6 of Australia’s best, most useful phone plan features

05 June 2014

You probably think all mobile phone plans are the same. Each includes calls, data, and if your lucky, a new phone. But there are a number of clever ideas tucked away in some of Australia’s better phone plans.

Here are our favourites.

Data Sharing

It used to be that a phone, a tablet and a USB modem all required separate accounts: even if all devices were on the same carrier network. Happily, these days are behind us.

Telstra and Optus both now allow customers to sign up for one phone plan and share their data allowance on up to 5 other devices. So, if you sign up to a $130 Telstra Mobile Accelerate plan, each month you’ll have 3GB to share across all your devices.

You do have to pay extra for this feature, though. Optus are asking for a once-off $5 fee per device you want to connect, while Telstra charge $10 per month, per device.

Optus Data Sharing

(Coming June 10)

Telstra Data Sharing

Vodafone’s Red Roams

Australians love to jump on a plane and travel to other parts of the world. But what do you do with your phone when you get there? How can you avoid the dreaded international roaming charges?

Vodafone is attempting to solve the problem with a unique approach. If you sign up for a Red Plan you can use your phone exactly as you would in Australia for $5 per-day. That means unlimited calls and messages, plus the same amount of data you pay for each month.

The backbone of this arrangement is Vodafone’s enormous global footprint, and while you can’t ‘Red Roam’ in every country, the offer is active in the most popular travelling destinations across the US, Europe and Asia.

New Phone Feeling

Owning a smartphone is a roller coaster ride; the elation you feel peeling the plastic off a brand new smartphone is quickly sullied by the envy you feel when a friend buys a newer model. Seriously, you only bought it six-months ago, how could it be outdated already?

If you love to stay on the bleeding edge of phone technology, then Telstra’s New Phone Feeling is for you. You pay an extra $10 per month on top of your plan, and then every 12-months you can select a different model from Telstra’s range.

When your ‘new phone birthday’ rolls around, simply pack up your old phone, hand it back in to Telstra and reset your 24-month contract with a brand-spanking new phone.

No more Bill Shock inside Australia

One of the great risks of using a smartphone is the chance that you’ll rack up a huge bill after exceeding your monthly data limit. The problem is so common, we’ve all given it its own name: Bill Shock.

Optus is one telco seeking to do away with Bill Shock with an innovative concept for excess data use. Rather than billing you for the data you use after you’ve reached your limit, Optus credits your account with 1GB of extra data and charges you a flat $10 fee. If you hit your limit again, you automatically receive another 1GB and the $10 fee is added to your bill for the month.

Giving back

The experience of comparing mobile phone plans is typically pretty self-centred. It’s all about how much you get, which phone you want. What if you could contribute to a worthwhile cause and sign up for phone plan at the same time?

Jeenee Mobile is a not-for-profit organisation that provides valuable mobile phone service and assistance to people living with disabilities. They have a number of phone and plans designed to service these customers specifically, but there are also a number of competitive SIM-only options available that anyone can sign up for.

Best of all, every new Jeenee Mobile subscriber makes a contribution towards a donation of a smartphone and service to a person with a disability in need of connectivity. For every 5 customers who sign up for a $40 SIM pack, a smartphone is donated, every month.

BYO discount

When you sign up for a new mobile plan that includes a discounted phone, it is a little known fact that some of the cost of the phone is built into the price of the plan.

But what if you bring-your-own phone? You shouldn’t be charged for a phone you don’t buy. This disparity in plan prices is one of the reasons no-contract providers, like amaysim, have become so popular lately.

In response, the big telcos have started offering a discount for BYO customers, and now all the majors offer cheaper SIM-only plans, to a varying degree.

Vodafone offers a flat $15 off the price of any of their Red Plans for BYO customers, bring down a $60 plan to just $45 per month. Optus also offers competitive SIM-only options in its My Plan Plus range.

Telstra customers have even more options, with a slight discount for no-contract plans and an even heavier discount for BYO customers who sign up for 12-months.

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