Payment options for a data plan

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In this activity, you'll learn more about paying for a data plan. You'll learn that there are two main types of plan: post-paid contract plans (for home and mobile internet) and pre-paid plans (for mobile internet only).

You'll also find out how your internet bill will be charged automatically, and how you can manage this.

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The usual billing period for a data plan is a certain day every month

How often do I pay?

Most home and mobile data plans are charged by the month. But the month starts on the day you first sign up for the plan. So, your billing month might be from the 12th of one month to the 11th of the next.

Remember that, with mobile data plans and many home internet plans, you pay a set amount and get an allowance of a certain amount of data, measured in gigabytes (GB). If you get your home internet from the nbn, the price of the plan is based on the speed of the connection.

Contract plans: home and mobile data

Most monthly home and mobile data plans require you to sign-up for a 12- or 24-month contract. You will be charged automatically, once a month.

These contract plans are common for home and mobile internet services. They are sometimes called post-paid plans, because you pay after you've used data for a month.

On a contract plan, the billing period is also every month
A typical pre-paid data plan month-to-month cost for a mobile phone at 15GB for $29

Pre-paid plans: mobile

If you don't like being locked into a contract, a pre-paid plan lets you pay as you go, month-to-month.

These plans are called pre-paid because you pay upfront, before you've used any monthly data. At the end of the month, you choose to buy the plan again for the next month, or not.

Pre-paid plans are a common option for mobile data, but not for home internet.

Contract vs pre-paid

If you want internet that's always available, a contract plan is a good choice.

If you want control over how much you spend each month, a pre-paid plan is the way to go.

Have a look at the tables on the following pages for a summary of the pros and cons of both types of data plans.

Pre-paid data plan pros and cons
Features of a Contract data plan

A contract data plan

Some of the advantages of a contract data plan are that you usually get more data for less cost, and your data resets each month automatically.

However, if you want to cancel the contract before the agreed end date, you will need to pay a surcharge. Also, if you go over your data allowance for a given month, you will incur additional charges, or your internet will slow down, depending on the contract, so it pays to keep track on your data usage.

A pre-paid data plan

With a pre-paid data plan, you can change provider or cancel the plan at the end of any month without incurring any penalties. You also can't go over your data allowance, so you know exactly how much you will be spending each month.

However, this type of plan usually costs more for data and, if you do use up all of your allowance before the end of the month, you will not be able to use data until you top up your account. This type of plan is also only available for mobile phones.

Features of a Pre-paid data plan
An icon of a padlock

eSafety tip

It's often a good idea to start with a pre-paid plan for your mobile internet while you get used to how much data you use. Once you have an idea of how much or how little data you use on your mobile, you can choose a contract that best suits you. Or, you can just stick to pre-paid – the choice is yours!

Home internet contracts

A contract data plan for a home internet connection is usually the best choice (and sometimes the only choice).

Contract home internet data plans usually come with lots of data. This means you can use the internet at home as much as you like, without having to worry about extra costs for using too much data.

Many providers also bundle extra services with your data plan, such as landline calls, movie and music services (which help use your data!).

Contract home plan can give you plenty of data for your favourite things
Opening an app on a tablet device


You have completed the Payment options for a data plan activity. You've learned that data plans are sold on contract or as pre-paid plans.

Next up, we'll give you some more tips on choosing a plan, in the Choosing the right data plan activity.