Planhacker: Every Australian Unlimited Prepaid Plan

Want a prepaid mobile phone plan with unlimited calls and texts within Australian? Even with the collapse of Kogan Mobile this week, you have plenty of choices. Planhacker has rounded up every available unlimited prepaid plan.

Beach picture from Shutterstock

It was only back in June that we rounded up the available prepaid plans using Telstra's 3G network. Kogan's exit from the market this week following the collapse of its wholesale supplier ispONE means it seems opportune to revisit that space.

Since there are now only two players using the Telstra (Telstra-owned Boost plus ALDI Mobile), we've also included plans running on Optus and Vodafone's networks. While Telstra enjoys a reputation for solid coverage, especially in regional areas, it's worth assessing your options, even with the relatively minimal commitment of a prepaid plan.

We've only listed plans that are prepaid and offer unlimited calls and texts to Australian landline and mobile numbers regardless of network; contract plans aren't in, nor are plans that only provide a specific amount of call credit. In practice, that means every plan on offer is through a a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) which buys access from one of the main network providers.

While the idea of not being charged for every call and text is appealing, not everyone needs an unlimited plan; if you're not a heavy phone or text user, then you may well be able to get away with a cheaper deal. Conversely, if you make international calls regularly, you'll want to look at a different category of plans. (Lebara and PennyTel both offer deals aimed at international callers.)

We'll also remind people that "unlimited" never means "absolutely unlimited". Every carrier has an acceptable usage policy; if you send thousands of texts a day and hang on the phone for hours, you may find yourself cut off. For a typical user, a bigger problem is likely to be the data allowance; if you're a smartphone user, consider that carefully. Remember too that a big advantage of prepaid plans is that it's easy to switch if you're unhappy with the service.

For each plan, we've listed what you pay, which network is used, what the expiry period is (30 days in the majority of cases), and how much data is included over that period (in MB). Additional notes and links for each provider are below the table.

The plans include unlimited calls to Australian mobile and landline numbers (including 13/1300/1800 numbers unless otherwise noted), and unlimited texts and MMS within Australia. International calls aren't usually covered in the basic credit, though some providers let you purchase add-ons for this and PennyTel has plans which include it.

Provider Network Cost Days Data (MB)
ALDI Mobile Telstra 3G $35.00 30 5000
Amaysim Unlimited Optus $39.90 30 4000
Boost UNLTD Telstra 3G $10.00 5 500
Boost UNLTD Telstra 3G $20.00 15 1000
Boost UNLTD Telstra 3G $40.00 30 3000
Hello Mobile Combo 30 Local Vodafone $30.00 30 1000
Lebara Mega Plan Vodafone $39.90 30 500
Live Connected Rapid XL Optus $55.00 30 3000
PennyTel Endless Lite Vodafone $35.00 30 5000
PennyTel Endless Standard Vodafone $45.00 30 5000
PennyTel Endless Ultimate Vodafone $59.00 30 7000

ALDI Mobile

While ALDI Mobile used the same wholesaler (ispONE) as Kogan Mobile, it managed to negotiate a separate deal with Telstra to continue its services. That said, we wouldn't be surprised if the terms and conditions change in the near future, perhaps with a reduction in the data allowance.

Amaysim

Amaysim is one of the longest-established MVNO players in Australia. It regularly runs discounts (such as reduced fees for the first month of signup). Only ALDI beats it in terms of data allowance.

Boost

Boost is owned by Telstra but operated as a separate brand with different pricing structures. The $10 plan is very poor value for data, and a five-day expiry only seems useful if you're absolutely short on cash or visiting Australia briefly.

Hello Mobile

The Hello Mobile plan is cheap for a reason: it only includes 1GB of data. If you're only a light smart phone user, that might not be a problem, but remember: uploading photos chews through data fairly fast.

Lebara

Lebara's offering is heavily focused on users who want to make calls to international numbers (we've only included the cheapest plan; you can pay more for extra call credit for overseas calls). For purely Australian calls, frankly it's a stupidly expensive choice given the low data allowances. It doesn't include 1300 calls as free.

Live Connected

Live Connected is the only plan we've listed that offers access to a 4G network (Optus' in this case). You do pay for the privilege, however; this is the most expensive plan in the table (outside PennyTel's internationally expanded deal).

