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The best mobile phone plans for kids and teens in 2022
- : Lyca Mobile Unlimited 12
- : Woolworths Mobile $20 recharge
- : Boost Mobile $30 Prepaid
- : Telstra $30 Prepaid
- : Telstra $55 Upfront Plan with OPPO A94
It used to be that contacting your kids meant calling the school or the friend’s house they were hanging out at. These days, having the peace of mind of knowing you can reach your children when they’re out and about is both accessible and affordable.
The Australian Communication and Media Authority found that 48% of children between the ages of 6 and 13 own or have access to a mobile phone. For 12 and 13-year-olds, that percentage jumps to 80.
Whatever the age of your children, with so many options for both first phone and first plan out there, let’s break down the best approach to picking the right one for your kids.
Below you will find a comprehensive guide on the best phone plans for kids, plus a few handset recommendations. For our deep-dive on the very best, check our guide to the best phones for kids.
Best phone plans for younger kids
For younger kids, Lyca Mobile has an excellent entry-level, affordable plan perfect for young kids that are mostly going to use their phones for calls and texts. There's 2GB of data for 'just in case' and the first 2 renewals will only set you back $6 each.
PS - keep an eye on our best Prepaid plans page closer to that six months to see which plans are best on a budget.
You can also see a range of cheap Prepaid plans below.
Best phone plans for tweens
Ultimately, how your kid is using their phone will determine how much data is used. Basic instant messaging and web browsing doesn’t use much (unless high-resolution images and videos are involved), but music streaming and video streaming ups the monthly data requirement. For this reason we're looking at plans that have at least 10GB of data.
It’s tough to go past the value of Woolworths Mobile $20 prepaid recharge. You'll get 12GB of data each month, and as a bonus, 10% off your groceries.
You can see a range of other reasonably priced Prepaid plans with at least 10GB of data below.
Phone plans for teens
This is the age where data starts to really count, especially if your teen is using data-hungry apps like TikTok and Instagram. In terms of plans for teenagers, out on top is the Boost Mobile $30 prepaid, offering up a nice chunky 40GB of data, which should be plenty to keep teens entertained online.
There's also unlimited calls and texts, and runs on the full Telstra network, so you won't have to worry too much if they'll have reception.
You can see how it stacks up to other prepaid plans that offer 15GB of data and more.
Best plan with Telstra coverage
A key consideration when getting a plan for your kids is making sure they have reception wherever they go. Telstra is the frontrunner in Australia when it comes to coverage, so we've included a Telstra plan to consider when picking a phone plan for your child.
The Telstra $30 prepaid offers good value for money with 10GB of data included and a bonus 20GB for the first three recharges. You'll also get unlimited calls and texts to standard Australian numbers and of course, access to the Telstra network which covers 99.5% of the population.
Looking for phones for kids?
You've got the phone plan, but now you need a phone. Check out our comprehensive guide on how to find the best mobile phone for your kids.
Phone considerations for kids and teens
The age of your kid will determine the appropriateness of the phone. For younger children, the three Rs apply: rugged, restricted, and the right price. The younger your child you’re seeking to buy a phone for, the cheaper the phone should be. They are devices that can, after all, be broken or lost. You may also favour a phone that has limited or no internet access.
The older your kid, the more features they’ll likely need, which translates to a higher cost. Regardless of their age, it’s important to shop for a phone that has better-than-average battery life to ensure they’re contactable between recharges. Finally, phones don’t have to be new: they can be refurbished to help save money.
Phones for younger kids
For this age bracket, you’re really only looking to arm your kid with the basics. This means a not-so-smart phone (aka a “dumbphone”) that handles calls, text and not a whole lot else. The Nokia 3310 is a great place to start. It has tactile buttons, a clear screen, and a 2MP camera for budding photographers. More importantly, it’s rugged and built with text and talk front of mind.
