Compare prepaid phone plans

Prepaid phone plans are a great way to avoid phone bill shock as you control how much you spend. We can help you in your search for a prepaid phone deal for your needs. Start by comparing data, text and call allowances below.

Fact Checked
prepaid mobile phone plans

Prepaid phone plans comparisons Advertiser disclosure

Here’s a snapshot of some of the top prepaid phone plans deals currently available via our partner. You can compare more options and customise your results by clicking on the full results link in the table.

Mobile phone plan resources

Reviews, news, tips and guides to help find the best mobile phone plan for you.

How do prepaid mobile phone plans work?

Prepaid mobile plans allow you to pay upfront for a specific amount of data, calls, and texts. Once used up (or unused after a certain period), these services will expire and cut off automatically. That way, you avoid paying any excess fees. 

Prepaid phone plans usually require no commitment or lock-in contract, giving users extraordinary flexibility. You can buy a prepaid plan as a one-off or recharge as needed, including automatically for uninterrupted service.

What types of prepaid phone plans are there? 

There are three main types of prepaid phone plans in Australia. These are:

  • Month-to-month. These prepaid plans come with a 28-30 day expiry period and monthly data allowance. Depending on the plan, this can include unlimited calls and texts within Australia.

  • Long expiry. Long expiry plans last between 90-365 days and include data, calls, and text allowances. Usually work out to be cheaper than month-to-month, since you’re paying for a longer period upfront. 

  • PAYG (pay as you go). These plans pay a set amount of credit upfront and charge for each call or text you make. Often PAYG plans will come with little to no data, so could be ideally suited for users who rarely use their phones. 

Most customers will purchase month-to-month plans, but long expiry and PAYG can be budget-friendly options for the savvy, infrequent mobile user. 

There are short term prepaid plans (1-10 days) available as well, but these are typically aimed at overseas travellers visiting Australia. 

Which providers offer prepaid phone plans? 

Most of the major network providers in Australia offer prepaid phone plans, so Australians are spoiled for choice. 

The main competitors are Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, and Amaysim, who each have distinct advantages to their service. 

Telstra is Australia’s widest provider of network coverage, reaching nearly 100% of the population. This makes it one of the best options for rural and regional Australians. Depending on the prepaid plan you sign up to, you could enjoy different benefits such as: 

  • Expiry periods between 7-365 days. 

  • 3G/4G/5G access with compatible phones. 

  • An option to bank up to 200 GB of unused data.

  • Generous international call minutes and 100 free texts to all countries.

However, because Telstra is such a big company, you can expect higher pricing overall than smaller providers. 

Optus is the second-biggest network provider, reaching nearly 99% of the Australian population. This extensive coverage comes at slightly cheaper prices, making it great value for general mobile phone users. Depending on which Optus prepaid plan you choose, you could expect options like:

  • Expiry periods between 1-365 days

  • 3G/4G/5G access with compatible phones. 

  • Rolling data up to 200GB if you recharge before expiry.

  • Free standard international calls/texts up to 15 overseas countries (T&Cs apply).

  • Special add-ons like $5 for Optus Sport.

  • Prices as low as $2 per plan! (T&Cs apply).

Optus, just like the bigger Telstra, is still likely to have slightly higher plan pricing compared to smaller network providers, but good coverage and value make it a competitive choice.

Vodafone, on the other hand, is the budget-friendly carrier for users on a dime. While only offering limited coverage compared to its bigger competitors, especially in regional areas, Vodafone’s generous prepaid plans make it a compelling option. By signing up with Vodafone, depending on the plan you could enjoy:

  • Expiry periods between 28-365 days.

  • 3G/4G/5G access with compatible phones.

  • Unlimited data on all prepaid plans (slowed to 1.5Mbps after you’ve used up your data bank until you recharge). 

  • $5 off if you opt-in for automatic recharges (T&Cs apply). 

  • Periodic discounts and bonus data offers. 

  • Data rollover of up to 200GB (if you recharge before expiry). 

  • $5 data roaming.

Again, limited coverage might inconvenience you in rural or regional areas, but if you’re in an Australian city, Vodafone is hard to beat for sheer value.

Lastly, Amaysim has a strong reputation for no frills prepaid phone plans with heaps of data. For the non-nonsense user seeking ease and value, especially those shopping for year-long prepaid plans, Amaysim is hard to beat. With Amaysim’s prepaid plans, you could enjoy (depending on the plan):

  • Expiry periods between 7-365 days.

  • Bonus data on your first 1-3 recharges.

  • Unlimited data banking.

  • Access to the full Optus 3G/4G/4G+ network. 

  • Unlimited international talk/text to up to 42 countries.

Keep in mind with a 28 day monthly expiry period you will have to recharge your phone plan 13 times a year – not 12. However, generous benefits for cheap prices make amaysim an amazing value option. 

What features should I look for when comparing prepaid mobile phone plans?

The main differences between prepaid phone plans are varying limits on texts, calls, and data, as well as service periods and capabilities. Which features work best for you will depend on what you need from a mobile phone plan. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when comparing prepaid plans:

  • Price. While prepaid plans tend to be cheaper overall than postpaid plans, they can still vary widely in price depending on what you want (typically from as low as $2 to as high as $200).

