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Almost 80% of Australians are feeling the Cost of Living crunch

Comparison site WhistleOut has some tips for cutting back on your bills.

Brodie Fogg
Mar 22, 2023
Icon Time To Read2 min read
Photograph of a young mother and her baby stressed about money (the mother is stressed, the baby is blissfully unaware)

The vast majority of Australians are concerned about inflation and the rising cost of living. In a survey run by comparison site WhistleOut, 79% of Australians claimed that the cost of living was an ongoing concern, and 77% of respondents said they were actively seeking ways to save money.

After a barrage of cash rate increases climbed to an astonishing 3.6% and a whopping 7.8% in inflation last financial quarter, it’s no surprise that most Australians are feeling the pinch. Practically everything has become more expensive over the last year and wage growth in Australia isn’t keeping up.

Until the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cools its jets on the cash rate and employees are adequately supported by Australian businesses, many are left with no other choice but to start cutting costs at home.

As a starting point, WhistleOut recommends researching a cheaper Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) as an alternative to more expensive providers like Telstra and Optus. According to WhistleOut’s survey, nearly 40% of Australians said they wouldn’t consider going with a smaller provider to save money and roughly the same amount said they don’t regularly check for deals and savings when getting a new phone plan.

As WhistleOut points out, there’s the potential to save a considerable amount on your monthly bill by opting for a reliable MVNO.

For example, Telstra’s cheapest SIM plan is currently $58 per month. That gets you 40GB of monthly data, unlimited calls and text, and 5G connectivity.

On the other hand, Telstra MVNO Tangerine will give you more monthly data (42GB) for less at $34.90 per month (as well as unlimited calls and text). Tangerine uses parts of the Telstra 4G network and is offering 5G trials to new customers for a limited time. That’s a saving of $23.10 per month or $277.20 per year.

Don’t need that much data? You can save even more with a plan from MVNO Mate, which offers unlimited calls/text on the Telstra 4G network and 10GB of data for $20 per month. Compared to Telstra’s cheapest SIM plan, that’s a saving of $38 per month or $456 per year.

Maybe you don’t need the Telstra network at all. The Optus and Vodafone networks have come a long way over the last decade, and both have introduced their own 5G networks as well. Telstra is still the leading network for coverage, but the difference is far less pronounced for people in cities or densely populated areas.

If you don’t mind switching networks for a while, Optus MVNO Moose Mobile will give you unlimited calls and text and 6GB of data for $8.80 per month (for the first 12 months). Compared to Telstra’s cheapest plan, that’s a saving of $49.20 per month or $590.40 per year. You’re also sacrificing a lot of monthly data in that scenario but we’ve got plenty of tips for monitoring and managing your data usage.

Considering taking a chance on an Australian MVNO? Here are some of the cheapest SIM deals from mobile providers in Australia, according to WhistleOut’s comparison engine.

Brodie Fogg
Written by
Brodie Fogg
Brodie Fogg is the Australian editorial lead at He has covered consumer tech, telecommunications, video games, streaming and entertainment for over five years at websites like WhistleOut and Finder and can be found sharing streaming recommendations at 7NEWS every month.

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