Boost Mobile Australia Review: The Best Prepaid Plans for Students
What you need to know
Boost Mobile Australia has been the go-to prepaid SIM provider for students and seniors for yonks now. The plucky prepaid telco got its start shelling out cheap PAYG (Pay As You Go) plans to for high school students who were firing off an unprecedented amount of text messages from the Nokia 3310 back in 2000.
As of 2019, the brand still markets itself as the antidote to Australia’s increasingly crowded and complicated mobile market, offering simple prepaid plans on Telstra’s 4G network with no lock-in contracts. It also offers outright phone purchases for the budget-minded.
If you (or a family member) are looking to cut back on bills or simply don’t use your smartphone as much as others, Boost has a comprehensive range of plans with 28-day data rollover and long expiry recharge options to suit just about every need.
How good is Boost Mobile Australia?
If you’re particularly budget-conscience and own your own handset, it’s hard to pass up Boost Mobile’s Telstra-powered prepaid plans. Boost Mobile’s most popular 28-day recharge plans all come with unlimited calls and text, unlimited international calls and text to 20 regions (plus 100 minutes to an additional 35 countries) and unmetered (i.e not counted against your allocated data) music streaming via Apple Music.
Boost Mobile (Telstra 4G) prepaid plans
There are currently five plan tiers for the popular 28-day recharge option:
Like any prepaid mobile service, Boost Mobile’s low-commitment plans are a great choice for parents looking to purchase a SIM for their kids. With auto-recharge disabled, parents can have peace of mind that they aren’t going to receive a big, nasty bill when the next season of Fortnite drops.
Boost Mobile also offers long expiry prepaid plans with 6 and 12-month recharge variants (as opposed to the usual 28-day or 1-month inclusion expiry). Long expiry plans are typically the best choice for low-usage customers; smartphone users who don’t require a lot of inclusions/data and don’t want the hassle of recharging every month.
Boost Long Expiry Plans
The best Boost Mobile plan for students
Realistically, it depends on your usage and budget. The average Australian only uses roughly 3 GB per month on their mobile device. Teenagers and students are not your average Australian. Whether they are streaming Game of Thrones during a lecture, or downloading software updates on their PlayStation 4 via a mobile hotspot, the younger generations tend to go a little buck wild when it comes to data consumption.
With that said, most educational institutions and households have an available Wi-Fi connection so their data-hungry habits are generally confined to stuffy train carriages or nights loitering around Westfield.
Boost’s $40 per month plan offers unlimited standard calls and text as well as unlimited standard international minutes and messages to 25 regions and an additional 200 or 30 more countries so it’s also a decent deal for international students.
Most importantly, the $40 plan comes with 30 GB per recharge and an additional 15 GB for the first 5 recharges. Add unmetered Apple Music streaming to the mix and you’ve got a good recipe for affordable data consumption without any nasty surprises.
Who won’t Boost Mobile suit?
If you’re looking to nab the latest and greatest smartphone on a contract without any upfront fees, Boost Mobile won’t be able to provide you with what you need. For anyone who’s disorganised or just chows through a lot of data, while Boost does offer an Auto-Recharge option, it does share the same pitfall as any prepaid if you don’t use it: burning through your inclusions can result in your service being disconnected if you run out of credit.
What network does Boost Mobile use?
When it first launched back in 2000, Boost used the Optus network but in 2012, Optus put the kibosh on its partnership with the Australian-made prepaid provider. The country’s largest telco, Telstra, decided to pick up the slack; relaunching the brand in 2013 on Telstra’s market-leading network.
How good is Boost Mobile coverage?
As of 2019, Boost Mobile is the only MVNO in Australia with access to Telstra’s full 3G/4G network, which reaches 99.4% of Australia’s population. Other MVNOs using the Telstra network only have access to the provider’s wholesale network, which covers 98.8% of the population.
So, who owns Boost Mobile?
While Boost Mobile has partnered with Telstra in Australia, the company itself is still privately owned by founder Peter Adderton and is operated by Boost Tel Pty Limited.
How to check your data usage on Boost Mobile?
Boost Mobile customers can check their data usage via the Boost Mobile App on iOS (iPhone) and Android (Samsung, Huawei, Google Pixel etc.). To download the Boost Mobile app, you can find it here for iOS (iPhone) on the App Store, or here for Android devices on the Google Play Store.
Once downloaded, the Boost Mobile app will identify your prepaid service with your mobile number if your device is using your Boost Mobile SIM.
When you open the app, you will land on a page titled “My Balance”. There you will find your remaining data, call and text balance and your recharge expiry date. You can also recharge, update account details and browse your usage history through the app.
Using the app also gives you access to exclusive offers and rewards.
Alternatively, you can simply visit care.boost.com.au from your mobile browser or dial #111# from your smartphone; remembering to make sure you are connected via Boost 4G/LTE and not Wi-Fi.
Boost Mobile data add-ons
If you (or a member of your family) has whipped through your allocated data amount for the month, Boost Mobile offers low-price data add-ons to get you by until it’s time to recharge again.
Boost Mobile data add-ons are available at two price tiers: $5 for 1GB or $10 for 2GB. Both add-on tiers will expire 30 days after purchase (or once the additional data has been used up).
While data add-ons can be a low-cost way to get you connected in an emergency, they are pretty poor value, comparatively, and should be used sparingly. It’s also important that you remember to switch the data add-on off once it’s no longer needed to avoid paying any unnecessary additional fees.
Boost Mobile international roaming
Technically, Boost Mobile does offer a $5 Roaming and Premium add-on option but it only offers $5 credit or calls and text with no data inclusions for roaming. With text messages costing 65c per message sent and calls costing up to $5 per minute (depending on your destination), $5 credit just isn’t going to cut it.
Boost Mobile’s website also makes it seem like you get 500 MB of data for international roaming because the “Roaming and Premium add-on” does include 500 MB of data but it’s only for use in Australia; which is unnecessarily confusing and likely to land more than a few Boost Mobile customers in a spot of bother while travelling overseas.
To repeat: You will not be able to use your Boost data while travelling overseas.
To be fair to Boost, most Aussie telcos offer a fairly raw deal when it comes to prepaid international roaming. Telstra offers 100 MB for $29, 300 MB for $85 and 600 MB for $160. Vodafone offers the most competitive roaming deal for contracted postpaid customers but even it leaves prepaid users in the lurch, charging $25 for 30 minutes of chat, 30 SMS and 100 MB of data or $35 for 60 minutes of chat, 60 SMS and 250 MB. It also offers the same two packs with more data and no calls or texts, at $25 or 200 MB or $35 for 500 MB.
We recommend either opting for an international travel SIM via Australia Post or Woolworths, or simply purchasing a prepaid SIM card once you arrive at your destination.