  • Data limits. Unlimited calls and texts is the norm for most plans (unless you’re doing PAYG). Therefore, a key difference between plans is usually data limits. Some plans offer unlimited data for a higher price, or cap you at certain speeds, so consider how much data you need and what you need it for. 

  • Expiry date. Most prepaid mobile plans come with an expiry date, usually 28-30 days after activation. Once expired, any unused prepaid benefits will be cut off – so use it or lose it. Some prepaid plans offer data rollover, but only if you recharge before expiry. 

  • 3G/4G/5G network access. Most prepaid phone plans only offer 3G/4G network coverage, so if you’re looking for something with 5G service for your compatible device, you may have to look a little harder at plans and network coverage (and cough up a little extra cash upfront to the bigger network providers).

  • International minutes/texts and roaming fees. Some people buy prepaid plans for their business phones, but beware limits on international calls/texts and roaming data. 

  • Accessible mobile apps. For users thinking of a longer-term relationship with their prepaid mobile provider, check out the provider’s app first. It’s a small thing, but if the app is hard to navigate, prone to crashing, or doesn’t have an option for easy prepaid recharges (note: most do), you might want to look elsewhere.

The good news is that if you buy a prepaid phone plan you don’t like, it’s usually pretty effortless to switch phone plan providers. (Just make sure your mobile phone is ‘unlocked’, first, so that you’re not trapped with the provider you bought your phone from). 

How cheap are prepaid phone plans? 

Prepaid phone plans can come pretty cheap – some even start as low as $2! While prices vary between carriers and plans, most range between $5 - $30 (but can go as high as $200) depending on all the bells and whistles. 

Generally speaking, prepaid mobile plans tend to be the cheaper option (especially as one-off payments), but postpaid plans can bundle better value into monthly fees, so it’s important to compare plans and consider your needs.

Picture of Evlin DuBose
Evlin DuBose
Money writer
Coming from a diverse background in filmmaking, music production, and creative writing, Evlin is passionate about putting money-matters in relatable, personal contexts. Budget what? Finance who? She’s keen to find out!

FAQs

What is the difference between a postpaid and a prepaid mobile phone plan?

The difference between a postpaid and prepaid mobile phone plan is when you pay your bill. Prepaid plans will have you pay upfront, while postpaid plans bill you at the end month depending on your usage. 

Both prepaid and postpaid plans have advantages. For instance, if you’re looking for good value bundles and long-term service, then postpaid plans might be best for you. If you’d like to control your monthly spend or try out a few different carriers, prepaid plans may be the way to go. 

Are there data limits on prepaid phone plans? 

Not always! While cheaper prepaid phone plans often limit data usage, there are some service providers who offer unlimited data. However, unlimited data tends to come at higher upfront costs, and the provider may limit your speeds after you use up a certain amount of data.  

Therefore, it’s important to be conscious of your data usage, including what you use it for and how likely you are to run out. Data limits might be cheaper short-term, but a pricier plan with unlimited data could be cheaper in the long-run since you won’t have to splurge on data top ups or frequent recharges.

How do I recharge a prepaid phone plan? 

Different telco providers will offer different methods of recharging your prepaid phone plan. Usually, you can recharge via your online customer account or the provider’s mobile app. The provider might also offer discounted automatic recharges, which will top up your plan on a periodic basis.

How long does it take to activate a prepaid phone plan?  

Depending on your mobile provider, it can take anywhere from between 15 minutes to 4 hours to activate a prepaid phone plan. Sometimes it can take up to 48 hours. 

If you are concerned about how long it’s taking, contact your provider via their website or visit a store for assistance. 

What information or documentation will I need to get a phone contract in Australia?

There are a few basic things you will need before getting a phone contract in Australia, which can be done either in-store or online. 

For prepaid plans, you will usually need to supply at least your full name, date of birth, current address (either a home or business address), and valid ID.

For most postpaid plans and contracts, you will need to supply your:

  • Full name.

  • Primary contact number.

  • Email address.

  • Date of birth.

  • Current residential address (sometimes a previous address as well, if you’ve only lived in your current place for a limited time).

  • Delivery address (not including a PO box, locked bag, or parcel lockers).

  • Proof of income (this includes employment payslips or study/pension benefits). 

  • Payment details (either direct debit or credit card).

It would also help to have valid ID on hand, such as a driver’s licence or passport. Check with your intended provider beforehand so that you can prepare the required documents.

How do prepaid SIM cards work?

A SIM card is a tiny computer chip compatible with every modern cell phone (these days, many SIMs are electronic only, known as eSIMs). The SIM card contains information such as your phone number, carrier, service rates, contact list, and call history. If your mobile phone is ‘unlocked’, you can insert a SIM from any provider and access their network. 

A prepaid SIM card is usually bought in advance and will come with a certain amount of data, calls, and texts. This credit can be ‘recharged’ as needed but will expire once used up or within a certain time period, usually 28-30 days. Prepaid SIMs can be a great option for tight budgets or infrequent mobile users. 

Can you get a 5G prepaid plan?

Unfortunately, a prepaid phone plan with 5G is relatively uncommon. Vodafone, Optus, and Telstra all now offer prepaid 5G service, but not on every plan – and usually at a higher price.

However, if you’re looking for a prepaid plan with faster network speeds, lower latency, and more simultaneous connections, then 5G may still be the way to go. All you need in a compatible device and 5G network coverage in your area

Mobile phone providers we compare