Once upon a time the LifeStyler worked for a telco and was responsible for mobile handsets and building plans around them. In those days there was no such thing as a smartphone but the competition between carriers was just as fierce.

The daughter who by the way ended up buying a VW Golf and managed to negotiate 5 years of servicing into the published drive away price is also in the market for a new phone plan.

It got me thinking is it better to buy a phone outright or put one on a plan. In my day there were big subsidies on offer to reduce the price of the handsets so what happens now? So I did some calculations purely on the standard phone plans and major models across the three main carriers.

What I found was that the cost of buying the phone outright assuming it was not on special was exactly the same price as you would have to pay over the course on the 2 or 3-year contract. So like for like you would be mad not to take the phone on a plan paying it off over the 2 to 3 years as no “interest” or extra charge is added in the deal and effectively is absorbed by the telco.

Where this comes undone is when a retailer like JB HiFi offers a special discounted price on a handset potentially even for 1 weekend. Then if you have the available cash it might be cheaper to buy outright.

However if you look carefully at phone plans (bundle phone with a plan) vs sim only plans (just the plan) the Sim only plans offer a better deal normally in the form of extra data.

Back to my daughter and indeed my wife and Son previously we have found that the best deals seemed to be for a prepaid sim with a 12-month expiry. Case in point my daughter ordered a Sim today from Optus for $150 that comes with a 12-month expiry unlimited calls and 120GB of data over the 12 months. Previously we got the same deal from Boost mobile (but was not available at the time of writing).

Now maybe for uncle Trev, an average of 10GB will not go very far but for the average user, unless you are streaming video all the time, it will be more than enough.

So the best deal is to source your own handset maybe one of the new Alcatel’s as Trevor recently reviewed for $199 then a $150 plan for a year ($12.50 a month). Over 2 years that is around 48 cents a day for the full package – A Bargain. Cheers!