Do Southern Phone Sell Mobile Broadband Plans?
Yes. Southern have a strong range of Mobile Broadband plans and, as with their voice+data plans (for smartphones), their mobile broadband plans (for dongles, tablets, and laptops) either use the Telstra Mobile 3G and 4G network or the Optus 3G and 4G Plus network.
Should I get a 12-month contract from Southern Phone?
We often advise against getting 12-month contracts. Phone plan prices fall so regularly, and it’s so easy to move operators these days that you’re often better off staying month-to-month on a postpaid or picking up a prepaid plan.
Southern are an exception to that rule. Their data pricing is usually more than twice as good on the 12-month plans they offer. Even with the rate of decay in the price of data that we’re seeing, that’s a good deal. Of course, the other benefit of picking a 12-month contract is that you can forget all about your phone plan for a year – which is what most people like to do.
Do Southern Phone have a Self Service app?
Yes, they do. And that’s a good job. Our own research shows that installing the Self Service app is the single best thing you can do to improve how you feel about your phone company. (Essentially, the less need you have to call any customer support line to find out usage information or check some bill feature, the happier you’ll be.)
Southern Phone sell postpaid plans. What is postpaid?
Postpaid plans are plans you pay for after you’ve used them. To get a postpaid plan, you’ll need to pass a credit check. Billing is monthly on a day of the month (usually the 1st, 12th or 15th of the month).
Can I keep my existing phone number if I move to Southern Phone?
Yes, you can. Learn more here.
Some online reviews are bad for Southern Phone.
That’s true. We saw those too and some of them are bad. Southern phone has a plan in place to fix the customer service issues raised by people who complained in those review.
Many of the reviews we saw were left before the new Self-Service app debut in March 2017 (which, to be fair to the customers who left the reviews, is very late compared to the rest of the market.)
Our trial experience of Southern Phone’s Australian-based customer support is that they’re actually very good. It’s usually people who are unhappy with the service that leave some of the very bad reviews; they’re never removed and there is a little bit of interfering with customer review numbers in every industry – with telco being one of the biggest examples.
- Australian based customer service and support
- Established brand with multiple products including fixed
- All plans comes with Unlimited Australian Voice and SMS
- Option for 12-month or month-to-month contracts
- Southern Phone offer only postpaid plans
- Charge $10 for extra data – Overage (max 3GB)
Southern Phone – Should You Go With Them?
60 Second summary
- Southern Phone are a SIM Only phone plan provider which offer a range of unlimited postpaid plans on the Optus network.
- Southern used to be one of the few phone companies to offer you connections to either the Optus or Telstra Mobile networks, but they now focus on Optus alone for SIM Only plans.
- Southern offer both fixed and mobile telecommunications services – something which is likely to make them appeal to older Australians.
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Everything you need to know about Southern Phone’s plans
Southern Phone (they’re based in Southern NSW) are a tried and tested Australian telco brand. They’ve recently re-branded their services and website, and issued a new suite of plans. The company was known as one of the few to offer plans on both the Optus and Telstra networks, but have since focused on the Optus network alone for SIM Only plans. Southern focus mostly on the over 50s age group, although their plans will (obviously) work in anyone’s phones. So how do they compare?
Like SpinTel, Southern Phone are a full-service telco offering multiple products including NBN fixed broadband and fixed voice (also known as landline) services. They fall into the category of ‘everything you need and nothing you don’t’. (For example, they don’t bundle streamed video or audio entertainment in their plans.) Again, like SpinTel, Southern operates in the incredibly competitive area of Optus network resellers. It’s becoming a crowded place with Moose, Amaysim, Vaya, OVO and Yomojo all providing plans with slightly different allowances and features on the same network.
Interestingly, Southern have a unique business model. They are owned by 35 county councils and return profits to them – a form of co-operative which is not something you see a lot of anywhere in telco, let alone among telecommunications companies.
On data pricing, they are ‘there or thereabouts’ (i.e. competitive with other telcos) – but, to be frank, there are often better data inclusions out there, on the same networks at the same price. Where Southern Phone excel is in their ‘bundled deals’ for customers with landline phones and fixed broadband connections. These facilities will appeal to older Australians the most, as you’ll see from the information below.
