Planhacker: Long Expiry Prepaid Mobile Deals

Planhacker: Long Expiry Prepaid Mobile Deals

For a mobile phone that is only used very occasionally, a long expiry prepaid deal makes sense. What choices do you have? Planhacker rounds up the offers on the Australian market with 90 days expiry or longer.

Picture by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

There are several scenarios where having a long expiry prepaid phone is a wise choice. If you’re heading overseas for work but want to hang on to your number for when you return to Australia, it’s an easy solution. If your only use for a mobile is for emergency contact or when on the road (a common scenario for some older users), it also makes sense. Under those circumstances, you want to pay as little as possible as infrequently as possible, so the most crucial element arguably becomes the expiry period.

If you do sign up for this kind of plan, the calling rates won’t be particularly generous, and data is likely to be a massive rip-off. We’ve highlighted the relevant rates in the table below, but that’s not really the issue for most people; these aren’t plans that are designed for anyone who regularly uses their phones or relies on it as their main means of communication.

For each provider, we’ve indicated which network they use, how long you can go between recharges, the minimum recharge, the flag fall and cost per minute for Australian calls, the cost of sending a text to Australia, any included data, and the rate for data per MB beyond that inclusion. We’ve also calculated how many 2-minute calls you could make with the included credit, which all providers will eventually have to specify under the Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) code, and noted how much the provider charges for a SIM.

Here’s the full table; you can click on the column headers to sort and filter results.

Individual plans offer quirks such as free or discounted calls to users of the same network. Optus-hosted plans don’t count mobile browsing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, MySpace or eBay in the total. Crazy John’s limits 1 cent texts to 100 per day, and only uses the slow GPRS network for data. Red Bull offers unlimited Australian calls and texts during the expiry period (but charges much more for the privilege).

For full details on these deals, hit the relevant links below:

Additional suggestions? Corrections? (We try hard, but we’re not perfect!) Other prepaid strategies? Share them in the comments.

Lifehacker’s weekly Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals.


  • The Woolworths Mobile doesn’t quite have the same long expiry length as some of these plans, but it lasts 45 days and comes with 5GB of data. I personally use data a lot more that making calls or sending texts and having a big data plan is really important to me. Best of all it only costs $29 (This works out to be about $20 a month).

  • These long expiry thing is very dodgy, at least for optus.

    I bought the $30 long expiry, expires in february, and it says I have $104 “optus” credit, which is made up of $0 credit, WTF does that mean? I cant even make calls or SMS because I have NO [email protected]!

    • “Optus” credit is basically credit you can use to call “optus” mobiles.

      You have $0 credit to call (no Optus mobile), send texts, mobile browsing.

  • I’ve been using a company called Savvytel – the life of the credit is extended by 6 months every time you use it, so as long as can make a call you can have the credit for a very, very long time.

    • I am also with savvytell but they are shutting down and no more service after 31 April 2015 which is why I want another pre paid with no expiry

  • What I do do get long expiry and good value from Telstra: Recharge whatever you want to on long life, then switch to Simplicity. People say it doesn’t work, but I’ve done it 3 times now and I still get the long expiry and Simplicity rates. I also charges data per kb instead of mb like it does if you were to just recharge on Simplicity.

  • I’ve been on the Red Bull 365 plan for 6 months now and have been really impressed with it so far. It’s cheap (even cheaper now at $365 for 15 months) and with unlimited calls/sms and 5gb data a month (i get 2200kpbs speed) , it’s probably the best deal out there for heavy phone users. I’ll definitely be recharging with Red Bull again when my pre-paid expires.

    However, unless you are in a big city (I’m in Brisbane) the reception is horrendous (thanks Vodafone). Just something to be aware of…

    • The long-life recharges aren’t generally made with data users in mind. There’s no benefit to themselves for the telco’s to offer cheap data rates with a long expiry too.

  • HI, I am with Crazy Johns Flat Chat, luv it – I get 100 x 1c text every day. I don;’t make many calls, and do not need data. Question: Have had a text from them saying Crazy Johns Prepaid is closing Aug 31 – who’s my best option?? I like the longer expiry, luv the cheap texting, and 10c a min for calls is awesome! Cheers Guys and thanks – Robyn, Perth West Aust.

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