Phone Plans With </br>International Calls Included

Phone Plans With
International Calls Included

  • The best plans with included international minutes
  • Call from Australia to overseas locations at affordable prices
  • We've done the maths for you in the article below
We independently review and compile Aussie phone plans so you can easily compare them in one place, for free.



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Frequently Asked Questions

What International Call inclusions do Optus, Vodafone and Telstra have in their plans?

Select Vodafone Plus, SIM Only Plus, Business Flex plans have generous international call time to various countries. The number of minutes on offer depends on which Vodafone Plan you select. Vodafone also offers International minutes to prepaid users on select Prepaid Plus and Combo Plus plans.

Optus took some time to catch on to the value of international call time and tie them into an overall plan that included data and local calls, but it’s there now. Most of the postpaid and prepaid plans include unlimited international calls. These calls can be to any one or more of 32 selected countries.

Even if you choose the cheapest Optus prepaid plan, you can add international minutes for as low as $1.

Telstra also has various options for international callers, which might suit you if you are happy with the rest of your Telstra plan or, perhaps, because you are getting better coverage with Telstra where you are. The wide variety of their plans, both postpaid and prepaid, offer international calls and texts. There are International add-ons for Telstra’s cheaper plans, which cost $10 to $30 depending on exactly which country you want to call.

How do International Calls work with Boost Mobile?

Boost Mobile offer great value to consumers as they operate on the same Telstra 4G/5G network as Telstra. Regardless of where you live in Australia and at what time of the day you need to make your international calls, look no further than Boost Mobile.

Boost Mobile currently only includes International calls on all plans that cost $30 or more. Subscribers get unlimited calls and texts to 20 select countries and some International minutes (depending on the plan) to 30 countries.

How do Vodafone, Optus, and Telstra’s International Call rates compare?

The price of international calls is falling regularly. You can now get them in many phone plans starting from as little as $30 a month from Vodafone and Optus. Telstra’s plans cost more.

Should I consider smaller phone company plans if I want to make International Calls?

But it’s not just the big phone companies that sell plans with International Calls. Many more phone companies are offering deals on international calls these days. Residents and visitors to Australia who have friends and family overseas that they want to keep in contact with appreciate this rate decline. All the leading telcos and MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) have their own international call time and text deals. Still, it is worth looking carefully at each provider to see what plan suits you best. It used to be the case that consumers had two separate plans with two different providers, but that isn’t necessary today as it’s relatively easy choosing an all-in-one plan with sufficient data, Australia-wide call and text time, and international minutes.

Do Amaysim sell plans with included International Minutes?

Recently Amaysim has gone from strength to strength and is becoming one of the most preferred MVNOs operating in Australia. Previously Amaysim was a poor choice if you needed to make frequent overseas calls, but they have listened to their customers and now offer some excellent deals.

Amaysim is a local Australian MVNO with affordable pricing. Their SIM-only Unlimited plans provide some of the best national calling, texting, and generous mobile data allowances you can find.

Amaysim Unlimited SIM-only plans that cost $30.00 or more include unlimited international calling and text messaging.

What's good

  • Growing range of plans available with included international
  • Consider Amaysim and Belong for medium use
  • Stay in touch with friends and family overseas

What's bad

  • International usage can be expensive unless you think in advance
  • Requires some maths to work out the right plan

The Best Australian Phone Plans For International Calls

International calls are the hardest bit to understand

Plans with International call facilities appeal to people who have friends and family overseas. Most leading telcos and MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators – a.k.a. Network Resellers) have their own International call time and text deals.

On the plus side, these days, it’s relatively easy to choose an all-in-one plan with sufficient Australian data, domestic calls / SMS, and decent International rates. National calls and SMS are essentially free – or at least almost always included as an unlimited allowance now. Phone plans with International calls INCLUDED are now as cheap as $30 per month. This threshold is falling yearly – not too long ago, $40 was the minimum charge for a plan with any substantial International call inclusions.

On the other hand, establishing whether you’re getting the best possible rate can involve a lot of thought and spreadsheet time. We help you avoid that with the information on this page.

