It can seem like almost everyone has had a bad experience with the big three telcos. Their massive customer bases mean it's not hard to find someone who feels like they've been wronged. But if you're after a new phone plan, Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus aren't your only options.
There's now a whole mass of a small providers - Mobile Virtual Network Operators, or MVNOS - who resell access to the same networks without carrying the same baggage associated with the bigger brands. And based on Product Review, MVNO customers often appear to be happier with their service.
You can probably chalk some of this up to cost; since MVNOs are a little more “no-frills”, their plans are often cheaper. And who doesn't love saving money? Since these telcos aren't as widely recognised as the big three, we're going to take a look at the best plans from some of our favourite smaller providers.
SIM-only plans with at least 10GB
Jeenee Mobile will do 15GB for just $22 per month on a 24-month contract. While you’ll pay an upfront fee of $12.37, Jeenee has one inclusion you won't get anywhere else: warm fuzzies. In addition to being a telco, Jeenee Mobile is a charitable organisation that donates phone plans to Australians living with disabilities. Jeenee Mobile is powered by the Optus network.
Even though you have to sign a contract, Jeenee's plan is pretty great. For comparison, this time last year, you were looking at between $30 and $40 per month to get 15GB on the Optus network.
If you'd prefer a no-contract plan, SpinTel is a good choice: $25.95 per month will get you 10GB of data on a month-to-month basis. SpinTel is also powered by the Optus network.
SIM-only plans with at least 30GB
The first plan you'll see here might seem too good to be true, and it is. Catch Connect is currently running deep discounts on its prepaid plans, which gets you your first month of a 32GB plan for just $4.90. Bargain! You'll normally pay $49.90 for this plan, but since Catch Connect is prepaid, you can always leave after your 30-day recharge runs out. Catch Connect is powered by the Optus network.
If you're after something a bit more long-term, Think Mobile's $37 per month plan gets you 40GB on a 12-month contract. In terms of pure value, it's one of the best phone plans going around right now. Think Mobile is powered by the Vodafone network.
Boost Mobile also has an offer worth calling out: its $50 plan currently gets you 32GB of data, plus a bonus 23GB on your first five recharges. That’s a total of 55GB. It is however worth noting that Boost's recharges have a 28-day expiry, which means you'll be recharging 13 times per year, rather than 12. Boost Mobile is powered by the Telstra network.
SIM-only plans with at least 50GB
If you’re after a big kahuna of a phone plan, smaller providers still have you covered. Think Mobile is again a winner with 80GB for $48 per month, on a 12-month contract.
Vaya is a good option if you’re after a month-to-month plan. $56 per month gets you 50GB. If you’re okay with committing to a six-month term, you can get an extra 10GB per month for the same price. Vaya is powered by the Optus network.
SIM-only plans with at least 1GB
And if you don't need much data or are just after a SIM for a family member who doesn't use their phone much, you should consider one of these smaller inclusion plans.
While around $10 for 1GB is reasonably standard in this part of town, there's still a few standouts. In terms of bang for buck, it's hard to go past SpinTel. $9.95 per month gets you 1.5GB on a month-to-month basis with no upfront setup fees.
If you'd prefer Telstra coverage, Belong is a good choice at $10 for 1GB per month. Better yet, you can bolt on unlimited international calls to 35 countries for just $5 more per month.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website. He's now had far too many phone plan related dreams.
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