Choosing a plan
There are many mobile phone plans and each plan offers something
different. Asking the right questions will help you understand and
choose the one that's right for you.
Consider your mobile phone
Consider these mobile phone options to work out what type of
plan is best for you.
|Old phone or new phone
||Use a phone you already own
||Get a new phone as part of a plan
|Pre-pay or post-pay
||Pre-pay for your usage
||Receive a bill and pay each month
|Contract or month-to-month
||Get a fixed-term contract (usually 12 to 24 months)
||Get a month-to-month contract
||Pay a one-off cost for the phone itself in a plan (if a new
phone is part of the plan)
||Have the cost of the phone covered in the monthly fee for using
|Included value or exact usage
||Have an 'included value' plan (e.g. $29 per month for $150 of
||Have a plan where you only get the exact amount of usage you
pay for (e.g. $30 spend for $30 usage)
|Unlimited or cap
||Have unlimited usage
||Choose a 'cap' (i.e. a limit you are prevented from going
|Bundle or separate
||Bundle your mobile phone plan into a contract that includes
landlines and internet
||Keep your mobile arrangement separate
Ask questions before you buy
Ask these questions in your service provider's store, over the
phone or you can check their website.
- Do you have good coverage in my local area and other places
I'll want to use the phone? (Not all providers have good coverage
outside major cities.)
- Can I see a coverage map to check coverage?
Contract length and cost
- How long is the contract? 1 or 2 years?
- 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? (Most
service providers use 60 seconds for their block of time. This
means that, if your call lasts less than 60 seconds, you are still
charged for 60 seconds.)
- What calls are not included in the plan like calling overseas
or any other numbers?
- Is there a flag fall with the plan?
Case study: Julie's quick purchase
Julie decided she'd go to a mobile phone shop in her lunch hour
to get a better mobile phone on a new plan. She chose a plan that
allowed her to make cheap calls on the same mobile network as most
of her friends.
However, she didn't notice what it would cost to use her phone
to visit her favourite social network website and it turned out to
be very expensive. As well as that, whenever she went home to visit
her parents in their country town, her network coverage was
She wished that she had checked everything on her plan before
she decided to sign up. Julie now has to continue her contract for
another 18 months before she can change to a better plan.
- What happens after I have used 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 and data?
Changing or cancelling my contract
- What will I have to pay if I end the contract early? (This cost
can be quite high.)
- Can I go onto a cheaper or more expensive level of plan if I
want to? Will I have to pay extra to change?
- Is the phone locked to your network? (If the phone is locked,
it means you can't use the phone on another provider's
- Is there an extra cost for unlocking the phone? (Some plans
automatically unlock the phone at the end of the contract
Get an International
Data Pack before you leave Australia. This can make it cheaper
to use data overseas.
Using the phone overseas
- What will it cost to make voice calls, receive voice calls,
send texts and use data overseas?
- How can I keep track of my costs when I am using the phone
overseas? (International roaming usually incurs extra
- What does the warranty cover and how long is it for? (If you
buy your mobile online overseas you may not have a warranty and the
phone might be set up in another language.)
- Will 'bundling' my mobile phone save money? (Bundling is when
you put your phone on the same contract with other
telecommunication services like your home phone or internet.)
- Can I get free calls to phones on same network, cheaper calls
at certain times of the day or free social networking?
- 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?
- Will a cheaper battery actually cost me more because I have to
replace it sooner?
Last updated: 22 Feb 2017