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A Quick Summary Of Plans With International Calls Included

We’ve got the detail on the process we worked through to provide you with this summary below.

If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick overview.

It doesn’t take much International calling to get to the point that a dedicated plan makes sense.

If you want a plan with more than 2 hours of International calls per month, you really should be considering a dedicated International phone plan provider.

How we can help you navigate International plans

What we’ve done in this article is crunch the numbers on International call rates from the major Australian phone companies. We’ve also considered some of the major calling destinations which will appeal to Australians.

To help you decide which International plan is right for you, we’ve shown the calculations we used to determine your alternatives’ cost. With these results, we provide some (hopefully helpful) rules of thumb, which will help you feel better about the plan you pick.

Which International destinations do Australians call most often?

The ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) has some helpful information on the places most of us called home before we arrived. (See graphic below.)

The fact that such a high proportion of Australians were either born overseas or had family in other countries is part of what makes this country so special and makes plans with International calls appealing.

Navigate Phone Plans with International Calls

What happens if the country you want is not on the list?

There are, of course, more countries in the world than we’ve shown. The majority of Australian International call requirements will be covered by the above. The rule of thumb we suggest below is almost certainly still valid for everyone, whichever country you intend to call.

The key factors that will determine the best plan with international calls are:

  • Postpaid or Prepaid:
    Whichever phone plan you pick, whether it’s a Prepaid or a Postpaid SIM Only plan, you’ll now be able to find a phone plan from the same provider, which includes International calls. As you might expect, even prepaid and postpaid plans from the same phone company often have different per-minute and per-SMS International rates on their prepaid and postpaid SIM Only plans. We show those below.
  • Default / ‘Out Of Bundle’ fees for International Calls:
    Any plan that does not include International minutes will have International call rates associated with it. We will show you what they are below. Finding them on the websites of the phone companies you’ll research can be challenging. Rates for International calls are typically high when they are ‘out of bundle’ and add up when you make longer calls. However, if you’re calling less than an hour a month overseas, using these ‘out of bundle’ rates may be your best option. More detail on this below.
  • Plan with included International Minutes:
    If you make more than an hour of International calls per month, you will want to consider plans which have some International minutes ‘baked in’ or buying an International ‘add on / bolt on’ from your existing provider. These plans are hard to miss. If International calling is a target for the phone company, you will see their International inclusions demonstrated prominently in the listings we show on this page above.
  • ‘Add ons’ / ‘ Bolt Ons’ / ‘Extras Credit’:
    Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone all offer International ‘Add Ons’ (also known by other names including ‘Bolt Ons’ and ‘Extras Credit’ for some prepaid plans.) If you are happy with your phone company, would rather not change, and make one or two hours worth of calls a month, these plan ‘extras’ are worth considering. They’ll reduce your overall bill. They typically provide an ‘extra’ bundle of International minutes – sometimes unlimited International minutes to the most commonly called overseas destinations. Costs vary but typically range between $5 and $10 per month. We outline your options below. Bolt-ons of this sort can be added through the Self Service portal of your telco, using the self-service app or contacting their call center.
  • Unlimited International Calls:
    Given the complexity involved in comparing these plans, finding a plan with Unlimited International calls is an attractive proposition. Once you’ve established that your target international calling destination is on the list of countries included in this sort of plan, the comparison is over, and you can call as much as you’d like. We recommend this sort of plan to anyone making more than 2 hours of International calls per month.

Vodafone, Optus and Telstra’s Approach To International Calls

Most Australians are with one of the big phone companies – Optus, Telstra, or Vodafone. Let’s start by considering what they offer regarding International Calls in their headline plans.

Vodafone’s International Rates

Vodafone is the best of the three big telcos for calling overseas:

Vodafone’s large range of phone plans was adopted in mid-2017 to showcase their key strategic advantage in the Australian telco market. Vodafone is part of one of the world’s biggest phone companies with operations in more than 35 countries, and now that they have merged with TPG Telecom, they are even bigger in Australia. Their plans’ International rates (prepaid and postpaid) use this facility. Simply put, when they undertake an International call, Vodafone companies complete the call with each other and charge less than the rates Optus and Telstra can secure.

