Getting connected is the first thing you will need to do to stay in contact with friends and family in Australia and back at home.
The best mobile phone deal for you is the one that allows you to do the things you want to do at the lowest cost. Understanding all your choices means you will get the best deal.
Work out what option is best for you
‘Pre-paid’ means you will use a mobile phone that you already own and pay in advance for using your phone on a mobile service provider’s network – that is, you buy credit. When your credit is all used up, you can receive calls but you can’t make calls. You have to buy more credit to make calls with your phone. Sometimes you lose your remaining credit if you don’t use it all within a certain time period – for example 30 days.
Plans and contracts
A ‘mobile phone plan’ is what a mobile service provider will provide you with, how the provider will charge you for using your phone and how you will pay.
Within each plan, there are a range of services that will be charged in different ways. Understanding how your phone will be charged and how costs can be added to your bill will help you choose the best plan.
Once you decide on a plan that suits you, you sign a ‘contract’. This is a legal agreement saying that you accept everything that’s described in the plan.
‘Included value’ means everything you get for your regular monthly payment. ‘Excluded value’ is anything you have to pay extra for. For example, 1300 and 1800 numbers are part of the ‘included value’ in some plans but not in others.
The provider should be able to show you the following costs in print:
- Making a 2 minute standard voice call to another phone in Australia (including flag fall)
- Sending a standard mobile SMS (text) to another phone in Australia
- Using 1 MB (megabyte) of data when you are in Australia.
Smart Tip: If a plan includes a ‘free’ mobile phone handset, you’ll still end up paying for it one way or another. The cost is usually included in the plan’s monthly fee.
An ‘allowance’ is one part of your included value. For example, if you choose a plan that costs $50 a month, it may give you a $300 ‘allowance’ for calls and texts each month. Your allowance is sometimes called your ‘limit’.
Ask your provider what happens when you reach your limit – that’s really important as you could be charged a lot more.
‘Data’ includes internet use, emails, live video chat, app updates, downloads and sending pictures in a text message (MMS).
Data does not include texting (SMS), voice calls, listening to voice messages or taking photos.
Here are a few examples of data use:
- Watching a 1 minute video online (about 5 MB (Megabytes))
- Downloading a TV program (about 350 MB)
- A 1 hour Skype video chat (about 170 MB)
For data, it’s often cheaper to use your mobile phone with wi-fi than accessing the internet on your mobile network (using mobilesuch as 3G or 4G). That’s because data charges using a mobile network are usually higher than for other forms of internet connection such as in your home connection.
Find the closest Free Wi-Fi Spots in your City