by Darryl Budge
Whether you prefer the Telstra, Optus or Vodafone network in Australia, there are unlimited 3G phone plans available from network resellers for half the cost of the big three providers.
Boost Mobile (boost.com.au) has a partnership with Telstra to use their entire 3G network covering 2.3 million sq. km, reaching 99 percent of the population. Their best plan is $40 per month, unlimited calls, SMS and MMS included, with 3GB of data. Typical download speeds are 7-21mbps. A maximum of 42mbps is possible on a DC-HSDPA device like the Nexus 4 or iPad 3. You will need a phone that operates on the UMTS 850Mhz band to download at 3G speeds.
Kogan and Aldi are reselling part of the Telstra 3G network, covering 97% of the population (about 960,000 square kilometres). Their download speeds are capped at a theoretical max of 7.2mbps (3mbps typical). Again, you will need a phone that operates on the UMTS 850Mhz band to use either of these providers.
Koganmobile.com.au — Unlimited calls and SMS/MMS is $29 per month, $79 for three months access, or $25/month if prepaying for one year. Data allowance is 6GB per month. Community sourced information is available at <whirlpool.net.au/wiki/kogan_mobile>.
Aldimobile.com.au Unlimited calls and SMS for $35/mth with 5GB data and including international calling credit of $10. Or prepay $15 or $30 amounts with calls 12c/min, text 12c. Credit expires after 1 year and data is 5c/megabyte.
Amaysim, Vaya and TPG Mobile use the Optus 3G network, covering 96% of the population or 960,000 sq. km. Your phone will need to use the UMTS 900Mhz and 2100Mhz band for 3G speeds up to 21mbps. All three of these Optus resellers offer unlimited free social networking access on all plans.
Amaysim.com.au Unlimited call plan is $40 per month with 4GB data. Pay-as-you-go call rate is 12c/min, or to 9c/minute if you buy $20 upfront per month. Texts are 12c or 9c. Credit expires in 90 days. Amaysim-to-amaysim calls are free. International calls at very competitive rates.
Vaya.net.au $29 per month for unlimited calls and SMS and 4GB data, plus a range of highly competitive monthly plans from $7 to $17.
TPG.com.au $45 per month for unlimited calls and SMS/MMS and 5GB data. They also have a range of highly competitive monthly plans from $10 to $35. Prepaid access fee $1 per month with a call rate of 10c/min, and 10c per SMS. Added credit never expires.
Lebara and Red Bull Mobile use the much smaller Vodafone network, which has 3G coverage to 94 percent of Australians over the UMTS 850Mhz and 2100Mhz bands.
Lebara.com.au $30 per month unlimited calls and texts with 3GB data. Prepaid rates are 15c/min, 15c per text with a 90-day credit expiry. Calls and texts between Lebara mobiles are free. Attractive international calling plans available.
Redbullmobile.com.au Unlimited calls/texts for $40/mth, or $30/mth when prepaid for one year. Data is 5GB per month.
SIM cards for your phone from most of the above providers are available in electronics stores and service stations, or from the provider’s online store.
Be aware that a provider’s definition of “unlimited” may not include the use of directory assistance, premium and satellite numbers, call forwarding, and international calls and texts. Some of the above may be blocked until you buy an “add-on pack”, which is good for parents’ peace of mind.
Another note of caution is that none of the above providers are suitable for international roaming. If you want coverage while travelling overseas, check out our previous article: www.challengenews.org/avoid-massive-mobile-bills-while-overseas.
NB: Prices were correct on 15 March, 2013.