Cheap mobile plans compared: best Australian options starting at under AU$10

best cheap cell phone plans under $40
(Image credit: H_Ko/Shutterstock)

While not everyone in Australia loves phones, most Aussies will agree that they've become a necessity in this constantly evolving world. Not only do they allow us to stay in touch with friends and relatives, but they also act as an invaluable tool for work and other tasks.

Thankfully, staying connected to the world around you has never been more affordable, thanks to the growing number of cheap mobile plans in Australia. 

While major carriers like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone offer large amounts of data and a wealth of inclusions, all that stuff does come at a significant cost. 

Luckily, there are a number of smaller telcos (or mobile virtual network operators — aka MVNOs) which have leased access to these networks, allowing them to provide phone and data services at a drastically reduced cost. And, with the exception of 5G access, you'll get more or less the same breadth and quality of coverage.

Just how cheap are these phone plans? SIM-only options which offer unlimited national calls and texts, along with a reasonable helping of data, can be found from as little as AU$10 per month. Of course, you'll need to read the fine print, as some of the cheaper plans are usually limited-time deals which go up in price after an initial promotional period.

Ultimately, the amount of value you receive will depend on whether you choose a prepaid or postpaid plan, and what your price limit is. Fortunately, there are plenty of 'no contract' options to choose from — some even offer larger-than-expected amounts of data. Here are the best cheap Australian mobile plans compared.

Best cheap prepaid plan

Yomojo (Big Kids Plan) | 6GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$12.90p/m (opens in new tab)

Yomojo (Big Kids Plan) | 6GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$12.90p/m (opens in new tab)

Offering a great overall balance between price and data, the affordable Big Kids Plan from Yomojo is a terrific option for those who value bang for buck. Running on the Optus 3G/4G network, Yomojo's 6GB plan gives you around 200MB to use per day over its 30-day renewal period, which should be enough for most casual users.

Total minimum cost is AU$12.90

Best cheap postpaid plan

Moose (8.80 SIM Only Promo) | 6GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$8.80p/m (first 6 months, then AU$14.80p/m) (opens in new tab)

Moose (8.80 SIM Only Promo) | 6GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$8.80p/m (first 6 months, then AU$14.80p/m) (opens in new tab)

From a value standpoint, it's hard to go past Moose's 8.80 SIM Only Promo plan, which offers 6GB of monthly data at a discounted price of just AU$8.80p/m for the first 6 months. After this promotional period, the monthly costs bumps up AU$14.80p/m, which is still quite reasonable. Running on the Optus network, that works out to 200MB per day.

Total minimum cost is AU$8.80

Best cheap big-data plan

Catch Connect (30 Day Plan - 18GB) | 18GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$15p/m (opens in new tab)

Catch Connect (30 Day Plan - 18GB) | 18GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$15p/m (opens in new tab)

In our estimation, Catch's 18GB 30 Day Plan is the easily the best option for those who want a hefty amount of monthly data at a price than can still be considered cheap. Best of all, that affordable AU$15 monthy price won't suddenly jump up after the first six months, as is the case with several other telcos offering a similar service. There are no lock-in contracts, however, Catch's plan will automatically renew every 30 days until you deactivate it. Catch's service runs on the Optus Network.

Total minimum cost is AU$15

Cheap mobile plans: what to look for

Obviously, value for money is essential when considering a cheap mobile phone plan. Seeing as most phone plans these days offer unlimited national calls and text, you're going to want to find a good balance between price and data allowance. Thankfully, those who are willing to pay just a few dollars more can usually score a significant bump in their monthly data limit.

That said, price isn’t the only criteria you should keep an eye on. You'll also want to consider which mobile network your discount carrier runs on. As we touched upon earlier, none of the smaller telcos which offer the cheapest plans actually operate their own network. 

Instead, each of these mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs, have leased access to networks built by one of Australia's three major carriers: Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. That means the quality of coverage in your area will likely depend on the mobile network that discount telco runs on. Before selecting any plan, you should always find out which major carrier network it operates on, and check the service in your region.

Our best cheap mobile phone plan search takes into account the merits of prepaid vs postpaid phone service, while also examining whether MVNOs are worth the money.

How we pick the best cheap cell phone plans

We're constantly looking at what Australian telcos offer as part of our research into the best mobile phone plans. That includes examining what's available from the major carriers — Telstra, Optus and Vodafone — as well as from smaller telcos which run on these carriers' networks. We check prices monthly, comparing what different services have to offer.

For our best cheap mobile plans guide, we set a jumping off point of around AU$10 per month, along with a monthly data limit of at least 2GB. Price is of the utmost importance in our rankings, though we've made an effort to steer you away from some very cheap plans which we believe don't offer good value for money. Our decisions take into account how much data each plan provides, and we've even calculated the average daily allowance and price per MB before coming to our conclusions, and we've also taken note of any perks to keep in mind. That can help distinguish two equally priced plans — or even highlight that a slightly more expensive plan offers better value overall.

Because mobile phone coverage can differ from area to area, we try to include a wide variety of phone plans starting from around AU$10 or less, so that you can find the best rate for the wireless service with the strongest coverage in your area.

Stephen Lambrechts

Stephen Lambrechts is the Managing Editor of Tom's Guide AU and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming for over a dozen years. Before Tom's Guide, he spent several years as a Senior Journalist at TechRadar, had a brief stint as Editor in Chief at Official Xbox Magazine Australia, and has written for such mags and sites as APC, TechLife Australia, T3, FilmInk, AskMen and IGN. He's an expert when it comes to smartphones, TVs, gaming and streaming. In his spare time, he enjoys watching obscure horror movies on physical media, keeping an eye on the latest retro sneaker releases, listening to vinyl and other non-hipster stuff.

  • PhilipMichaels
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/id-3463496/cheap-cell-phone-plans-month.html
    Reply
  • equsnarnd
    One wonders how you do your testing. It seems little more than an expansion of a sales brochure with no real knowledge of the carriers that you rate.

    For example, Straight Talk gives you 10GB of data, unlimited text and calls, all for $45 a month. Yet after being with Straight Talk for a few years I couldn't leave the plan fast enough. They lie, deceive, do things that are borderline corrupt and otherwise are an entirely rotten experience not worth any price. However, on paper they look great.

    If all you're doing is regurgitating their sales info or citing customer stats then you are offering no service at all and it would be better to stop doing these comparisons.

    What do I mean? Let me illustrate.

    1. Straight Talk doesn't tell you when you sign with them that whether you're choosing Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile as your network that you will be a 2nd class citizen, that you will have not only slower service but the quality of the signal is poorer. In areas where a plan has coverage it may not have high capacity so you won't have any coverage at all. When ST shows, eg, a coverage map from Verizon, that doesn't mean you have that coverage. Verizon customers do but you don't! That's lying.
    2. Buy a phone from ST and you will NEVER get updated to the next version of the OS like Verizon or AT&T and T-Mobile customers do. This is never mentioned anywhere. That's deception.
    3. If ST sends you the wrong phone because they screwed up, they will expect you to mail the phone back to them at your cost. That's corrupt.
    4. If 8 months into your plan, you want to upgrade your phone they are more than happy to oblige. But when you ask them to unlock your old phone so you can sell it they will tell you "NO." Why? They have a RULE. Their rule is they won't unlock any phone that has not had a year of service on it. Pretty unreasonable. And they'll do this with a phone they've sent you by mistake that you paid for. Ask them to unlock it so you can sell it rather than pay to return it and the answer is NO. See the rule.
    5. If you terminate service on your auto pay date so that you don't lose service time you've paid for, watch out. I told them three weeks ahead of time that I wanted to terminate service on my next auto pay date. They said fine and in the last week they sent me a text a day reminding me that my service would terminate and did I want to buy more minutes. What they never bothered to tell me is that if I didn't request to have my phone # ported to my new carrier before the termination took effect that they would not port it. RULE No phone number will be ported that is not an active #. The service ended at noon and I was asking to have it ported by 4 the same afternoon.

    These are the sorts of things that Straight Talk does that can turn a business relationship into pure hell. Now, how many of these companies that you have reported on have you queried about these things, queried their customers about? How much do you actually know about what it is like to deal with MetroPCS? My guess is, not much at all.

    And just so you don't think I'm biased against Straight Talk, let me tell you something Verizon does that, as corporate policy, is idiotic, anti-customer, anti-marketing, violates any business or common sense: I have an LG V10 with an FM radio chip in it that can pick up FM broadcasts. Verizon turns off that function so that if you want to use the FM radio you are forced to stream it as part of your paid for data stream. They charge $50 a month for 7GB of data and $10 for each 1GB over that. How petty of them and what a great way to create enmity among their customers. One wonders where their upper management went to business school. Seems more like the Mafia than Whartons.

