Family mobile phone plans: Telstra vs Optus vs Vodafone

Here are your options for bundling family phone plans under one account.

Once upon a time, Australian mobile and broadband providers would bend over backwards for your patronage, offering great TV bundles and discounts for multiple plans under one account. These days, bundles and family plans are far less common but there are a handful of providers still catering to you and yours. Even with providers that don’t offer family plans, there are still ways you save with options like data sharing from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

Do telcos offer family plans?

Yes, but every provider’s definition of a family plan is different. There are family plans where you get multiple SIMs with shared inclusions for a single cost (e.g. ALDI Mobile and Optus) then there are “family” plans, which are just your standard data sharing options repackaged as a family offer. Some plans offer family-friendly perks, like Woolworths Mobile, but don’t offer any actual discount for multiple plans on one account. So while we’re talking bona fide family plans here, we’ll also touch on the next best thing offered by alternative providers. Let’s take a closer look at your options.

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Are there unlimited data family plans?

In a sense, yes. The plans listed below from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all offer some variation of what’s commonly called ‘endless data’. Endless data plans offer an allotted amount “max speed” data (your included data amount). Once you exceed that amount of data, you can continue to use your smartphone’s internet connection but your download speeds crawl to a painfully slow 1.5Mbps. However, there’s a new provider on the block, Felix Mobile, which offers endless data with a generous 20Mbps speed cap at just $35 per month. If you’re after an unlimited mobile plan for the whole family, it’s the closest thing you’ll find and it doesn’t restrict users from tethering to other devices if you want to connect your laptop or gaming console to the internet.

Family mobile plans

ALDI Mobile and Optus both offer unique family plan arrangements where you can bundle multiple devices and phone numbers under a single plan with shared usage and costs.

ALDI Mobile Family Plans

As one of our most highly recommended Telstra MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), ALDI Mobile gets a head-start by offering outstanding prepaid value on the Telstra wholesale network. It also so happens to be one of the only providers offering true family plan discounts.

There are three family plans offered by ALDI Mobile at $45 for 40GB and two users, $80 for 80GB and four users and $110 for 120GB and six users. If you do the math, those deals are very decent.

The $45 Family Plan works out at $22.50 for 20GB per month per user, the $80 Family Plan works out at $20 for 20GB per user and the $110 plan works out at $18.33 for 20GB per user.

Each plan includes a total data pool that each user/SIM card shares. So if one family member has a stronger appetite for data than the others, it will be deducted from the overall family data pool (rather than an excess charge or top-up fee). For example, on the $80 plan, if two users only use roughly 8GB per month, that leaves 64GB for the other two (32GB each).

The account owner can also set individual usage limits if one member of the family is using more than their fair share of data.

Take a look at the most popular individual phone plans from ALDI Mobile to compare them against the family value plans.

Optus Family Plans

Optus offers a single family plan for four users at $149 per month ($37.25 each). It comes with 200GB of shared data, unlimited talk and text to standard Australian numbers and includes access to the McAfee Safe Family app (which usually costs $8.99 per month). The closest comparable plan from Optus is the $45 Optus Choice plan, which offers 20GB per month. Not only is the Family Plan cheaper per user, but each user also gets over double the amount of monthly data than they would on the standalone Optus Choice plan.

Optus also offers a few other perks and options for families. Optus Pause is a feature available through the MyOptus app that lets you pause connectivity to select devices on your network (which sounds like a good option for family movie night) and when it’s time to add another SIM to your litter, you can simply add another Kids mobile SIM for an additional $29 per month.

Here’s a quick summary of the most popular individual Optus plans for comparison:

Data sharing for families

When there’s a will there’s a way and in the case of providers that don’t offer family mobile plans, the way is through data sharing. Telstra and Vodafone might not offer traditional family mobile plans but they do offer data sharing across devices on the same account.

Telstra data sharing

Telstra’s current range of Upfront SIM plans all offer data sharing. Essentially, that means you can sign up for a big data plan and multiple cheaper plans to access one combined pool of data. For example, say one family member signs up for the 80GB $65 Medium Upfront plan and two others sign up for the 40GB $55 Upfront plan. That gives you 160GB to share with the family for $175 per month in total. It’s not cheap but Telstra still charges a premium for its market-leading network coverage (which is even more valuable now that Telstra’s 5G rollout has begun).

Take a look at Telstra’s most popular upfront BYO plans (all of which feature data sharing).

Vodafone data sharing and bundle savings

For Australia’s premium budget telco Vodafone, the data-sharing system is almost the same as Telstra’s with one key difference: Vodafone offers discounts for multiple services on one account.

For example, four 60GB $40 SIM plans on the same account results in a total of 240GB to share across each device but thanks to Vodafone’s Bundle and Save system, each of the four plans would be discounted by 15%, costing $34 per month each ($136 in total). $136 for 240GB in incredible value.

Vodafone’s Bundle and Save discounts are available on all phone plans above $30 per month. Here’s every Bundle and Save discount through Vodafone:

  • 2 plans: 5% off each plan
  • 3 plans: 10% off each plan
  • 4 plans: 15% off each plan
  • 5 plans: 20% off each plan

Here’s a list of the most popular Bundle and Save Vodafone plans where data sharing is available:

Family perks

Lastly, there’s Woolworths Mobile. Yet another Telstra MVNO, Woolies doesn’t offer family plans or bundles per se but it does offer great value on the Telstra wholesale network and a couple of perks for big families.

For example, Woolworths Mobile offers data banking up to 200GB (so you can tap into unused data before exceeding your usage) and 10% off your grocery shop (up to $500) once per month. That’s a potential saving of $50 per month depending on the size of your monthly shop.

Outside of family perks, Woolworths Mobile also offers some great early-bird discounts on the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphones if you’re ever in the market for a new device.

These perks and Woolworths Mobile overall value make it a constant front-runner in our recommendations for the best mobile phone plans every month.

Here’s a glance at the most popular Woolworths Mobile plans this month: