The best phone plans with student discounts

Save your cash for the uni bar with these student-friendly discounted phone plans.

Best overall
Optus
Optus
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$30
Data
30GB
Network
Optus
Best cheap
Vodaphone
Vodafone
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$40
Data
40GB
Network
Vodafone
Best coverage
Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$30
Data
40GB
Network
Telstra
Best alternative
Amaysim
Amaysim
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$9
Data
55GB
Network
Optus
Georgia Dixon
Digital Content Editor
Read More
September 06, 2022
4 min read

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Your uni days are some of the best you’ll ever have - but they don’t exactly come cheap.

From enrolment fees and textbooks to the many well-deserved post-assessment pints at the uni bar, savings can start to dwindle pretty quickly. Thankfully, most of Australia's big telcos get it, and they’re offering some pretty good discounts to cash-strapped students.

We’ll get into the nitty gritty of each provider below. But first, here’s a quick look at the cheapest (and thus, most student-friendly) plans that are available from Australia's three biggest mobile providers.

Best student discount mobile plan overall

Optus

All the eligible Optus mobile plans with student discounts are right below. To score your discount, all you have to do is click "Go" next to the plan of your choice and enter the promo code you received from Optus upon checkout.

pro
Pros
pro Optus has great coverage and all eligible mobile plans include 5G access.
pro Discount applies for full 24 month period on eligible home internet plans.
pro Plans include data sharing, unlimited talk and text to 35 selected countries and a discounted Optus Sport subscription rate
con
Cons
con Like Telstra, the mobile plan discount expires after 12 months and doesn’t apply to handset payments.

Optus offers a flat 10% discount to students. That includes phone plans, SIM-only plans and more. It's not complicated, but it adds clean value without inviting too many terms and conditions to the party.

To get in on the action, all you have to do is enter your student email at their Student Hub, then apply the promo code they email you at checkout. Too easy.

That said, there is one catch you'll want to keep in mind. This discount expires after 12 months, and can only be used for month-to-month personal plans, the cheapest being the $49 Small Optus Choice plan at $44.10.

However, Optus' student savings promotion doesn't just apply to selected mobile plans. From time to time, you can also save on selected home internet plans with the telco.

If you're in the market for a 4G internet plan with a student discount, check out the widget below for a round-up of popular Optus 4G Home Internet plans to consider. Just remember to enter the promo code you got from Optus following the instructions above when you're signing up.

Telstra vs Optus vs Vodafone coverage

Three to tango.

Best cheap phone plan student discount

Vodafone

pro
Pros
pro No specific plans or discounts for students.
pro Bundling bonuses let you save more
con
Cons
con Infinite data (speed-capped after data allowance has been exhausted).
con 5G access included, though slow to roll out.

Vodafone used to have a small but great value selection of student discount mobile plans, however, ever since their big move to infinite data on all postpaid plans, it seems they've moved away from focusing on students in favour of making their plans cheaper for everyone.

That said, students seeking special treatment from the Australia's third big telco can still score a $5 discount if they sign up directly via Vodafone or through UNiDays.

Depending on the cost of your plan, this might not represent a huge difference in dollars saved versus Optus' offering. However, there are a few catches to keep track of:

  • The $5 discount only applies to Vodafone plans that are priced $45 or above
  • You'll need to head into a Vodafone store with your student ID in tow or verify your UNiDays account via the Vodafone website if you want to sign up online
  • The discount only applies to customers signing up for a new service, signing on for an additional service or a handset plan. If you're already a Vodafone customer, you can't get the discount added to your existing plan.

Best coverage phone plan for students

Boost Mobile

pro
Pros
pro Uses the Telstra network, which is the fastest network in Australia, with the best coverage
pro Regular promotional pricing
con
Cons
con 5G limited to more expensive plans
con No international roaming

With Telstra themselves no longer offering student discounts, Boost Mobile has  become the best option for those after the best coverage at a budget-friendly price.

Boost Mobile customers benefit from full access to the entire Telstra mobile network, which means they get mobile coverage in places that other Telstra-affiliated MVNO providers don't reach. If you're after the best coverage for the least amount of bite into your budget, Boost is hard to beat.

While Boost Mobile is not currently offering any ongoing student discounts akin to those available from Vodafone and Optus, they regularly offer opportunities for students and others to save through promotions that make their already competitively priced mobile plans an even better deal. If you want the best coverage at a competitive price, Boost Mobile is currently the best way to go about it.

Best alternative phone plan student discount

Amaysim

pro
Pros
pro Generous data promos
pro Long expiry plans
pro Good international call inclusions
con
Cons
con No perks or extras
con Average customer satisfaction

If you're looking to steer clear of the big three, Amaysim might be one of the better options out where when it comes to student discounts. The telco offers a range of student discounts and exclusive SIM-only plans through UNiDays.

How to choose the best mobile provider

The best place to start when looking for your next mobile plan provider is the choice between a SIM-only plan or one that factors in the cost of a brand new device, such as the Apple iPhone 13 or Samsung Galaxy S22. If you're happy with your current device and don't mind sticking with it for longer, you'll have a lot more choice when it comes to providers.

On the other hand, those who want or need a new phone to go with their mobile plan are likely to end up at one of the big three (Telstra, Optus and Vodasfone) as the usual alternatives steer clear of device-based plans.

One you've made that choice, the next thing to look at is data. If you're a heavy data user seeking the best bang for their buck, you may want to install a data usage tracking app on your phone to get a sense of just how much you're already using each month.

After determining how much data you need your next mobile plan to include, the next step is to get a sense of which networks offer the best coverage for your local area. Once you've done that, you should be able to thin and filter the possibilities to hone in a mobile plan that includes as much data as you need at the lowest price, while also giving you the best coverage.

How we choose the best mobile provider for students

Our methodology for choosing the best student phone plans isn't too far off how we think about choosing and recommending mobile and internet plans in general.

However, for the purposes of this guide, we're factoring in student discounts into our comparison of the market. This can change the results in significant ways as not all providers actually offer student-friendly savings options.

More popular mobile plan providers

Outside of the big three, you’ll get some pretty stellar deals without even needing to verify your student status.

Spintel, Circles.Life, Aldi and more all offer 10GB or more for less for under $30 a month. All you’ve got to do is bring your own device and you’re set to stream, video chat and game to your heart’s content. Check out the most popular mobile plans with at least 10GB and under $40 below.

Georgia Dixon
Written by
Georgia Dixon
Georgia Dixon has over seven years' experience writing about all things tech, entertainment and lifestyle, with bylines in TechLife magazine, 7NEWS and Stuff.co.nz. In her spare time, you'll find her playing games and daydreaming about good food, wine, and dogs.

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