    A review of carriers as businesses, their ethics, their practices as regards their customers would be welcomed and valuable.
    Reply
  • rernst75
    MERGED QUESTIONQuestion from rernst75 : "One word: Consumer Cellular- Fantastic!"
    What about Consumer Cellular for low-cost excellent wireless phone carriers? I have used their service for 3 years and never once, did i have a problem! I pay only $28.50 per month for unlimited data, talk,and text. I love their service which is in the United States!!
    Reply
  • mddbkzr
    My "Best pricing options" suggestions:

    Mint Mobile: $15/mo for unlimited talk and text, and 2GB data. Uses T-mobile towers. Great for GSM phones. They have some you can buy or they allow BYOP. Also allows you to use the phone as a hotspot.

    Secondary option for people with CDMA phones: PagePlus $26/mo (with autopay) for unlimited talk/text, and 2GB data (beyond 2GB it is throttled down to "2G" speed but still chugs along), AND it uses Verizon towers for the best US coverage.

    I suggest removing any NVMO that uses Sprint, they have the worst coverage, and even their own coverage maps lie. Can be in an area 5 miles from city limits along a major interstate that shows full 4G on their map and you're sitting there with no service, not even analog 1X. I ran into this way too often a few years ago during my travels through the southeastern US. 98% of the time on the road even in remote rural areas, my wife had Verizon 3G/4G signal, versus 65% of the traveling I had ZERO signal with Sprint (well a compatible company, FreedomPop, but I had same problem with Sprint directly previous to FP). Oh and while we're talking about FreedomPop, with their scam extra fees (their free plan actually charges you $2.95-$4.95 per month), and their HORRIBLE customer service, the only positive with that company is they do not charge you to leave them (but I'm sure they will find a way to charge a "deactivation fee" soon enough).
    Reply
  • mcgregorsteve78
    good article, yet interested why you would choose a company that makes you use wifi as best deal for $25 with 2GB. I fired Repbblic because I was sick of the wifi goofiness. I found twigby and it is the same price AND I get to use Verizon and Sprint combined. I don't think any of these carriers let you do that. I dont know about your scoring, but Coverage is a big deal to me. Just thought I would point this out. Do with what you want with it
    Reply
  • thatpcdudellc
    I have been approached about a plan being sold via MLM called MCS Telecom AKA MCS USA. They are claiming to sell a plan that costs you $300 up front (plus $48 if you wish to port your existing number) and you will get service for 9 YEARS at no additional charge. They use the GSM networks and provide service to 93 countries. They give you SIM card that you put in your unlocked phone and PRESTO you have service for 9 years. Unlimited voice, text and Internet (although the fine print says they may throttle after 2 GB).

    mcstelecom . com

    When asked on how they will generate revenue to carry the company for 9 years, they CLAIM that they (and ALL the major carriers) make money just by having the phone on. He went on to claim that the major carriers could give us all our plan for free and still make money, LOTS of money. Somehow I doubt these claims and feel this is all too good to be true. Any comments on how this kind of business plan could work?
    Reply
  • rgd1101
    21254464 said:
    I have been approached about a plan being sold via MLM called MCS Telecom AKA MCS USA. They are claiming to sell a plan that costs you $300 up front (plus $48 if you wish to port your existing number) and you will get service for 9 YEARS at no additional charge. They use the GSM networks and provide service to 93 countries. They give you SIM card that you put in your unlocked phone and PRESTO you have service for 9 years. Unlimited voice, text and Internet (although the fine print says they may throttle after 2 GB).

    mcstelecom . com

    When asked on how they will generate revenue to carry the company for 9 years, they CLAIM that they (and ALL the major carriers) make money just by having the phone on. He went on to claim that the major carriers could give us all our plan for free and still make money, LOTS of money. Somehow I doubt these claims and feel this is all too good to be true. Any comments on how this kind of business plan could work?

    Look a lot like scam
    Reply
  • Dark Lord of Tech
    TOTAL Wireless is on the Verizon Network and is the best in my opinion.
    35.00 a month for unlimited talk and text and 5GB of Data. If you purchase a refill at Walmart you get 6GB of Data instead of the standard 5GB.
    Reply
  • kjwfromnh
    You’ve obviously not used MetroPCS. They were horrible. I traveled for work during the time I used Metro and in half of my locations I had no service. They sold knock-off phones that quit in months (I went thru 3 phones in about 14 months). Their customer service wasn’t just bad, they were dishonest. Stay. away.
    Reply
  • hrsweet3
    My carrier is RedPocket through whom I get Verizon service. I pay $10 + tax per month for 500 minutes, 500 text messages, and 500 MB of data. This is fine for a low usage user. RedPocket also has plans offering higher service levels.
    Reply