Mobile phone plans: Compare and switch

A few extra dollars here and there can make all the difference these days. A cheaper mobile phone deal may be just the answer.

A few extra dollars here and there can make all the difference these days. A cheaper mobile phone deal may be just the answer. Photo: Getty

As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, many Australians are looking for ways to shave some money from their monthly household budgets.

With a few extra dollars here and there making all the difference these days, a cheaper mobile phone deal may be just the answer.

There’s a host a providers offering cheap SIM card deals that won’t break the bank with the latest offering coming from … well a bank.

Commonwealth Bank stepped into the telco space this week, announcing discounted 4G and 5G mobile SIM plans in partnership with local telecom provider More.

The deals are available to CBA members who sign up to More using a CBA credit or debit card to pay their online bills.

Some other retailers offering similar products around the same price points include TPG, iinet, amaysim and felix.

Offering no-lock-in contracts, the CBA plans start around $15 a month for 12 months before increasing to about $20. These aren’t necessarily the cheapest deals, but they are competitive.

Data from Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker found that mobile phone users are paying on average $55/month on their phone bill compared to $49 back in February.

“Cheap really depends on your budget, but anything under $20 a month is excellent,” said Utilities expert at Findr Mr Dylan Crismale.

“If you’re an existing CommBank customer who thinks you’re paying too much for your phone bill, this could be the one to consider switching to,” he said.

More data for your buck

When considering a new mobile plan, data consumption is often in people’s minds.

Last year the ACCC reported that the average person on a postpaid plan uses 11.8GB of data each month – getting at least 1GB per $1 spent is a good benchmark for value.

Mr Crismale said that CBA’s and More’s 10GB and 22GB plans, priced at $15.40 and $18.90, should serve most people well enough.

“You’re [also] getting access to parts of the Telstra 4G and 5G networks (where available). The only way to get more coverage would be with Telstra itself,” he said.

Mr Crismale said it was notable that CBA’s and More’s deal included a 30 per cent discount period of 12 months before a reduced rate of 10 per cent kicked in.

“Most telcos only offer discounts between the first three to six months” he said.

RMIT Associate Professor Mark Gregory said that deals like those offered by CBA have a minimal advantage to consumers, and they’re all much of a muchness.

“When you look at the Commonwealth’s plans … you will see that, whilst they all claim some advantage by becoming one of their customers, when you really look at what’s on offer, you find that they’re all very similar in the offering,” he said.

“They’re simply trying to build upon brand loyalty – to bring customers to utilise all the services of a particular brand,” he said.

He said it’s very likely that more financial institutions will start offering mobile plans in the future.

“When you look at what the banks are trying to do, to hold on to customers, and to provide customers with value it’s an easy one to step into.”

CBA general manager of Strategy and Sustainability, Ben Morgan, said: “We know people are looking more carefully at their bills and expenses, and the bank is constantly looking beyond traditional banking services to help both retail and business customers manage their finances and give them access to quality products and services that put money back in their pockets.

It’s hard to say whether people will take up the deals offered by CBA and More as data shows consumers remain loyal to their providers.

Their research shows that nearly a third of people aren’t so keen to switch until their bill goes up more than $10 a month – $120 a year. The same amount wouldn’t switch even if the price went up.

Mr Crismale said consumers should shop around for the cheapest deals.

“With no lock-in contracts, there’s really no reason you can’t compare and switch every six months and be on the cheapest plans year-round,” he said.

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