Mobile Plans: How Much Data And Calls Do You Really Get?

Back in May, the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) reported what you and I already knew: "The complexity of plans and how they are framed make it virtually impossible to compare them accurately." That got local price comparison site, WhistleOut, crunching the numbers, and the result is this fantastic infographic.

Over in the US and UK, mobile phone plans are largely advertised with the minutes of calls you receive per month. That definitely helps when you're making comparisons. In Australia though, 'cap' values have over time become confusing at best, and misleading at worst. The gradual shift to 'Unlimited' voice plans (dubbed Infinite by Vodafone, for instance) have helped matters, but there's still a lot of plans out there.

Focusing only on converting talk time "value" to "minutes", WhistleOut used the total monthly value on calls, but didn't factor in text messages. You may also note that they haven't included free calls: Virgin to Virgin or Vodafone to Vodafone, for instance.

Calculations used by the self-described telco-independent site did assess call rates, flagfall charges and data plans. Call lengths were averaged to 3 minutes. [WhistleOut]


Comments

    Amaysim looks like an attractive option for me coming off contract... anyone care to comment on their experience with them?

      Check out whirlpool.net, Amaysim's been talked about forever and a day

      There's a few options for pay as you go sims, just read the fine print first.

        Lazy me, that's whirlpool.net.au

      Love them to bits. They have a great Iphone app aswell, very clear and easy to see your usage.
      in my area data streams very nice and havent had trouble in the locations I have tried.
      Call center is very slow and only week days, but it is Australian and gives us jobs so Im happy to wait, seeing as the product is spot on in my books

    Why am I not on AMAYSIM $39.95 plan

      Ditto!!

      What network do they use?

        I recently changed to the prepaid $39.90 unlimited + 4GB plan and its exceptional!

        I used to be with Virgin, and amaysim also use Optus so coverage is just as good for me! Best value plan I've seen. Highly recommend it.

        Amaysim uses the Optus network

    This is a helpful graph... but it doesn't take into account how many free call I make, as a Virgin mobile customer, to other Virgin Mobile subscribers. On my $19 plan I may get half the data as those on Vodafone and optus, and 24mins less talk time, but I talk to my wife, my sister and some friends for free. These make up the vast majority of my calls (100 minutes a month or more) and puts me easily in front.

    This muddies the waters a bit, I'm sure you'll agree.

      @NacaYoda The article does mention this.

    This graph does help get you in the ballpark when it comes to comparing service. but 'value' is subjective.

    If you don't get coverage, your unlimited AMAYSIM minutes are useless. Depending on your usage of course.

    I've recently switched back to Telstra after a long time with Voda. Despite the MANY initial customer service hickups, I can't fault the coverage and will find it hard to switch to any other carrier.

    So, which is better value? The one you can use.

    This is misleading because it doesn't take into account handset costs. For example, the $39.95 Amaysim plans are sim only, where as the Telstra $79 freedom plan includes a $20 mobile repayment option (MRO). The $59 BYO (which is the same as the $79 freedom plan but without the handset MRO) should be used for comparison..

      Why should the 59 byo be used for comparison , Telstra has a 49 byo option as well. Either way, they both require a min 12 month commitment, whereas the amaysim option is a month to month deal. Clearly it's the better deal by far. Now if only we could do something about the optus coverage and speeds

        I think hes saying that a BYO plan shouldnt be compared to a non BYO plan, so in your case the $49 and $59 BYO plans would both be compared against Amaysims one (many carries have multiple plans listed so you can list both the 49 and 59 ones).

        It seems a bit silly to me to say that the Amaysim plans clearly the better value plan in one sentence and in the next say "if only we could do something about the optus coverage and speeds" too. If the service quality is as bad as you make out then its very debatable whether the Amyasims one is in fact better value. As always, theres no point paying for all that data or calls if you cant make use of them.

    I am with amaysim, they use the optus network which is much more reliable than vodafone who i was with previously.

    They do charge extra for calls to 13 & 18 numbers though the rates are very cheap - 15c/min. A trick to get around that is I look on the internet for the international number, every 13 and 18 number has one, then save it in your phone you never have to worry about finding it again and dose not cost anything to call.

    I will never use another provider as long as they keep doing what there doing they have me for life. No lock in contracts what more could i ask for.

      Shouldn't the 18/1300 numbers be in the "unlimited" one anyway?

      Or you can download 13Save for $2.50 in the App Store which links all the 1300 and 1800 numbers to fixed line numbers which are included in the amaysim unlimited plan

    No love for TPG? Optus network, $10 for 250MB/136 mins, $19 for 1GB/360 mins, $36 for 2GB/655 mins.

    Contract-free, double the mins if you include calls to TPG phones, cheaper for TPG broadband customers, and their $1 plan is awesome for low-usage phones. Makes the others look very overpriced IMHO.

      Nope, not listed on the WhisleOut site for comparison either.

      Agree TPG cap values are very competitive. Just don't ask them to switch on Global Roaming unless you don't mind them holding onto $120 of your hard earned for 3 months plus...

      I agree! TPG use optus' network as well and they are just amazing. I was with 3 and rarely got reception and now it's the opposite, plus if you use their internet service the plans drop an extra $3-$5 or so.