Key facts you need to know about Southern Phone
- Yes, you can keep your number:
If you already have a phone service with another phone company, (and a phone number by which everyone knows you), you can transfer across to Southern and keep your current number.
- Southern Phone sell the Optus 3G and 4G networks:
Southern Phone used to be rare in that they sold SIM Only plans on two different networks at the same time. Most providers have SIMs on a single network. Other companies which still do it include CMobile and Think Mobile. (They sell both Vodafone and Telstra plans at the same time.) However, Southern Phone now sells the Optus network alone for SIM only plans.
- All Southern phones plans have unlimited voice and SMS:
Almost all phone plans now offer Unlimited voice calls and SMS sent between Australian phones communicating with other Australian numbers. Early 2018, has seen a movement to phone companies increasingly offering plans at or around $10 per month, with small data allowances. Some of these plans have voice minute allocations in the low hundreds of minutes. Southern’s entry-level plans (i.e., those around the $10 mark) are likely better than the competition, for those who make more than a few calls a month because of the inclusion of this unlimited call. The data allowance is not as good as the others offer, but their competitors don’t have Unlimited voice and SMS.
- Postpaid plan provider:
All of the Southern Phone plans are postpaid. We have an article explaining the difference between prepaid and postpaid plans. Postpaid plans are generally seen as more convenient than prepaid plans and, in some senses, fairer because they bill you for the service on the same day of each month.
- They offer the options of 12-month or month-to-month plans:
Again, unusually, Southern Phone offer 12-month contracts alongside the more common ‘month-to-month’ plans on their site. Contracts generally provide better value than those month-to-month deals and that’s true of the Southern Phone range. If you know yourself that you’re not going to check phone plans every few months, then a contract can be a good idea. Southern’s contracts generally include more than twice the data (of a month-to-month plan of the same value) which is the benchmark at which we recommend considering them. (More on this below under the ‘TPG’s coming’ section, below.)
- They sell Mobile Broadband too:
Spintel are one of the rising number of telcos which offer 4G Mobile Broadband bundles for use in dongles, tablets, or other dedicated mobile-only devices. Mobile broadband is the fastest growing product suite on this website.
- 30-day ‘Network Guarantee’:
Southern make it clear that if you take a SIM Only service with them and it doesn’t work out, you can leave in 30 days. That’s a useful feature for their 12-month contract options, but you should be aware that every phone company offers this facility. It’s a legal requirement. Not all of the phone companies ‘shout it from the rooftops’, believing that offering this sort of facility in their marketing might negatively contribute to the perception of the network(s) they employ.
- Bundles to save:
Southern are, as we’ve said, a full-service phone company, which have been around for a while. For example, as well as SIM Only plans, they sell fixed broadband and fixed-line phone products. This is where Southern really stand out – as you will see below.
- Extra data is $10 per GB:
If you reach your allocated data limit, Southern will charge you $10 per extra GB you buy, up to a maximum of 3GB. This is now common practice for postpaid plan providers. Check out the ‘overage’ information below for more details.
- They also sell bundled mobile phones:
If you’d like to, you can buy your next piece of mobile phone hardware directly from Southern Phone and pay it off in installments on your phone bill. Many will find this a convenient way of tying together your phone and plan, although you might be better off going to a dedicated phone provider for range and price.
Helpful things to think about when considering Southern Phone
- What is ‘overage’?:
Overage is the name given to any costs you sustain, taking a phone plan from a company, which are not in the original plan. For example, you might have a plan with 2GB of data. If you use 2.5GB of data in any month, you’ll be charged $10 for the extra data – and that’s overage. Southern are slightly different from the competition inasmuch as they will only add 3GB of extra data at the $10 per month cost. Further overage costs about $50 per GB – which is high. In practical terms, this is not something that will affect many people. If you’re that far (3GB) over your data allowance, something is seriously wrong and you need to change up plans – which you can do at any point. Southern will also, like every phone company, send you SMS messages when you get near your data allowance (at 50%, 85% and 100% of it) so you can avoid this happening.
- They charge a port- out cost of $8:
When you leave Southern, you will be charged $8 for the privilege. There are very few phone companies which charge you to leave these days. This is an unusual fee, not a show-stopper but, as with the overage section above, it’s something to be aware of.
What’s different about Southern Phone?
