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SIM Only and BYO Mobile Phone Plans

By Aaron Huang 13 July 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Compare SIM Only and BYO Mobile Phone Plans

Why you should buy a phone AND a SIM

Most of you are probably aware of some of the less appealing ways the phone companies try to secure our business. Some telcos market their products by  offering enticements that urge users to take them up but which do a more for them than you. Often, that involves signing up to a contract with them for the latest Android or iPhone, and paying for it over time, usually 24 months.

These sorts of offers actually work out quite expensive.  When you start to tot up the money spent monthly on a phone purchase, the data additions, calls and texts, as well as (potentially, these days) your TV viewing on your phone, your communication and entertainment package can start to become quite a substantial part of your monthly budget.

This doesn’t have to be the case. There are budget friendly options available which would suit you just as well or even better. We suggest you do the maths carefully before you sign one of these contracts. Here are a few examples.

Go it alone and reduce what you pay by 30 percent

You don’t have to be taken in by these offers. You’ve probably felt it yourself - as you end up paying through the nose for a new phone which doesn’t have that many more improved features than an older model. 

The best way to get the best deal is to go it alone and buy your own phone. Then buy the call and data bundles that suit you from the telco that matches your needs. Use the following steps to get the best value for money for the communication you need and love.

59 percent of Australians are either seeking out their own phone in this way or even buying a second hand one.

Step One – Buy a phone

First, you need to purchase an unlocked phone. All the phones we sell at Mobileciti are unlocked. That means you can choose any network and any provider’s SIM to insert in to them.

For example, I just bought a new Samsung Galaxy Tab E for under $300, which has just a few less features than a Samsung Galaxy 8 but does the same job. It comes with a warranty and a 24 hour back up.

Step Two- Go for SIM only or Prepaid plans

Don’t be conned by thinking that a contract with a telco is the best deal. Buy a SIM only plan instead, without the long-term contract ties from the telco that at the time is offering the sort of plan you’re after.

You can try Telstra, Optus or Vodafone, but you might also find a deal that suits you from one of the Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs.) MVNOs are simply smaller phone companies. You’ve probably heard of many of them already. The include brands like Lebara or Kogan, which  lease network access ‘in bulk’ from the bigger telcos.

Smaller phone companies often charge lower prices in order to compete and sell their lesser known brands.  Match them with the phone you’ve bought and you’re away. Remember, in most cases, you’re getting exactly the same phone and network you would if you’d taken a phone contract with the major telcos – and you’re saving up to 30% by doing it.

The benefits of smaller phone companies

There are many smaller phone companies spread across the country and where they operate will depend on which telco they purchase their network from. Smaller phone companies tend to offer the following :

  • SIM only plans : Almost all smaller phone companies offer their plans on a month to month basis. That means there is no compulsory phone purchase agreement and you are free to move to a better deal whenever you want to.
  • That means BYO phone is essential : Most smaller phone companies aren’t interested in selling you hardware. They’re there to be a phone company, not a phone seller. That leaves you free to shop around for the device which is perfect for you ( rather than what a big telco wants to foist on you ) and to match it with a plan you love.
  • Discounted rates : Smaller phone companies have hundreds, rather than thousands of employees. Their marketing spend is in the hundreds of thousands, not hundreds of millions. Overall, they incur fewer overheads such as advertising & network; infrastructure. They pass those benefits on to you as cost reductions in your monthly plan fee.

A small phone company is as good as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone

Some people believe small phone companies are likely to have more outages, slower data downloads and less customer service. This is simply not the case at all. Their services come via the bigger telcos so if there’s an outage it’s not their fault.

Most smaller phone companies allow you to change your data allocation more or less as you please and there are daily deals, weekly deals and monthly deals available for you to consider. If you need a bit of extra data or more call time one day you can buy it instantly online.

They offer the same courteous reminders as the bigger telcos by loudly texting you when your data or call time is running dangerously low. Just check the message to avoid incurring any extra costs.


In order to save 30 percent on your phone and data bill, our advice is to buy an unlocked phone that suits your budget but which has the features you need and like the most.

Check which telcos cover the areas you most commonly frequent and find a telco with a BYO, SIM only, pre-paid and short term plan or a smaller phone company that has what you like.

At Mobileciti, our team does exactly this.

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