There’s a lot of great ways to get yourself set up with a value-packed SIM for your mobile phone, but with their best-selling $9.90 “Green” SIM-only plan, Southern Phone may be onto something really special – and it’s certainly worth the attention it’s been getting!
What it says on the tin is pretty much exactly what you get with this plan – unlimited talk and text, 1GB of data (plenty for general web browsing and email usage) for just under ten bucks a month. It’s the cheapest plan that Southern Phone offers, but it’s also hard to beat for sheer value.
Formed over 15 years ago, Southern Phone is a mobile provider with a difference – it’s literally owned by the communities it serves around Australia. With a firm focus on providing choice and value in telecommunications services to regional areas, every cent of the dividends Southern Phone makes goes back into the communities that are the shareholders in it.
Southern Phone’s emphasis is on service quality and value for its customers, not ever-growing profits for its shareholders – and even better, the company is based entirely in Australia, employing over 130 people at their headquarters in regional New South Wales.
If you ever need to get in touch with Southern Phone’s customer service staff, you’ll be speaking to someone based right here in Australia who’ll make sure you have a hassle-free experience. They’re available seven days a week from 8am to 8pm Sydney time.
Is Talk and Text Really Unlimited?
All national landline and mobile calls – as well as all calls to 13 and 1800 numbers and to voicemail – are completely unlimited, as is text (and MMS messages) to any Australian mobile number. There’s no need to keep an eye on your usage at all – call when you like, as often as you like for as long as you like. Not a bad deal for under ten bucks a month!
How About Setup or Transfer Fees?
Keeping things easy and hassle-free seems to be very much the goal of every Southern Phone plan, and so there’s absolutely no extra setup fee to pay when you sign up – just the first month’s access cost of $9.90 in advance.
There’s no charge from Southern Phone to “port in” (bringing your existing number over to Southern Phone from another provider) but it’s worth noting that down the track, if you decide to switch to another provider, there’s a “port out” fee of $8. Your previous provider may charge a similar “port out” fee.
Any Other Fees Worth Knowing About?
If you lose your SIM (though let’s face it, not many of us can say we’ve ever actually lost a SIM) there’s a modest replacement charge of $20 for a new one. Aside from that, if you opt out of your 12-month contract before it’s finished, there’s an early termination charge of $8 per month remaining in your contract. If you’d prefer your monthly bill to be sent to you on paper, there’s a $2.20 charge for that – but by default you’re billed via email at no charge.
30-Day Network Guarantee
You can take Southern Phone’s network for a test drive on the Green plans! Sign up to any of the Optus-powered Green 4G plans on a 12-month contract, and you can cancel at any time within the first 30 days – there’s no cancellation fee. If you also purchased a phone or tablet, you just have to make sure the device and any accessories that came with it are returned in good working condition.
Keep Your Phone Number
You absolutely can keep your existing mobile phone number when you sign up with Southern Phone – just let them know that you’re bringing your number with you when you sign up, and they’ll take care of the rest. If you’re not certain whether you’ll get charged a “port out” fee from your previous provider, give them a call to check – but leave the actual number-moving to Southern Phone, and you’ll be up and running in no time.
Easily Keep Track of your Data
You can always log into the Southern Phone web site to view and keep track of your data usage – however Southern Phone will also send you SMS alerts when you reach 50%, 85% and 100% of your monthly data allowance, so you’ll have a good idea of where you’re at. If you go over your monthly limit, Southern Phone will add an extra GB for $10 automatically.
Can You Upgrade to Another Plan Later?
You can easily switch up to another mobile plan later without penalty if you find that the Green $9.90 plan doesn’t meet your needs – though you’ll need to restart the 12-month contract period in some cases. If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to try out the plans, though, the month-to-month plan options may be worth opting for initially (more on those in a moment).
How is Coverage Throughout Australia?
The Southern Phone “Green” plans make use of Optus’s extensive 4G network, which boasts coverage to 98.5% of Australians and has been especially well reviewed for its 4G data speeds. You can check out a coverage map on Southern Phone’s site – however, if you’re worried about either coverage or congestion where you’ll be using the service, rest easy. Southern Phone offers a 30-day network guarantee – if you’re not happy and cancel your contract plan within 30 days, you’ll pay no fees at all!
Choose the Optus or Telstra Networks
The “Green” plans offered by Southern Phone make use of Optus’s network, but if you’d prefer to be on Telstra’s 4G network, you can – that’s where the “Orange” plans come in.
A similar plan to the $9.90 “Green” plan is the $16.50 “Orange Promo 22” plan (so named as the discounted monthly rate is an extended promotional offer) which gives you unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data on the Telstra network. Better value is the next plan up, with 5GB for $26/month. Across the board, the Telstra-network plans cost a little more – but they’re great to have as an option especially if you need remote regional coverage, something Telstra’s network excels at.
Cost Savings: 12-Month Plan vs Month-to-Month
The Green $9.90 plan is on a 12-month contract, as are all Southern Phone’s current SIM-only plans. If you’d rather not commit to a 12-month contract, there is a month-to-month option for both networks, with different call allowances and data.
Looking at the $9.90 Green plan, you’re getting unlimited calls and text and 1GB of data for that price – but on the best-priced month-to-month Green plan, you’re paying $12 per month, still with unlimited calls but only half the data at 500MB. The $22 month-to-month plan is better value with 3GB – but that same price point on the contract plans gets you 7GB. Either of these plans is far better value if you’re going to be using more than 1GB per month (which is harder to do than you’d think)
What else does Southern Phone Offer?
Aside from mobile SIM-only plans, Southern Phone offers a full range of telecommunications products ranging from NBN Broadband plans, ADSL and satellite broadband services, home phone services, mobile phones on a plan or for outright purchase, and bundles that bring all of the services you need together for a value price.