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5 top tips to reduce your monthly mobile costs

Cut down your costs in five easy steps.

Fergus Halliday
Jun 20, 2023
bullet4 min read

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As Australia's cost of living crisis intensifies, it's more important than ever to get to know your bills.

Knowledge is power, after all, and the first step towards saving money is understanding how you're spending it. Paying for every expense that turns up without a second thought might be the easiest way to go, but it's one that'll rarely save you any meaningful amount of money.

If you're looking to reduce or cut down on the amount of cash that your mobile or phone bill exacts from you, here are a few tips.

1. Take a look at this graph your current plan

Before you consider changing your mobile provider or phone plan, it's worth revisiting the reasons why you chose that one to begin with. The idea here is to get a sense of whether what made sense then still does or whether your circumstances have changed.

Did you sign up for Telstra because you lived in a rural area and have since relocated to somewhere more metropolitan? Maybe you jumped on a plan that promised to end your anxiety with an enormous or even unlimited data allowance only to discover that you're paying for way more data than you could ever use in a month.

Are you someone who signed up for Vodafone just to make use of its $5 roaming and hasn't had the chance to travel in years? Then it might be worth seeing what else is out there.

In either (or any) case, reviewing your recent phone bills and comparing what you're currently getting to what you're actually using is a great place to start if you want to find savings. Once you have a reasonable frame of reference for your needs, it's time to start researching which provider and cheap mobile plans might better meet them.

If you're not sure where to start, be sure to check out the widget below for a few SIM-only mobile plans that are great for everyday use.

More of a heavy data user? Try these SIM-only plans instead.

2. Beware the loyalty tax

The biggest benefit of sticking with your mobile provider over the long term is you can accumulate loyalty perks like Telstra's Plus Point system or the ability to rack up regular savings on monthly subscriptions through Optus' SubHub platform.

If you're the kind of customer who likes to set, forget and remember to fully reap the benefits, these are great reasons to stick with your current provider. However, not everyone is necessarily so disciplined nor are they rewarded for that kind of loyalty.

It's easy to forget every inclusion your plan gets you and the longer you stick with it, the higher the chances become that you might end up paying more for less than what a new customer might get for the same amount of money.

Nowadays, many providers offer generous introductory deals to attract new customers. These include mobile phone and internet bundling, discounts off new devices or even free subscriptions to services like Amazon Prime, and Binge.

It sounds obvious but switching telcos is the easiest way to save money on your phone bill. What's more, it might seem like a hassle but it's actually fairly simple. These days, the entire process can be done over the phone or online. You don't even need to head to the shops!

If you're unsure where to start then ask friends for recommendations and try out a few different providers until you find the one that gives you exactly what you want, in terms of coverage, speed and price

3. Maybe consider signing up for a Mobile Virtual Network Operator

So, you've decided to ditch the loyalty taxes that come with your current telco by switching to a new one. Your options from here go far beyond just Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

Let's talk MVNOs.

MVNOs are those smaller telcos that piggyback on the major mobile networks of either Telstra, Vodafone or Optus. The list here includes Boost Mobile, MATE, ALDI Mobile, Lebara and many others.

Over the past few years, MVNOs have slowly been gaining popularity amongst Aussies. The reason why isn't complicated. These providers tend to be cheaper and provide a bit more bang for the buck than their carrier counterparts.

In addition, there's a growing list of MVNOs out there that offer the kind of 5G connectivity that used to be exclusive to the big three. Amaysim, SpinTel, Aussie Broadband and Southern Phone on Optus' network have all joined this crusade for better connectivity. Meanwhile, Vodafone MVNOs have 5G as part of a free trial, though this trial period has been extended so long that you have to wonder why or if it will ever end.

If you're looking for a sample platter of what to expect from Australia's MNVOs, here is a quick shortlist of the most popular MVNOs in our database offering SIM-only mobile plans with competitive pricing:

4. It pays to pay monthly and avoid contracts

For many Aussies, signing up for a telco is a two-year or three-year affair. You get lured in with the promise of a new phone, and you're locked in with that provider until you pay it out only for the cycle to start over again.

However, if you really are looking to keep your mobile bill as low as possible then month-to-month is the way to go. So long as you can resist the power of good marketing and opt for a month-to-month SIM-only plan, you'll pay less each month and retain the freedom to leave as soon as you like.

Opting for a prepaid SIM rather than a postpaid one is another good way to go. Going about things this way means that it's much easier to keep track of your spending and there's nothing standing in your way if a better deal comes along. 

For context, here's a quick rundown of some of the most popular prepaid phone deals going around this month.

5. Consider data-sharing plans

Data-sharing plans are another great way to cut down on your monthly mobile expenses. Whether you share with your parents, a partner, a roommate or your whole family, this perk remains a great way to consolidate both your data and the costs that come with it.

If you are the kind of person whose data usage fluctuates unpredictably from month-to-month, data-sharing is a great way to ensure you always have enough and that your leftover data will be used up in the slower months.

For example, data-sharing with Telstra means customers can now pool data allowances from up to ten Upfront mobile or mobile broadband plans so long as they're on the same account. What's more, this data-sharing is automatically included. You don't need to do anything special to set it up. It'll just kick in as it happens with any and all eligible devices.

If that sounds like it's your thing, be sure to check out the list of Telstra's SIM-only Upfront plans for a sense of your options. While these plans are a little on the expensive side, the benefits of data-sharing can add up quickly if you've got the right number of people involved.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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