Unless you're a vinyl collecting hipster (such as myself) or a filthy, filthy pirate (no judgement, hey), there's a good chance you're using a music streaming service as your primary means of aural entertainment. I mean, it's pretty great having access to tens of millions of songs wherever you are.
The one catch is that constantly listening to the latest bangers can put a bit of a dent into your data: depending on what quality and what service you're using, you're up for between 43MB to 144MB per hour. A couple of hours of streaming could wipe out your entire month of data if you're on a smaller plan.
Fortunately, many telcos are now bundling in data-free or unmetered streaming with select plans, which can make it even easier to spend less on your monthly phone bill. Here's a quick look at who's doing what.
The only music streaming service Telstra offers data-free is Apple Music, but it’s available data-free on almost every plan. Whether you're dropping $30 on a prepaid recharge, opting for a $40 BYO device plan, or buying the latest greatest flagship, Apple Music is unmetered at no extra charge. It is however worth noting that data-free streaming only applies to Apple Music's audio content; video will still use your data allowance.
Most of Telstra's 12 and 24-month contracts also include at least six-months of free Apple Music access.
Select postpaid tablet plans are also eligible for data-free streaming.
Boost Mobile, powered by Telstra's 4G network, also offers data-free access to Apple Music on all of its recharges. This even includes its $10 seven-day recharge, so you won't miss out on unmetered streaming if you just need to top up your balance.
Don't have Apple Music? Optus has your back with data-free access to Google Play Music, Spotify, and iHeartRadio, and bundles it with the vast majority of its postpaid and prepaid plans. Key exceptions include long-expiry SIMs, select data-only plans, and prepaid data-only SIMs, but everything else will give you unmetered streaming for the aforementioned services. Even $2 a day prepaid.
Virgin subscribers can get data-free access to Google Play Music, Spotify and iHeartRadio, which happen to be exactly the same services in Optus' deal. Virgin is however a little stingier with who it gives unmetered streaming to: you'll need to be on at least a $40 per month prepaid or postpaid plan (excluding handset repayment fees) to take advantage of the offer.
Postpaid no contract
Postpaid with contract
OVO might not have unmetered access to any of the big streaming services, but subscribers can listen to any Austereo radio station data-free. 58 metro and regional radio stations are available for free through the telco's OVOPlay app, including Triple M and the Hit Network.
Headphone man holds vinyl image from ShutterStock.