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Mobile phones and plans demystified

Your Life

Mobile phones and plans demystified

EDIN READ pulls the veil from technology costs so you can understand what you might need and what you can live without.

Getting your head around the mobile phone industry these days is confusing. First, it’s the phone, then it’s the plan, and then it’s knowing how to use it.

I hope to offer some practical  advice about what to look out for – and what to avoid.

I feel we’ve all been let down by the run of poor support from our main providers in the past, and I’m highly conscious of this.

As far as mobiles go, it’s hard to go wrong here, other than price. Today’s smartphones are so similar to one another, you can barely tell them apart.

There’s two main types of phones: Android and iOS. Android runs on most phones, such as Samsung, Google and Oppo, whereas iOS is only on Apple’s iPhone. It’s really a personal preference which you buy.

Personally, I use an Apple iPhone, which serves me well. You can go to your local tech store and try them out to see which type you prefer. Even ask your neighbour which they prefer and why.

I recommend sticking with what you know. If you’ve had an Android for the past 10 years, I don’t recommend changing to an iPhone, for example. The learning curve isn’t extreme, but it’s certainly there.

When picking your phone, look for something with at least 64GB of storage, and see if it’s got the features you want.

If you’re only using it for texts, calls and maybe some time on Facebook, you could put a blindfold on and pick any new phone and it would work pretty much just as well as the next one.

When selecting, be firm on your price point: usually around $500 gets you a reasonable Android, and iPhones are a $1000-plus. Anything more (such as Pro models), an extra camera and excess storage will likely go unused, as romantic as those features may sound.

Once you’ve got the gear, getting the right plan is important. As far as I’m concerned, the most cost-efficient plan is the Aldi 4G 10GB data with unlimited calls and texts for $19 – the SIM-only plan. It’s got unlimited data rollover, so if you don’t use your data, then it goes on the next month’s plan automatically.

The Aldi plans are run on the Telstra network. To put it in perspective, Optus’s cheapest SIM-only plan is more than double at $49 per month and Telstra’s is $62 per month (both with a few more benefits, including 5G and more data).

You can also keep your number and it’s not complicated to set up. Plus, if you need more data, you can just upgrade  your plan.

I know what you might be thinking: seriously, Aldi? I have tested its network on our business’s phones and it works flawlessly. For $19, the plan really is a great option.

For a pre-paid option, you can also go with Aldi and top up in $15 chunks, too. I do find the data and calling are quite expensive down this route, compared with the $19 plan.

The best step is to head to Aldi and pick up a SIM. You just sign up with your information and credit card on the website, and it charges you each month. Couldn’t be easier!

The third step is knowing how to use it. Understanding the quirks of your phone and getting a specialised  one-to-one lesson on it will set you up for success, as well as any outstanding questions answered.

Thankfully, this is where Greyology can help. Feel free to give me a call and we can set up a time.

 Edin Read is founder and chief technician at Greyology Tech Support for Seniors. Visit

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