- No international calls:
Not everyone makes international calls each month. However, like the ever decreasing price of data, international calls are now offered free of charge in more SIM Only deals than they ever have before.
- Nothing you don’t need:
Some phone plans now include free streaming (data free) Southern phone offer classical telco services – voice, SMS, data and fixed-line connections.
Who will Southern Phone appeal to?
They are likely to appeal to anyone who has a landline, as well as a mobile phone at home. In practice, this can mean ‘older Australians’ – who want to bundle the telecommunications services they buy. Older Australians are buying smartphones quickly – but a lower proportion of them currently own one. They do, on the other hand, have a higher proportion of landlines and they’re giving those up more slowly than different demographics.
Older people are less likely to have given up their landlines.
Southern Phone offer bundled deals for their customers. If you take your landline phone connection and a SIM Only plan from them, you’ll get a better deal and only have to manage a single company billing relationship. Many people find this much easier than paying multiple bills each month.
Further, Southern phone used to offer SIM Only plans with both the Telstra and Optus network, which made them a rare phone company. Some gravitated to Southern Phone because of this, as it gave the impression of choice. However, too much choice tends to complicate things, and this was likely the case with Southern Phone. The company has since changed its focus by eliminating its SIM Only plans that used the Telstra network. Southern Phone is now focusing on its Optus network-based plans – its Green SIM Plans. However, Southern Phone continues to offer a choice between the Optus and Telstra network with its mobile broadband plans. Despite the Telstra network remaining an option for its mobile broadband plans, its new single-network approach with the SIM Only plans seem to indicate that Southern Phone is consolidating around the Optus network and shifting its focus away from Telstra.
The company continues to offer both 12-month contract and month-to-month SIM Only plans, thereby keeping its uniqueness in that regard. However, its single-network approach now means simpler offerings that cater to those who might have found the two-network approach to be a bit complicated. This eliminates the question of which network to choose. For those who prefer the Telstra network and would have previously chosen the Orange plans, we recommend Boost and Belong Mobile. These choices present plans similar to Southern Phone’s now-defunct Orange plans, and are cheaper than going directly to Telstra.
Bringing it all together
Southern Phone offer a sophisticated full-service telecommunications suite of plans and products, encompassing fixed and mobile, voice and data services. What sets them apart is the opportunity to contract with a single phone company, and get the benefit of bundled discounts. Given the nature of the trends we see in this area, it’s not hard to see why Southern Phone appeals to the 50+ ‘older Australian’ segment of users. These people are more likely to have a landline, to intend to keep it and, anecdotally, they prefer a single ‘throat to choke’ (single provider to call) if things go wrong with their service.
Southern are competitive on mobile data plan inclusions but they’re not always the best in the market – because they operate in such a competitive section of the market. Their offered choice of either a 12-month contract or month-to-month plan for those who want them is something that sets them apart.
Southern Phone vs Moose, Vaya
Moose and Vaya offer very similar plans to Southern Phone’s Green Suite of plans. Southern Phone Green plans operate on the Optus 3G and 4G Plus network, and that’s what you’ll get with both Moose and Vaya. Each of these phone companies sell postpaid plans.
Moose are a new entrant into the market and they are proving popular because of their rates. Moose also have very strong online testimonials from their customers about their service and support. Vaya, too, operate in this very competitive space with a ‘price match guarantee.’ If you can find it cheaper elsewhere, Vaya will match it.
Southern’s best value plans are 12-month contracts, something neither Moose or Vaya have in place. Finally, Southern are a full-service telco, offering both mobile and fixed variants of their plan range. It is these factors, probably not price, that would lead you to choose Southern Phone over Vaya and Moose.
Southern Phone vs Amaysim, Yomojo
Compare rates closely to get the best deal when you sign up to these peer telcos. Pricing varies and the best deal shifts almost by the week.
And again, Southern Phone offer some options that neither Yomojo or Amaysim can, given the nature of their prepaid product – including 12-month contracts.
Southern Phone vs Optus and OVO
Optus and OVO Mobile are both very different companies when compared to Southern Phone. Optus and OVO have made strategic investments into content types as a way to differentiate their phone plans. Each provides Data-free access to different types of sports, delivered through your phone.
If you want entertainment in your phone plan, you will know what Streaming Video On Demand is and it’s probably the first thing you’ll think of. If you don’t (and it’s still quite a small proportion of Australians who want to watch sport this way) then Southern Phone’s network choice and contract options will probably be the criteria by which you make your decision.
Southern phone vs Belong Mobile
SouthernPhone and Belong Mobile both sell postpaid plans. There were even more similarities when Southern Phone was offering SIM Only plans using both the Optus and Telstra network, as Belong Mobile also uses the Telstra Network. However, Southern Phone’s focus on its Green plans which operate on the Optus network alone have eliminated those similarities. Belong have a ‘data vault’ option which allows you to keep the data you’re allocated forever. We think this is the fairest treatment of data in the industry.
Southern Phone vs Kogan
Comparing Kogan and Southern Phone is comparing apples with oranges. Kogan are a brutal, price-based, prepaid plan, pile-them-high-and-sell-them-cheap phone company which outsource literally every aspect of their service to Vodafone. (Which, as we point out above, gives them industry-leading customer satisfaction with customer support. Vodafone have the best customer satisfaction numbers in the industry.)
Southern Phone have a very different product offering. Southern operate on the Optus network, which has a larger 3G coverage footprint than the Vodafone equivalent. (Although you might be surprised to find that 4G speeds and coverage are very similar on these networks.) Southern Phone also have fixed line products, including NBN-based broadband and home landline services.
In simple terms, if you live in and around one of Australia’s main cities, Kogan are likely to offer better value on data inclusions. If you live outside those areas and are interested in a longer term relationship (i.e. one which goes beyond a special offer SIM) with your telco, Southern Phone is likely a better answer.
One other feature of Kogan is their multiple month offers. Kogan have some long expiry plans which are worth a look. By purchasing 180-day or 365-day plans from Kogan, you can avoid the inconvenience of recharging every month and save yourself some money.
Southern Phone vs Lebara
The key difference between Southern Phone and Lebara relates to international call inclusions. Southern phone have decided to focus on their domestic rates and charges. A large part of Lebara’s marketing and plan structure is in making potential customers aware of Lebara’s international call rates and plan inclusions.
If you make more than about an hour worth of calls overseas each month, then Lebara are likely the best option for you.
Lebara do also pass on price cuts to their customers as their plan inclusions improve, an increasingly common but not ubiquitous practice. And of course, Lebara are a prepaid provider which operate on the Vodafone 3G and 4G network.
Finally, Lebara, like Kogan, have long expiry plans to consider. If you want a plan you can pay for up front with a 180-day or 365-day expiry, it’ll cost a little more now and save you up to 24% over the term of the agreement.
Southern Phone vs Vodafone
The major difference between Southern Phone and Vodafone is Vodafone’s network coverage. To be fair to Vodafone, however, the gap in coverage between each of these companies is not nearly what it used to be or nearly as big as you might think. You can find out more, including the latest network coverage statistics in our Vodafone network review summary.
It has to be said that Vodafone’s customer support is the best in the industry. And Vodafone offer a choice of both prepaid or postpaid plans, where Southern Phone offer only postpaid plan options.
Interestingly, picking either of these phone companies is an extremely safe bet – they both offer a Network Satisfaction Guarantee.
Southern Phone vs Telstra
Southern phone used to offer SIM Only plans on the Telstra Mobile network but that is no longer the case. Telstra and Boost Mobile are the only Australian phone companies to provide access to the full (in the industry it’s called the ‘retail’) Telstra network.
With Southern Phone’s recent focus on its Green plans which use the Optus network, you won’t have the exact same coverage footprint that you will if you go to Telstra or Boost. However, Optus coverage is just as good.
Thus, the question in comparing the companies is in the plan type you want. Boost’s plans are prepaid only but offer good value, better than either of the alternatives shown here. Southern’s plans, on the other hand, are postpaid only. For those looking for plans similar to Southern Phone’s no-defunct Orange Plan that operated on the Telstra network, Boost and Belong mobile are the recommended options. Telstra will sell you either a prepaid or postpaid plan but, of course, they’re the most expensive in the industry.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Southern Phone’s customer support is located in Australia, where most of Telstra’s support is offshore, under the Boost and Telstra brands.
Comparing Southern Phone’s Mobile Broadband pricing
You can compare Southern Phone’s Mobile Broadband pricing on our data plans page.
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