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Prepaid mobile plans
Get more for your money and control your spending with a flexible prepaid mobile plan.
Compare prepay mobile plans
What is a prepaid mobile plan?
- They require regular upfront payments, versus postpaid plans (pay monthly), which are billed at the end of each contract period.
- Prepaid plans have expiry periods that range from as little as 10 days up to 365 days, though most are around 30 days.
- Prepaid plans work on a recharge basis, where you pay for an allotment of calls, texts and data to use within a specific period. Once you have used your call credit or reached your expiry date, you buy another recharge.
- Recharges can be purchased directly from your phone, by calling your provider or using its website. Plus, some larger providers also offer prepaid top-up vouchers at supermarkets and other retail outlets.
- Fully control your mobile spending
- Never be hit with bill shock or unexpected spending
- Less commitment – switch carriers easily
- Retain your mobile number
- Some providers offer the benefit of carryover for data or minutes
- Service is cut off unless you recharge or top up on time
- Data is usually more expensive when compared with postpaid plans
- Expiry periods can be misleading – e.g. 28 days vs 1-month plans
- If you don’t have a device, buying one outright can be an big upfront cost
A prepaid plan can also be a money saver compared to a contract plan. The total cost of buying a handset outright and then paying for a prepaid service across 24 months can be cheaper than a contract deal.
Can I get a phone with my prepaid plan?
The typical answer to this question is no because prepaid plans are configured for those who already have their own phone. If you want a new mobile phone to go with a prepaid service, you’re going to have to shell out for its entire cost upfront.
That said, there are a number of handsets that are sold as “prepaid” phones. These are usually cheap phones and are often locked to a given provider, so if you do want to switch providers at some point an unlocking fee may apply.
How should I compare prepaid plans?
- Cost of recharge: If your usage varies, it makes sense to use the flexibility of a prepaid plan by altering your monthly recharge amount, which you can typically do without penalty. However, you need to be aware of the minimum recharge amount required to maintain your phone service.
- Data charging: Different prepaid plans come with different levels of data, and with the rise of “unlimited” call/texts packages, this is a key differentiator. If you’re busy on your smartphone, go for a plan with plenty of data, but also make sure you can easily buy data top-ups and that your provider counts data charges per KB block, rather than a larger amount as this eats up your data quickly.
- Network coverage: While there are many prepaid providers, they all use one of just three networks, run by Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees. Not all providers have access to those carrier’s 4G networks, or the full network map. While network coverage maps are largely indicative rather than entirely accurate, they’re a good gauge of overall coverage and can help you decide which provider to choose.
- International coverage: If you regularly make overseas calls, or travel a lot, it’s worth reading the fine print on any prepaid plan. Some providers specifically target international callers, with attractive rates to call overseas or even include calling minutes to popular destinations. However, if you head overseas, it’s a different story; many prepaid SIMs don’t offer any roaming functions for use abroad. Even if they do, the rates for prepaid roaming are generally high, so choose carefully.
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