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, Amaysim and Boost 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
- Make sure you get a 4G SIM if you have a 4G phone
- Will not suit high end data users
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.
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 realisation 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.
Using free WiFi to keep your costs down
Phone companies are now generally known for their generosity of spirit. However, one area to focus on, when you’re looking for a cheap phone plan are the range of a free public WiFi services which are on offer from the major Australian telcos. Shoppers at Mirvac‘s two Australian shopping centres, for example will benefit from such a scheme. Telstra, too, are in on the act. They have a national ‘Air’ network (you’ve probably seen the posters on phone booths) We take a look at the value of these schemes in keeping phone plans cheap, compare and contrast and offer you our point of view, below.
- If you’re shopping in a Mirvac shopping center, you may well notice that they have in place a free WiFi data service, in two of their flagship shopping centres.
- Shoppers at Mirvac’s located in Brisbane and Sydney shopping locations will benefit from the scheme.
- Free WiFi service will enable shoppers to remain connected during their shopping trip. It doesn’t use the data from your plan.
- Telstra, on the other hand, have national coverage with their Telstra Air Hot spots.
- In our view, the Telstra solution provides a much better service in comparison to what’s currently on offer from any other provider.
- Telstra do not currently charge for their ‘Air’ solution.
WiFi in Mirvac shopping centres
There is now a free public WiFi service for shoppers at Mirvac’s two flagship shopping centres, of Sydney and Brisbane. Shopping centre giant Mirvac, operates ‘mall experiences’ in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and the ACT. Mirvac was originally established in 1972, specialising in integrated real estate, investment and development. This solution brings them up to date, on at least part of their inventory and should save shoppers a GB of two of data on their otherwise mobile plans.What is the offer of free wifi specifically ?
For guests shopping at the Orion Springfield Central and Broadway Shopping Centre, free WiFi will be accessible to any and all smartphones trying to attempt. The free WiFi connection will allow shoppers to remain connected for the duration of their shopping time.
Phone companies have, in recent months, launched a series of new partnerships, with the goal of increasing customer convenience around the country. By working in partnership with Mirvac and two of their flagship shopping centres, they’re able to increase connectivity for shoppers, raise brand awareness and explore this type of technology solution. There is no doubt that, in the future, more and more shopping centers and other public places will be connected with similar schemes.
From Mirvac’s point of view, with increased connectivity comes an opportunity to build on and enhance the customer shopping experience :
“With in-centre retail shopping experience continually evolving, especially with the use of smartphones, Optus Business understands the importance of delivering Wi-Fi connectivity to retail consumers to improve their overall shopping experience.” – John Paitaridis, Managing Director at Optus Business
Australians love staying connected at all times.
For shoppers that don’t want to use their plans’ mobile data allocation, free WiFi is an attractive offer. Smartphones are now part of the shopping journey for many shoppers who research on the way to the mall what they want to buy and check prices in store, using their phone.
“We know that digital connectivity in shopping centres is important to customers because it enables them to remain connected when they are shopping, but it also supports personalised content and promotional experiences for shoppers directly.” – John Paitaridis, Managing Director at Optus Business
Shopping centre managers are reported to be pleased with the initial uptake of the free WiFi service for shoppers. Managers looking for new ways to increase foot traffic into their shopping centres, can use the free Optus WiFi as an enticing incentive. Increasing consumers choices, when it comes to the ways in which they stay digitally connected, is a great way to build loyalty. Shoppers which can stay connected for longer, will result in shoppers spending more time in the shopping centre.
Skyfii is working with Optus, on the implementation and maintenance of the WiFi technology. The company is also assisting Optus Business with insights data analytics software.
The Telstra Air Hotspots service
Telstra has an existing and much better free WiFi hot spots network which covers much of the country. Eligible Telstra mobile and broadband subscribers can take advantage of free WiFi hot spots, all around Australia. The Telstra Air network consists of thousands of hot spots which Telstra users can connect to.
If you are an eligible Telstra subscriber, you can take advantage of this free WiFi network, until 30 June 2016. Not only can Telstra users connect to this free hots pots network in Oz, they can also use the international Fox Spots network overseas. Existing Telstra Air home broadband users, will automatically be given access to the PLUS un-metered international network. To use the network overseas and when on holiday, all you need is a remaining data balance on your account.
How do ‘Telstra Air’ hotspots work?
Telstra ‘air’ is the name given to the national scheme rolled out by Big T in 2015. Using their existing physical phone ‘booths’, Telstra rolled out WiFi internet connectivity around the country to several thousand hot spots. Initially, free wifi was offered to everyone ( Telstra customer or no ) across the infrastructure. Since then, selected groups have been offered the facility, for example, free access was granted to Telstra prepaid users who signed up in early 2016.
The phone booths were the first step in the journey. Long term, Subscribers to Telstra home broadband will be given automatic access to the thousands of public WiFi hotspots on the ‘Air network.’ Telstra users will be able to use their existing home broadband data allowance, on all of the hotspots. In exchange, they will be required to open their own home broadband connection to others in the vicinity. The network of home hotspots is created by simply allocating a small percentage of each users home broadband allowance for others to share. At all times your personal information and data is secure and kept separate from other users. While at peak times there might be a slight reduction in speeds, on the whole it is not anticipated that users sharing their home broadband connection should have their experience affected.
Final thoughts on free WiFi to phone users
Providing free public WiFi access at the two Mirvac shopping centres, is a good first step . If this proves successful it may be rolled out to more shopping centres, Australia wide.
Is the new scheme enough of an incentive for shoppers to choose the two Mirvac shopping centres ? For people who already shop regularly at the two locations, this is an exciting development. With free Wifi, the price is right. But for people which don’t often shop there, we question whether it will make them change their habit. What is likely of more interest to Mirvac is the information they can sniff from the network traffic as it flows ( for free ) through their routers. A knowledge of the sort of things shoppers are looking for ans where they are looking will assist in providing a profile to better serve ( and charge ) customers in the future.
Meanwhile, Telstra have leapfrogged the market again. They already have a national network of Telstra Air connections. They intend to grow it further, including data from home broadband users. The scheme is not original, it’s been deployed previously in Europe. But it is an intelligent application of an existing idea which exploits Telstra’s scale advantage helpfully ( for their customers and the Telstra brand. )
Short term, the information that the providers can take from those accessing their network is worth the most. Users are unlikely to change their shopping destination purely for free wifi. Aggregated, however, knowledge of their search trends, interests, demographics and the trends which can be deduced from the data is of significant worth to both Mirvac and Telstra who are doing the same thing on a shopping center which is effectively the whole of Australia.
And longer term, Telstra’s ability to reduce the load on their mobile network ( especially given the early 2016 network outages they suffered ), by routing users through Telstra Air connections will reduce their mobile infrastructure upgrade and maintenance costs while improving the experience of customers which use them.
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.
Keep the cost of your phone plan down by extending the data inclusions using free WiFi whever it’s available. There is a great deal of choice already and the footprint of WiFi networks is increasing all the time. Between shopping centers and Telstra’s phone booths with free access, the cheap data from your plans will go a lot further.