Econnex provides a free, independently-owned comparison engine for its customers to explore the three types of mobile plans available. This makes it easy to compare the features of different types of plans and select the one that best matches your needs.
What are the types of mobile plans available?
There are three types of mobile plans available;
SIM Only Plans
This plan allows you to retain your existing device, while upgrading the benefits included in your mobile service. With SIM Only you can save money as you are not paying for the cost a new device in your plan. SIM Only Plans can come as either Pre Paid where you pay in advance or as Post Paid contracts where you receive a bill at the end of the cycle.
Post Paid Plans
This plan allows you to subsidise the cost of a device with a mobile service plan that suits your requirements. However, there are Post Paid Plans that are SIM Only as well, making this option very flexible.
Pre Paid Plans
This plan allows you to pay a set amount on your plan up-front, ending bill scares for good. Pre Paid Plans can be great if you want the flexibility of exiting plans or switching to new ones when it suits you, rather than being locked into fixed term contracts.
Which mobile plan is right for me?
SIM Only Plans
A SIM Only Plan is a great alternative for someone who is looking to upgrade the benefits they receive on their mobile phone service, but who is still happy with their current mobile device.
Sim Only Plans – sometimes called Bring Your Own or BYO plans – can come as either Pre Paid or Post Paid depending on preference. With a SIM Only Plan, whether Post Paid or Pre Paid, you pay only for the services provided by the telco. This can save you money as you’re not paying for the cost of the latest new device, which can often be expensive. Another benefit of SIM Only is that if you do find you need a new device you can always purchase one off the shelf yourself, and simply transfer the SIM card over from your old phone.
These plans can be billed monthly as a PAYG service or locked into a contract term for 12, 24 or 36 months, depending on the telco provider and your choice of plan. With a contract plan you agree to a fixed price for the period of the plan, however if you exceed your data cap you may need to either pay more or agree to additional data at lower speeds.
With a month-to-month or casual plan you can exit at any time, whereas with a contract setup you agree to a fixed price for the agreement period.
SIM Only Plans can offer great value for money. You might choose a SIM Only Plan if you want to keep using your current device and just want to upgrade your services, you don’t want to be locked into a long-term contract, you want a temporary short-term solution, or you want to switch providers.
For more information on the Pre Paid or Post Paid Plans available, simply select the SIM option from the Plan Type dropdown in the comparison engine.
Post Paid Plans
A Post Paid Plan gives you ultimate control to pay for exactly what you use. Whether you require a higher data allowance or international call minutes, these plans are a popular way to go.
Post Paid Plans differ from Pre Paid in that you pay the bill after using the Telco’s services at the end of the month or billing period, rather than paying in for phone credit in advance.
Post Paid Plans are essentially agreements between you and your provider. They can be part of a fixed contract arrangement over 12, 24 or 36 months or they can be contract-free and operate month by month. In some cases, the plans include the cost of a new phone which is paid off over the contract period, while in others they are SIM Only where the user brings their own device.
Usually with these plans the month-to-month and 12-month contract options are SIM Only. This means if you want a phone included you will most likely need to look at the longer-term plans.
Post Paid Plans can offer very good value for money. With providers competing for business you can often nab a very good deal that offers substantial amounts of data for a relatively low monthly charge.
Most plans offer unlimited national calls and texts with the main point of difference being the data provided. Plans can also differ in their inclusions for international calls and texts.
With a Post Paid Plan it can be possible to use more data than is included in your agreement, which can lead to a bigger bill than anticipated. This may be something to consider when looking at plans and deciding between them.
You might choose a Post Paid Plan if you want a new up-to-date device, you don’t want to be bothered with recharging your credit each month, or you are generally good at monitoring and controlling your usage.
For more information on the Post Paid Plans available, simply select the SIM or Mobile + SIM option from the Plan Type dropdown in the comparison engine.
Post Paid Plans can be billed monthly as a PAYG service or locked into a contract term for 12, 24 or 36 months, depending on the telco provider.
Pre Paid Plans
A Pre Paid Plan offers reliability in the form of “recharging” your available phone credit at the start of the billing cycle. They are an excellent option for those with a strict monthly budget or minimal phone users.
