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Late last year I compared the prices of mobile providers after Aldi started getting greedy . Now Aldi have dramatically changed their offerings  so at least some of the phones I manage have to be switched to another provider.
There are three types of use that are of interest to me. One is for significant use, that means hours of calls per month, lots of SMS, and at least 2G of data transfer. Another is for very light use, maybe a few minutes of calls per month where the aim is to have the lowest annual price for an almost unused phone. The third is somewhere in between – and being able to easily switch between plans for moderate and significant use is a major benefit.
Firstly please note that I have no plans to try and compare all telcos, I’ll only compare ones that seem to have good offers. Ones with excessive penalty clauses or other potential traps are excluded.
The following table has the minimum costs for plans where the amount paid counts as credit for calls and data, this makes it easy to compare those plans.
|Plan||Cost per min or SMS||Data||Minimum cost|
|AmaySIM As You Go ||$0.12||$0.05/meg, $19.90 for 2.5G in 30 days, $99.90 for 10G in 365days||$10 per 90 days|
|AmaySIM Flexi ||$0.09||500M included, free calls to other AmaySIM users, $19.90 for 2.5G in 30 days, $99.90 for 10G in 365days||$19.90 per 30 days|
|Aldi pre-paid ||$0.12||$0.05/meg, $30 for 3G in 30 days||$15 per 365 days|
Amaysim has a $39.90 “Unlimited” plan which doesn’t have any specific limits on the number of calls and SMS (unlike Aldi “Unlimited”) , that plan also offers 4G of data per month. The only down-side is that changing between plans is difficult enough to discourage people from doing so, but if you use your phone a lot every month then this would be OK. AmaySIM uses the Optus network.
Lebara has a $29.90 “National Unlimited” plan that offers unlimited calls and SMS and 2G of data . The Lebara web site doesn’t seem to include details such as how long pre-paid credit lasts, the lack of such detail doesn’t give me confidence in their service. Lebara uses the Vodafone network which used to have significant problems, hopefully they fixed it. My lack of confidence in the Vodafone network and in Lebara’s operations makes me inclined to avoid them.
Telechoice has a $28 per month “i28” plan that offers unlimited SMS, $650 of calls (which can be international) at a rate of over $1 per minute, unlimited SMS, unlimited calls to other Telechoice customers, and 2G of data . According to the Whirlpool forum they use the Telstra network although the TeleChoice web site doesn’t state this (one of many failings of a horrible site).
The TeleChoice Global Liberty Starter plan costs $20 per month and includes unlimited calls to other TeleChoice customers, unlimited SMS, $500 of calls at a rate of over $1 per minute, and 1G of data .
For my relatives who only rarely use their phones the best options are the AmaySIM “As You Go”  plan which costs $40 per 360 days and the Aldi prepaid which costs $15 per year. Those relatives are already on Aldi and it seems that the best option for them is to keep using it.
My wife typically uses slightly less than 1G of data per month and makes about 25 minutes of calls and SMS. For her use the best option is the AmaySIM “As You Go”  plan which will cost her about $4 in calls per month and $99.90 for 10G of data which will last 10 months. That will average out to about $13 per month. It could end up being a bit less because the 10G of data that can be used in a year gives an incentive to reduce data use while previously with Aldi she had no reason to use less than 2G of data per month. Her average cost will be $11.30 per month if she can make 10G of data last a year. The TeleChoice “Global Liberty Starter”  plan is also appealing, but it is a little more expensive at $20 per month, it would be good value for someone who averages more than 83 minutes per month and also uses almost 1G of data.
Some of my relatives use significantly less than 1G of data per month. For someone who uses less than 166MB of billable data per month then the Aldi pre-paid rate of $0.05 per meg  is the best, but with a modern phone that does so many things in the background and a plan that rounds up data use it seems almost impossible to be billed for less than 300MB/month. Even when you tell the phone not to use any mobile data some phones still do, on a Nexus 4 and a Nexus 5 I’ve found that the only way to prevent being billed for 3G data transfer is to delete the APN from the phone’s configuration. So it seems that the AmaySIM “As You Go”  plan with a 10G annual data pack is the best option.
One of my relatives needs less than 1G of data per month and not many calls, but needs to be on the Telstra network because their holiday home is out of range of Optus. For them the TeleChoice Global Liberty Starter  plan seems best.
I have been averaging a bit less than 2G of data transfer per month. If I use the AmaySIM “As You Go”  plan with the 10G data packs then I would probably average about $18 worth of data per month. If I could keep my average number of phone calls below $10 (83 minutes) then that would be the cheapest option. However I sometimes spend longer than that on the phone (one client with a difficult problem can involve an hour on the phone). So the TeleChoice i28 plan looks like the best option for me, it gives $650 of calls at a rate of $0.97 per minute + $0.40 connection (that’s $58.60 for a hour long call – I can do 11 of those calls in a month) and 2G of data. The Telstra coverage is an advantage for TeleChoice, I can run my phone as a Wifi access point so my wife can use the Internet when we are out of Optus range.
Please let me know if there are any good Australian telcos you think I’ve missed or if there are any problems with the above telcos that I’m not aware of.