Wha are the cheapest plans for less than $30 ?
The best value plan comes down entirely to what you need it for.
There are, however, a couple of plans we’ll recommend to you straight off the bat.
- OVO Mobile $9.95 :
Gives you $500 of calls, 1GB of 3G/4G data on the Optus network and even includes parental control software in case you provide this to your child as a ‘pocket money’ plan. OVO Mobile are our best of the best this year. Their plans are an incredible blend of value and inclusions.
- Unlimited voice + 2GB of data :
This price you pay for this combination has fallen dramatically int he last 12 months. 2GB is about average usage at the moment. If you want unlimited calls and SMS, you can get it with Yomojo on the Optus 3G and 4G network cheaper than you’ll get it anywhere else. It’s incredible value and a plan we recommend often.
Which plans under $30 have the most data ?
We would suggest a range of options, depending on your network preference. Each of these providers resells the network of one of the major phone companies.
- Yomojo offer the best value when it comes to data and you’re looking for a cheap plan. Yomojo use the Optus 3G and 4G network.
- Lebara is a great alternative on the Vodafone network and also offer both 3G and 4G speeds.
- Boost Mobile have great pricing including extra allowances on the weekends. Boost use the Telstra Mobile Network.
Significant data allocations are hard to come by under $30. You can check out out data only plans if you’re after JUST data. And, whoever you choose for your SIM Only plan, you should be able to add more data later in the month with a bold on.
What won’t I get if I take a plan under $30 ?
You will be surprised the extras that you’ll get these days in a cheap phone plan.
- The same coverage:
- Included streamed video entertainment options: OVO Mobile are unique in offering streamed audio which is zero rated, in their prepaid plans under $30. You can read more about it in our full review but if you’re a V8 Supercars fan or you like gymnastics, then we would suggest to you that these plans are worth a look.
- Included streamed audio entertainment :
Optus offer streamed audio on many of their prepaid plans including their $2 Days plan and $30 My Freedom Plus plan. This can save users a great deal of data if, for example, they have an existing Spotfiy account and use it a lot.
- Parental lock :
OVO Mobile’s entry level plan includes parental lock software
The truth is, these days, any phone plan should be cheap. If people are paying more than $30 a month, in our view, they’re wasting money.
Do you recommend any cheap prepaid plans under $30 ?
Most Australian prepaid plans have entry level price points of less than $30 per month. We do recommend them – often in fact. Generally, if you’re buying from a tier 1 telco – that’s Vodafone, Optus and Telstra, and spending $30, you’ll get more for your money on prepaid.
We’ve written in some details what the benefits and compromises and have a table which tells you what the key differences are.
What is a PAYG plan ?
A PAYG plan is a Pay As You Go plan. Usually, with either Prepaid or Postpaid plans, you’ll commit to a value in advance.
With Prepaid, to get you going, you’ll buy a SIM, pick a plan and add a recharge value. For example, you choose Lebara, decide on their ‘Unlimited National’ plan and recharge with a $29.90 value. Then you can make calls using the features of the prepaid plan.
On postpaid plans, you’ll take a SIM Only plan for, say $30 per month, hand over some payment details like a bank account or a credit card and they’ll charge you automatically for the $30 you’ve decided on and any additional services you’ve used, every month.
For PAYG, you choose the plan and get charged according to how much you use. For example, you have a SIM in your phone from Amaysim. It has PAYG features. One of those PAYG features is that you can make calls with no flagfalls for 12c per minute. During the month, you make one call a day ( 30 days ) of a standard 2 minute duration. At the end of the month, you’ll pay 12c x 2 minutes per day = 24 cents x 30 days = About $7 in fees.
The difference is that you don’t know in advance how much you will be paying.
As usual, we have more analysis and details on these plans in our PAYG plans explained article.
What is a network reseller ? ( Like Boost, Lebara or Cmobile ? )
Network resellers just don’t own the network. They buy a large quantity of minutes and resell them to you. They tend to be no frills operators. You can find out more in our What is an MVNO article.
We’ve done the research for you. The plans on this page are the cheapest in Australia. They all cost less than $30 per month.
- Lebara, OVO and Kogan offer best value <$30
- Use resellers of Telstra's, Optus' & Vodafone's networks
- So much cheaper than getting a contract and a new phone
- An increasing number of 4G plans are under $30
- Cheaper plans tend not to have entertainment
- Will not suit high end data users
Cheap phone plans have never been more accessible than they are now
We say a phone plan is cheap if it costs under $30 per month. There are cheap mobile plan options, however, on this page which include phone plans which cost as little as $10 per month.
We say a cheap phone plan as one costing less than $30 per month. We want you to have not only 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. We explain everything with images and charts below so you can see the cheapest mobile phone plans visually.
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 include plans with slightly different ‘expiries’. Plans shown on this page may have 28 day expiries, 30 day expiries (prepaid plans) or they may be postpaid which renew on the same day each calendar month.
When shopping for a phone plan in this bracket, we think you should use the following common sense advice to get you going
- Be realistic about what you use:
Consider your actual voice minutes, SMS and data requirements. Here 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.
- 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’re likely used to. If you want the cheapest plans, you might have to step outside your comfort zone when it comes to the phone company brand you decide on.
It’s Getting Tougher To Be A Telco. That’s great for you
Telstra’s profits fell 33% last year ; Optus’ fell by 12%. Vodafone made a loss of $242m. The reason they’re suffering is that the industry is lowering prices to attract people like you to their plans. Even Andy Penn, the CEO of Telstra acknowledges it. Competition from smaller phone companies, he says, with “lower cost bases, and agile, innovative business models“ is driving the change. It is these changes which have led to the cheap phone plans you see on this page.