Prepaid plans can offer the ultimate in flexibility. For example, if you are only a light user or only want a short-term option you can usually find very cheap plans to match your needs. On the other hand, if you want a plan with lots of inclusions like unlimited texts and calls, loads of data and international call credit you should have no problem finding an affordable plan that fits the bill.
With Pre Paid Plans, since you pay in advance, you get to avoid the ‘bill shock’ that can come at the end of the month where the amount owing is more than expected!
Another benefit of a Pre Paid Plan is that you’re not locked in to a contract. This could allow you to test out different plants to see what suits you best, without incurring exit fees. So, if you’re not happy with a plan or you would like to upgrade to a better one, you can easily do so with a Pre Paid Plan.
Most Pre Paid Plans these days include unlimited national texts and calls and offer deals on international calls. The main point of difference between plans is the amount of data they offer. There are cheap plans that come with as little as 1GB of data right up to plans offering massive amounts while still being affordable. This means you can always find a plan to suit your budget.
It’s important to be aware that the data expiry can vary with Pre Paid Plans. While it is typically 28 or 30 days, a plan can also have a cycle of only a few days or as long as a whole year! This is something you need to factor in when deciding between plans as it will affect the overall cost. Short-expiry plans (7 days for instance) could be good for a temporary solution. On the other hand a very long expiry might suit occasional use – such as for a ‘spare’ phone or for someone who rarely uses their mobile.
You might choose a Pre Paid plan if you don’t need much mobile data, you want greater flexibility, you want to avoid bill shock, or even if you are a visitor to Australia looking for a temporary solution. Pre Paid Plans can also be great for kids.
For more information on the Pre Paid Plans available, simply select the SIM option from the Plan Type dropdown in the comparison engine.
Pre Paid Plans must be paid for upfront and inclusions used within specified expiry period. Long Expiry plans may be available through certain telco providers.
Do you own a business?
Plans specifically designed to suit business needs are available across SIM Only and Post Paid mobile plan options but not Pre Paid. For more information, simply select the Business (1-9 Connections) option from the Connection Type dropdown in the comparison engine.
Ready to start comparing your options and save some money? Simply adjust the filters to what you’re looking for and the Econnex comparison engine will do the rest.
Your Guide to Choosing the Best Phone Plan
How do I compare plans with Econnex?
Econnex makes it simple to compare plans. Using the Econnex engine, just input whether you’re looking for a new handset or not, if you prefer post-paid or pre-paid, your typical data and call usage, and if you own a business. We’ll then show you plans suited to your budget and requirements. Best of all, you can sign up on the spot without any interruption to your day.
I am running a business and need many mobile connections, can I get a comparison?
Yes. We can show you all the best new handset or are SIM Only Post Paid plans for business. To find plans that suit your requirements, select the Business option from the comparison engine Connection Type dropdown. You can select up to nine new handsets. You can adjust your preferences from the other two dropdown boxes. Then you need to set the sliders for your preferred data and price ranges, and press ‘Start’ to begin your comparison and to start saving.
What is the difference between SIM and Mobile + SIM plan?
A SIM plan is a mobile phone plan that does not include a handset. If you have a device but you want to find a better deal on your mobile phone plan, you can opt for a SIM only plan. These are cheaper than most mobile + SIM plans, as you do not have to pay off any handset.
How do I know I have the best plan?
The best plan must suit your needs and your budget. Using EConnex and inputting your preferences, you will know if you have the best plan when:
- The monthly price is the lowest
- The features on offer is the highest
- The overall value is “unbeatable” by other comparable plans.
For you, a large amount of data is preferable than unlimited calls. If you can get 10GB of data for $10 instead of 9GB for $15, the first plan would be the best plan for you. This is up to individual preferences according to whether you need a SIM only or a new handset, the variations in many different Android devices such as high-end “flagship” and “budget” devices, where the budget-end uses less powerful processors or cameras.
You also know you’re getting the best plan as Econnex is independent; we don’t take commissions from network operators or MVNOs to skew results in their favour. We also show you savings compared to your own plan in real dollar terms, not in discounts or other deliberately confusing amounts.
What is an MVNO?
MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. MVNOs are small mobile service providers that lease bandwidth from the “Big Three” networks – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. They do not operate the cell towers and network infrastructure like the “Big Three” and can pass on any savings on administration, infrastructure, and operating retail stores on to the consumer. MVNOs can also offer reduced speed 3G plans that may be suitable for those who do not need or want data connections.