Vodafone’s Global Plans are a subset of their SIM Only postpaid range. You can get unlimited International minutes to Zone 1 countries on select plans in their Infinite, Plus, SIM Only Plus, and Business Flex Plans lineups. Vodafone prepaid plans have access to International minutes on their Prepaid Plus and Combo Plus plans.

Select Vodafone plans also include up to 300 International minutes for Zone 2 countries and Zone 1 International inclusions. They also have various ‘add-ons’ for their postpaid plan range. Your spend will depend on where and how long you’re calling. Generally, you’ll get about 4 hours for a $5 bolt-on.

Vodafone’s prepaid plans with International minutes:

All Vodafone prepaid ‘Talk Combo’  caps include ‘My Credit.’ Typical International call rates on these plans are between $3 per minute and $6 per minute (those rates are very high). The International Rates on their other prepaid plans are even higher. But remember, all Vodafone prepaid plans include unlimited International calls for at least a few recharges before reverting to their original inclusions.

Vodafone also offers an International Add-on for their prepaid range, although it doesn’t offer quite the same value as you’ll get for the same spend on International calls on their postpaid range. $5 will get you 30 minutes of talk time (28 days), $7 will get you 60 minutes (7 days), and $15 will get you 2 hours (28 days) to the top 50 overseas destinations with a prepaid expiry of 28 days.

Optus’ International Calls Rates

Optus SIM Only plans and contracts mostly have included International Minutes:

Optus took some time to catch on to the value of international call time and tying them into an overall plan that included data and local calls, but they’ve got there now. Optus’ postpaid plans (called My Plan Plus) with a Minimum Monthly Spend of $59 month to month have unlimited minutes of international calls. These calls can be to any one or more of 35 selected countries. Their $49 plan, however, does not include International calls and texts.

With Optus, users can add an international talk pack for $10, which includes unlimited International talk and text to Group 1 destinations or 200 minutes and unlimited texts to Group 2 destinations – depending on the pack you choose. They also offer a $20 International pack that includes 200 International minutes and unlimited texts to Group 3 destinations.

Optus prepaid plans with included International Minutes:

Optus’ Prepaid Plan range is broad – and they all offer an International inclusion solution. All Optus Flex 4G, 5G, and Optus Epic 4G plans costing $30 or more include unlimited International calls to select countries. Their smallest plans which are 7-day and 1-day plans offer International minutes as an option, which costs $1 and $0.50 respectively.

Optus will also allow you to buy ‘Extras Credit’ in various denominations. The rates are still high, for International calls, even when you do it this way, as you can see from the tables, below.

Telstra’s International Call Rates

Telstra’s SIM Only plans with International Calls:

Telstra offers unlimited International SMS and some International minutes on all three of their Upfront plans. Telstra also has bolt-ons ranging from $10 to $30 for Unlimited International calls to select countries.

Telstra’s prepaid plans with International calls:

All of Telstra’s prepaid plans that cost $30 or more include some International minutes. And like the others, Telstra has 2 prepaid bolt-ons for International inclusions – International ‘Talk Pack’, which costs $10 and $20 with 28-day expiries.

Telstra’s International Call Approach:

Telstra seems to have left international calls to its competitors, perhaps because it’s making its money without bothering about chasing the international call market. It still has a variety of options for international callers, which might suit you if you are happy with the rest of your Telstra plan or, perhaps, because you are getting better coverage with Telstra where you are. There are add-ons for those on the cheaper plans. Depending on exactly which country you want to call, each one of them might cost $10 or $15.

Comparing Talking Internationally Cost you with Telstra, Optus and Vodafone

Below, we’ve done the research for you on the international rates the big 3 telcos charge to call overseas. We show those ‘out of bundle’ call rates here for both their prepaid and postpaid SIM Only plans.

