Last week it was announced that ispOne had been placed into administration, resulting in their agreement with Telstra being voided. In turn, this meant that Kogan Mobile and Aldi Mobile would be without a service provider. Aldi moved quickly to strike a deal directly with Telstra. Kogan didn’t take this step, meaning that it’s 100,000+ customers would soon find themselves without a mobile service.
Telstra announced they would be progressively moving former Kogan customers to a holding plan – minimal access with 7 days to port to another provider should they wish to continue using the service as normal.
Below is a comparison of current pre-paid providers. Couple of things to note here: full rates are not provided, generally only call and text rates as well as data were applicable. Included rates and quotas apply only within Australia. It should go without saying, but regardless: it’s up to you to research the best option for yourself by visiting the various provider websites. Critical Information Summary sheets are provided for a good reason; use them! Offers shown are for BYO handsets only.
If I’ve left anyone out or included wrong information let me know in the comments.
Telstra pre-paid starter packs begin at $2 for the SIM (no credit), or $30 with $30 included credit which can be applied against the offer of your choosing. There are four options available:
Cap Encore starts at $30 and provides $250 of credit and 400Mb of data. Plans are tiered up to $100, providing $1900 of credit and 3Gb of data. Calls and text messages are unbilled between 6pm and 6am each night, and any unused credit is rolled over if you recharged before the 30 day expiry. Rates across all plans are 89c per minute and 29c per text message.
Like Cap Encore, Beyond Talk starts at $30 and tops at $100. The base offering provides 200 bonus minutes of calls, 200 text messages (with 1c texts to Telstra mobiles beyond that) and 200Mb of data. The $100 offering provides 800 bonus minutes of calls, unlimited text messages and 1Gb of data. Unused credit also rolls over if you recharge before the 30 day expiry. Rates across all plans are 78c per minute and 29c per text.
Designed for light users, Simplicity plans begin at $20, with $30, $50 and $100 options also available. Credit is equal to the recharge amount, however expiry varies – $20 lasts 30 days while a $100 recharge is good for up to 180 days. Any unused credit will rollover if another recharge is applied before expiry. Rates are flat: 15c per minute voice calls, 12c text and data charged at 10c per Mb.
Long Life options begin at $20 and tier up to $100. The two base recharge options ($20 and $30) don’t come with included bonus calls, but the $40 to $100 options offer between 50 minutes and 200 minutes. Expiry also varies, $20 credit expires after 60 days and the $100 option lasts 365 days. Again, any unused credit will rollover if a recharge is applied before expiry. Call rates are the same as Cap Encore, but without included data – this is charged at a flat rate of $2 per Mb.
Optus offer four separate pre-paid options, which are strucutured based on differing needs.
A Starter SIM pack is $29.95, including $30 worth of credit (however this is currently $19.95 – $10 off until 30th September).
The base recharge option is $30, which includes 250 minutes of calls to non-Optus mobiles and 500Mb of data. The highest option is $100, providing 900 minutes to non-Optus mobiles and 5Gb of data. All options include unlimited calls to Optus mobiles and unlimited text to all numbers. Some social media sites are unmetered. All credit expires after 28 days, and no rollover is available.
Until the end of September a promotion offers double the amount of included minutes and data, limited to the first 3 recharges, subject to certain conditions.
Designed for people who are medium to heavy users, but only sporadically, $2 Days provide set quotas capped at $2.
Base recharge option is $10 with 10 days expiry, up to $100 for 100 days expiry. Each plan offers unlimited calls, text and data. Unused credit will rollover if a recharge is applied before expiry.
The Crew Cap begins at $30, providing a combined $200 of credit and 100Mb of data. These plans scale up to $100, offering $900 of combined credit and 700Mb of data. All plans have a 60 day expiry period, and unused credit will rollover if a recharge is applied before expiry. Rates are fixed across the board: 78c per minute and 28c text.
Long Expiry Cap
Optus long expiry options start at $30 and run up to $100, offering $150 and $400 of combined credit respectively. No data is included, but is charged at $2 per Mb. Rates are 89c per minute for calls and 29c for text across the board, with a 186 day expiry. Again, unused credit will rollover if a recharge is made before expiry.
Vodafone offer the greatest range of recharge options, but also the most amount of confusion – the choice makes it difficult to pin down a decent all-rounder plan.
SIM starter packs start at $1 if purchased online from Vodafone’s website. No starter credit is included.
