We have the best phone packages for all types of students: those new to tertiary education or those looking to change service provider as they near completion of their studies.
Best mobile packages for students
A cell phone is an important feature of student life and can be used as a tool for research, a study aid, and of course, as a communication device. As a student, it’s likely that you’re also grappling with managing very sparse finances, and getting value for your limited funds is paramount.
Students’ needs vary, due in part to personal situations, and also because of how individual students choose to use their cell phones. Mobile providers have yet to design a package that suits all students in all situations. Taking that into consideration, you need to keep the following in mind when choosing a plan.
- Student Discounts
You’re not likely to be cashy if you’re a student, but providers are very interested in getting your business now, because they want your loyalty so you’ll continue using their services when you start making money. Check to see you can get the plan you like at a discount, since many providers offer special rates for students.
- Information or Communication?
Both prepaid and contract plans are now coming with unlimited talk and text for Australian numbers. If your cell phone is mainly used for research and/or entertainment, it’s important to check the data inclusion on each plan. Plan ahead and think carefully about how you use your data: for example if you like to stream videos, you might end up with a hefty bill, or your data might run out long before the end of the month.
Is your mobile phone also an entertainment centre? Double up the data if that is the case, but also look at plans that allow you to stream data for free from apps such as Netflix or Spotify. Plans like this are not easy to find, but the potential savings are huge.
- Post- or Prepaid Service?
You won’t get disconnected if you’re making your payments upfront, and for this reason, prepaid is still the package of choice for the budget-constrained. Post-paid contracts are sometimes a better deal, especially if you want to change your handset and cannot afford to purchase one for the cash price. Post-paid plans also tend to offer better data inclusions and other bells and whistles.
You’re very likely to move house while you’re a student. Does this mean that you have to change providers as well? Look at different options such as month-to-month deals and SIM-only prepaid before making the final decision.
Which are the best plans?
Since each student has different needs, we cannot and will not tout any single plan as "perfect" for this demographic. Instead, we have identified different types of student needs, and highlighted the packages, which in our opinion give superior value for each type. We give you reasons to choose each plan, since you might fit into more than one category, and we want you to weigh your needs and decide.
Best packages for students on a budget
Rationale: Having a cell phone is almost a necessity since you need to communicate, but funds are really tight, and you don’t have any money to spare. Every cent counts, and while this is not the best of circumstances, you need to get great value for the lowest price.
Best choices: Amaysim As You Go, Coles Prepaid $20, Jeenee Mammoth plan
We’ve listed two prepaid and one contract plan here, showing that prepaid is not the only option.
You should consider an Amaysim As You Go plan if your budget is really tight. It doesn’t come with many extras, but the recharges on this simple service last for 365 days. Coles’ package offering 2GB of data with unlimited talk and text over a 28-day period for only $20 is also an excellent plan.
Jeenee’s Mammoth plan leaps out because it gives you bang for your buck with its inclusion of 20GB of data together with unlimited talk and text. This is a 3G data plan, but when you’re operating on a strict budget, half a loaf is better than no bread.
Best packages for international undergraduates
Rationale: If you’re a student from overseas, you most likely have relatives and friends at home that you’d like to remain in contact with. You therefore need a plan that includes international calling.
Best choices: Vodafone MyMix, Lebara Mini Mega Plan
Vodafone’s MyMix prepaid is perfect for international students. You can use it to build up a prepaid plan focusing on international calls.
The Mini Mega Plan from Lebara offers 1,000 minutes, which you can use to call select countries, together with national and local talk and text. This should cover most of your international calling needs.
Best packages for students on a gap-year
Rationale: You want to take a break to recharge your batteries and travel a bit, but you still fit the definition of broke student. You still want to keep your costs low because what’s a gap year without some fun experiences, and how can you pay for experiences if you have high phone costs?
Best choices: Vodafone, Telstra Go, Kogan Mobile, or Vaya Unlimited
You need a package with inexpensive mobile roaming if you plan to leave Australia for your gap year. It’s difficult to overlook Vodafone’s reasonably priced $5/day global roaming, which can get you out of many a tight spot while you’re abroad for a comparatively low price. We also suggest finding local Wi-Fi hotspots to reduce data costs as much as you can.
If you decide to travel within Australia, Telstra is a superb choice for two reasons. First, its regional coverage is incomparable. Second, you get access to Telstra Air, which is a hotspot network maintained by Telstra offering free Wi-Fi across Australia. Data prices on Telstra packages aren’t always that great, but if you can use free data from the Telstra network it adds lots of value.
Kogan Mobile’s 365 Day plans or Vaya’s 12 Month prepaid are also great options for gap year students. Since they’re prepaid, you just have to top up one time and you’re covered for your entire gap year. Both plans offer fixed data quotas every month with unlimited talk and text within Australia at very competitive rates.
If you’re a student in the market for a new phone
You’re tired of using your dad’s hand-me-down phone, and the only thing you can afford outright is a basic discount no-name handset. Now you’d like to be able to select a mobile package and a fancy new phone to go with it. Naturally, the selections are quite wide, but we can help you design the perfect package with a phone to match.