CHOICE membership

Is it cheaper to buy a smartphone outright?


That was a great outcome!

I vaguely recollect some Telstra Mobile plans used to have an added or included insurance cover for the life of the plan to help the customer, and also as a big help to Telstra, cover for typical phone warranties only being 12 months while Telstra would only contract for 24 months. Perhaps Telstra were happy to waive the plan if you were recontracting to a new one. I’ve done so midplan previously, providing it was an upgrade and I was recontracting for another 2 years.

Optus and others still try hard to add in an insurance bundle that covers lost, drowning or accidental breakages as part of their sales pitch. No doubt also to help shift the cost burden of phones that fail due to warrantable issues after 12 months from them to you.

Sometimes in the past with mobile sales staff it was all too easy to hear an offer as an inclusion, and sign up to a bottom line without understanding all of what you were paying for. The latest contract forms may have put an end to this, providing we all take the time to review them line by line before signing.


I have bought my last 3 smart phones outright after they were replaced by newer models (current Samsung was 2 models in arrears) and in clearance sales from retail outlets. I always buy unlocked so I can keep my sim and number and my old Telstra $30 pm plan. My last was an S5 at $300 from a Dik Smith store, in 2015 I think, but the others I cannot recall.

I do not do data on the phone, that’s for the laptop with a firewall etc. But the camera’s have been excellent. So for me it is much cheaper.


Well I bought an iPhone 5 from a friend for $200 in December 2014. It has worked perfectly ever since (although a new battery may enhance its performance in due course). I use HelloMobile as my service provider which uses Vodafone as the carrier. It’s charges are very reasonable, 30c F/F; 30 cents untimed to landlines in Australia; 12 cpm + F/F to mobiles. I have an automatic recharge working which debits my credit account with $10 every time the balance falls to $2. As I’m not a great user of the mobile phone, (I mainly use VOIP at home) I can sometimes go for over 2 months without my credit card being debited, so I feel it is a pretty efficient system. Not sure about my data allowance, but I use very little, and it is simply a small running cost (should I have data turned on) which is just part of the running debit. On a trip from Perth to Kalbarri a while back (600kms x 2) I used WAZE on the iPhone as my GPS. The total cost for the data download was $3 each way.


I have found it to be cheaper if I have own phone. Bought a second hand Note 4 for $250. Bought a Kogan subscription (Vodaphone) for a year all calls plus 7Gb of monthly data allowance for under $200 ($16 pcm). The nearest cost for similar service $30 (without phone). I think own phone gives one more flexibility


Thanks for input everyone! We’ve awarded some BS Buster badges to @phb, @mark_m @meltam and @acreed2002 for their comments on buying a phone outright vs buying on a contract.

We’ve put together the following advice you can find the right deal the next time you’re considering a new smartphone.


@Suzique Which plan is that please? I can’t see it on the Aldi website.


@jen It’s like a catalogue special they run from time to time…but looks like they have it available again soon.


Thank you :slight_smile:
I don’t have an Aldi nearby but can probably get someone to buy one for me. Excellent!


@jen They often don’t have them on display, so you might have to ask and they get it from out the back.