There’s a new player in the phone plan market that’s undercutting even the cheapest of the cheap, proving consumers need to look beyond the big names to find the best deals.
It goes by the name of Circles.Life and it’s running circles around the competition, tech commentators say.
The Singapore-based firm runs on the Optus network in Australia and has just been named the best provider for SIM-only mobile plans by phone comparison site WhistleOut.
Competition in Australia’s phone provider space is only getting stronger with the arrival of new, smaller players to try and upset the stranglehold Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have had on the market for some years.
Last year it was AldiMobile, TPG and even Kogan doing the upsetting.
This year, it’s a plan that offers 100GB of data for $38 a month – in comparison, Belong’s nearest deal is 40GB for $44 a month.
“The telco industry never stays still for long and this last year has been no exception,” Whistleout publisher Joseph Hanlon said, in announcing the annual awards.
“In the mobile space we’ve seen major plan restructuring, with large providers like Telstra and Optus overhauling their plans.”
But it was Circles.Life making the big impact with its “huge data inclusions”, Mr Hanlon said.
In these strange times, we’re all looking for ways to make our dollars stretch the furthest.
With this in mind, The New Daily spoke to Finder.com’s tech guru Angus Kidman, to get his expert tips on penny-pinching phone deals.
Ditch the contracts
The above deal refers to a SIM-only plan – that’s where you bring your own handset to the party, and what you pay for is just the SIM and its inclusions.
This is widely regarded as the best value when it comes to mobile phones, in this day and age.
“I’m reluctant to tell anyone these days to buy a phone on a plan,” said Mr Kidman, referring to the traditional mobile phone plans where you sign up for a lock-in contract of say, 24 months, with a monthly bill that covers your handset and usage.
There’s much better value to be had through buying a phone outright.”
The appetite for those traditional plans used to be much higher when mobile phone technology was expanding in leaps and bounds, and everyone wanted the latest and greatest phone as soon as possible.
Those consumers still exist, but Mr Kidman said most people were happy with a phone that was a couple of models old, as long as it worked.
When you’ve got your own handset, you’re free to move around providers to find what fits for you.
Most providers don’t have lock-in contracts, so you can always try and move on if you don’t like it – or if you see something better pop up.
Hold your horses
Samsung is set to release five new devices on Thursday, and all things going to plan, Apple should announce its next handsets next month.
Google also dropped the Pixel 4a this week – it’s definitely birthing season for tech companies.
So is it better to buy up now, before the market gets flooded with new devices, or wait to see what’s on offer?
Mr Kidman said, if you can, wait.
Particularly with Huawei virtually exiting the Australian market, Android fans will be best placed to hold off a while, he said.
“We can expect to see Samsung take up even more of the market share,” Mr Kidman said.
Samsung Galaxy note 20 5G and Note 20 ultra 5G in full details few days before the official Announcement. pic.twitter.com/6CBcz5h0Hj
— FTH 🇳🇬 (@Freds_tech_hub) August 2, 2020
“Most people who use iPhones will always use iPhones, but for those who like Android there are some options coming up.
“It doesn’t mean you’re going to buy one of these new models, but just wait for that rollover if you can.”
Above all, the most important thing when it comes to buying a phone and choosing a provider, is doing your homework, Mr Kidman said.
“A phone is an essential purchase, but it’s also an expensive purchase,” he said.
For some, he said, it’s the most expensive piece of technology they’ll buy.