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Best Mobile Cap Plans – Month to Month contracts

  • Like pre-paid, but with no need to buy vouchers
  • Take advantage of good prices with no long commitment
  • Ideal if you own your phone outright
Written by Adam Wajnberg
02/04/2012

Not every country in the world has it as good as Australia when it comes to buying a mobile. Here we expect to get the latest mobile, on a network of our choosing, for $0 if we sign up for a two year commitment. In the US, by comparison, the same phone is usually only available on one contract, with the same two year commitment, and still costs $300.

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                month to month plan customer power

A lot of this has to do with the unified standards used in Australia. While Optus and Vodafone have always been loyal to the SIM-card based GSM standard, Telstra tried for the technologically superior, but harder to implement, CDMA standard in the early 00’s. CDMA was not SIM-card swappable, meaning the phone was locked down to Telstra’s network. CDMA was closed up in 2008, with the telco giant turning its attention to different standards for GSM data speeds.

The current generation of smartphones (the shiny black rectangle, or iPhone/not-iPhone era) is about 4 years old in Australia, meaning many people are on their 2nd or third handset. Others are rocking a 2 year old handset that meets their needs, and that they now own outright. This large part of the market has driven the introduction of month-to-month, SIM_card only plans.

This should be quickly disassociated from prepaid, which works a little differently. Pre-paid requires no commitment to continue buying credit every month, making it a convenient choice for travelers. It also requires no credit check, making it convenient for minors and people with poor credit histories. But because a pre-paid service can be abandoned at any time, it’s a little riskier for phone companies. Pre-paid prices are usually a little poorer value than contract prices, to incentivize people to take the more lucrative plan with the shiny new phone and 24 month commitment.

A month-to-month plan is a bit of a compromise. Also known as Bring Your Own (BYO) plans, these plans have a minimum monthly commitment, with the same type of value-to-price ratio as a contract plan, but without the actual binding contract. If you leave, there’s no penalty – but the aim is to make the plan so attractive, that you may as well stay. You also need to give at least 30 days notice to cancel your service. Apart from the value, there’s also the convenience of not having to buy recharge vouchers.

In short – if you’re walking around town with a fully owned smartphone in your pocket, then you have some power. The companies have no carrots to entice you with signing up to a new 2-year commitment. You can be picky.

Best-of-the-Best

           amaysim best phone plan

Amaysim $40 Unlimited – It’s hard to beat this. Unlimited calls to any landline or mobile inside Australia. 4Gb data. 13 and 18 numbers included. Australia based customer service. Unlimited standard SMS and MMS. The only thing you’ll pay extra for is 19 number services (disabled by default), excess data and international calls. The SIM card can also be swapped between your phone and tablet. The only downside? It uses the overcrowded Optus 3G network, which needs a big upgrade, soon. Call Amaysim on 1300 209 198.

Best for coverage and speed

                                           telstra cap plan

Telstra Mobile Pre-Paid Cap Encore $50 – Strictly speaking, this is a pre-paid plan and not a month-to-month service, but Telstra doesn’t really do BYO. For their Freedom Connect plans, Telstra require a 12 or 24 month commitment – even WITHOUT a mobile thrown in. But despite the poor value, we can’t ignore that Telstra’s network really does work better in more places – especially rural and regional places. The Encore $50 plan comes with $1000 of credit and 2GB of data, making it good value even with the 90c/minute call rates. Be careful of going over that 2GB though- extra data is charged at the eye-watering rate of $2 per MB, or $2000 per gigabyte. Compare that to Amaysim, which charges 5c per MB over the 4GB of data you get. Call on 1300 850 518 to discuss Telstra plans.

Best for light users

                    club telco mobile plans

Club Telco’s Club 20 Cap is good for those who sip their calls and data rather than gulp. With $200 worth of calls and 500MB of data for $20, this is a decent plan for those who really, really know that their usage is going to be paltry. At 90c/minute, with a 35c flagfall, This is a good plan if you make 50 calls a month that go less than 2 minutes. That could be many of us. And 500MB of data is pretty good if you’re limiting your data to weather updates, some email and maybe a bit of internet radio. Call Club Telco on 1300 138 155.

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