PennyTel

PennyTel's basic Endless Lite offering matches ALDI Mobile in terms of data allowance, albeit on the Vodafone network. Its $45 Endless plan includes unlimited international calls to 45 countries, while its $59 Ultimate plan extends that list to 110 countries. (Check the details carefully; for most countries, calls to mobiles aren't included.)


Our conclusions? On Telstra's network, ALDI Mobile remains the best deal, provided the data allowance stays in place. Amaysim remains the best-value choice on Optus. PennyTel is cheap but runs on Vodafone (and its parent appears to have had some operational issues).

Know of an unlimited plan we've missed? Tell us in the comments and we'll add it.

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


Comments

    I remain hopeful that the same sort of scenario doesn't affect Boost Mobile. I'm with them on their UNLTD 40 offer which is working fantastic for me (despite the same carrier porting issues and messing around to port my number).

      The good thing about Boost Mobile, is that they deal directly with Telstra, not through a company like ISP One.

    slight typo under the ALDI segment I believe you are trying to say "used the same wholesaler (ispONE) as Kogan Mobile" rather than Telstra?

    Otherwise great article and I think this will help a lot of people, could you make a similar post for ipad sims? because not only was my phone on Kogan, my ipad is as well and I am browsing the options now :(

    Hello Mobile has an unlimited plan for $30 that includes 1GB data, billed per KB.

    Lebara's plan doesn't include unlimited calls to ten digit 1300 numbers-- these are an additional cost.

    Is the Aldi network still capped at 7.2mbps as opposed to Boost being 24mbps?

      I believe so, and Boost Mobile supports DC-HSPA+ (up to 42Mbps).

    I think it should be noted that Pennytel is currently in Administration.

    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=2120208

    It's not a good comparison to call both Aldi and Boost "telstra 3g" because aldi is (or was) on the limited range with pockets of 2g, whereas boost gets full 3g coverage - the same footprint as telstra nextg customers (albeit without 4g access).

      Agreed, it should really be 'Telstra 3G' for ALDI mobile and 'Telstra Next G' for Boost Mobile.

    Telstra don't own boost. Boost are a separate company who have partnered their brand with Telstra much like they had previously done with Optus.

    I was with Amaysim for a short time and seriously struggled to get data and MMS working consistently. (LG optimus black) Trying to pin down the correct APNs and keep them working was a nightmare.

    I swapped to boost (optus) and had no such problems.
    Then when boost disappeared briefly I found my way to Kogan.

    Yesterday I switched to Boost (telstra), I gotta say I was impressed with how simple and quick the porting was. Also, JB are doing $40 starter kits for $20 right now.

    The article didn't really take into consideration the differences between Boost Mobile compared to other Telstra Wholesale customers (such as ALDI mobile).

    42Mbps (DC-HSPA+) with Boost Mobile vs 7.2Mbps with ALDI Mobile
    99.3% of the population coverage vs 98.5% of the Australian population

    ALDI mobile does offer the best value for money deal, Boost Mobile is however a better option for those who want full access to Telstra's Next G network, without actually being with Telstra. Boost Mobile is definitely the better option for those who live in rural areas.

      Thanks Mark, I appreciate someone who knows the speeds. Most comments never include relevant data.
      So given that 8Mbps = 1MB/ps and we are dealing with a montly data allowence of between 1000MB and 5000MB over a 30 day period. Also assuming that most people may want to watch 720p videos on youtube, foxtel go/play or Netflix which require 4400Kbps (720HD) 8800+Kbps or 1MB/ps for (1920HD).

      So my point is at 8Mbps it would take 1.5 hours to use all of your 5gigs of monthy data on ALDI.
      With Boost 42Mbps you can use your 3gigs monthly data in 10min.

      Now am taking crazy pills or do we need more data for our dollar more than Speed on mobile data?

      What we need is appropriate data allowences, unlimited, subscription model. $per month 14Mbps down and 6Mbps up streem data will be adequate for the moment.
      Anything less, like we have now, low data allowence fast speed, is retarding the evolution of mobile computers online.

    there is no tethering but optus has the $2 days, unlimited calls, text and data

      Am I mistaken, or does the network have no say in whether you can tether or not if you're using an android phone?

      I tether my optus $2 day plan to my laptop all the time and nobodys (optus) done nothing about it

    just a heads up pennytel is using the vodafone network not optus as listed under coverage here:

    https://www.pennytel.com.au/downloads/critical-information-summaries/pennysim-endless-lite.html

    Pennytel's voice plans run on Vodafone I believe, it's pennydata sims definitely use vodafone (because I have one).

