September 23, 2018

Cheap Phone Plans in Australia: Six Things to Consider

Mobile phone plans can be confusing, especially when trying to compare fundamentally different deals. Providers give you a million different choices, so it’s hard to make a smart choice. But there are ways to understand what you are getting and making a better purchase. Finding the best value mobile plans comes down to understanding what you need and which deals save you the most money in the end. It’s simpler than it sounds. It’s all about knowing what is available on the market and how to avoid the biggest pitfalls, when you compare mobile plans in Australia. Follow these six tips when searching for cheap phone plans to find a plan that includes the features you need for the cheapest price.

Some phone plans offer really cool things, like a free phone, but be careful when you see this type of deal. No phone company can afford to give anything away.

1. Ask yourself how you use your phone

No universal perfect mobile phone plan exists. It all depends on how you use your phone. Are you mainly going to call, text or use the internet? Will you be calling other cell phones or landlines? Will you be making international calls or not? And how many videos are you likely to download in a month?

Ask yourself these questions before starting, so you know what of the following features are important to you. Usually, mobile phone plans will have a mix of different features, but you will have to prioritise to get the best deals on mobile phone plans.

2. Be cautious of cheap phone plans that are too good to be true

Some phone plans offer really cool things, like a free phone, but be careful when you see this type of deal. No phone company can afford to give anything away. They definitely have another way of getting back their money. Mostly, these types of mobile phone plans require you to bind yourself for a minimum number of months or bind yourself to pay a higher price when the offer expires with expensive exit fees. It’s typically not worth it, so stay clear of cheap phone plans that are too good to be true.

It’s always a good idea to compare the deal behind the flashy numbers you see on the front page. It’s entirely possible to buy two different deals for the same initial price, but one ending up much more expensive in the end.

3. Are the best value mobile plans pre-paid or post-paid?

Post-paid or pre-paid is arguably one of the most important factors to think about when you compare mobile plans in Australia. You want to find a plan that fits the way you like to manage your money.

A pre-paid plan gives you more control over your money as you top up your phone with a fixed amount. When that amount runs out, you can top up again with any credit. This works great if you want to get a phone for your child or teenager, or if you need to control exactly how much money is spent on the phone. It’s also cheaper if you don’t tend to call a lot and just need it for the occasional sporadic calls. A pre-paid plan is one of the easiest to control low cost mobile phone plans.

A post-paid phone plan is billed at the end of the month. It’s easier in some ways: you won’t suddenly run out of credit, and you don’t have to think about when you need to top up next time. Post-paid plans can however be more expensive, especially if you use more features than intended. The extra usage is included in the bill that you will have to pay. You might also pay too much if the minimum cap is bigger than your consumption.

For some higher value plans, free features are sometimes included such as unlimited texts or cheap calls. It’s a great option if you do use the value of the plan you pay for. If you call, text or use less data than the monthly billed amount, it might be cheaper for you to switch to a pre-paid plan.

The best deal on mobile phone plans, whether pre-paid or post-paid, depend on how you like to manage your money as well as how much you use the features.

4. Consider BYO phone plans when conducting a mobile plans compare

Normally when you look for low cost mobile phone plans, they are bundled with a phone – so you buy the whole thing together. Either you find a specific bundle including a phone and a plan, or you sometimes have the option of buying a phone from the store with your plan and pay it in installments.

But, if you do already have a phone, you can buy a sim-only phone plan as well. It’s usually cheaper to buy your phone separately upfront, and then choose the sim-only plan that suits you. That way, you can change plans and won’t be tied down by contracts or installments.

5. Is it worth it to buy phone plans for a longer period of time?

When you go to any phone plan company’s website, you will be able to choose your preferred plan for a period of a month, twelve months or even longer time. So what is the benefit? Is it really cheaper to bind yourself to a plan, or is it safer to pay just a month at the time?

The answer is unanimous. You can often save money by binding yourself for a longer period of time. However, you can’t change provider in that time unless you pay an exit fee. These plans are also not necessarily cheaper. So make sure to research the prices well before choosing.

6. A mobile plans compare: what features to consider

What features should you be comparing when searching for low cost mobile phone plans? Here is a list of features that you might see in most plans. Hopefully, reading it will help you narrow down what you will need and help you consider what to look out for.

a. Calls and texts

There are a lot of money to save on calls and text. Usually you get one or the other cheap. Sometimes, you can get calls and texts at an expensive rate against cheap data or the other way around. This is great for people who use lots of data but almost never text or call.

The price and variety of calls and text can vary, so it’s a good idea to figure out what you use most. Look for a plan with free text and an expensive call rate, if you only text and never call. Or the other way around.
Do you mainly use the internet? Choose a plan with expensive texts and calls against cheaper data.

The best value mobile plans for you are the ones that offer the features you need the most for cheap – while other functions that you don’t need as much stay pricy.

b. Data

Data is the new mobile phone plan currency. While companies mainly used to sell calls and texts before, they now tend to bundle their packages around data usage. How much data you will need depends on your habits. Streaming videos can take a lot of data while occasionally checking your mail can usually be handled with just a few GB a month.
Consider saving money on data by downloading content onto your phone when you have access to Wi-Fi and watching it offline on your phone. Data is something you need to consider in any case in your search for the best value mobile plans.

c. International calls and data

There still aren’t a lot of good plans for international calls and data. Using your phone abroad comes with some risk, so better keep it to a minimum. If you know you will be spending a lot of time abroad, and need to use your phone, consider getting a local sim card. If you have to make international calls, there are some good offers out there that you can look out for. Research well and read the terms and conditions in detail so you won’t suddenly get a surprise bill.

Get the best deal on mobile phone plans with a bit of planning

It’s not so complicated getting the best mobile phone deals. They are created in a way so that it’s hard to compare different deals. The less we are able to compare prices directly, the more likely we are to just go with anything. But it doesn’t have to be like that. With a bit of research, you can get around the initial confusion and figure out what you are actually getting for your money. The most important thing is to find a plan that fits the way you like to budget, whether it’s pre-paid or post-paid, and that offers the value you personally need for a reasonable price. Ask yourself if you mainly need to call, text or use data on your phone, so you can compromise on the areas where you won’t be spending a lot of money. Use this guide to get you started with your research. Happy mobile plans shopping!

About the author  ⁄ Marxa Dillan

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