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Mobile phone deals and plans

Compare phone plans and data deals

Page reading time: 4 minutes

There are lots of mobile phone plans and data deals out there. Each offers something different. Find out how to choose one that works for you.

How to get the best phone plan

Think about how you want to use your phone, and how much you can afford each month. This will help you choose the right plan.

Consider how you'll use your phone

Do you need a lot of data to stream music or sport, or for social media? Do you talk regularly to family or friends living overseas?

Most plans include unlimited calls and texts to Australian numbers. So check what a plan charges for:

Work out how much you can afford each month

Doing a budget helps you sort out your money. Look at your income and expenses. Then work out what you can afford to spend on a phone plan each month.

If you’re using a phone you already have

If you already have a phone, you'll only need to pay for your usage. This includes calls, texts and data.

Prepaid plans

With a prepaid plan, you pay for your usage in advance. This means you can't be hit with a surprise bill. You have a certain amount of time to use your credit (for example, 30 days), before that credit expires. When you've used up all your credit, you can receive calls but you can't make calls or use data.

SIM only plans

A SIM only plan gives you a certain amount of credit for calls, texts and data. You usually need to sign up for a minimum 12-month contract. They are post-paid plans, which means you're billed at the end of the month. If you go over your monthly limit, you may have to pay a higher rate for calls or buy more data.

If you need a new phone

If you want a new phone (handset), you can buy it outright or on a plan. Or you can lease a phone.

Buying outright

To buy outright, you pay the full cost of the phone upfront. Then choose a prepaid or SIM only plan for calls, text and data. This option costs more at the outset, but makes it easier to switch plans or providers when you want.

Buying on a plan

To buy on a plan, you sign a contract. You are billed monthly for the length of the contract, spreading out the cost of the phone. You pay nothing upfront, but don't own the phone until you've paid it off.

On a plan you pay for:

If you want to end a phone contract early, it's likely you'll be charged extra fees.

Leasing a phone

Leasing a phone is similar to buying on a plan, except you don't own the phone at the end of the contract. You have to give it back to the provider in good condition. Your monthly payments could be lower. But if you damage the phone or want to upgrade to a newer model, you have to pay a fee.

If your provider offers you mobile phone insurance, check that it's good value for money.

Compare phone plans

Compare phone plans with different providers to get the one that's best for you. Check the Critical Information Summary for the plan's cost and what you'll get for your money.

Comparison websites can be useful, but they are businesses and may make money through promoted links. They may not cover all your options. See what to keep in mind when using comparison websites.

Compare features

Contract length

  • Look at how long you'll have to stay on that plan (usually 12, 24 or 36 months).

Network coverage

  • Check the provider's network coverage and speeds (you can do this online). Don't sign up to a plan if you can't get service where you live and work.

Handset costs

  • If you get a new phone on a plan, make sure the advertised cost includes the handset.

Minimum total cost

  • This is the minimum amount you'll have to pay over the length of the contract.
  • Make sure this includes the cost of the handset.

Data

  • Check there's enough data included for what you want.
  • Find out how much extra data will cost if you go over your monthly limit.

International calls, text and roaming

  • If you make calls overseas, find out how much they will cost (prices can depend on the country).
  • Check if an international data pack or a local SIM would be cheaper than international roaming charges.

What to do before you sign the contract

When you've decided on a phone plan, you'll need to sign a contract.

Know what you're signing up for

Make sure you understand the contract and your responsibilities. If there's anything you're not sure about, ask questions or get advice from family or friends.

If you don't know what you're signing up for, you could end up paying more than you can afford.

Get a Critical Information Summary

Ask your provider for a Critical Information Summary. It's a free guide that explains:

Find out more about Critical Information Summaries on the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) website.