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
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.
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