Do you remember when Optus used to include unmetered social media data in plans? Back in the good old days when most of Facebook was text-based and videos were unheard of.
These days, social media is one of the major data killers on our phones, not just because of the prevalence of videos, but also to the way that social media platforms prioritise the visibility of video. We recently ran a few tests and found that an hour of regular Facebook browsing uses about 80MB, an hour of watching videos on Facebook uses (a pretty reasonable) 160MB, and that an hour in Instagram burns through a huge 720MB.
Which is a long way of saying what you already know: you need data. Lots of it.
Happily, the telcos are listening and data inclusions are moving upwards in big chunks. Below are the plans with the biggest data inclusions you can buy right now.
Contract Plans - the big kahunas
If you are looking for the fastest speeds and the most data, then you might also consider signing a contract; and in many cases, getting a new phone.
Optus has been leading the pack for a while now with its 100GB plan for $160 per month. The plan also includes unlimited international calls to 32 countries, and international roaming in Zone 1 countries. It's really a hamburger with the works.
Telstra has a similar plan for $195. It also includes the international inclusions, and 75GB data, though only until the start of September. After the promotion finishes, it reverts back to 30GB per month.
No Contract Plans - $40 or less
When it comes to no contract BYO phone plans, you really don't need to speed more than $40 per month. Recent price changes mean that several Optus network suppliers now have plans with about 10GB for around $35 per month. And, if you act quickly, you can get 20GB per month with Vaya.
One interesting option worth considering is Jeenee Mobile. It has introduced a new 'data bump' feature where your data inclusions increase over time. Stay on the $35 plan for six months and your data goes from 10GB to 11GB per month. Stay for a year, and it goes up to 12GB per month.
3G Only Plans - data vs speed
Some of the more interesting big data options are the 3G only plans available from a handful of Optus network MVNOs. These plans come with oodles of data, but are limited to 3G speeds.
You may turn your nose up at 3G speeds, but I think it is a pretty good trade off. Typically the download speeds are fine, but you do notice a small decrease in latency, meaning that webpages take a moment before they start to appear. For other things, like Spotify, YouTube and even Netflix, 3G speeds are perfectly usable.
If you're unsure, go into your phone's settings and turn off 4G for a few hours to see for yourself. There's certainly a ton of data available if you don't mind the 3G speed hump.
Joe Hanlon is Publisher at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website. He’s been writing about phones and plans for far too long.