Afraid of commitment? The best prepaid plans in Australia come with no strings attached

Looking for the cheapest and best prepaid plans to get you out of trouble? Read on for our top picks.
  • Best Overall

    OVO Extra Large Plan

    4.5 out of 5 overall
    See Plans
  • Best Telstra Wholesale

    ALDI JUMBO PACK

    4.5 out of 5 overall
    See Plans
  • Cheapest Prepaid

    OVO Mini Mobile

    4.5 out of 5 overall
    See Plans

Prepaid phone plans aren’t just for seniors and students (though they do love ‘em), there are some exceptional prepaid mobile phone and data SIM options if you’re after all the inclusions with none of the commitment. Hopping off a phone contract can be incredibly liberating, removing all obligations, throwing caution to the wind. Let’s take a look at the best prepaid plans currently offered in Australia.

What are the best prepaid phone plans?

It all comes down to what matters most to you. If you’re a low-usage customer, you’d probably prefer a low-commitment long-expiry plan (we reviewed those already) but if your desire for data is a little more… conventional then you are probably after a shorter expiry with more inclusions.

If that’s the case, you really shouldn’t pass up OVO’s prepaid range. In particular, its Extra Large plan, which comes with 80GB for every $49.95 30-day recharge. Data per dollar, that’s the best value prepaid phone plan currently available and it uses the Optus 4G network. It also comes with unlimited standard calls and text, plus 1,000 international minutes. Not bad OVO, not bad at all.

If variety is more your spice, you’d be amiss to overlook Amaysim’s strong prepaid offering (also on the Optus network). In our rankings for the best value prepaid plans, Amaysim nabbed second, third and fourth place with its UNLIMITED 60GB, 45GB and 30GB plans. These are priced at $50, $40 and $30, respectively, and all include unlimited standard national calls and text, as well as international inclusions.

Best prepaid plan on the Telstra network

As you’d expect, prepaid plans on the Telstra network tend to come with a premium price tag. With the exception of ALDI Mobile. Granted, ALDI Mobile uses the Telstra Mobile Wholesale Network, which has slightly less coverage than what’s offered on Telstra plans but even the wholesale network still has a wider reach than Optus and Vodafone. ALDI Mobile’s JUMBO Value Pack offers a generous 48GB for every $55 30-day recharge and continuous data rollover (if you recharge with an amount equal to or greater than your previous recharge within 24 hours of expiry).

What is the cheapest prepaid mobile plan?

At the time of writing, the cheapest prepaid mobile plan on the market is OVO’s Mini Mobile plan. The OVO Mini Mobile Plan comes with 2GB, 500 minutes and text to standard national numbers and unlimited OVO Time (e.g. data-free streaming on OVO’s sports streaming site OVOPlay).

Best Pay As You Go Mobile Plan

Maybe you don’t need any data inclusions and would prefer to only pay for what you use or maybe you simply need to park a mobile phone number while you travel abroad, you might be looking for an old-school Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) plan.

These types of plans aren’t typically associated with great value. In place of inclusions, like a set data or call amount, they offer rates for calls, texts and data that are deducted from the amount you recharge with. For example, if you have a PAYG plan that charges 12c per minute and you recharge with $15, you will have 125 minutes to use (assuming you don’t use any text or data, which each come with their own charges).

The absolute lowest amount of money you can pay per month is $1 with TPG’s PAYG plan. It will cost you $30 upfront to set up the SIM but after that, you will have 50MB of data per month to use and will be charged 9.9c per minute (plus a 10c flagfall fee) for calls and 9.9c per message. That’s incredibly low usage but if you’re after a PAYG plan, that’s probably what you’re after.

How do I change prepaid plans?

Switching prepaid plans and providers is nowhere as stressful as switching postpaid plans. The process will be different for every provider but, typically, all that’s required to switch prepaid “plans” is to select a different recharge type next top-up. Other providers will ask you to switch rate plans via an automated service over the phone, and some let you do it all from their app.

Switching providers is almost as simple, but not quite. If you want to switch providers and keep the same number, make sure you approach your new provider with the mobile number you would like to switch, the associated account number (if available), and your personal details for security purposes (e.g. name, date of birth, driver’s license number).

Where you might run into trouble is using one provider’s prepaid handset with another’s prepaid SIM. Unlike contract phone plans, prepaid phones tend to be network locked. Unlocking your prepaid handset will come with a small fee, which may vary depending on the make and model of your phone and the date of purchase.

What is the difference between prepaid and postpaid plans?

Postpaid plans are usually associated with contract terms and included handsets (though there are some decent month-to-month SIM plans available these days) whereas prepaid plans are low-commitment plans that give you more control over your spending.

With prepaid plans, you pay for the calls, text and data you think you will need before using them. Postpaid plans, on the other hand, calculate your usage at the end of your billing month and bill you for the calls, text and data used over that period (typically with excess fees if you go over your plan’s inclusions).

Both offer their own peace of mind; prepaid plans simply restrict your network access when you’ve burned through your data, whereas excess usage on a postpaid plan will result in additional charges on your bill at the end of the month. But prepaid plans come with the risk of getting cut off without notice, which can be dangerous if you forget to recharge, whereas postpaid plans will only cut you off if you fail to pay the last month’s bill after it’s due.

Which prepaid plans allow tethering?

You would be stretched to find a prepaid provider and plan that doesn’t allow for tethering these days. We reviewed every Australian prepaid provider and couldn’t find a single provider that didn’t offer tethering on its prepaid plans. The Optus website states that prepaid tethering is available on “most plans” but we checked with the customer service team who confirmed it was available on every prepaid plan.

So, here are the prepaid providers that allow tethering:

  • ALDI Mobile
  • Amaysim
  • Boost Mobile
  • Coles
  • Dodo
  • Hello Mobile
  • Hive Mobile
  • Jeenee Mobile
  • Kogan Mobile
  • Lebara Mobile
  • Lycamobile
  • Optus
  • OVO
  • TeleChoice
  • Telstra
  • TPG
  • Vodafone
  • Woolworths

What is the best prepaid plan for international calls?

We’ve already mentioned Amaysim’s stunning value on its prepaid options above but one added bonus you get on these plans is international call and text inclusions. On the highest recharge option, Amaysim offers 300 standard international minutes to 22 countries every month (and unlimited standard international calls to another 10 countries).ALDI Mobile also offers unlimited calls to 15 countries and an extra 400 minutes to 35 more countries. Both outstanding, all-rounder prepaid plans but if international calls are your number one priority, look no further than Lebara

Lebara already offers top data-per-dollar value on its XXL Plan but it also offers unlimited calls to 56 selected countries and an additional $10 for calls to every other zone.

More prepaid plans

Take a look at the most popular prepaid plans in Australia according to WhistleOut’s comparison engine.