Should I use an MVNO or a network operator?
This decision should be based on personal preference, price, and value. MVNOs lease space on the network so your network quality and speeds will be tied to one of the big three. Other factors you must consider are customer service – some MVNOs do not have onshore or real-time customer service – and prices comparable to connecting with the network directly. These prices and additions are all reflected in the EConnex comparisons.
What is the difference between post-paid and pre-paid?
Post paid means you pay your bills in arrears; that means you pay for your service after you have used it. Your usage is tallied up every month and a bill sent to you to bring your account back into balance. A pre-paid service means paying for your service in advance; you are given a set period or dollar value to use the network and included calls or data and must “top up” or “recharge” when your balance reaches zero.
What does owning a phone “outright” mean?
Owning a phone outright means paying for a handset in full without a contract or lease from a network operator. Most post paid mobile contracts include a handset cost in the package, which pays off the phone over 12 or 24 monthly instalments. Buying a phone direct from a retailer or manufacturer means you only need a SIM card to get it on the network. This means you can choose any network you wish as it will be “factory unlocked.”
What are the differences between the networks?
There are three Australian mobile networks in Australia – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. All three networks cover approximately 99% of Australia’s population with Vodafone being the lowest of the three at 96%. These networks all operate their own network infrastructure independently of each other. Telstra as of November 2019 has been rolling out 5G services in limited city-central test markets such as Sydney and Melbourne.
What is a “contract” plan?
A contract plan is a type of post paid plan that requires you to sign an agreement for 12 to 24 months with a network operator or mobile service provider. This covers your payment schedule, handset costs, and any associated fees for cancelling the contract. Cancelling the contract may mean paying out the remainder of the phone’s value, as most contracts do not allow you to own the phone “outright” until the contract has concluded.
What is Android?
Android is the name of the operating system developed by Google for mobile phones. Android is based on Linux, an open source PC operating system that is known for its low hardware requirements and stability. It is also open source, which means developers and handset manufacturers can modify the system to suit their model of phones. Android is found in tablets and some laptops such as Chromebooks. It is the main competitor to iOS, found exclusively in Apple mobile products.
I already have a mobile phone and want to keep it. Can I get a new plan?
Yes. Those who already have a handset and own it outright can get a new SIM only plan. If you do not own your handset outright, you may want to check with your current provider as to what your obligations are in terms of paying out your contract. Changing your contract without permission may result in early termination fees.
What does SIM cards do? Do I need one to get a mobile?
SIM Cards, or Subscriber Identity Modules, are the small microchips you insert into any cellular mobile device – these could be mobile phones, tablets, or even hotspots and laptops – to identify you (the subscriber) on the network. These allow the network to route calls and data to your device and bill you accordingly. All mobile phones require a SIM card of some type, otherwise you will not be able to connect to the network. SIM cards will also need to be activated by your network before you may use that SIM card.
What is “SIM Card Unlocked” ?
Some post paid plans by providers “lock” a SIM card to a network so it cannot be transferred to another network without authorisation from that network provider. This practice was common in the infancy of the mobile phone market, though most providers will now sell their mobile phones “unlocked” or offer an unlock code for free.
What is 4G? What is 5G?
4G stands for “fourth generation” of cellular network technology, the successor to 3G. 4G refers to the technologies and data transmission speeds one can expect from their cellular network. The peak speed requirement for a 4G network is 100 megabits per second or 12.5 megabytes per second when moving. Stationary speeds should reach 1 gigabits per second. 5G is the next generation of cellular network technology with an expected speed of 2 gigabits per second. 5G is still under research and development in most countries.
I want a post paid plan. Will the provider check my credit?
Yes. A provider will conduct a routine credit check to assess your creditworthiness or ability to pay off a loan, as contracts allow you to take possession of a phone before you have paid it all off to a network operator. You must consent to any credit check a network operator makes on your behalf, as credit checks can affect your credit history.
What is international roaming?
International roaming is the ability for your SIM to connect to networks overseas and be recognised across a cellular network.
International roaming can have extremely high costs compared to using a domestic network. However, the advantage is you can use your mobile in another country without buying a new SIM card. All your calls will be routed to your mobile as if you are still within Australia. Some network operators and retailers offer international roaming bundles or reciprocal network roaming deals that can be purchased as after-market extras. Contact your provider for more information.
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