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The best Prepaid mobile plans in Australia (May 2023)
Looking for best cheap Prepaid plans to get you out of trouble? Read on for our top picks for Prepaid phone plans.
- : Catch Connect 30 Day Plan – 18GB
- : TPG 60GB Mobile Plan
- : TPG 45GB Mobile Plan
- : Catch Connect 30 Day 4GB Prepaid Plan
- : Lebara $49.90 Extra Large Plan (80GB)
Best prepaid plan for light use
Catch Connect 30 Day Plan – 18GB
The Catch Connect 30-Day Plan – 18GB is a great, cheap Prepaid mobile plan pick for those with more modest data needs.
The name says everything you need to know about this plan, except for the $15 recharge fee you pay every 30 days. That’s a good price for 18GB of data on the Optus network, though you shouldn’t expect any perks with this plan. For example, access to the Optus 5G network isn't included with this particular MVNO.
Below is a daily updated list of the cheapest prepaid mobile plans that cost less than $20 per recharge.
✓ How we picked this plan:
- We ranked prepaid plans under $20 per month by the amount of dollars to gigabytes, then privileged regular pricing over promo pricing as a tiebreaker.
Best prepaid plan for heavy use
TPG 60GB Mobile Plan
60GB for half the usual price is hard to beat, so we've gone with the TPG 60GB Mobile Plan as our pick for the best value prepaid plan this month. New customers get six months of promo pricing before the plan reverts to a reasonable monthly cost of $40 per month.
For comparison, here is a daily updated list of the cheapest prepaid mobile plans with at least 60GB of data.
✓ How we picked this plan:
- We ranked prepaid plans with 60GB of mobile by price and chose the cheapest one.
Best value prepaid plan
TPG 45GB Mobile Plan
If you want to save money and don't mind fewer gigabytes of data each month, we recommend going with the TPG 45GB Mobile Plan.
It has identical first-year dollar-to-data value albeit to the TPG plan we chose for our best heavy-use pick at a cheaper monthly price. That more affordable price comes with less monthly data, but it also comes with a smaller amount of bill shock once your honeymoon period is over and the regular $30 per month price kicks in.
Here’s our prepaid mobile plans comparison, with a daily updating list of the cheapest prepaid mobile plans with at least 30GB of data.
✓ How we picked this plan:
- We ranked prepaid plans with 30GB of mobile by price and chose the cheapest one.
The best 365-day and long-expiry prepaid plans in Australia
Get Nan on the blower, we’ve rounded up the best long-expiry prepaid plans for low-usage customers.
Cheapest Prepaid plan
Catch Connect 30 Day 4GB Prepaid Plan
Our cheapest prepaid plan pick is based on the plans that are listed in our database.
If you're looking to pick up the best prepaid plan you can find for less than the price of a burger, the biggest decision you'll need to make is whether you want the security of a fixed price or want to take advantage of a timely discount. The latter might get you more bang for your buck for the short term, but you'll eventually have to change providers or get stuck paying a higher rate.
In contrast, the Catch Connect 30 Day 4G Prepaid Plan is good all year round. It's a little lighter on the data allowance than some of the promo-priced options but it comes with all the same coverage you'd expect from any provider on the Optus network.
For comparison, check out the list of the cheapest prepaid plans that come with at least 1GB of data and don’t cost more than $20 per recharge.
✓ How we picked this plan:
- We ranked prepaid plans in our database that are under $20 per month by the cost over a 24 month period and then picked the cheapest one.
Best 5G Prepaid plan
Lebara $49.90 Extra Large Plan
Telstra's own $60 prepaid Mobile Plan is a good place to start your search when it comes to prepaid 5G mobile plans, but the Lebara $49.90 Extra Large Plan is our choice for the best place to end it.
This prepaid plan comes with 80GB of monthly data, unlimited talk and text to 60 selected countries, plus 500 minutes to 12 selected dialling destinations, and 50 minutes to a further 10 countries. You'll also get access to Lebara's ongoing 5G trial until the 26th of October, which is powered by the Vodafone network.
For comparison, below is a daily updated list of the cheapest Prepaid plans with 5G and at least 40GB of data.
✓ How we picked this plan:
- We ranked prepaid plans with at least 40GB of data and 5G connectivity by price and picked the that offered the most data per dollar.
What to look for in a Prepaid plan
When choosing a Prepaid plan, it’s important to note the differences between plans (recharges), subscriptions and starter packs.
Prepaid plans are the best indicator of ongoing value, especially when compared to starter packs. Subscriptions, on the other hand, are a convenient auto-recharging option that can offer SIM Only-like value.
Then, try to pick a plan duration that works for you. If you need data in a pinch, you can opt for plans with fewer than 28 days. Most Prepaid plans in our comparison engine, though, hang around that monthly point: either 28 days, 30 days or an actual month. Monthly plans are the easiest way to determine ongoing costs, and you’ll want to factor in an extra recharge per year for an ongoing 28-day Prepaid plan.
