Mobile phones can be very expensive. Here are some
tips on the best way to handle your mobile.
Check your phone use
Before you sign up for a mobile phone, think about how you
plan to use it so you can work out the best deal for
- How many calls will you make per month?
- How many text messages will you send?
- Will you use the phone for the internet? If so, how
much time will you spend on surfing the net per
Look at your usual landline or mobile phone usage
and add up the call costs to see how much a typical
bill will be each month. Compare this to other
phone deals and call charges offered by other companies.
Some people prefer to pay for their phone and their
phone calls up front.
If you buy the phone handset and you own it, you can
just pay for $20 or $50 of
recharge calls. Once you have used up this
credit of calls, you can't make any more calls
until you get another recharge. This is a good way to
stay out of phone debt.
But be wary. If you buy a pre-paid phone, you might find
that it is 'locked' to only one mobile phone company. This
means you might have to pay up to $150 to 'unlock' the phone if you
switch to another mobile company.
If you are signing a contract, read it before you sign it.
Your signature on the contract means you are agreeing
to everything that is written in it.
Don't trust the salesperson to tell you what is in the contract.
Read it for yourself.
Look out for these things in the contract:
- monthly fees
- call and text charges
- contract length and costs of ending the contract
- warranty (if a handset is included)
- phone coverage (see a coverage map of your area)
- costs if you pay bills late
You should take a copy of the contract home to read in
your own time or ask your friends or family to look at it and give
you advice about it.
Paying your bills
Check your bills when you get them to make sure
they are correct.
Call your mobile phone provider if you:
- get a big bill and don't know why
- think there are calls on the bill you didn't make
- don't receive a bill
- have trouble paying your bills
If you are having problems paying your bills, call your
phone company straight away. Talk to them
about working out a new payment plan that you can
manage. If they are not helpful you can contact the Telecommunications
Industry Ombudsman (TIO) (free call) 1800 062 058.
If don't pay your phone bills you might get a bad credit report
with a credit reporting agency. See your credit report or get help
with money for information on debt issues.
Keeping track of your bills
A good way to keep track of your bills is to call your
phone company to check on your bill before it comes in
the mail or check it on your online account. Some
phone providers will text you a message when you reach 80% of your
usual bill. But this service may cost, so check the costs before
you set it up.
Mobile phone scams
If you get a call or SMS from a number you don't know, offering
prizes to enter a competition, be careful. It could be a mobile
phone scam. By responding you could be siging up to a premium
mobile service with an expensive call rate and you may find it hard
to stop or unsubscribe. Call the Telecommunications
Industry Ombudsman (TIO) for help if you feel you
have been caught up in a mobile phone scam.
Lost, stolen or broken phones
If your phone is lost or stolen, you should contact the phone
company straight away to stop the mobile service so no one else can
use it. If you are on a mobile plan you will still need to pay the
If your phone stops working soon after you buy it, you
are entitled to ask for a refund, repair or replacement. You will
need your receipts to prove when and where you bought the
If the retailer is unhelpful you can contact
the fair trading office in your
Getting the right mobile phone for the right
price is all about shopping around and checking the contract.
Last updated: 18 Oct 2017