Prepaid Mobile Cap Plans (Telstra v Optus v Vodafone) – September 2016

In the ever-competitive prepaid mobile market, Australia’s big three carriers are ramping up the stakes in trying to win your business.

In this comparison article, we’re comparing Australia’s big three carriers, and their prepaid monthly cap plans and weighing up the pros and cons of each to help you pick the best plan that’s right for you!


First up is Telstra, with their Freedom Plus plan offer. The main draw of Telstra’s Freedom Plus cap offer is the following bonuses:

  • Recharge Credit: Recharge credit that can be used for Google Play and Window Stores purchases and other premium purchases
  • Generous International Credit: $200 worth of cap international credit on the $30 plan, $350 on the $40 plan and $500 on the $50 plan

Currently Telstra are offering a 5GB bonus data offer until the 25th of January 2016. While Telstra’s prepaid offer is less generous than the other two carriers, they do offer a number of advantages that the other two carriers aren’t able to match.

We’ve summarised the pros and cons of the Telstra offer here:


  • Australia’s largest mobile network, offering coverage across 2.3 million square kilometres, approximately 99.3% of Australia’s population
  • Ability to use recharge credit (not bonus cap credit) on the Google Play Store or the Windows Phone Store
  • Ability to accumulate recharge credit (not bonus cap credit) as long as you recharge before the expiry date
  • Generous data inclusions if you use the included Night Data (which can only be used from 8pm-8am)
  • Up to 31 days expiry through the automatic recharge function (compared to 28 days normally)


  • In general, less generous than Optus and Vodafone in terms of call credit and data allowance
PlanCreditInternational CreditCost per minute callCost per standard textDataExpiry
Telstra Freedom $30$30 recharge + $700 call credit$200$0.89 + $0.40 connection$0.291.3GB + 1.3GB night data (8pm-8am)28 days
Telstra Freedom $40$40 recharge + unlimited national calls and text$350UnlimitedUnlimited3GB + 3GB night data (8pm-8am)28 days
Telstra Freedom $50$50 recharge + unlimited national calls and text$500UnlimitedUnlimited4GB + + 4GB night data (8pm-8am)28 days


Optus have recently introduced the My Prepaid Ultimate and they’re even better value than ever before. Perfect for heavy users, these plans include unlimited calls and texts to standard national numbers across all recharge options above $30, plus data rollover (up to 10GB). Each plan also has a small ‘extra’ credit allowance ($5-$20 depending on the recharge), which can be used for international calls (at highly competitive rates) or on premium services.

Also, for a limited time only, Optus are upping the data for 5GB for your first recharge on the $30 recharge and 10GB for recharges $40 and above.

We’ve summarised the pros and cons of the Optus offer:


  • Unlimited national calls and texts across all options – perfect for heavy users
  • Data rollover (up to 10GB)
  • International Calls are competitively priced


  • Network is significantly smaller than Telstra, covering approximately 1 million square kilometres, approximately 98.5% of Australia’s population
  • Limited extras credit for premium services and international calls
  • Can’t use recharge credit on Android or Windows Phone stores
  • 28 days expiry
PlanStandard National CallsStandard National TextsExtras credit DataExpiry
Optus Prepaid Ultimate $30UnlimitedUnlimited$51.5GB28 days
Optus Prepaid Ultimate $40UnlimitedUnlimited$104GB28 days
Optus Prepaid Ultimate $50UnlimitedUnlimited$156GB28 days
Optus Prepaid Ultimate $60UnlimitedUnlimited$208GB28 days


Last but not least, we’ve got the low down on Vodafone’s Prepaid Caps. Vodafone perhaps offer the most generous international calling options, with unlimited calls to 10 selected countries on the $50 recharge and above.

For a limited time only, Vodafone are offering a 2GB bonus per recharge for every recharge before 26/01/16, and for every continuous recharge until 25/01/17 on $40 plans and above.

In addition to these limited time offers, we’ve summarised Vodafone’s pros and cons:


  • Unlimited national calls and texts across all options – perfect for heavy users
  • Best offer for international callers on the $50 plan and above – unlimited calls from Australia to 10 selected countries (China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, NZ, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, UK and USA)
  • Bonus offers (as above)


  • Smallest network of the three main carriers, covering approximately 96% of Australia’s population
  • No credit for premium services
  • Only 28 day expiry
PlanCap CreditCost per minute callCost per standard textInternational CallsDataExpiry
Vodafone Prepaid Cap $30$30UnlimitedUnlimitedas part of Cap Credit1.5GB28 days
Vodafone Prepaid Cap $40$40UnlimitedUnlimited90 minutes to selected countries3GB28 days
Vodafone Prepaid Cap $50$50UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited to 10 countries + 90 minutes to some countries4GB28 days

Analysis: The Option

So which option should you choose?

  • If you need the widest Australian network coverage, or would like the flexibility to use your recharge credit to purchase from the Google Play or Windows Phone stores – we strongly recommend Telstra.
  • Optus generally offers the most generous data allowances. However, Telstra, with their Night Data bonus, offers the most total data if you are likely to use your data between 8pm and 8am daily.
  • If you need as many national calls, texts and data as possible, any option apart from the Telstra $30 option offers unlimited calls and text.
  • Vodafone is the best option for international calls on the $50 plan and above – with unlimited international calls to 10 countries on the $50 recharge. Telstra offers a very generous cap credit allowance to be used on international calls across all their plans.

Do you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions about this article? We encourage all discussion and feedback (both positive and negative), so feel free to comment below!

2 Responses

  1. Henry says:

    Great comparison and review of the products. Would appreciate it if we can have some information with regards to data tethering for their prepaid plans. I have encountered instances where the prepaid card does not allow users to share their data via hotspot.

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