Here are the best cheap mobile phone plans in Australia (September 2022)

Circles.Life, iiNet and amaysim lead the charge in this month's round-up of the cheapest mobile plans available in Australia.

September 05, 2022
7 min read

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The best thing about the advent of more telcos is the inevitable race to rock-bottom prices as they vie for consumer bucks and ongoing loyalty. Just this past month, an all-new cheap challenger entered the ring when Konec announced its budget Telstra-powered phone plans.

Whatever your needs,  you can score a decent plan for under $20 with ample monthly data. And you only need to make a small increase to your budget to if you want moe gigabytes and shiny perks.

In this guide, we take a closer look at the best-value SIM-Only plans (Prepaid and Postpaid), kicking off with those under $10 and stretching up to a max cost of $40.

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Best cheap phone plan: $10 and below

Circles.Life
pro
Pros
pro Great value pricing
pro Loads of data
con
Cons
con Light on features
con Archaic post-cap pricing

At this price point, plans generally come with around 1GB of data, which is not bad for only $10! So the fact that you get 8GB of data with Circles.Life's $10 monthly mobile plan is great value.

Not quite what you’re after? Here are the most popular mobile plans for $10 and under today.

Best cheap mobile plan: $20 and below

iiNet
pro
Pros
pro Fantastic first-year pricing
pro Decent customer satisfaction
con
Cons
con No real plan features
con Unpopular iiNet Support app

This price bracket is a tricky one, as most of the popular picks are technically only $20 or under for a promo period. Still, iiNet's deal on its 40GB Monthly Plan nets you a huge amount of monthly data for $15 per month

Once the promo runs out, however, things get a little dicey. After six months the price will revert back to $29.99 a month. All things considered, that's still a pretty decent deal. The plan runs on the Vodafone 4G network and includes all the usual unlimited call and text trimmings. 

If you want to check out your options, here are some more popular mobile plans at this price point.

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Best cheap mobile plan: $40 and below

Circles.Life
pro
Pros
pro Great value pricing
pro Loads of data
con
Cons
con Light on features
con Archaic post-cap pricing

Even without its regular promo pricing of $23 per month for the first 6 months with the promo code 100WOEOFY, there's simply no beating the dollar-for-data value offered by Circles.Life's 100GB plan. That's far more data than most Australians would ever need, so it's safe to say it will satisfy even the heaviest of data users. 

Want to see what else is out there? Take a look at the most popular plans below $40 per month for comparison.

Best cheap plan with 'unlimited' data

Felix Mobile
pro
Pros
pro Unlimited data, calls and text
pro Carbon-neutral telco
pro Plan pause flexibility
con
Cons
con Iffy value for roaming bolt-on
con Endless data is speed capped

If a hundred gigs still won't suffice, there is one more option. While there are no truly 'unlimited' data plans in Australia, there are a decent handful that offer 'endless' or 'infinite' data, which means you can use as much data as you please, but it will be speed-capped.

The best option for most people is Felix Mobile's $35 subscription plan, which offers 'endless' data that's capped at 20Mbps. At that speed, you can do most things comfortably, from streaming HD video, updating apps, online shopping, scrolling through social media and video chatting with friends and family. Really, the only thing you'll struggle with is downloading large files, which may take a while.

Cheapest plan on Telstra 4G network

Tangerine 1GB Mobile SIM

pro
Pros
pro Solid customer satisfaction
pro Great support reputation
con
Cons
con Feature-light plans
con Not competitively priced

If you're looking for the cheapest plan on the Telstra mobile network, you need look no further than the Tangerine 1GB Mobile SIM. Priced at $9.90/month, this plan includes just 1GB of data. That's a solid 10% or so better than the next best option from PennyTel.

If you have specific requirements that don't match up with what Tangerine are offering here, there are plenty of other MVNOs on the Telstra wholesale network that will connect you to the largest mobile network in Australia for a fraction of the cost. Here's an updated list of the cheapest mobile plans on the Telstra network.

Cheapest plan on Optus 4G network

Moose 8.80 Promo Plan

pro
Pros
pro Solid Optus coverage
pro High customer satisfaction
pro Excellent value
con
Cons
con No data banking
con Limited international inclusions

The cheapest way to jump onto the Optus network on short notice remains the carrier's own prepaid SIMs. However, if you're looking for coverage measured in weeks or months rather than days, you're better off going with something like Moose Mobile's $8.80 mobile plan.

$8.80 per month gets you 6GB of data for the first twelve months plus unlimited national calls and texts. After that year, the monthly rises to $14.80 per month. Fortunately, it's a no-contract plan, so you're free to shop around when that higher price eventually kicks in and save money in the meantime.

If Optus works best in your area, and you're not interested in switching to Moose, Telstra or Vodafone, there's a bunch of smaller providers that offer access to the Optus 4G network for lower monthly price (though Optus plans can be quite cheap).

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Cheapest plan on Vodafone 4G network

iiNet 8GB Mobile Plan

pro
Pros
pro Fantastic first-year pricing
pro Decent customer satisfaction
con
Cons
con No real plan features
con Unpopular iiNet Support app

For those looking to stay with or seek out the coverage of the Vodafone's 3G and 4G networks while saving as much money as possible, iiNet's 8GB Mobile Plan is a clear frontrunner.

Priced at $10/month for the first six months, this plan includes 8GB of mobile data. After that honeymoon period, the price does go up to $19.99/month. However, at that point, you are free to leave and jump ship to another cheap mobile plan.

Vodafone has a healthy mix of budget prepaid providers that use its network. If you're in a place with ample Vodafone coverage, and you're only interested in cutting back your monthly bills, check out the most popular plans on Vodafone's network.

