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.
|ALDI Mobile||Telstra 3G||$35.00||30||5000|
|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|
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 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 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.
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'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 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'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.