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Great student mobile plans for your best university years

Collage of a funky student on her smartphone.

University is an exciting time to stay connected. Whether it’s tuning into lectures, listening to music on campus, or texting your study group, pairing your smartphone with an affordable mobile plan is essential. And luckily, student discounts aren’t just for coffees!

Here’s a roundup of some fantastic student mobile plans available now.

RELATED: Smartphones, social media, and kids: parent questions answered

What to look for when comparing student phone plans

Collage of two people flirting over their smartphones.

Unfortunately, students don’t get heaps of options when it comes to mobile discounts – at least, not as much as they used to. However, the main three Australian telco providers still offer competitive choices. Huzzah for big mobile?

RELATED: Telstra vs Optus vs Vodafone: Difference between the big three telcos

Things to look out for in a good student mobile plan include:

  • Price. Between rent, internet, groceries, and fees, university ain’t cheap! So there’s nothing wrong with keeping your mobile plan on budget
  • Coverage and data. Where possible, look for better value, not just price. If your degree will take you on archaeological digs in the Outback, or you just wanna stream comfort shows on the long train in, coverage and data are two big pluses to have. Pay attention to data speeds, too, since there’s nothing like the wheel of death in the middle of a lecture recording to ruin your day.
  • Features. Some mobile plans offer extra benefits to spice up the deal. Free Disney+, bonus data, and more could reward you just for studying your passion. If you have a compatible device, look for 5G coverage as well. 
  • Billing cycle. Controlling when and how often you pay for a mobile plan can be surprisingly important. Postpaid plans, like SIM-only plans, can give you better bundled packages, but prepaid plans can be a great way to control your monthly spend. Compare what’s on offer so you can make the right call on your phone bill.
  • Terms and conditions. There’s always a catch! Make sure you understand your mobile plan before signing on (or above?) the dotted line. This way, you can avoid any nasty surprises down the road. Watch out for that warranty, too!

Mobile providers can use a lot of fancy buzzwords in their offers, too, so here’s a mobile jargon buster to cut through the confusion.

While searching for the best student mobile discounts can be a bit tricky, it's a good idea to compare plans and look for deals from top providers.

Without further ado, here are some fantastic mobile discounts (some for students) which may catch your eye.

Collage of a woman gazing into the pink abyss of her phone.

Does Telstra offer student mobile plans?

As Australia’s largest mobile network provider, Telstra has earned a reputation for its impressive coverage but daunting prices. (Doesn’t mean they don’t offer good deals from time to time, though!)

Unfortunately, they don’t offer any special student discounts at the moment, but they do have a concession offer on certain prepaid SIM plans for eligible Healthcare card holders. Terms and conditions definitely apply. But if you’re already on Austudy or Youth Allowance, this could be one to check out.

Alternatively, this is where smaller carriers who piggyback off Telstra’s network can come in handy. These carriers sell at retail price what Telstra offers wholesale, meaning they tend to be far cheaper overall. However, you may not get as many extras, features, or any student discounts with a smaller carrier, so take your needs into consideration when comparing what’s on the market. They can just be a way to access Telstra's extensive network for generally cheaper prices.

Browse a selection of mobile plans* on the Telstra network below.

*Student discounts may not apply to plans.

Does Optus offer student mobile plans?

With the second biggest coverage and some heckin’ good deals, Optus is often considered the middle ground between the other two telcos. And good thing, too, because they have a specialised Student Hub specifically for your university years.

If you’re over 18 and have a valid university email address, you can sign up and select your preferred Optus Choice Plus plan with a student discount (with condition). Optus will run other student concessions from time to time, including discounts on eligible home internet deals. Not every Optus plan comes with a student discount, however, so keep this in mind for your search.

Compare Optus mobile plans* below.

*Student discounts may not apply to all plans.

Does Vodafone offer student mobile plans?

While technically the smallest network of the three, Vodafone shows up to the uni party with a host of competitive mobile deals, especially for prepaid plans. While they don’t offer any specific student discounts, there are ways to take advantage of their services and get the biggest bang for your buck.

You could bundle broadband with mobile for a discount, get $5 per day data roaming for your overseas trips, and or trade up your old phone for credit towards a new one, like brand-new iPhone 14 (conditions apply to every offer, so read the T&Cs before purchase). Vodafone also updates their Student Hub with their best deals for students, so compare what’s on offer to see what looks good to you.

Compare Vodafone mobile plans* below.

*Student discounts may not apply to plans.

Comparing cheap mobile plans for $30 or less

Even if you don’t get a student discount, it can still pay to find and switch to a cheaper deal. Here’s a list of some mobile plans on offer for $30 or less.

Hot tips for getting the most out of your mobile phone while at university

Student gasping at her hot new mobile phone.

Getting a degree is a significant achievement, so embrace all this life stage has to offer. 

Keen on more mobile? Head to our mobile hub for more handy guides. You can also subscribe to the Moneyzone newsletter for more cost-crunching tips.

Evlin DuBose
Evlin DuBose
Senior Money Writer

Evlin, RG146 Generic Knowledge certified and a UTS Communications graduate, is a leading voice in finance news. As Mozo's go-to writer for RBA and interest rates, her work regularly features in Google's Top Stories and major publications like