Australia’s leading international student news website

Australian mobile plans: What students need to know before they come to study abroad

Trinity College Foundation Studies

Tue Jun 28 2016


SETTLING on a phone plan can be difficult if you’re new to Australia. Trinity College Foundation Studies students Balamurugan Periasamy, Faye Phei Yee Liew and Thalia Zhai break down some of the most popular mobile carriers and suggest which plans might work best for students with varying needs. 


Among the many things that international students have to know about and get accustomed to before studying abroad is finding and settling on a mobile plan. The process can be tricky yet having a mobile phone is essential as an overseas student and knowing which service provider will give you the best plan at the best rate to suit your needs can go a long way in making your life as a student much easier.

Speaking to current international students from Trinity College who’ve settled in Melbourne to study, we found that the majority of the 25 students surveyed were on Vodafone plans. Optus came second while only one student admitted to using Telstra. Furthermore, an overwhelming number of surveyed students said that they thought $50 dollars was the most they were willing to pay per month for their phone plan.

Based on the survey’s results, we break down what some of the best plans under $50 dollars within Vodafone, Optus and Telstra based on students’ needs.

For students who need lots of data…


A weekly plan gives you the opportunity to have more data for cheaper value, but you’d have to pay frequently and if you’re the forgetful type, this may be a bit of a nuisance.

To avoid the trouble of having to pay weekly, we recommend the monthly mobile plan from Optus which supplies 6GB for $40 and 8.5 GB for $50. Unlimited local calls and text messages come with the Optus prepaid plans as well.


Vodafone provides a mobile plan which contains 10GB of mobile data every month for 50 dollars whereas for the same amount Optus provides 11GB of mobile data every month.

For students who want the cheapest plan, without needing much data….


With Optus, you can pay $10 to have a plan that lasts for 186 days, with a supplementary 500MB of data and unlimited local calls and text messages.


For only 25 dollars, you can get 1.5GB of mobile data from Vodafone, or the same amount of data from Optus which will cost you 30 dollars.

For students who require international calls…

Vodafone provides a plan for 45 dollars which allows the user to have free international calls to 10 countries: China, India, United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea. Users also have the option to request an extra country for an extra 6 dollars a month.

Optus provides international pack options in which users have the choice of paying $5 dollars a month for up to 50 minutes of standard international calls and $10 dollars for 150 minutes of standard international calls.

Telstra also provides an International Connect Pack which is available to use when calling or texting any standard international number from Australia for just 10 dollars.


Do note that these plans are not set in stone as they are subject to change at the discretion of the service provider. These plans do, however, give students an inkling as to what service providers international students use most and what plans have worked for them based on student feedback.

Furthermore, it is also worth noting that international students who are under 18 may not be eligible for postpaid plans unless payment is made by a parent or legal guardian.

That said, we hope that the information provided will help students find the plan and provider that bests suits them.

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via