budget mobile provider

The days when getting a decent phone meant contracts and high monthly bills are long behind us. Now, it makes sense to buy your own phone handset at a price you can afford, then pick and choose from the many options available for getting that phone on the air. Thankfully, there are several affordable providers to choose from. Today, we take a look at two of the best.

At the budget end of the market there’s an ever-growing number of providers clamouring for your business. Even better, all of them run their services on one of Australia’s three mobile networks – Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone. There’s no doubt the networks themselves all offer extensive coverage and excellent quality. Thus, the appeal of a particular provider comes down to what inclusions and features they can offer. Of course, all within a price range you’re happy to pay each month.

Boost and amaysim both have extensive experience as mobile providers. Boost is available since way back in 2000, while amaysim is now in its seventh year. They approach the budget end of the market in different ways and operate on different networks. However, both have some superb value on offer when it comes to SIM only plans.

It’s all unlimited

One thing to consider right from the start is that there are effectively no call or text rates to compare with either of these providers. No matter which plan you pick, you’ll get access to unlimited calls, text messaging and MMS messaging within Australia. It’s a sign of how competitive and healthy the market is in Australia – and also an indicator of where the real point of difference is these days. The new competition is in data allowances and, to some extent, data speeds. Both Boost and amaysim operate on 4G networks, allowing them access to reliable, fast data. That being said, coverage varies depending on the mobile network they use.

Another thing you’ll see across both providers’ plans is the inclusion of unlimited international calls. These calls are available on higher plans, but only to a set of ten predefined countries. Thanks to behind-the-scenes use of the same sort of VOIP technology that powers apps like Skype, even calling another country becomes a worry-free experience. Of course, as long as the country you want to call is one of the ten included.

So in this world of extreme mobile value, what can Boost and amaysim offer to convince you to choose their service? Let’s have a look at the two companies and their mobile plans.

Boost – bold, bright and easy to use

While the Boost brand has been around since the start of the millennium, a few years ago they parted ways with Optus. Instead, Boost hooked up with Telstra, becoming one of a very small number of third-party providers to use Australia’s largest mobile network. It’s that Telstra 4G network that is one of Boost’s main selling points. The consensus among many is that Telstra’s network is unbeatable for coverage and reliability. Consequently, being able to access it for as little as $10 per month is tantalising.

Simple plans

Boost’s plans keep things super-simple in terms of pricing. There are only four Boost mobile plans to pick from, running at $10, $30, $40 and $50 per 28 days, with prepaid as the only option offered. To make life easier for you, they’ve set up a number of different ways to recharge when you need to, including the usual web site portal and recharging by phone. But the best way by far is their excellent smartphone app for both iOS and Android. The app lets you check your balance and expiry, recharge instantly and even set up auto recharge so you’re never caught out.

Data with a difference

Boost’s data allowances work differently to other providers. You get a base level of data depending on your plan, and then each weekend – the time you’re most likely to be out and about making extra-heavy use of your mobile data – you get a bonus 1GB to play with. In other words, they effectively reward you for not blowing through all your data in a week by giving you more data the longer your recharge lasts. That can mean up to 7GB of fast 4G data on a recharge that only costs $30.

It’s actually quite hard to blow through that much data on a mobile. To make it even harder, Boost now offers data free streaming of Apple Music, so you can soundtrack your travels and not use a single byte of your allowance.

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amaysim – unlimited is the word

Right from the start, amaysim has been a brand associated with extreme value in mobile services. And when they launched in 2010 with a call rate of only 15c a minute – later reduced to 12c – it was a revolution in a market. Until then, the average mobile call could cost you a dollar a minute and you’d have to weigh up the relative value of “cap” plans to try to get your call and text spending to a reasonable level.

The world is yours

Times have changed, with unlimited calls and texts almost the new normal. amaysim’s responded to this trend by making all their plans unlimited as well. Not only that, but they also added unlimited international calls to ten countries – including the UK, USA, China and India – to each and every plan. On the higher plans you also get 300 minutes of calls to a further 22 countries. That’s great for those who have friends or family anywhere from Greece to Vietnam. But if you’re looking more towards a plan that you’ll primarily use within Australia, amaysim’s big point of difference is data.

Data by the truckload

Unlike Boost, amaysim plans feature a straight data allowances per 28 days. The telco runs on the Optus 4G Plus network – a network that has been performing exceptionally well in urban areas with speeds the equal of Telstra’s. It’s at the $40 price point where amaysim’s data allowances start to pull ahead of Boost’s, with a hefty 7GB to chew through across your 28 days. Jumping up to the $50 plan gives you 9GB, more than enough to cover all but the most extreme power users. This 9GB plan also comes with the extra 300 minutes to 22 countries to sweeten the deal.

Versatile plan types

You can sign up with amaysim on a post-paid basis – so all your calls are itemised on a bill. Or, you can just grab a SIM (they deliver free within 3 days) for any of the amaysim prepaid plans and apply a recharge to it. Either way, there’s no contract to worry about, and you can change plans or move to another provider at any time regardless of whether you’re prepaid or postpaid.

Naturally, amaysim has a smartphone app available for you to keep track of your usage, recharge and change your phone service settings. And there’s one more thing to recommend amaysim: last February, they won an award from Canstar Blue for Most Satisfied Customers in the SIM only field.

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The best of the plans

If you’re looking at a more modest monthly spend and don’t need the 10-country international calls, Boost’s $30 plan is pretty astonishing value. Its effective 7GB of data (3GB base plus 1GB each weekend) gives you no-hassle prepaid access to the blazingly fast Telstra network. There’s plenty of data to get you by and unlimited everything else.

You could bump that up to $40 for the inclusion of ten-country unlimited international calls and an effective 9GB of data. However, at that price point you should take a look at amaysim’s most keenly-priced plan as well. For the same price, amaysim gives you 7GB of data – but that’s 7GB to use any time, rather than Boost’s 5GB now and 4GB spread across 28 days.

Either of these plans brings phenomenal value, especially for those who use their mobile phone as their prime method of communication. Consider this – $40 per month is only a few dollars more than it costs for the line rental alone on a landline phone!

The free countries

There’s another point of difference between the two that might sway you one way of the other. The ten included countries for unlimited international calls differ slightly between amaysim and Boost. On the Boost side, you’ll be able to call (and text) to Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, United Kingdom and the USA.

amaysim, on the other hand, doesn’t include Canada in the free list – but does add Thailand in its place. Depending on where you need to call, this one could be a decider for some.

Which one’s for you – Boost or amaysim?

boost mobile vs amaysim
The choice between both these excellent-value providers is really going to come down to only a few things. First and foremost, the network they each run on. You may have a preference for Telstra or for Optus when it comes to network coverage and performance. If that’s the case, your choice will be pretty clear.

Otherwise, Boost’s heavier emphasis on social use of the service will suit those who go out a lot on weekends – and especially suit those with iPhones who subscribe to Apple Music. amaysim, meanwhile, offers unlimited international calls at a far lower price point (even on the entry-level $25 plan) and keeps the data allocation nice and straightforward. You don’t need to wait for the weekend before you get more if you need it.

Either way, you’re going to be getting superb value and a reliable, unlimited mobile phone service that won’t cost you the earth.

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