We’ve all been there. Instant noodles, scrounging for lost coins in your Gumtree-bought couch and cheap, cheap wine all in the name of education. The good news is, you probably don’t have to compromise too hard on a phone plan. There are plenty of affordable options out there that give you decent bang for your buck, if you know where to look.
Power Plan 16 (V2)
This plan is one of the best ultra low-cost plans around. For $16 per month you get $200 of credit for calls and text, as well as 300MB of data. Obviously 300MB is not a lot. In fact, you’ll have to even be careful with Facebook browsing. Still, if you’re on a short budget then it could be worth it.
This is a SIM-only plan, so you’ll need to bring your own phone. There’s also a $20 fee for the first month, meaning your initial bill will be $36 minimum.
The good news is that there’s no lock-in contract. You can leave any time. Just remember that if you do leave and come back, you’ll have to pay that $20 first-month fee again.
Small $15 SIM Pack Plan
The Jeenee plan is a little worse value than the Vaya plan, but it’s for a good cause. Jeenee is a not-for-profit telco with a heart of gold. The general idea is that, for every certain number of plans Jeenee users sign up to, free stuff is given to a person with disabilities.
Obviously the more expensive the plan the fewer people need to sign up before a donation can be made. The $15 pack, being the cheapest, gets 1 free Flexi Pack per 25 people per month. Once you get to the $40 plan only 5 subscribers are needed.
The Small $15 SIM Pack Plan gets you $200 credit and 250MB of data. Like with Vaya there is a $20 first-month fee, but no contracts so you can leave any time you want. Once again you’ll need to bring your own phone.
Basically, if you’re feeling down that your funds are too short to do a little good in the world, then you might prefer Jeenee to Vaya. For 50MB a month you can purchase a little good karma.
$30 plan (with phone)
If you want a phone with your service then the Vodafone $30 plan has some stunning options right now. Yes, it’s a 24 month contract, but for $0 extra per month you can get an HTC One (M7) or Sony Xperia Z to keep. That is honestly incredible value. Both these phones were flagship devices just last year. The One (M7) was awarded Best Phone of 2013 at Mobile World Congress in early 2014. You can also get the Galaxy S3 For $5 a month if you want, but that’s a full year older than the other two options and not nearly as good value.
The plan itself isn’t heavy on the data. You do get $300 credit for calls and text, but only 300MB of usage. Still, if you have WiFi at home then you’ll still get good use out of those once-top-tier phones.
The amaysim UNLIMITED plan is $39.90 per month, so it’s definitely the priciest deal on here. But, for that price you get unlimited talk and text within Australia, as well as a full 4GB of data. Granted, that data is limited to 3G, but being part of the Optus network it’s some of the best 3G around.
Once again this is a contract-free plan and you'll need to BYO phone.
Global Liberty Starter Plan
If you're concerned with quality coverage, then you might consider an MVNO that operates over the Telstra network. Telechoice may be limited to 3G, but you'll have the peace of mind that comes with being on Australia's most wide-spread phone network.
For $30 you'll get 1GB of data and unlimited texts within Australia. Calls are limited to $500 in credit, but said credit can even be used for calling overseas. That makes this a great option for students from overseas, or who have family elsewhere.
Original image source: Flickr User abstractmachine