In July 2017, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a 3.8% fall in prices for telecommunications services in the year to June 2017.
Changes in entry level plan inclusions
These price reductions don’t actually explain the changes to cheap mobile plans that have happened effectively. Even as price fall each year, phone companies are also offering extra data at each price point. Other changes include
- Lower entry point plans :
New plans have been floated, targeted at the youth market with ‘pocket money’ spend levels.
- New phone companies have entered the market :
You have around 50 phone companies to pick from Moose Mobile and Belong Mobile have both added innovative features and better value to the mix, particularly when it comes to data.
As well as lower entry prices, new phone company options and international calls, coverage has improved for you too with the phone companies spending billions of dollars on their networks.
- Network investments :
The $billion spend levels from Optus and Vodafone have made 4G accessible, at lower prices, to more people, than ever before. Competition has increased data allowances. On a cheap phone plan, you’re likely to get exactly the same network coverage as anyone on a more expensive version.
Below, we point out these changes, suggesting the cheapest mobile phone plans which have the inclusions you need. We also provide guidance on how you can keep your plan cheap after you’ve signed up by avoiding unnecessary data overage and additional charges.
What you won’t get
In some ways, you get what you pay for. There are some services that most cheap phone plans just won’t provide you.
- You’ll probably have to pay extra for International calls :
The cost of international calls in phone plans came down a lot last year. You will 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.
The key to good value plans is trying a smaller phone company (MVNO)
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 : In a recent survey of phone plan users, we asked : Would you consider buying a phone plan from an unknown / lesser known brand if it was cheaper and offered the same service and benefits? Approximately 45% of people would consider buying from a smaller phone company Of that 43%, 24% said they would need a bit of reassurance. Here’s some reassurance :
- Smaller phone companies are good bets for the best mobile phone plans :
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 :
In Australia, you’ve had the facility to move phone companies and keep your phone number for 20 years. 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. That means that you can leave if it doesn’t work out.
- They often have better customer service than the big phone companies :
Let’s face it, you probably don’t actually like the phone company you’re with anyway. 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 OVO Mobile who use the Optus 3G and 4G network, you’ll use the whole, entire Optus network. There’s no prioritization of their traffic over your call when you’re with OVO. You’ll be connected in the same way and get the same data speeds as someone who stood next to you and used the Optus network.
- Telstra resellers do not get the same network :
The one exception to this rule is that Telstra customers do get broader 3G coverage than any other user. Even the phone companies which sell the Telstra network only get a cut down version of it. They often say in our listings that they sell ‘a part of the Telstra 3G / 4G network.’
Obviously, the biggest factor to consider is data
Unlimited voice and SMS inclusions start in phone plans under the $15 spend per month these days. That means the primary thing people are looking for, when they pick cheap mobile plans is data.
The key thing to know, when you’re considering your data requirements is that the average amount of data people are using is increasing each year at a rate of about 70%.
So, how much data do you need ? Well, we asked people that and the answer was remarkably varied. Take a look at this chart.
The mean average data usage is around 6GB per month. The best phone plans in Australia will provide you that data allocation. Unfortunately, if you are a high data usage – let’s say above 6GB per month, you are probably not going to find a plan which gives you what you need. You might like to consider our best phone plans.
If you need to, we show you how to figure out your data requirements.
Consider these things when you compare mobile phone plans
- Your data usage will probably ‘sneak up on you’ :
People find it really hard to anticipate exponential growth in any circumstance including their phone usage. At a 70% growth level, your data rises by 1300% over 5 years.
- You probably want to consider prepaid plans and month to month agreements :
Avoiding contracts with the phone companies means that you can constantly stay on more affordable agreements. As your data usage rises, a prepaid plan, for example, is likely to keep pace with your needs. Phone companies tend to add more data every few months to prepaid and month to month SIM Only plans.
Here’s what will happen if you don’t keep pace with the way your data usage is growing. People who lose track of their data usage exceed their data inclusion and incur a $10 fee per GB for overage.
Keeping your cheap phone plan under $30 per month
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. It’s not at all hard.
- 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 if you want to minimize your bills in an ongoing way. 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. Or, again, you can use the app from your phone company. Here’s why it’s important.
- Be smart about how you use your phone :
There are a number of ways you can work around unnecessary charges. 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’ about the costs of data can minimize the wastage of your plan.
Most people only need cheap mobile plans
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.
Industry trends are your friends when you compare mobile phone plans. Considering a smaller phone company might be new to you but there’s nothing to worry about (see our section above which will reassure you about the ‘risk’ you’ll take by going to one. With a smaller phone company, you’ll get more data for your money. You’ll need to know how to figure out your data usage. and then we advise you take some simple steps to stay on top of your usage, remembering it will increase over time.
An increasing number of people are choosing inexpensive plans and either holding on to their phone longer or buying a new one outright and adding a SIM. The balance of power is constantly shifting in your favor and away from the bigger phone companies. Cheap Chinese phones are available now from high street stores and even supermarkets.
It won’t be long before everyone has this sort of phone plan.
- The ACCC has good advice on how to approach the problem of picking the right phone plan : https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/internet-phone/choosing-a-mobile-plan
- And the ACMA also offer good insight on the critical ideas involved in the process of picking a phone plan which is both cheap and provides for your needs : http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/getting-a-new-mobile