Cost and data are the main indicators of value, but also keep an eye out on the network that a provider offers. The Telstra network is the largest, followed closely by the Telstra wholesale network and then Optus, with Vodafone not far behind. Quality coverage should result in a better Prepaid experience, from call reliability to download and upload speeds. Note that the areas where you use your phone for work and play may have better mobile reception from one of the smaller networks.
Finally, it’s worth factoring in any extras such as international calls. However, perks like this aren’t essential if you don’t intend on using them. They're nice to have, but rarely as important as making sure you have a prepaid plan that meets your needs and doesn't blow your budget.
How much Prepaid data do I need?
While this question is akin to answering ‘how long is a piece of string?’ there is some guidance on what you might need from the ACCC.
According to the ACCC’s Communications market report 2020–2021, Aussie prepaid users only go through 6.3GB of data on average per month, which is around 9GB of data these days (according to the ACCC’s 20%-increase-every-six-months logic). Contrast this with the 30GB median data allowance for prepaid plans. While we use a mix of price and data to refine our category picks, generally speaking, a 10GB plan should be enough for the average prepaid user, and we’d recommend sticking to 30GB and above for those with bigger-data monthly needs.
What's the difference between Prepaid and Postpaid plans
The difference between Postpaid and Prepaid plans has to do with the terms and whether there is a contract involved.
Postpaid plans are usually associated with contract terms and included handsets (though there are some decent month-to-month SIM Only plans available these days) whereas Prepaid mobile plans are low-commitment plans that give you more control over your spending, and they have no contract.
With Prepaid plans, you pay for the calls, texts and data you think you will need before using them. Postpaid plans 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).
“Whether you choose a prepaid or a postpaid phone plan it really comes down [whether] you want to pay for your service upfront and reap the benefits of usually a cheaper plan or pay for your phone plan afterwards and usually enjoy some extra perks.”
How do prepaid plans approach data vs postpaid plans
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.
Prepaid mobile plans simply restrict your network access when you’ve burned through your data, whereas excess usage on a Postpaid plan may result in additional charges on your bill at the end of the month (unless telcos use shaping).
Where can I buy a prepaid mobile plan in Australia
Australians after a prepaid mobile plan can find them in many of the same physical and digital locations as their postpaid counterparts, including major supermarkets, specialised telco and electronics outlets and online.
How do I change Prepaid plans?
The process will be different for every telco but, typically, all that’s required to switch Prepaid mobile plans is to select a different recharge type next top-up.
Other telcos 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 Prepaid mobile plans and telcos is nowhere near as stressful as switching Postpaid plans, partly because Prepaid plans have no contract.
If you want to switch telcos and keep the same number, make sure you approach your new telco 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 licence number).
Are prepaid phones locked?
Unlike contract phone plans, Prepaid phones tend to be network locked. You might run into trouble when using one telco’s Prepaid handset with another’s Prepaid SIM.
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.
Which providers offer prepaid plans in Australia
At the time of writing, the 17 Australian providers in our database are offering prepaid mobile plans:
- Catch Connect
- Coles Mobile
- ALDI Mobile
- Woolworths Mobile
- Boost Mobile
Where can I buy a prepaid SIM card in Australia?
Prepaid SIM cards are fairly easy to come by in Australia. You'll be able to find prepaid SIMs in major supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles, specialised outlets like Telstra and Optus Stores as well as online through the website of a given provider.
Many of Australia's mobile providers tend to throw in a SIM with any given prepaid mobile plan at no additional cost when you sign on for a plan. However, some providers (like ALDI Mobile) charge a nominal $5 upfront fee to set up an account with them.
Depending on the savings offered by the prepaid plan provider you happen to be weighing up, that tradeoff may or may not be worth it so do your research before you get out your wallet.
How we choose the best Prepaid plans
Buying a Prepaid plan means you’re in control of how much you spend each month.
There’s no contract, and the bill comes upfront, so you don’t have to worry about bill shock or excess data usage. You also get extra flexibility when it comes to choosing your next handset. Rather than be forced to pick something from your provider's stocklist, a prepaid plan can be paired with an iPhone 14, Google Pixel 7 or any other handset you fancy.
As always, all of our returning picks for the best prepaid mobile plans have been vetted to ensure they’re the best value at the start of the month. We compare all relevant Prepaid recharges and subscriptions to pick new winners or confirm the continued reign of incumbent victors. Most of our categories involve monthly plans, which offer either 28 days, 30 days or a full month.
TPG and Felix Mobile offer an actual month for their Prepaid plans, which means it’s the same day every recharge whether the month has 28, 30 or 31 days.
Telcos like Amaysim treat a month as 28 days, while others like Aldi Mobile offer 30-day recharge periods. From here, there’s a massive jump to six months, like those Prepaid mobile plans offered by Amaysim, Boost Mobile and Woolworths Mobile.
For even longer recharge periods, there’s a split between the 365-day options offered by Woolworths Mobile and Optus or the one-year offerings from telcos like Amaysim. If you’re interested in reading about more Prepaid mobile plans that expire after 90, 180 or even 365 days, see our guide to the best Prepaid long-expiry plans.