    Also you might want to know that Pennytel's plans are sort of prepaid in that you deposit money into your account from a credit card (or other methods) and the plan cost comes off that. They are a great company and their VOIP for naked DSL users is very reliable (so i only pay $5 per month for my home phone, calls included). It can be a little difficult to setup your account at first though. Worth it but.

    Also you have forgotten to include vaya.net.au (it's the parent of liveconnected now, after all). It's $3 cheaper than liveconnected's plan, with the same 3Gb allowance.

    Great write up though.

    Last edited 21/08/13 12:43 pm

      On my reading, Vaya was all contract.

        That's an epic fail on my part. I did not notice that this was only looking at prepaid options.

        Apologies.

    I agree with earlier posters - it's a bit misleading to claim ALDI has access to Telstra's network in the same way that Boost does... ALDI uses part of Telstra's 3G network, and some 2G as well. Boost uses all of Telstra's network except 4G, which results in increased coverage and speeds, and I imagine explains the price difference between the two providers.

    Perhaps next to ALDI "Telstra 3G/2G" and next to Boost "Telstra NextG" ?

    you missed woolworths mobile.

    im on 5gb data, $500 calls, 45 days. $30

      It's not an unlimited plan, hence not in here. (Not saying it's not a good deal, just falls outside the scope for this Planhacker.)

    Which telecom provider is going to help me achieve abs and a girlfriend like those in the cover pic? these are the real questions that need answering!

    Great review and super useful and timely for all the Kogan Mobile 'refugees'.

    Last edited 21/08/13 7:38 pm

    Totally switching to ALDImobile, Vodafone is too expensive especially for data!

    I guess I should mention Gotalk's unlimited pack since this post is supposed to have every Aussie unlimited plan. :) Offer is similar to Hello Mobile, although Gotalk has a port in promotion as well. IIRC they have the same parent company, so I guess that's no surprise.

    Read the fine print. Woolworths Cap charges $2 per Mb once you go over the 5Gigs. That last HD movie could cost you $2500: be warned that they have set a trap. Its typical of Woolworths and its called preying on consumers. The ACCC should look at this.

    Read it again. Vaya is prepaid month to month the same as Liveconnected. 24 month contract is an customer selectable option to lock Vaya in to current price and also offers a waiving of the $20 setup/SIM fee. If you included Liveconnected you should include Vaya

    I've just joined Lebara. The National Plan is $29.90 per month for unlimited talk and text in Australia with 1.5gb of 3g data. I thought it was a good deal. Now that I read the fine print, I discover that it doesn't include 10 digit 1300 numbers. I have to admit I have never rung such a number. Who has a 10 digit 1300 number?

    Aldi Mobile no longer offers 5gb for the $35 price, I made the mistake of porting and registering only for the bullshit disclaimer to come up afterwards saying the plan has changed and they now only offer 2.5gb for the same price. Looks like I'm off to amaysim, little discouraged by the optus infrasture used to have problems with it when I went rural and certain parts of sydney, but its the only privider with an exceptional data allowance, not even going to bother with Pennytel after reading customer reviews. Wish Boost would be more competitive.

    I have USB mobile accounts with Dodo and Optus both of which work on an Optus signal. I also have a My Sim Optus account and a Long Expiry Cap account with Optus. I am currently very, very disappointed with your Mobile prepaid service. Until about 3 months ago all was well but since then the connection speed has deteriorated to the point where on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and on weekdays between 5:30 pm and 9:30 pm it is unusable. I continually get 'This page cannot be displayed' notices. At the moment (ie. 7:42 pm) I am tethered (Optus does not allow tethering) to a Telstra signal Boost account and the speed is lightning fast at a time when Optus signals are not usable. Do you think I am going to continue with Optus? Duhh! At the moment with Boost, for $40, I can get unlimited calls and 3 Gb of data and I can tether my computer to my mobile phone. A lot of people like me will be leaving Optus and its clients like Dodo unless Optus gets its act together.

    As per Chris Nas' comments, Aldi has withdrawn the 5gb allowance, and replaced with 2.5gb. No email or SMS alert either. Just me wondering why my auto-recharge didn't go through.

    So my advice AVOID ALDI they are terrible at customer service.

    Side note, when I ported, my number stopped working on old carrier in about 25mins, but then didn't get fully ported until the end of that day. So, I guess I sghould have realised Aldi was a bad move then. Shame on me for sticking with them I guess.

Join the discussion!