Best cheap prepaid plan

Amaysim $12 Unlimited Plan

pro
Pros
pro Generous data promotions
pro Good international call inclusions
con
Cons
con No perks or extras
con Average customer satisfaction

If a postpaid mobile plan is out of the question and you're looking to maximise your data allowance, then Amaysim's $12 Unlimited Plan is a standout choice. Sign up for this plan before the end of June and you'll pay $0 rather than the usual $12 for the first month.

For a sense of how this compares to some of the other popular cheap prepaid plans out there, check out the widget below.

The cheapest of the cheap mobile plans

In our top picks above, we've tried to highlight the cheapest plans that offer reasonable data and call inclusions. However, if you're simply after the cheapest prepaid and postpaid plans and recharges Australian telcos provide, take a look at the list below for some truly dirt-cheap mobile plans.

The 10 cheapest mobile plans in Australia

(with unlimited calls and data)
Provider
Plan
Intro price
Regular deal
Data
Network
Moose MobileMoose Mobile
Moose 8.80 SIM Only Promo$8.80$14.80 after first 12 months6GBOptus 4G
TPGTPG
12GB Mobile Plan$10$20 after first 6 months12GBVodafone 4G
Circles LifeCircles.Life
5GB Monthly Plan$105GB after first 6 months8GBOptus 4G
IinetiiNet
Mobile 8GB Plan$10$19.99 after first 6 months8GBVodafone 4G
InternodeInternode
Small 8GB Plan$10$19.99 after first 6 months8GBVodafone 4G
Catch ConnectCatch Mobile
30 Day Plan - 4GB$10$10 ongoing4GBOptus 4G
Southern PhoneSouthern Phone
Small SIM Only plan$5$10 after first 3 months2GBOptus 4G
DodoDodo
$10 Mobile Plan$10$10 ongoing2GBOptus 4G
PennytelPennytel
Extra Small 1GB$11.99$11.99 ongoing1GBTelstra 4G
SpintelSpintel
$20 Mobile Plan$12$20 after first 6 months17GBOptus 4G

What to look for in a cheap mobile plan

If you're looking to cut down on monthly expenses, your phone bill can be a great place to start. Australia's mobile plan market extends far beyond the three big carriers - Telstra, Optus and Vodafone - and so long as you aren't locked into device repayments with another provider the process of switching between to a cheaper mobile plan is relatively painless.

Before you do pull the trigger on a new mobile provider, it's worth doing your research and considering a few key factors.

  • How much mobile data do you really need? As a rule, it's usually better and cheaper to have too much data than not enough. Knowledge is power when it comes to choosing the right mobile plan, so it may be worth using an app like My Data Manager to start tracking how much of your monthly data you use. Once you have a better idea of how much data you actually need, finding a plan that offers that amount at the lowest possible price becomes significantly easier.
  • Which network offers you the best coverage? While there's often overlap between Australia's big three carriers when it comes to coverage, that's little consolation to those who fall through the cracks. If you know that your local area has bad Optus coverage, that's a good reason to exclude cheap mobile plans from providers that rely on the same infrastructure. After all, the savings benefits of a good deal tend to erode pretty fast if you can't get a good signal.
  • How good or poor a customer support experience do you expect? The quality of a mobile provider's customer support isn't usually something that you think about until it's too late. For that reason, those looking at choosing between our picks for the best cheap mobile plans may want to use that variable as a point of difference between potential options. If two plans offer the same amount of data and coverage for a similar or identical monthly cost, a good (or bad) customer service reputation might be a good way to break the tie between them.
  • Are you willing to change providers to take advantage of short-term savings opportunities and other promotions? At any given moment, there usually dozens of great deals on mobile plans available to Australians. What's more, most of these tend to be contract-free. If you're willing to be diligent and check in to see which providers are running the best deals every few months, there's nothing stopping you from jumping between them to get the most out of your money.

How we choose the best cheap mobile plans

When it comes to cheap mobile plans, price is the most important variable. If you're a budget-conscious consumer looking at this page for guidance, we want our recommendations to best meet your needs. For that reason, we consider cheap plans to be anything less than $40/month.

Beyond price, the other big factors we consider are network coverage and monthly data per dollar. Given the overlap between Australia's major mobile networks, we typically privilege the latter when it comes to picking out the best cheap mobile plans. If you live in an area where you've got decent coverage from Optus, Vodafone and Telstra, we want to be able to point you towards the cheap mobile plan that offers the best bang for buck.

Finally, we also consider whether or not any decent deals are available for a given mobile plan and whether or not that provider includes any notable extras (like international calls) or suffers from any shortcomings. Our provider reviews and our sister site WhistleOut are valuable resources for us here.

Cheap mobile plan FAQs

Fewer and fewer providers in Australia actually charge you for the SIM card itself. At most, you can expect to pay $1 to $10 for a prepaid SIM card but that typically includes a small amount of calls, text and data as well. On the other hand, no provider in Australia charges an upfront cost for a postpaid SIM card. You simply sign up to a month-to-month plan and the SIM card will be delivered to your door in a matter of days. After that, you’ll recieve your first bill one month after you’ve signed up but you won’t pay anything for the SIM card itself.

Cheaper mobile plans are not directly penalised when it comes to coverage.

For example, customers of MVNOs like Mate will have the same level of coverage as Optus customers operating on the same network. 

However, more expensive mobile plans can some include 5G network coverage and, if you're looking at Telstra, a slightly larger network footprint. That's not a universal rule though, so it's usually worth doing your research and thinking about whether you really need 5G before signing up with a new provider.

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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