Econnex provides a free and independently-owned comparison engine that allows you to explore all the different types of mobile plans available on the market. Once you have an idea of what you want in a plan you can use the engine to find plans that best match your needs and compare them.
What to look for in the best value mobile plan
There are essentially three types of mobile plans available, but with many variations within each type. The basic plan types are:
- Pre Paid Plans – where you pay upfront for the services you want and top up when they expire or run out
- Post Paid Plans – with these plans you pay afterwards for the services you have used within a set billing period. Some Post Paid Plans come with a new handset as well.
- SIM Only Plans – plans that allow you to keep your existing phone while upgrading your services and benefits.
Which type of phone plan is best for me?
Before reading about the different types of plan in detail, it’s helpful to ask yourself a few questions, such as:
- Do you use your phone regularly, or rather are you just an occasional user?
- Do you want to use your phone for calls and texts only, or will you need data included as well?
- If you do want data included, how will you use it? Examples include internet browsing, music, videos, games and other apps.
- Do you want a brand new phone with all the latest bells and whistles, or are you happy to keep using your current one or one you buy outright?
- Will this plan be for yourself? Or is it rather for one of your children or for an overseas visitor to Australia?
- Would you prefer to pay upfront for the services you need, or would you rather use now and pay later?
Once you’ve answered these, all the detail about the different types of plan will hopefully make more sense.
Post Paid Plans
These types of plans work in the opposite way to Pre Paid as you pay afterwards rather than in advance – usually at monthly intervals.
Post Paid Plans are contracts or agreements to pay a certain amount of money for a set amount of calls, texts and data. They may also include the cost of a new device depending on the plan.
The contracts are typically 12 or 24 months in length, but they may also be casual (e.g. month-by-month) or as long as 36 months. If you do exceed your data allowance, it will be reflected in your next bill. Likewise, if you exit a plan early you may incur a fee.
Post Paid Plans that come with a new device included in the cost are nearly always at least 24 months in length to allow you time to pay it off. Plans that come with a device are also likely to cost more than those offering services only. With this type of plan, you will have to pay out the remaining balance owing on the phone if you exit the plan early.
Benefits of a Post Paid Plan:
- allows you to use now and pay later;
- offers reliability in that you never have to worry about running out of data and about topping up as you go;
- could be ideal if you would like a brand new phone to use now that you don’t need to pay for outright;
- flexibility in that you get to choose between services-only or a plan with a device;
- can be ideal for medium to heavy phone users;
- committing to a contract can allow you to get fantastic deals and take advantage of specials or promos, which means getting great value for money.
As for Pre Paid, these plans typically offer unlimited standard national calls and texts, but they vary in the amount of data included. They also differ in the level of international call credit on offer.
Pre Paid Plans
Pre Paid Plans are where you pay in advance for the services you want for a set block of time known as the ‘billing cycle’. This is typically 28 or 30 days. However, it may also be as little as 7 days or even as much as 365 days for a long-expiry plan!
With a Pre Paid Plan you can just top up your phone credit when you need to. You may also be able to set up an auto top-up option for when you run out of credit or after a set period.
It’s important to note that this type of plan does not come with a phone included in the price, so you will need to bring your own device.
Benefits of a Pre Paid Plan:
- no lock-in contract puts you in charge of how much you use and when;
- could be a great option if you just want a temporary plan;
- can be great for kids or for visitors from overseas;
- could also be used as an inexpensive option for a spare phone;
- comes with inbuilt flexibility in that you can switch or upgrade plans whenever you like;
- great for testing out plans to see which one you like best;
- can be great for tight budgets, especially as you get to avoid the ‘bill shock’ effect that can come with use-now-pay-later;
- no plan exit fee;
- ideal for light users who want a cheap mobile plan but could also suit heavier users as well.
At one time Pre Paid mobile plans offered limited national calls and texts, but these days most plans offer unlimited amounts of these services. The main points of difference between plans are the level of data offered (usually starting at 1GB) and international call credit.
A SIM Only Plan can be either Post Paid or Pre Paid. With this type of plan you get services only, and you can usually keep your existing number when switching to a new plan or provider. SIM Only Plans come with a wide range of options. They can come as either casual plans where you pay as you go or comprise a 12-month fixed contract where you pay at the end of each billing period.
While contract Post Paid SIM Only plans offer some fantastic deals, there are Pre Paid SIM Only plans these days that provide great value for money as well.
Benefits of SIM Only Plans:
- ideal if you want to keep using your current device but you want to find a better deal or a more flexible plan;
- great for those times when you are waiting on the release of a new phone and just need a temporary plan in the meantime;
- can offer a perfect solution if you decide to pass your device onto your kids or another family member;
- could be idea if you are not interested in getting the latest phone or in committing to long-term contracts;
- best of both worlds in that you get to choose between casual plans where you pay as you go or fixed contract deals;
- perfect if you suddenly decide to switch providers to take up a better offer.
With SIM Only it’s important to be aware that if you switch providers and want to keep your current device, it will need to be unlocked from your current provider’s network. If your phone is locked, unlocking it may incur a fee depending on the telco and current plan arrangements.
If you need to unlock your phone from your provider’s website, you will first need its IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) 15-digit code. This may be found on the sticker on the back of your phone. If not, you can find it by dialing *#06# from your mobile, which displays the number on your screen.
Using Econnex’s comparison engine
Once you have an idea of what you want in a plan it’s easy to find plans to match your needs using Econnex’s engine. The engine is very simple to use and costs nothing. You just need to select the desired options from each of the comparison engine dropdown boxes, and then use the sliders underneath them to set your maximum spend and minimum desired amount of data. The engine will then select the best mobile phone plans to match your selections. You can use the engine as often as you like.
Business plans can be either Post Paid including a phone or Post Paid SIM Only. Pre Paid is not normally available in a business plan.
Business Plans offer competitive rates on device repayments, extra data allowances, international roaming packs for data and calls, as well as inclusions for application and streaming.
Finding information on Business plans and inclusions is free of charge and very easy when you use the comparison engine. You just need to select the Business (1-9 Connections) option from the comparison engine Connection Type dropdown, select desired options from the other two dropdown boxes, set the accompanying sliders and click ‘Start’.
If it’s time to upgrade your old device, add in more benefits to your plan or switch plans if you’re ready for a change, Econnex can make the first step so much easier. All you need to do is enter your requirements into the search engine above and see what’s in store for you.