Mobile contracts cost you lots of money!
(A lot more than what you actually pay each month)
If you’ve been a member for even a short period of time, you would definitely know by now that we strongly advocate against locking yourself with any provider.
What may be good in your personal life, can be very detrimental for you as a consumer.
It’s been referred to by some as the ‘lazy tax’ but personally, I prefer to call it the “loyalty tax” (as I reckon nobody likes to be called lazy).
Whatever you call it, this ‘tax’ is very real and is costing Aussies billions (yep, that’s with a B!) every year.
Therefore, you must always maintain your freedom to choose and being loyal to a product or a brand is a bad idea.
Signing up to the ubiquitous 12 or 24 month mobile plan contract goes very much against this core principle!
Go with a mobile plan that doesn’t lock you in.
The objection to contracts doesn’t come from some philosophical viewpoint but rather has everything to do with $$$ !
A no contract mobile plan will almost always offer better value than plans which lock you in. This is especially the case when considering the amount of included data.
There are some exceptions to this rule but they usually only apply for very specific usage patterns (e.g. when you wish to create a ‘data pool’ to share across several members of your household). For everyone else, a no contract mobile plan is the way to go!
In addition to better value, a no contract plan offers you total freedom in the sense that you can give it the flick at any time if you’re not happy or a better deal emerges from a competitor.
Despite what you may think, this is very likely!
Many people don’t realise that but Australia is one of the most competitive markets in the world when it comes to mobile plans (if not the most competitive!).
This is mainly because of all the virtual operators (a.k.a MVNOs) which operate here and resell access to the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks. Just take a look at this list and you’ll be amazed with the number of options on offer.
This intense competition for your business will become even more fierce once TPG joins the three incumbents (Telstra, Optus and Vodafone) and start its own network.
If you think you are spoilt for choice now, just wait and see what happens next! 😉
“Will I lose my number if I switch?”
Many consumer surveys have shown that one of the things which worries customers the most about changing their mobile provider is the concern about keeping their existing number. Many people are simply afraid they will lose it if they switch.
However, this concern is unfounded as customers are always able to keep their existing number, if they so choose and this right is protected by federal legislation known as the “mobile number portability rules”. Not only that but the process to do so (known as porting) is very easy, requires no technical skills and is completely free.
This is because the government is the ultimate owner of all the phone numbers in Australia (both landlines and mobiles). They don’t belong to either the customers or the phone companies.
“So what is the best mobile plan if I use lots of data and don’t want to be locked-in?”
OK, now that we got the general information out of the way, I’d like to present to you what our research (and that of others too) has shown to be the best mobile plan with no lock-in contract currently on offer in Australia for those who need lots of mobile data.
This mobile plan offers you:
Unlimited calls to all Australian landlines and mobiles (including 13/1300 numbers & voicemail access)
Unlimited SMS and MMS to any mobile in Australia.
15GB of 4G data on the relatively reliable Optus network.
The price: $35 per 30 days.
If you are willing to prepay for 90 days in advance, the price is $89 which effectively means you are paying $29.67 per 30 days.
Have I got your attention? 😉
Many providers have recently started charging in 28 day cycles. This effectively means you end up paying for an extra month every year. Nice little trick for them but not so much for us consumers.
This mob doesn’t do it. Their plans still work on 30 day cycles.
This is much Fairer, don’t you think?
OK, I won’t keep ‘teasing’ you any longer.
The provider I am talking about is CatchConnect and specifically their 15GB plan.
CatchConnect is a new mobile prepaid service launched in February 2018 by the Catch Group which you may know better by their previous name Catch of the Day.
The Catch Group (formerly Catch of the Day) was founded in 2006 by Gabby Leibovich and initially focused, as their original name suggests, on offering one single amazing deal per day.
Here is a story ABC news did on them back in 2011:
Since those early days, Catch of the Day (now the Catch Group) has gone from strength to strength and have grown significantly.
The Catch group is an Australian-owned company and run their operations from Australia with their main warehouses located in Melbourne.
Instead of moving offshore, they decided they will use the latest technology, including robots, in order to maintain their competitive edge.
Here’s another story from ABC news taking a look inside their warehouse:
Similar to their ‘arch nemesis’ Kogan, the Catch group were also considering doing an IPO and becoming a public company but unlike Kogan who went ahead with becoming a public company, the Catch group founder decided eventually to not proceed with listing on the ASX.
As it became apparent in 2017 that Amazon is going to launch in Australia, Catch of the Day re-branded themselves as Catch and also launched a marketplace where other retailers can offer their products through their platform and take advantage of their existing customer base and distribution channels.
After Kogan relaunched their prepaid mobile service on the Vodafone network and has seen great success with it, the Catch group realised that running their own mobile service as an MVNO (i.e virtual operator) can be a great source of revenue and profits for them.
So, in February 2018 they did just that and launched their own mobile service on the Optus network.
While Kogan Mobile offers pretty competitive plans, I feel that the fact they run on the Vodafone network makes them not feasible for many people, especially those living outside the major cities and regional centres.
Therefore, I was very pleased to see that CatchConnect offers pretty much the same prices and data inclusions (especially on the plans with the higher data allowances) but on the Optus network, which has superior coverage to Vodafone in many cases.
You can check coverage in your local area here and if you’re happy with it, you can purchase the monthly plan or prepay for 90 days to get a lower price per month.
“Optus has rubbish coverage where I live. What’s the best deal on the Telstra network?”
Fair enough. I can definitely understand that.
Despite some significant improvements in the Optus and Vodafone networks over the last few years, for some people, Telstra still offers the best coverage (especially in regional Australia).
If you’d rather be on the Telstra network, the best deal at the moment is from Better Life Mobile.
For $35 per calendar month you get unlimited calls, text and MMS in Australia as well as 9GB of data.
For a limited time only, I have also managed to negotiate an exclusive discount for Spending Hacker readers and members:
Get the first month of any plan (including the 9GB plan above) for half price when you enter the coupon code SH50 in the order form.
Better Life Mobile runs on the Telstra Wholesale network which is a slightly stripped down version of their full network (which is available only for people who are with either Boost Mobile or Telstra directly).
The main difference between Telstra Wholesale and Telstra ‘proper’ is in the availability of the “4GX Plus” network (which is basically a ‘souped up’ version of the standard Telstra 4G service).
There should be little to no difference when it comes to making and receiving calls and SMS/MMS but you can check the coverage for yourself here.
Better Life’s plans are all billed per calendar month. A month starts from the day of the first recharge until the same day in the following month. Simple!
Better Life is also the first telco in Australia that has qualified for the B Corp certification.
A B Corporation is a company committed to using business as a force for good in the world. In order to get certified, a company must undergo a rigorous assessment to demonstrate that their business is environmentally sustainable, socially equitable and has a high level of governance and transparency.
It’s basically a form of a social enterprise.
Originally, Better Life Mobile was started to help homeless and disadvantaged Aussies get their first mobile and had special discounted plans for people on a pension or other income support from Centrelink.
Here’s a short promotional video about what they are all about:
Posted by Better Life Mobile on Wednesday, 10 May 2017
“Not keen on any of these options as I don’t use that much data in a month”
My team prepared a detailed mobile plans report which outlines more options for you to choose from based on your usage patterns and across all the mobile networks operating in Australia (Telstra, Optus and Vodafone).
If you are in the market for a 4G-capable smartphone but don’t want to pay top dollar for some fancy features you most likely will never use (or be forced to go on a contract god forbid!), you can find a few suggestions here.
Before you go:
The Spending Hackers Recommend:
- If you are after a no-contract mobile plan with unlimited calls & text in Australia and lots of data – this is your best option.
- Your two BEST options for ADSL broadband with lots of data and no contract until the NBN arrives.
- Smile – Save up to 40% on your dental bill WITHOUT taking private health insurance (or ‘double dip’ if you already have it)!
- Vision Direct – The biggest range of designer eyewear on the planet for the absolute lowest price.