Switching internet & phone services

You don’t necessarily have to switch your provider to get the best deal. If you’ve been with the same provider for a while you may also get a better deal just by switching to a new plan.

Asking your provider for a better deal

If you're thinking of switching plans, remember, you may need to sign a new contract so check for any charges for ending or leaving your current contract early.

Also consider whether your current plan matches your usage. See: 

Long term contracts

Some providers sell identical services that are available either on a month-to-month plan or a long term contract. Providers that do this may charge slightly more or charge different fees for a month-to-month plan compared to a long term contract. Therefore, if you do not sign a long term contract you may pay more per month for the service.

Advertisements and documents called ‘critical information summaries’ should set out the ‘minimum amount payable’ or ‘minimum total cost’ for different post-paid plans. This is the minimum amount, including any payments you make, you will be required to pay under a contract.

See: Critical Information Summary

Contract break fees

If you have entered a post-paid contract and then decide to change plans or leave a contract before it ends, then the cost to you will likely be higher than if you had not made the agreement. For example, you may have to pay money for breaking the terms of the contract.

So, before you take any steps to switch or cancel your contract you should find out how much this amount will be from the company who provides your service. This may help you to decide upon a service that will best suit your needs.

In some cases, providers may be willing to allow you to leave the contract without paying anything to break the contract, however, they are not required to do so.

Equipment needs

Get advice from prospective new service providers on the technical and practical requirements involved in changing service providers. You may need to purchase new equipment to get your service to work. There may also be costs of a technician to install equipment on your premises in order to connect your service. You may also be offered equipment or required installation as part of a long term contract, so consider whether this will suit your needs.

There may be certain equipment that is configured to work with a particular retail service provider. Therefore, if you change providers, certain equipment may not work and may need to be replaced. You should speak to your new provider about the installation process.

Mobile handset locking

When you obtain a new mobile phone handset from a provider the phones are often locked to a particular network or provider for a fixed length of time. This means that the handset cannot be used on a different network even if you change to a new plan and obtain a new sim card.

If you wish to use a locked phone on a different network then you may need to pay an unlocking fee.

Keeping your telephone number

When you switch to a plan from a different provider it is usually possible to keep your existing phone number. This is called number 'porting'.

  • Do not cancel your existing service before changing providers because it will prevent you from keeping your existing number.
  • If you are switching from one provider to another then you should check with your new provider whether number porting is possible before entering a contract.
  • If porting is available, you should inform the new provider that you want to keep your old number as soon as possible. This allows the new provider to request the porting of your number from the old provider quickly.

Transfer to the NBN

If you have entered into a long-term fixed line and fixed broadband contract, it is possible that it could overlap with the rollout of the NBN in your area.

See: National Broadband Network (NBN)

If you are in an area that is ready to connect to the NBN, you may wish to transfer to the NBN with your current fixed line service provider. You should contact your provider to understand what the process will be. You are likely to need to enter a new contract for the NBN service.

Alternatively, you might want to consider other service providers that could provide you with an NBN service.

See: Certified service providers

Make a consumer complaint

If you cannot resolve the problem with your provider, contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman on 1800 062 058.

More information

Internet & phone