If you're travelling overseas for an extended work or holiday trip and want to keep your phone number for when you return, then moving it to a long expiry prepaid deal is your cheapest option. We've rounded up the best offers available from every major carrier in Australia.
Paris picture from Shutterstock
We're big fans of going prepaid for everyday use, but long expiry plans serve a fairly specific niche. Giving you the ability to "park" a number for an extended period is the most obvious these days. Long-expiry plans are also popular with very light mobile users, who want the ability to be contacted but don't plan on making many calls, but that's a less prevalent attitude these days.
Typically, these plans will have relatively expensive rates for calls and data -- we don't recommend any of them if you want to actually use your phone. But as a means of holding on to a number you don't want to use actively for a while but don't want to give up, they're easily the most affordable option. (In that context, the network they use is also largely irrelevant.)
Below we've listed the longest-running prepaid plan available from each major carrier, including how long it lasts and the minimum top-up. In cases where the 365-day plan is particularly expensive, we've also noted any 180-day plans available. Plans running for less than 90 days aren't included. Remember that if you don't top up the plan after expiry, you'll potentially lose access to the number. (If you're travelling, you can usually top up via the relevant site from overseas.)
|ALDI Mobile||$15.00||365 days|
|Just Mobile||$15.00||180 days|
|Virgin Mobile||$15.00||180 days|
|Virgin Mobile||$49.00||365 days|
In pure pricing terms, ALDI Mobile is the one to beat for a 365-day deal. However, migrating your number to a plan with your existing carrier is likely to be a little simpler, and ALDI's reputation for customer service is variable, so you might want to factor that into your thinking too.
Spotted a plan we've missed? (We try our best, but it happens!) Tell us about it in the comments.
Lifehacker's Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals.