Best mobile plans under $20: top cheap options for the budget-conscious

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If you’re after a mobile plan that is budget friendly and costs under $20 per month, we’re here to help. 

While there’s a decent range of providers offering plans at this price point, your choices are more limited and you won’t be able to get a month-to-month plan directly from one of the big three providers – Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. However, there are still cheap plans that let you use the Telstra 5G network, so even at $20 you won’t necessarily be sacrificing coverage.

The main limitation with plans under $20 per month is the amount of data you get. While some providers offer introductory deals where you’ll receive extra data for the first few months or recharges,  outside of this, the most on offer is 25GB per month… and there’s a slight technicality to this too, as it depends on an introductory discount.

The 'average' mobile plan under $20

To help provide some context on what represents a good deal under $20, we crunched the numbers to figure out what an average under-$20 plan looks like when it comes to cost and data allowance. 

  • Average price: $18.32 
  • Average monthly data: 12.4GB 
  • Average cost per GB: $1.67

To select the best-value plans under $20, we compared options in the $15-$20 range from over a dozen major Australian providers, and earmarking any that sat in a sweet spot in terms of price, data allowance, network coverage and additional features like data banking. We included plans with introductory discounts (or other bonuses in this process (even if that meant a later price increase to above $20), but only on the strict condition that the average monthly price for the first year remained under $20 (or $240 in total). 

From our personal perspective, a year is the minimum amount of time we'd want to put between switching phone providers. At this point you'll also have had plenty of time to decide if the ongoing extra cost is worth paying... or if it's time to find a better new deal from another telco instead.

On to the picks!

Best mobile plan under $20 overall

Moose Mobile 25GB Prepaid Plan | 25GB per month | Optus 5G | $11.80 for first 8 months, then $24.80 per month

Moose Mobile 25GB Prepaid Plan | 25GB per month | Optus 5G | $11.80 for first 8 months, then $24.80 per month (save $104)

This prepaid monthly plan by Moose Mobile is a great all-rounder that’s made even better by an epic introductory discount. Costing only $11.80 per month for the first 8 months (and then reverting to $24.80p/m), it comes with 25GB data – a lot more than you’ll find on most other plans at this price range. Now, while the price after the first 8 months is technically more than $20 per month, you still end up paying less than $20 per month on average over the first 12 months. This plan connects to the Optus 5G network and also allows you to rollover any extra data (up to 200GB), so you can save unused gigs for when you need them. The only caveat is that there’s a 100Mbps speed cap – although as with all plans in this range, that shouldn’t affect you much because of the comparatively lean data allowance. 

Total cost and data for first year: $193.60 for 300GB 

Best big-data mobile plan under $20

Moose Mobile 25GB Prepaid Plan | 25GB per month | Optus 5G | $11.80 for first 8 months, then $24.80 per month

Moose Mobile 25GB Prepaid Plan | 25GB per month | Optus 5G | $11.80 for first 8 months, then $24.80 per month (save $104)

If you want as much data as possible under $20p/m, our plan recommendation is actually the same as our ‘overall’ pick above. It’s one of the only plans at this price point that offers over 20GB per month. Costing only $11.80 per month for the first 8 months, you get 25GB of data which is a very competitive $0.47 per GB. For more details on why we like this plan, see our full write-up above. 

Total cost and data for first year: $193.60 for 300GB

Best 5G mobile plan under $20

Moose Mobile 25GB Prepaid Plan | 25GB per month | Optus 5G | $11.80 for first 8 months, then $24.80 per month

Moose Mobile 25GB Prepaid Plan | 25GB per month | Optus 5G | $11.80 for first 8 months, then $24.80 per month (save $104)

This Moose Mobile plan also gets the gong when it comes to our 5G plan pick, as it’s the cheapest month-to-month option we’ve seen that offers access to a 5G network – Optus’ in this case. With 25GB per month for only $11.80 for the first 8 months (then $24.80 per month), this plan is great value and will cost you only $193.60 in total over the first 12 months. See our 'overall' write up above for more details.

Total cost and data for first year: $193.60 for 300GB   

Best mobile plan under $20 on the Telstra network

Boost $230 365-day Prepaid SIM | 170GB per 365 days | Telstra 5G | $230 $191.90 at Auditech BONUS

Boost $230 365-day Prepaid SIM  | 170GB per 365 days | Telstra 5G | $230 $191.90 at Auditech with code BONUS (save $38.10)

The main appeal of this Boost 365-day plan is that it runs on the full Telstra 5G network – offering the most expansive mobile coverage in Australia, reaching 99.6% of the population. Costing $230 and coming with 170GB of data, that equals around 14.2GB for $19.17 per month, which is fair value. There are two minor caveats to this plan. The first is a 150Mbps speed cap – although with just over 14GB per month, you shouldn’t really need anything faster. You also can’t rollover any leftover data with this plan, however because it’s a 365-day plan, it’s unlikely you’ll have much data left after a year anyway. We’ve found starter packs for this plan are frequently discounted from third-party stores, with one of the most reliable being Auditech, where it’s currently $191.90 with code BONUS at checkout – a saving of $38.10. At that price, it's our top pick on the Telstra network.

Total cost and data for first year: $191.90 for 170GB 

How to find the best plans under $20

If you are looking for a plan under $20 per month, there are some tips and tricks you can use ensure you find the best plan for your needs. 

1. Know your data needs. The key first step to finding an appropriate mobile plan is figuring out how much data you need. Dig into your phone’s settings or your current provider’s usage-monitoring tools to figure out how much you use on average per month, then use that figure to find a plan that provides at least that amount. 

2. Do you need 5G? At this price point, only a few plans offer 5G, and with the smaller amount of data on offer, having the absolute top speeds available probably isn’t necessary. Most cheaper 4G plans still offer at least 100Mbps downloads – or faster than many Australian’s home broadband connections. 

3. Be wary of introductory discounts. Deals that offer an initial (e.g. for the first 6 months) discount or extra data can be tempting, but you should always careful check the costs after these discounts end. Many current “under $20” plan deals see their costs double after a discount period ends – meaning you can end up paying up to $40 a month in the long term.  

4. Data rollover can be a lifesaver. If you find your usage fluctuates from month to month, choosing a plan that allows you to rollover unused data to use at a later date is a great feature to have. A lot of providers allow you to ‘bank’ your data on prepaid plans if you recharge before the plan expires, so you can save up your data for when you need it. 

5. Plan renewal periods can be deceptive. A lot of postpaid plans operate on a 28 days renewal cycle, but unless there’s a very good deal, we’d generally opt for a 30-day or monthly plan instead. The reason for this is simple: a 28 day plan can actually end up costing you more because they need to be recharged 13 times per year instead of 12. 

Compare more plans under $20

FAQs

Do any mobile plans under $20 include 5G?

Yes, a number of providers (such as Moose Mobile on Optus and Boost on Telstra) offer plans that cost under $20 per month and include 5G network access.

Is mobile coverage worse with cheaper providers?

Generally speaking, no – and when it is, it’s largely in very remote areas. There are only three cellular network providers in Australia (Telstra, Optus and Vodafone) which means that every telco, small or large, is essentially just reselling access to one of these three networks. While the ‘wholesale’ networks that smaller carriers are given access to can offer slightly less coverage than the ‘full’ Telstra, Optus or Vodafone network, in most instances that won’t be noticeable. For example, the population coverage for Telstra’s full vs wholesale network is 99.6% vs 98.8%, with most of the difference stemming from remote rural areas. 

Amelia Hetherington
Ecommerce Editor

Amelia is an Ecommerce Editor at Getprice who specialises in hunting down great bargains and useful discount codes across a wide variety of products and retailers, curating gift guides for all occasions, and doing the maths to calculate the top-value mobile and internet plans for a variety of needs. Her goal is to help make finding the best online discounts as easy as possible. She loves writing about major deals and sales events to help you get the most bang for you buck at sales time.