Ask LH: How Can I Find A Good 4G Plan With Lots Of Data?

Hi Lifehacker, I'm looking to get a 4G plan for my mobile phone. I'm currently with Aldi Mobile but have just bought the Nexus 5 and so I want to shift to a 4G plan.

Is there a 4G plan around that allows you to tailor the plans to your specific needs, such as choosing fewer phone calls but increasing your available data? Thanks, May The 4G Be With Me

Phone picture from Shutterstock

Dear MT4GBWM,

We certainly think getting off ALDI Mobile is a wise idea. Given the recent halving of the data allowance and the exit of so many other resellers this year, we'll be quite surprised if the provider is still around at this time next year.

But where should you move to? Data will certainly be a key consideration. No matter which 4G network you connect to (Optus, Telstra or Vodafone), the 4G LTE network will only be used for data. It is possible to use that network bandwidth for voice, but none of Australia's providers have yet announced plans to do so. One upside: no network is charging extra for 4G access yet — if your phone is capable, you can use the network.

Despite that, finding a plan you can customise is almost impossible. All three main providers largely use the same model: a range of plans which increase both the value of calls and the amount of data available. The more you spend, the more you'll get (and if you spend above $60 on a contract plan, you'll typically have unlimited calls and texts).

However, the only options you have for increasing your data allowance are to buy a pricier plan or (with some providers) to pay a separate fee for an additional data block. No provider we know of lets you trade call value for data value, whether on a 4G network or not (if anyone knows differently, please tell us in the comments and we'll update).

The closest option we can think of is the Encore Cap prepaid plan which we recommend for Telstra users. As well as giving you a call and data allocation, that plan also gives you monthly "credit" which you can spend on additional services. You can spend that on data, meaning you get 3.8GB of data plus $950 of call credit for $50 total each month. It's not exactly customisation, but it's close.

For other recommendations, check out our guide to the best prepaid plans available on each network. A final point? If at all possible, check what the 4G reception is like on each network at your home and work locations before signing up. That way, you maximise your chances of enjoying 4G's better performance.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    Dear MT4GBWM,

    You should have a look at http://www.vaya.net.au as they offer 4G plans on Optus, and for $18, you can have $650 worth of calls and 1.5 Gb and you can add bolt-ons of 1 Gb for $7, meaning $25 for 2.5 Gb, $32 for 3.5 Gb and so on. I am just waiting for my contract with Optus to finish to switch to them.
    My wife has been using their plans for 6 months without any problem!
    Cheers,
    Benbong

    Last edited 04/11/13 9:02 am

      Nice one. I hadn't heard of these guys, but since TPG have changed their plans I figure it's only a matter of time before they change the plans for those already with them.

      Do you (or anyone reading this) have any first hand experience with them?

      LiveConnected (same company as Vaya) has a better offering. Vaya uses 1MB / session block, where as LiveConnected 1KB / Session block.

        Agreed. Be very careful with Vaya... as they round up to 1MB per session, they can inflate your usage by a factor of ~10 if you terminate many small sessions throughout the day (i.e. check emails and disconnect).
        LiveConnected is a much better deal.

    Use http://www.whistleout.com/

    Best fit so far is Vaya,
    $19.50/month

    1.5 gb data
    $650 of calls

    YMMV

    With the Telstra Prepaid, I use my phone to tether and only receive phone calls, I found out last week the $950 call credit is used at $2/MB so you also get over 400MB of data there as well. I was throwing away the call credit each time my data allowance ran out. Keep that in mind.

      Anything to do with Telstra is either complicated or way over priced. I am lucky to make 2 local calls a week on my landline so this dribble about $650 worth of free calls is nonsense to me. I would rather have the download increased as I use about 10 gig a month. Therefore I only use a Tower that has unlimited downloads for $29.95 with One seniors and a line rental for $20 a month. iPhone users have no brains in my book. It is all a con and no one has woken up to it yet. 400 mb would last me about 2 days lolololol

        Ah yes One Seniors, I'll look them up in 30 years.

        Last edited 04/11/13 11:02 am

      You can use the recharge credit balance to buy Browse Plus Packs.

    Optus offers 4G prepaid for $2/day you get 500MB and unltd calls and txt/mms. That's $60/mth for 15Gb. And it tethers. Boom!

    We certainly think getting off ALDI Mobile is a wise idea

    So... Underdog (within australia) carrier gets screwed by what is a pseudo-monopoly on infrastructure here in Australia.. And you think it's good customers leave them for this? Because that will definitely encourage a good free market right?

    I can see how you might feel this way given the sheer eyefuck that is your Telstra advertising.

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