Mobile phone deals and plans
How to get the best mobile deal
There are many mobile phone plans and each one offers something
Here we show you the things to consider and the questions to ask
to help you choose the right phone and plan for you.
Consider your mobile phone
Consider these mobile phone options to work out what type of
plan is best for you.
- Phone - Use a phone you already own or get a
new phone as part of a plan.
- Paying for usage - Pre-pay for your usage or
receive a bill and pay each month.
- Contract - Get a fixed-term contract (usually
12 to 24 months) or a month-to-month contract.
- Handset costs - Pay a one-off cost for the
phone when you start a plan or pay off the cost of your phone in
the monthly fee.
- Data usage - Have unlimited usage or choose a
'cap' (a limit you cannot go over).
- Package - Bundle your mobile phone plan with
landline and internet or keep your mobile arrangement
If you're travelling, get an International
Data Pack before you leave Australia. This can make it cheaper
to use data in other countries.
It's also important to consider what you'll be using the phone
for. Will you use it for texting, calls, emails, social networking,
taking and sending photos, watching videos, playing games, overseas
communication or other things? All of these can affect how much
your phone deal will cost.
Are most of your friends or family already with a particular
network? If you'll be calling or texting them often, it might work
out cheaper for you to use the same network.
Questions to ask before
you buy a phone plan
Ask these questions in your service provider's store, over the
phone or you can check their website.
Questions to ask
- Do you have good coverage in my local
area and other places I'll want to use the phone?
- Can I see a coverage map to check
|Contract length and cost
- How long is the contract?
- What's the minimum I'll have to pay
each month and the total I'll pay over the contract period?
- Are calls charged for each second or
for a block of time?
- What calls are not included in the
plan, like calling overseas or certain numbers?
- Is there a flag fall with the plan?
- What happens after I use up the included value for the month?
- Will the plan prevent me from going
over a cap or can I continue using it but get charged extra?
- What are the excess usage costs for
going over the monthly allowance or limit for texts, voice calls
|Changing or cancelling my
- What will I have to pay if I end the
contract early? (This cost can be quite high.)
- Can I switch to a cheaper or more
expensive plan if I want to?
- Will I have to pay extra to
- Is the phone locked to your network?
(If the phone is locked, it means you can't use the phone on
another provider's network.)
- Is there an extra cost for unlocking
the phone? (Some plans automatically unlock the phone at the end of
the contract period.)
|Using the phone overseas
- What will it cost to make and receive
voice calls, send texts and use data overseas?
- How can I keep track of my costs when
I use the phone overseas? (International roaming usually incurs
- What does the warranty cover and how
long is it for?
- Will 'bundling' my mobile phone save
- Can I get free calls to phones on the
same network, cheaper calls at certain times of the day or free
- Will I be charged extra for paying my
bill in certain ways? (e.g. over-the-counter, credit card,
- What's the cheapest way to pay?
Here we explain the words used in mobile plans to help you
understand your phone contract and save money.
- Allowance/limit - An 'allowance' is one part
of your included value. For example, if you choose a plan that
costs $50 a month, it may give you a $300 'allowance' for calls and
texts each month. Your allowance is sometimes called your
- Cap - Some plans let you go over your monthly
allowance or limit. In these cases, you will be charged extra ―
sometimes a lot extra! With other plans, you will be automatically
prevented from using more than your limit in a month.
- Contract - Once you decide on a plan that
suits you, you sign a 'contract'. This is a legal agreement saying
you accept everything described in the plan.
- Data - 'Data' includes internet use, emails,
live video chat, app updates, downloads and sending pictures in a
text message (MMS). Data does not include texting (SMS), voice
calls, listening to voice messages or taking photos.
- Included/excluded value - 'Included value'
means everything you get for your regular monthly payment.
'Excluded value' is anything you have to pay extra for. For
example, 1300 and 1800 numbers are part of the 'included value' in
some plans but not others.
- Plan - A 'mobile phone plan' is what a mobile
service provider will provide you with, how they will charge you
for using your phone and how you will pay. Within each plan, there
is a range of services that will be charged in different ways.
- Pre-paid - 'Pre-paid' means you will use a
mobile phone that you already own and pay in advance for using your
phone on a mobile service provider's network - that is, you buy
credit. When your credit is all used up, you can receive calls, but
you can't make calls. Sometimes you lose your remaining credit
if you don't use it all within a certain time period, for example
Signing a phone
When you've decided on a mobile plan, you'll need to sign a
contract. Before you do, it's important to ask questions if there's
anything you don't understand.
Ask for a critical information summary
Don't be scared off by the name ― the Critical Information Summary (CIS) is a
free document that a company must give you about their phone or
service. The CIS will help you to understand what your new phone
service is really going to cost you and what you'll be getting for
Ask for a CIS from your mobile service provider before you buy
or sign anything, whether it's from their website, over the phone
or at one of the provider's shops.
Critical Information Summaries on the ACMA website.
Understand your mobile phone contract
You can end up with debts of hundreds of dollars if you sign a
mobile contract you don't understand. Asking a mobile-savvy friend
or relative to read and help you understand your contract before
you sign can save you lots of money.
A service provider must make its contracts available on its
website - it's the law.
Last updated: 05 Dec 2018