Ask LH: Are There Unlimited Mobile Plans For Business?

Dear Lifehacker, I see a lot of mobile plans that provide unlimited calls and text plus a (varying) chunk of data. They seem to be mostly around the $40 mark. All the ones I've looked at invariably say "Personal Use Only". Are there similar plans for business? The usage (in our case) is not excessive but we'd like a fixed monthly cost. Thanks, Bargain Hunter

Phone user picture from Shutterstock

Dear BH,

There are plenty of fixed-price prepaid plans out there, and we've highlighted the best ones available recently in the past. You're correct, however: all of these plans are specifically listed as for personal use only, and aren't designed for businesses.

In practical terms, if you're a sole trader and aren't using your phone constantly, a prepaid provider is unlikely to notice or care if you're using a phone for business purposes. However, it is against the conditions, and if your provider does notice (if you make a support call, for instance), you won't have any grounds for complaint if they disconnect you or ask you to move to a different plan.

There are definitely business plans out there which offer unlimited calls, but they rarely fall at the $40 price point. You're more likely to pay closer to three figures. (If readers know of specific exceptions, please share them in the comments!)

One theoretical upside of a business-specific plan is that you should receive better support if there's a problem (though this isn't always the case). The downside is that often you're charged more for the same call inclusions and data, and that business plans are generally contract rather than prepaid.

Business plans also often include other features, such as free calls between people working in the same business or the ability to share a pool of data amongst multiple phones. We're not going to single out and recommend a single plan for your needs, since so many variables are involved. Like any phone plan, it's a matter of carefully identifying your usage patterns and matching what's out there.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    iiNet's business mobile plans - $69 for unlimited calls/texts + 5GB: http://www.iinet.net.au/business/small/mobile-office/mobile-sim/

    Thanks for this. It's of great interest to me.

    Yes iinets business offerings are breaking the mould and needs to be checked out.

    Vodafone unlimited: $45/user/month. Very reasonable price, great customer service (you'll always go straight to the tasmanian call centre), but the shared data pool only works out to 500mb per number. You may have to add some extra data packs to the pool. Hardware allowance is about $230 per number over the 2-year contract.
    One Quirk: They sell these plans in blocks of numbers, so if you have 18 users you buy a 20-number block. it's handy in that all your contracts expire and get renewed at once, but it means you have to estimate your user numbers pretty accurately ahead of time.

    Optus unlimited: A few options, the 'Timeless Advantage' ones are what we went for (about $69/user/month). Bigger network, worse customer service, but the data averages out to 2gb per user. Hardware allowance is $550 per number over the two years.

    Telstra unlimited: $130-ish/user/month. Biggest network. Better customer service than optus, worse than vodafone. 3gb of data per month per user. I don't think that option comes with a hardware allowance, but they have some pricier options that do.

    If their coverage is acceptable where you are, I'd recommend vodafone. Their plans are cheaper even when you take hardware allowance and extra data into account, and the customer service is so much better than the competition it's not funny. Their billing also makes much more sense (optus billing for shared data is the most godawful design choice ever) and the self-service options tend to be better.

    Last edited 18/11/13 6:01 pm

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