There are so many different mobile phone providers on the market these days, and an even larger number of different plan options from these providers, which can make it very hard to perform a comparison of all of the options and ensure that you’re getting the best deal.
In order to get the best plan for your usage patterns, it’s important to take a look at your recent mobile bills so that you know how many calls you make, messages you send and how much mobile data you use.
In this guide, we’ll cover the main issues to consider when comparing mobile phone plans as well as make some recommendations for the best type of plans for different types of mobile users.
If you just want to get straight into comparing out different mobile phone plans, then take a look at the following pages on our site:
- Compare Unlimited Mobile Phone Plans
- The Best Prepaid Mobile Phone Plans
- The Best Postpaid SIM Only Plans
- Data Hungry? Check out our Mobile Broadband Plan Comparison
Network and Coverage
Choosing the best mobile network for your needs is really important – you want to make sure that your chosen provider has coverage in the areas that you work, live and visit regularly.
One way to do this is look for the resellers (also called MVNOs) on the same network that you’re currently using. For example, if you’re currently with Optus and you’re happy with your coverage, then one of the resellers on their network like Amaysim could be a good fit for you.
If you’re not happy with your current provider, then it stands to reason that you should look for a provider using a competitors network. If you live and work in the metro area, the speeds on Vodafone’s network tend to be really good. Otherwise, perhaps have a look at the deals offered by companies such as Lycamobile that use part of the Telstra network.
All providers have coverage maps on their web sites that you can use to look at their estimated coverage quality in your area, but the best thing to do is just switch to their network and see how you go. Most SIM Only providers don’t have any lock in contracts, which means that you can easily change to a different provider if you’re no longer happy with their rates, coverage or customer service.
Do I Need a New Mobile Phone?
If you’re happy with your current mobile phone, or willing to buy your phone outright, you can get a better deal by purchasing a service plan that does not include a handset. These are called SIM only or BYO handset plans, and our web site aims to provide details about all of the most popular providers in this category.
Before you can use your current phone with a new provider, you’ll need to ensure that it is unlocked. If you’ve purchased it on a contract, then it will generally be unlocked, however most prepaid handsets are locked to the network that supplied them. You can find out more about how to unlock a phone here.
The easiest way to test if your phone is unlocked is to insert a SIM card from a different network provider, and see what happens. If you get an error message on screen like “SIM NOT VALID” or “ENTER SUBSIDY CODE”, then the phone is locked to your current provider and you will need to talk to them about unlocking the phone. If it’s unlocked, you’re good to go.
It’s worth making sure that the phone operates on the right frequencies for the network you’ll be using as well. You can find this by checking the product specifications if you’re buying it online, the box or manual for your phone (if you still have it), or by searching for the model number of your phone and the word specifications or frequencies.
- Optus operates on 3G 900/2100 Mhz
- Vodafone operates on 3G 850/900/2100 Mhz
- Telstra operates on 3G 850 Mhz with a small amount of 3G 2100 Mhz coverage in some areas
What Type of Plan Do You Need?
The right plan for you really depends on your usage patterns and needs – and this is why it’s important to look at what you’re actually using on your current mobile phone bill.
There’s no point comparing unlimited mobile plans if you only rarely use your mobile phone and would be better suited to a low usage mobile phone plan, but you don’t want to sign up for a Pay As You Go plan if you’re using a lot of calls either.
In our buying guides, we’ve looked at the best plans for a range of different types of user profiles, based on how heavily they use their phone.
Should I Choose Postpaid or Prepaid?
In the past, prepaid services were seen as second rate deals compared to postpaid (monthly billed) services. However, with the new generation of virtual network operators, an increasing number of the best mobile plans we’re seeing now are available both on prepaid or postpaid (like Amaysim) or only on prepaid (Lycamobile).
If you’re on prepaid, this doesn’t necessarily mean needing to buy recharge vouchers from your local supermarket or service station. All providers also now offer credit card recharge, including automated top ups either based on when you’re running low or on a regular basis.
Ready to Start Comparing Mobile Phone Plans?
On our site, we’ve taken the time to collate and compare all of the plans from the three mobile networks, as well as a whole range of popular resellers that use the coverage and networks of Telstra, Vodafone or Optus and combine that with their own customer service and rate plans to create unique offers that are typically a lot better value than the main networks can offer.
You can get started in your comparison of mobile phone plans by checking out our guides to the most popular types of mobile phone plans below: