Companies that use the same networks as the big three telcos offer better value plans.
Companies that use the same networks as the big three telcos offer better value plans.

How to save $100 on your phone bill

Switching your phone provider to someone other than the three major mobile brands could save you up to $100 a year.

That's according to new research from consumer comparison site Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, which found that Australia's loyalty to Telstra, Optus and Vodafone is costing us.

According to Finder, 78 per cent of Aussies are customers of one of the big three, but we aren't happy about it.

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Telstra, Optus and Vodafone customers are more likely to think they're getting bad value for money and comparisons show that they're right.

"If you've stuck with the same mobile plan for years, you're not getting the best bang for your buck - and this is particularly true if you're with one of the big three providers," Finder's telco expert Angus Kidman said.

He said the "smaller players", mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) who purchase wholesale access to one of the big three's network and sells it on to customers, have "changed the game".

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have physical stores that MVNOs typically lack, which Mr Kidman said "seems easy" for consumers, but you're paying for that convenience.

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Part of your Optus bill goes to keeping the lights on in its retail stores. Picture: Supplied.
Part of your Optus bill goes to keeping the lights on in its retail stores. Picture: Supplied.

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The MVNOs use the same networks as the others so you're generally not going to suffer worse coverage.

There are a few exceptions: Some MVNOs won't have access to 5G for some time, but if you're already happy on 4G this doesn't matter.

Telstra's wholesale network also has a smaller footprint than its full network (by 0.6 per cent of the population, but if you're in that 0.6 per cent it will make all the difference).

Only one MVNO, Boost Mobile, has access to Telstra's full network so if you're a Telstra customer in a regional or rural area, that might be your best option.

 

Telstra may have big offices and stores around the country but its services are some of the most expensive. Picture: Gaye Gerard/NCA NewsWire
Telstra may have big offices and stores around the country but its services are some of the most expensive. Picture: Gaye Gerard/NCA NewsWire

Finder highlighted plans from MVNOs Circles.Life, SpinTel and amaysim as offering the best value.

It was recently announced Optus would pay $250 million to acquire amaysim and its more than 1 million customers so it might not be the best to switch to right now since it will soon cease to exist.

Circles.Life is a Singaporean MVNO that uses the Optus 4G Plus network which covers 97.3 per cent of Australia's population.

Its $38 plan gives you unlimited talk and text and 100GB of data. Until 9pm on Friday you can also lock in the same plan for 12 months at $28, which will already save you $120 in addition to the better value of the plan.

The company also provides "Bill Shock Protection: - a 3GB extra data buffer to give you time to make decisions if you go over the cap for the month.

 

The same data allowance (with the addition of 5G) will cost you $59 per month if you get it directly from Optus.

SpinTel also uses the Optus network and Finder highlighted its 40GB plan as offering good value.

It's $29.95 for the first six months then goes up to $34.95.

Other MVNOs include Vaya, nu mobile, and Lycamobile among others.

Retailers like Coles, Woolworths, ALDI and Kogan all operate MVNOs as well.

"The pandemic has seen many Aussies tightening the purse strings. If you're looking for a way to easily cut down your bills, your mobile phone plan is a good place to start," Mr Kidman said.

"If you haven't switched since 2015 you're paying 2015 prices."

Disclosure: The reporter owns shares in Telstra.

Originally published as How to save $100 on your phone bill

Vodafone recently merged with TPG to better compete with Telstra and Optus, but MVNOs can still offer better value. Picture: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Vodafone recently merged with TPG to better compete with Telstra and Optus, but MVNOs can still offer better value. Picture: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

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