off.
- You can keep your phone number:
If you want to move to a smaller phone company, you’ll be able to take your phone number with you.
- They mostly sell month to month agreements:
Smaller phone companies tend to offer SIM-Only plans – either prepaid plans or postpaid SIM-Only. These are almost always month to month agreements, which means you can easily switch plans when your expiry date arrives.
- They often have better customer service than the big phone companies:
Most people have had at least one bad customer service experience with one of the big phone companies they’ve signed up to over the years. Independent research shows that smaller phone companies often have better customer service than the big ones.
- They use exactly the same networks:
Any phone company which uses the Optus or Vodafone network uses the same towers and masts as you’d get if you went direct to the big phone company. For example, if you choose Moose Mobile who use the Optus 3G and 4G network, you’ll use the whole, entire Optus network. There’s no prioritisation of their traffic over your call when you’re with Moose. Boost works the same way with Telstra.
- Better online self service:
Smaller phone companies tend to have fewer brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, they tend to invest heavily in their Self Service apps and online portals. As a result, customers often find that they can resolve their service issues themselves without needing a call centre.
- More issues resolved first time:
Again, the smaller product ranges held by smaller phone companies helps with customer service issue resolution. It’s easier to troubleshoot one product than many held in parallel by a customer.
When you get a cheap phone plan, you’re going to want to avoid those extra data charges. Here are the steps we’d recommend.
- Use your phone company’s Self Service App:
Downloading and installing a phone company app is easy and helps you track your data usage, buy any extra services, and turn off auto-renewal.
- Track your usage, especially data:
Both Android and iOS phones now allow you to measure your data usage through their settings. Or, again, you can use the app from your phone company. Here’s why it’s important.
- Use WiFi calling apps like WhatsApp and Skype.
- Use WiFi for data where possible.
- Track your usage, especially data:
It’s a good idea to tune into WiFi wherever you can (safely) and use home WiFi to download any movies you want to watch.
Most people only need cheap mobile plans
A little bit of research and comparison can save you hundreds over a year of phone plan payments. We suggest considering smaller companies, working out your data usage and sticking to a plan that’s close, and keep track of your usage over the month.
Most people can probably find a plan under $30 that suits them.
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