      Yeah I don't know why TPG isn't there. Very strange.

      I'm on the TPG $18.99 or $19.99 (or thereabouts) cap.

      I get 500MB of data (way more than I need as I have internet at work and at home-TPG Unlimited) $350 for any Network and $350 for TPG.

      My only issue is that I'm like the only person that I know that's on TPG, apart from my ex..... but 'sif I'm gonna use my TPG2TPG credit on her.

    I would be interested to see value in regards to cap plans to just paying per minute/sec...

    Virgin $19 prepaid gets me $50 credit + 50MB included Data + 1 GB Bonus Data + Free Virgin-to-Virgin calls and text. Unused data and credit gets carried over. The Bonus data offer has been there for more than a year now - they just keep on extending the offer. Once in a while I go for the $45 recharge which gives me $700 credit which I can then keep rolling over with my $19 recharges. The only cons: should remember to recharge every 28 days, data connection is patchy with Optus network (inner city Melbourne)

    I'm with Telstra. Always have been, since I originally lived in Tassie (and unless you're right in middle of the city, Telstra is the only feasable option). Anyway, with Telstra, although I've found expensive compared to other plans in terms of data allowance/calls, I've found have amazing coverage. I get 3G almost anywhere in Melbourne and all outter suburbs.

    On the other hand, I live with my girlfriend who is on 3, and she rarely gets any 3g coverage unless she is in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. And seeing as where we live, there is no coverage, her plan seems almost useless. Oh plus she gets a lovely sms from 3 at least once or twice everyday just to say hello...

    I am also on the $19 Virgin Fair Go
    Currently get an extra 1Gb free data which rolls over to a max 5Gb month to month.
    Although in saying this it looks like it expires end of this month. Has been great for the past 6 months though. Hopefully they carry it over for another few months.

    aren't some of the Data allowances in plans based on 10MB per connect(session)...
    So if your phone checks your gmail (few kB) bam! 10MB of your cap gone.
    Correct me if i'm wrong.

    I'm just suprised to see that Telstra isn't the big leader I thought they were. And Apple have 52% share? I knew it was high, but thats a huge number

      Its based on the sites readership. Telstra would have a far larger percentage overall I imagine given they appeal to customers who aren't necessarily shopping around or finding themselves on a site such as that.

      Similar to how I imagine nationally Bigpond ranks higher than its 4th position at whirlpool.net.au; and I couldnt imagine Internode would be number 1.

    What about how much data you can *realistically* use, and calls you can *realistically* make without dropping out, or being unable to hear the other person, when using Optus/Vodafone?

    Obviously if you can't use it, it's not particularly good value for money.

    Telstra prepaid plans are now better value than their contract plans! $60 recharge gives you $60+$940 ($1000= around 1000 minutes) credit and 3GB of data! Plus no contract...
    And after recently switching from vodafone i'm not surprised to say the reception is a far better too!!!

      Its better than that...the recharge amount is separate to the cap value so if you recharge with $60 you get the base 3GB + $940 in calls and then have $60 to spend spearatly which you can use to buy a data pack ($59 gives you 4GB) so really $60 can get you 7GB + $940 in calls...assuming you dont need any of that credit for anything that wouldnt be counted in the cap.

      Theres similar cominations you can do with cheaper ones that net good results...I just moved to Telstra and opted for the $50 Weekend+ cap which has a base 2GB and if I need to I can buy a 3GB data pack to get 5GB out of that recharge amount.

    While ROAMING exists, the whole mobile charging scheme is a complete scam. Roaming needs to be deleted from the program. It's impossible to know when your phone will switch from one site to the next so we have no control over it. '3' gives me a wireless broadband modem with my phone deal with 1GB of data included. They didn't bother to tell me that at 50c/Mb, I'd have to pay $500 each time I used that 1GB because I am in a roaming zone and it's not even a rural area.
    SCAM! It's ALL a bloody SCAM!

      This. Any perceived value I got from the 3 plans were easily wiped out by their ridiculous roaming charges, which you cannot control. I switched to telstra - no roaming.

    defo changing across to amaysim when you pooptus contract runs out.

    I'd say telstra prepaid plans are a bit of a gem as far as Telstra goes. Get a cap plan, their the Cap+ or Weekend cap which includes a set amount of calls outside of the actual recharge amount and you can then use the actual credit to buy a data pack.

    On the Weekend+ which has free calls and text on weekends plus enough extra during the week for my needs and 2 gigs of data. Using the $50 recharge that 2GB can be turned into 5GB.

    I know its $11 more than say the Amaysim plan, but I'd rather be on the telstra network and you do get an extra gig going that route.

      Ohh and to add, being prepaid there isn't the 12 month contract of the BYO plans

    Im on the optus unlimited prepaid, costs me 60 dollars a month no restrictions on what numbers I call 13/1800/1300, plus unlimited data (stream music or TV all day , 800Mb-1GB daily) For me its been fantastic , SA Metro no dropouts no issues.

    Ill never go on a post pay cap ever again (personal use) - biggest lie ever. Prepay all the way

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