5 phone plan secrets that will save you money

What you need to know to get the best mobile deal for you

Our smartphone addiction is here to stay and it seems like every year we get hungrier for data. Music streaming, podcasts, Netflix, the list goes on. But as our thirst for data increases, so do the prices of our phone plans.

But with a little bit of knowledge, you can end up saving hundreds of dollars every on your phone plan. Here’s what you need to know.

Prepaid deals are for everyone now

There used to be a time when prepaid was best for low-volume mobile users. Not anymore. Prepaid SIM cards today offer fantastic value, big data and a fool-proof way of making sure you never exceed your cap. If you use up all your data, you get cut off unless you pay for more. And all prepaid deals are no contract which is great if you like to shop around or want to try out an unknown brand name without making a commitment.

Prepaid deals with big data and unlimited talk and text

Belong Mobile is actually owned by Telstra

If you want savings but still don’t feel ready to abandon a telco you know and trust, it may comfort you to know that the cut-price mobile service Belong is actually owned by Telstra. Consider Belong the Jetstar of the mobile phone world. No frills, cheaper prices, but with a major brand name hidden behind it. All Belong plans are no contract, offer a choice of 5G or 15GB and include data rollover, which can be a great money-saver if your data use varies month to month.

Belong plans with unlimited talk and text

Virgin Mobile is actually owned by Optus

If Optus coverage is better for you, instead of Belong you can go with Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile has built a reputation for having some of the best bang-for-buck plans around, particularly for deals with big data. Like Belong, Virgin offers data rollover. But unlike Belong, Virgin Mobile sells phones as part of some plans. But before you sign up for monthly handset payments, make sure you read secret number four …

Virgin Mobile SIM-only plans

It’s cheaper to buy your smartphone outright

Once upon a time it may have been cheaper to get a smartphone on a contract, but those days are over. At WhistleOut, we’ve studied the price of phone contracts for major new releases like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the iPhone X and the results are clear: it’s cheaper to buy your phone outright and get a SIM-only plan. Buying this way can save you as much as $300 over a two-year period.

And going for a SIM-only plan can save you money in other ways. By signing a contract-free deal from the likes of amaysim or Belong you’re free to jump ship the next time another telco offers a better deal. And there are lots of deals on the market these days, offering major incentives like double data or 50% off.

Of course, not everyone has the kind of ready cash you need to buy the latest Galaxy or iPhone just lying around. Even if you can’t buy outright this time, consider planning to make an outright purchase the next time you want to upgrade your phone. In the long-run, your wallet will thank you.

The little guys have big network coverage

You might have seen some great deals going from companies like Boost Mobile, amaysim and other companies you’ve never heard of before. You might’ve dismissed these offers, imagining nightmare scenarios of patchy or no network coverage. What you might not know is that behind every minor Australian phone brand is a major Australian network.

There are actually only three mobile networks in Australia: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. All other service providers are what we call Mobile Virtual Network Operators. These MVNOs buy access to one of the three networks and resell the service on to you. Boost Mobile, for example, is on the Telstra network. amaysim provides coverage from Optus.

Because MVNOs have lower overheads and smaller advertising budgets they can end up offering the same coverage as the big brand telcos for a lot less.

5GB mobile plans from MVNOs on the Telstra network

5GB mobile plans from MVNOs on the Optus network

5GB mobile plans from MVNOs on the Vodafone network

* In highlighting particular offers we are not making specific recommendations as this article does not cover all available products and may not compare all features relevant to you. Any advice provided is general in nature and does not take account of your needs, objectives or financial situation. Individuals should consider their own circumstances, and if in doubt seek appropriate advice, before proceeding.