Prepaid caps start at $10, with an included credit of $100 and scale up to $70 with $1500 of included credit. Call rates are the same across all plans: 90c per minute, and unlimited text messages (except for the $10 option, texts are 30c). Data is available on recharges $30 and above, with the $70 recharge providing 2Gb.
All Time recharge options start at $35 and run up to $90. All options offer unlimited calls (except the base option, which only includes unlimited calls to other Vodadone services and 7pm-7am otherwise) and unlimited text. The base option provides 500Mb of data, while the top tier provides 1Gb. All tiers are 30 day expiry, with the exception of the $90 option which lasts 60 days.
The 365 day caps start at $20 and go as high as $150, providing flexible credit on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The base option provides 50 minutes of calls to other Vodafone services, and the $150 option 850 minutes. Rates are the same across the board: 89c per minute calls and 28c per text. All options have a 365 day expiry.
Flexicap recharge options start at $29 – providing a combined $500 of credit and 500Mb of data – up to $150, offering $2500 of combined credit and 5Gb of data. Calls are billed at 89c per minute and texts at 29c. All credit expires after 28 days.
TXT & Talk
Follow the same pricing structure as the 365 option, but with some differences. Dollar-for-dollar flexible credit is included in addition to free calls and text – a combined 200 minutes and 20 text on the base tier, and a combined 1250 minutes and 800 text on the highest. No data is included, but is charged at $2 per Mb. Calls are charged at 78c per min and 28c per text. Credit expires after 60 days.
Aldi offer two simple pre-paid options: one aimed at light users, the other at heavy users. SIM starter packs are $5 each (in-store or online) and come with $5 of credit.
Pay As You Go
Two recharge options: $15 or $30 providing equal credit. Calls are charged at 12c per minute and texts at 12c. Data is charged at a reasonable 5c per Mb, with credit expiring after 365 days. An optional 2Gb data pack can be added for $15, but expires after 30 days.
The Unlimited Pack comes with just one option: $35 recharge which expires after 30 days. Unlimited talk and text are included, as is 5Gb of data.
Formerly an Optus reseller, Boost offer only one recharge option, although across different tiers. Base recharge option is $10, offering 500Mb of data expiring after 5 days. The top option is $40, which offers 3Gb of data to be used within 30 days. All recharge options provide unlimited calls and text.
SIM starter kits begin at $2, or $40 with $40 of included credit. $40 starter kits are currently half price until the 31st of August.
Like Boost, Dodo offer one recharge option but with different tiers of recharge. Although it might be expected from a company named after an extinct bird, I had some trouble piecing together information about their pre-paid offers.
No pricing could be found on SIM starter packs, and it appears that due to a change in their pricing structure inconsistent information is provided depending on the page you view.
Thus, I gave up on this one. You’re on your own here.
VIRGIN MOBILE (Optus)
Virgin Mobile give the choice of three options – like other providers each one is suited towards different users. SIM starter packs are $2, no credit is included.
5 recharge tiers are available, starting at $19. The base offering provides $100 credit and 250Mb of data, scaling up to $99 providing $1850 of credit and 1Gb of data. Calls are charged at 90c/min and texts at 25c, however calls and text to other Virgin services are unmetered. All credit expires after 28 days. While unused credit doesn’t rollover, bonuses up to $150 apply if a recharge is applied before expiry.
Long Expiry recharge options begin at $15, providing $15 of credit (180 day expiry) and tier up to $99 with $99 of credit with a 365 day expiry. Calls are billed at 78c per minute and texts at 28c, however calls to other Virgin services are 5c per minute, unlimited text. No data is included, but charged at 2c per Kb. Unused credit will rollover if a recharge is applied before expiry.
Simple plans are similar to Long Expiry in that they provide the same dollar-for-dollar recharge credit, but provide more generous quotas. The downside here is a shorter expiry period – 90 days across the board. Base recharge is $19, top level being $99. Calls are 15c per minute and texts 15c. Again, Virgin to Virgin calls and text are unlimited, and unused credit will rollover if a recharge is applied prior to expiry. All tiers include 100Mb of data.
It’s difficult to offer a recommendation: everyone’s usage is different. That said, the Aldi Mobile unlimited offer is probably the most attractive choice going right now. It ticks all the boxes: uses the Telstra network (3G only), offers unlimited calls and text to any Australian number and throws in a respectable 5gb of data. If you’re a heavy user, this is the one to go for.
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