Optus, Telstra and Vodafone International Call Rates Per Min (Postpaid)

Rates accurate at time of publishing. Jan 2020
Call DestinationTelstra SIMOOptus SIMOVodafone SIMO
UK/Scotland$1.13 $0.78$0.20
New Zealand$1.03$0.78$0.20
China$1.72$0.78$0.10
India$2.18$0.78$0.10
Philippines$1.48$0.78$0.50
Vietnam$1.99$0.78$0.30
Italy$1.26$0.78$0.50
South Africa$1.47$0.78$0.90
Malaysia$1.09$0.78$0.20

Comparing Telstra, Vodafone and Optus on their SIMO International Call Rates per minute

Optus, Telstra and Vodafone International Call Rates Per Hour (Postpaid)

Rates accurate at time of publishing. Jan 2020
Call DestinationTelstra SIMOOptus SIMOVodafone SIMO
UK/Scotland$67.80$46.80$12.00
New Zealand$61.80$46.80$12.00
China$103.20$46.80$6.00
India$130.80$46.80$6.00
Philippines$88.80$46.80$30.00
Vietnam$119.40$46.80$18.00
Italy$75.60$46.80$30.00
South Africa$88.20$46.80$54.00
Malaysia$65.40$46.80$12.00

Comparing Telstra, Vodafone and Optus on their SIMO International Call Rates per hour

What you should take from these postpaid out of bundle call rate tables:

As you can see, if you make any appreciable number of International calls, you will be better off with the ‘bolt ons’ sold by the telcos. Telstra, for example, have that $10 International Call bolt on we mentioned above. Even calling New Zealand, the cheapest plan on the list, for 20 minutes, would cost as much as the bolt on for the entire month!

Similarly, Vodafone will offer you 4 hours talk time, to most of the destinations we’ve listed here – for $5 a month. Much cheaper than paying these ‘out of bundle’ rates.

Optus, Telstra and Vodafone International Call Rates Per Min (Prepaid)

Rates accurate at time of publishing. Jan 2020
Call DestinationTelstra SIMOOptus SIMOVodafone SIMO
UK/Scotlandunlimited$0.10$0.08
New Zealandunlimited$0.10$0.08
Chinaunlimited$0.08$0.02
Indiaunlimited$0.10$0.03
Philippines$0.21$0.25$0.21
Vietnamunlimited$0.18$0.18
Italy$0.25$0.40$0.25
South Africaunlimited$0.15$0.15
Malaysiaunlimited$0.10$0.04

Comparing Telstra, Vodafone and Optus on their Prepaid International Call Rates per minute

Optus, Telstra and Vodafone International Call Rates Per Hour (Prepaid)

Rates accurate at time of publishing. Jan 2020
Call DestinationTelstra SIMOOptus SIMOVodafone SIMO
UK/Scotlandunlimited$6.00$4.80
New Zealandunlimited$6.00$4.80
Chinaunlimited$4.80$1.20
Indiaunlimited$6.00$1.80
Philippines$12.60$15.00$12.60
Vietnamunlimited$10.80$10.18
Italy$15.00$24.00$15.00
South Africaunlimited$9.00$9.00
Malaysiaunlimited$6.00$2.04

Comparing Telstra, Vodafone and Optus on their Prepaid International Call Rates per hour

What you should take from these prepaid out-of-bundle call rate tables

Again, the result is clear. You’re better off with an ‘add on’ than you are paying these out of bundle rates. The case is particularly strong for Telstra these days, given their $10 International Calling Pack Zone 1 includes unlimited calls to 23 countries for just $10.

But this isn’t the case for all of the Big 3 telcos. Vodafone’s $5 per-month International add-on, for example, will get you only 30 minutes of International talk time.

Rule of Thumb: The key things you need to know

As each of the major phone companies point out on their own website, the rates they charge for International calls change regularly, sometimes even monthly. That makes it extremely difficult to keep track of any normal amount of time. This is just one more factor that should influence you towards adopting a plan with included International calls.

