It’s been awhile since I did a cost comparison post, so today I decided to compare mobile phone plans between the UK and Australia.
I visited a popular UK mobile phone plan comparison site and chose the top three in the bestseller list.
Obviously these bestsellers will change regularly, but, for the record, the website I got my information from is called Uswitch.
I then went to a popular Australian mobile phone comparison site, and chose similar plans from popular mobile phone providers here that offered the same or similar in terms of minutes, SMS and data transfer.
Then I compared the prices.
Here’s what I found, and you can click on the table below to enlarge it…
I’m really not sure whether we are truly comparing like with like here. Some of the Australian plans, if not all, offer free telephone calls to the same network in some form or other.
Some Australian networks also offered unlimited access to places like Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Back in the UK, Orange offered 2 for 1 cinema tickets and free calls to one of your Orange friends.
And where the UK mobiles tell you exactly how many minutes you get each month, here in Australia you tend to be given an amount of money as a credit, say $400 a month. Calls are being charged out at the standard rate used by the company, which includes a connection charge for the call and then a rate per minute. Whatever you use is taken out of your monthly credit.
So that’s why the number of minutes is an odd number, it’s based on assumptions that you’ll spend 3 minutes on each call so they can calculate the connection charges and then the minute by minute call rate.
On that basis, if you make a lot of calls only to hear “Sorry, can you call me back later, I’m in the middle of my dinner!” – then the number of minutes you will actually get will decrease. So the UK method of charging seems to be fairer.
It’s also worth mentioning at this stage, that coverage is a big issue here in Australia. It’s a big country, not all of it gets a signal. I actually sometimes struggle to get a signal where I live, and I’m about 22 km from the city of Brisbane.
If I drive about 5 km down the road, away from the city, the signal disappears in some areas. So if you’re travelling around the country, don’t expect to always have a signal. Whereas in the UK, I’m pretty sure it is now pretty much covered.
In the interest of scientific accuracy, I’m just going to add up the cost of all three plans, from three different mobile phone companies from the two countries.
- The UK – £2352.00
- Australia – $4704.00
At the current exchange rate of Australian $1.56 to the pound, in Australian dollars the UK phone plans cost $3669.12. That’s about $1035 less than they cost in Australia, so UK mobiles are something like 22% cheaper than similar deals in Australia.
But, of course, wages are higher here as explained in my post about the hard yakka.
In terms of hard yakkas, here’s how much they would cost in each country:
- The UK – 156.1 hard yakkas
- Australia –143.4 hard yakkas
So, whilst on the face of it UK mobiles seem cheaper, you’d probably work fewer Australian work hours to pay for your mobile phone here.
Shall we call it a draw?
What about the USA?
At this point in my cost comparisons between the UK and Australia, I normally mention that had I included the USA, they would have won hands down.
That doesn’t seem to be the case here.
I had a look at a comparable deal over at the USA site, and it said…
That makes it the dearest plan of the lot! Can that be right? The USA dearer than both the UK and Australia for mobile phones?
Who’d have thought?