The best SIM only plans available in September 2019

Hanging onto your phone and choosing a SIM Only phone plan is the best way to save money on your phone bill. Check out the best BYO phone plans in town.
  • $22.50 Pennywise 12-month

    Best Overall

    4 out of 5 overall
    Optus 4G Network
    See PlanHow we rate providers
  • Belong Mobile Large 30GB Plan

    Best Big Data

    4.5 out of 5 overall
    Telstra 4G Network
    See PlanHow we rate providers
Recent Updates: 1 month ago
In September, Belong has moved from the Best Overall SIM-Only provider to Best Big Data, replacing Optus. Taking the top spot for Best Overall SIM-Only provider is the Optus-powered Jeenee Mobile and its Pennywise plan.

Don’t need a new phone? Save money on your monthly bill with the best SIM only plans available.

So you own a perfectly functional smartphone and don’t want to get into the yearly, biennial, or triennial tech race of upgrading. Congratulations! There are big bucks to be saved.

BYO mobile phone plans offer some fantastic value on your monthly bill. For September, Jeenee Mobile has impressed us in the everyday-use category care of the $19.90 Pennywise 12-month SIM Only plan, with a generous data offering at an affordable monthly price point.

Jeenee Mobile is also a contender for big-data users this month, too, but the perks that Belong Mobile is offering in its $40 Large 30GB Plan are too great for us to ignore.

Best SIM Only plan for everyday use September 2019

If you count among smartphone users who fall into the ‘everyday use’ category, there’s no reason why you should be coughing up any more than $30 a month, max.

In August, Belong Mobile was our affordable solution to this everyday problem. But in September, Jeenee Mobile steps to the front with its Pennywise 12-month SIM Only plan that comes in at $19.90 per month (on an offer that’s been extended well past its apparent July cut-off date). That price is 10 percent off the usual $25 monthly cost, plus a further discount on the 12-month option (which’ll cost you $238.80 for the first year). You can opt for the month-to-month at $22.50 for 8GB of data if you want that freedom (for a yearly cost of $270).

Either option will give you access to $50 of international calls and a $20 voucher for buying accessories on the Jeenee Mobile store.

On top of this, we like that Jeenee Mobile is a socially responsible telco that openly contributes funds to helping people living with disability. To date, thanks to ongoing support, Jeenee has donated more than 200 services to people living with disability.

If that’s not enough social credit for you, Jeenee also offers appropriately discounted SIM Only plans to kids and seniors. As you can see from our winner of the everyday-use category, though, Jeenee Mobile is making a name for itself as an affordable provider for subscribers of all ages.

Best SIM Only Plan with Big Data September 2019

Statistically, 10GB per month should cover most smartphone loving Aussies, according to the latest figures from Bureau of Statistics. But there are some of us who need even more data. Like, a lot more.

This Optus plan requires a 12-month commitment, but in return you get a huge 80GB of data for just $50 per month. That’s just 62-cents per gigabyte, which is one of the best deals available right now. Plus, you get all of the extra goodies we expect with an Optus plan: data-free music streaming, free Optus Sports subscription, access to the National Geographic channel and calls to 35 different countries.

The icing on the cake is 4GB of international roaming data to use when you travel overseas. If you’ve holidayed abroad recently and struggled to get online for simple things like Google Maps, you’ll know what a lifesaver this generous bonus data is.

The 80GB data inclusion may seem like too much to use, but it will come in handy if you know how to put it to use. For instance, Optus offers data pooling for multiple devices on the same. So, you could put a SIM card in your iPad or laptop and share the data that way. Or, get the other members of your family a super-cheap SIM plan and have everyone dip into this pool of data together.

Some people might even find that it is enough data to replace the fixed-line internet connection in their home. You just put your phone into Personal Hotspot mode when you get home in the evening and let all of your devices connect to your phone over its WiFi network.

A few SIM Only options to consider:

How we choose the best SIM Only phone plans

There’s a surprising amount to consider before buying a tiny bit of plastic to put in your phone. As the mobile market becomes more competitive, the phone plans become more complex, with carriers adding in bits and pieces to catch your attention.

We consider all of the providers currently listed in the database of our phone plan search engine. The number of providers in our database does sometimes change, but we typically monitor over 20 providers at a time, including the biggest telcos like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

We start by comparing the cost of the essential components of the phone plans. How much will you pay for unlimited calls and SMS, and how much mobile data do you get each month? Do you need to sign a contract? Contracts are not a dealbreaker for us but you’d better get a pretty good deal in return.

Beyond the basics, we look for high-value bonus features. International phone calls and messages are a great example, and happily we’re seeing more plans include calls overseas.

Phone plans may also include access to exclusive video or music services, and while some of these are quite cool, we know that these services aren’t for everyone, so we don’t tend to consider these features too highly in our comparisons.

What are SIM Only phone plans?

BYO SIM CARDS

As the name implies, a SIM Only plan is a phone plan that only comes with the SIM card you need to put into your phone. Every mobile phone needs a SIM card that identifies your account on your carrier’s network, and every time you switch providers you need a new SIM card.

In the phone industry, ‘SIM Only’ has become shorthand for a plan that doesn’t include a new phone on a multi-year contract. Most SIM Only plans are ‘monthly plans’ or ‘no-contract plans’, meaning that you don’t sign a contract and you can move your service to a different provider at any time without paying any termination fees.
That said, there are now a number of SIM Only phone plans that do have a contract, usually a 12 month contract. These plans tend to be among the best value plans available and are worth considering, even if it means locking yourself into a contract for a year.

What’s the difference between postpaid and prepaid?

It can be hard to tell the difference between postpaid and prepaid plans when you’re comparing the terms and inclusions. In most ways postpaid and prepaid plans are identical these days.

The main difference is when you pay for the service, and as you’ve probably guessed, the key is the name. With a prepaid phone plan, you pay upfront by recharging your account. If you don’t have any credit on the account, you won’t be able to use the account until you’ve topped up. With a postpaid service, your carrier will send you a bill at the end of the month.

This becomes important when looking at excess data charges. If you have a postpaid plan and you reach your data limit, you will be charged extra for the data you use after this point. With a prepaid plan, the data is cut off and you are safe from the shock if a giant bill in the mail.

Also, a postpaid plan is sort of like a line of credit, which means that the phone carriers will run a credit check before you sign up. If you have had trouble with credit in the past, then a prepaid plan is a better option.

What is the best unlimited plan? Is unlimited really unlimited?

The word unlimited is thrown around a lot when talking about phone plans, so it is important to be clear about what part of the plan is unlimited, or not. Today, most phone plans include unlimited calls and messages in Australia, and a number of plans include unlimited calls and messages to overseas phone numbers too.

But what most people want is a phone plan with unlimited data, and this sadly, doesn’t exist. There are no phone plans in Australia that have no data limits at all. Telstra and Vodafone both have plans that slow your connection when you reach your data limit, down from full speed to 1.5Mbps, or fast enough to do a bit of web browsing and stream some music.

If you were hoping to find an unlimited data plan, it is important to figure out what you’re really looking for. On average most Australians download about 8GB of data per month, so an unlimited phone plan would be overkill for most of us. If you’re looking for a protection from excess data charges, the plans from Vodafone and Telstra will give you this peace of mind, or you could choose a prepaid phone plan and remain completely in control of your monthly spend.

If you’re looking to use mobile data for the internet at home, then you should take a look at Home Wireless Broadband plans. These plans use the mobile phone network, and come with a modem that is robust enough to connect a household’s worth of laptops, tablets and smart devices.