If you want some guidance on how to analyse things yourself…

  • You’ll get more for your money on postpaid plans if you’re making International calls:
    Whichever phone company you’re on (Vodafone, Telstra, or Optus) you’ll get better ‘out of bundle’ rates on your International calls if you pick a postpaid plan, rather than a prepaid plan.
  • I make less than half an hour’s worth of International calls per month:
    This is easy, just stick with the plan you have. You’ll be charged a high out-of-bundle ‘per minute’ call rate for the International calls you do make, but it’s still less than the cost of the ‘add on’ which is your major alternative – see next bullet point.
  • I make more than about an hour’s worth of International calls a month:
    If you already have a phone plan from Optus, Telstra or Vodafone, your best option is an add-on/bolt-on. They’re usually $5 or $10 a month and they’ll give you between an hour and a half and 4 hours of International calls to the most common destinations. Your major alternative is a Phone plan with included international minutes. (See next bullet point.) If you’re prepared to move to a smaller phone company, they sell variants that have included International minutes. This sort of plan (plan with included International minutes) will be right for anyone making more than about an hour’s worth of International calls per month.
  • I make more than 2 hours of International calls per month:
    We would strongly urge you to consider an Internationally focused phone plan. Companies like Belong Mobile offer preferential International rates and actually, their Australian data and voice/SMS inclusions are pretty good too.

Other considerations

  • You need a domestic signal to make an international call:
    One critical and perhaps counter-intuitive aspect of these plans is that you’ll need a domestic signal to make an international call. There’s no use having a Vodafone plan and no signal where you live if you need to call overseas, whether or not Vodafone’s plans offer better value.
  • If you spend more than $40 a month on a phone plan, you may well not have to spend extra to get International calls included:
    Most SIM Only and Prepaid plans costing more than $40 a month now include International calls to selected destinations. Many $30 and above plans from smaller phone companies also have these inclusions.

Here are the key players in the international call stakes and what they provide

Why MVNO SIM only plans with international calls will save you money

Just make sure that you check the operator’s website to see that the country or countries you are most interested in calling are on their unlimited list before you sign yourself up. Also, note that there are more fixed line numbers that you can phone on the unlimited plan than mobile numbers. For example, you can ring either a mobile or a fixed line number using the unlimited plan in Austria, but you can only ring a fixed line number in neighboring Switzerland. Similarly, you can ring a Colombian mobile number but not one in neighboring Venezuela.

Amaysim offers unlimited International talk and text to 28 to 42 countries on their SIM Only plans that cost $30 or more. They also include International calls on their short-term plan and some long-expiry plans.

Boost Mobile provides unlimited call time and text messages on the majority of its plans. The only plans that are excluded are the $10 and $20 plans.

These two providers are the best of the smaller phone company approaches to International calls at present. The other MVNOs all have some sort of deal for international calls, but none of them are quite as generous as the two mentioned here.

Alternatives to international calling plans

We’re well into the 21st century and around 12 million Australians have WhatsApp on their phone. Voice over IP has become the new norm for international calling. The best thing is that you can also use video calling too.

Of course there’s also Skype that uses this technology, but it’s struggled to shake it’s desktop PC only façade.

If you are going to use WhatsApp or Skype to call overseas, just make sure you have a hefty data plan to support it. WhatsApp uses around 1 meg of data per 60 seconds of call, which could end up being cheaper than an international plan.

There’s a range of prepaid data plans out there (with caveats) or other providers who offer in excess of 50GB.

Summing up

There is nothing more important than family and staying in touch. International call rates get right to the very heart of why we have phones.

The problem is the constant movement of plan inclusions around International calls in Australian plans. As we’ve seen, even the major telcos are always adding and removing International destinations from their prepaid / postpaid plans. The sector is crying out for simplicity.

International calls are going to keep getting cheaper under pressure from the regulator which overseas these kinds of charges in Australia and because of the pressure from very close substitutes. One need only glance at the alternatives on offer from Skype, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger to see the future. Calls made over data (the protocol used is called SIP) are convenient, built in to these messaging facilities – some of them the most popular in the world – and are essentially from a user standpoint, free.

Call quality can be low on these messaging apps, of course, as any user will report. The alternative, comparing plans with included international minutes, is, as we’ve seen above, a far more difficult ask. We hope the rules of thumb that we have provided will help.

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