The price is definitely right (under $100), and it has impressive battery life that, unlike today’s smartphones, can stay on for up to 27 days in standby. Alternatively, around the same price point you’ll find the Opel Mobile BigButton X. Technically, it’s built for seniors, but the app-lite phone focuses on text and talk, with some neat optional extras like FM Radio, predictive text, and a flashlight. And those big buttons make navigation easier for hands of all ages.
You can also opt for telco-branded phones like the Optus X Lite, but then you’re locked into using an Optus plan, the most reasonable of which costs $15 per 28-day recharge for unlimited talk and text, plus 500MB of data.
Phones for tweens (8 to 12)
The older your kids get, the more likely it is they’ll want a smartphone. This means that both data and unlimited talk and text are important, even though you may be able to prioritise data over SMS and chat if your kids end up using data-based messaging and chat services over cellular text and talk.
You’re looking at spending between $100 and $200 to buy an entry-level smartphone outright. If you don't mind a slightly outdated handset, the LG K8 comes with the essentials: front-facing and rear-facing cameras and a bright 5.0-inch HD screen, from a brand renowned for solid smartphone battery life. Edge closer to that $200 cap, and you’re looking at something like the realme C2. The extra investment gets a 6.1-inch screen, bigger battery capacity, and better-resolution cameras.
Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all offer decent Prepaid smartphone handsets between $50 and $300. For the cheaper options, there’s the X Lite 4G from Optus ($49), Alcatel 1 2019 4G from Vodafone ($49.50), and Telstra has the Essential Pro 2 (A5 2020) for $89. For more expensive alternatives, the Samsung Galaxy A11 costs $229 from Telstra, the Alcatel 3L 2020 4G is $159 from Vodafone, and the Oppo A72 is $299 from Optus.
Phones for teens (13 and older)
This is the age where there’s greater potential for teenagers to be socially aware of the optics of their smartphone. There’s a good chance that entry-level phones with less familiar brand names won’t necessarily cut it.
Still, you can find a brand-name iOS or Android phone at decent prices. Boost Mobile, in particular, has a refurbished store for older-generation smartphones. You’re looking at $279 for an iPhone 7 or $379 for the iPhone 8. If Android is more your teen’s speed, you can nab a Samsung Galaxy S9 for $379 or a Google Pixel 3 XL For $399. All these phones are still speedy performers by today’s standards, with great screens, solid cameras, and decent battery life.
Boost competes with numobile for refurbished smartphones, so definitely check between the two telcos for deals. Around this sub-$400 price point, you can nab newer budget Android smartphones that are actually impressive for their price. Consider the Oppo A52 or Motorola Moto G8, for instance. It’s also worth checking Kogan, Dick Smith, EB Games and Apple for refurbished deals.
Phone plan considerations for kids and teens
We prefer to stick with Prepaid plan recommendations because they’re a great way to avoid bill shock and control costs actively rather than reactively. With Prepaid, there’s a fixed upfront price. The plan you choose should also be shaped by the usage scenario. For younger children, there might be no need for data, but tweens and teens will benefit from plans with data.
It’s best to aim for Prepaid plans that have a minimum of 28-day expiry, just remember that you should count 13 recharges per year to calculate first-year cost (compared with the 12 counts for monthly Prepaid or 30-day alternatives). Also avoid Prepaid plans with auto top-up; if you can’t, pick a plan where auto top-up features can be disabled. Try to avoid contracts. It’s not just a case of kids not being able to sign contracts – they have to be 18 to even attempt that – no-contract plans offer flexibility and help eliminate potential exit fees.
However, if you're really wanting to get a phone with your plan for your kid, then chances are they don't need the latest and greatest.
The OPPO A94 is a great mid-range smart phone and has 5G capabilities. On the Telstra Small Upfront Plan, you'll pay $55 a month for the plan and an additional $13.85 a month for the phone for 36 months.
The good news is about the Telstra Upfront plan is that there are no excess data fees, so you won't have to worry about facing any bill shock. Once your child goes over the data allowance of 40GB, the speeds are simply capped at 1.5Mbps.