There's never been a better time to unshackle yourself from your mobile contract and sign up to a prepaid plan. This holds true whether you're a penny pincher who's worried about bill shock, or a power user who wants tons of commitment-free data. Here are the best plans currently available for both types of user.
In a (reasonably) recent Deloitte survey, over a third of people said that the feature they want most in a phone plan is unlimited data. Which isn’t surprising, but we also know that the average data use in Australia is just over 2GB per month, and the average data search in our comparison tool is about 6GB per month; that's a long way from unlimited.
If you ask me, people don't necessarily want unlimited data, they want to stop thinking about how much data they use, and they don't want to pay excess usage charges when they hit their limits. Happily, there is a way to avoid these things right now, and the answer is prepaid phone plans.
The key advantage to choosing a prepaid plan over a no-contract 'SIM Only' plan is the hard limit on what you spend. If you reach your data limit you need to manually choose to top-up, so there can be no surprises. Most prepaid plans have features like auto-renewal as an account setting these days, so you don't have to worry about topping up each month. It's the best of both worlds.
Here are some of the best prepaid plans around at the moment:
High Data Prepaid plans
In terms of basic features, there really is no difference between a prepaid plan and a SIM Only plan these days. The plans are packed with data, and the price is right. With some of the major telcos you might miss out on bonus content offers, like data-free music streaming, but then you have stacks of data for streaming anyway.
A few cheaper options
The other thing to keep an eye on is credit expiry periods. Typically a provider will have either 28-days, a calendar month or 35-day expiry options for their high-data prepaid options.
This can make a pretty big difference, where 28-days means you recharge 13 times each year, while 35-days will have you recharging 10 or 11 times a year. When the difference in plans can be a few dollars per recharge, saving a couple of months each year adds up.
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.