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Prepaid SIM (Data or Voice) - Australia

Old Apr 12, 2019, 8:18 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: Mwenenzi
Reasonable summary of Au phones, but a changing market.

Networks 3G 4G
There are 3 main mobile phone networks in Australia
  1. Telstra
  2. Optus
  3. Vodafone

TPG was building a 4th network. Link--> https://www.canstarblue.com.au/phone/tpg-phone-network/ But the Australian Government banned Huawei equipment due to security concerns. And TPG & Vodafone may merge. Link

All other mobile phone plan retailers are resellers. Many resellers use the Optus network.

Phone & Data Plans
There are many phone-SIM-data plans available from bricks & mortar shops:- phone shops, supermarkets, post offices, newsagents, gas/petrol stations or on line. It can be confusing comparing the features & costs. Cost per month is reducing and data per month is increasing. The plans are aimed at Australia residents, so may not be that suitable for visitors to Australia. Some plans are 6/12 month locked-in contracts. Some plans include data roll over/bank and others do not. Some plans now have a 1 off bonus data at sign up. So check carefully.

A visitor to Australia should be able to get a 28/30 day plan for about $30 with unlimited local calls and local texts and with some data. Less than 30 days, if available, not a lot different. Check the conditions & fine print. To activate an Australian phone-SIM card an identity check is needed. Please refer below.

Most (all?) of the Australian international airports will have booths or shops selling SIM cards & phone-data plans.

Check if your unlocked phone works on the Australian networks:- http://willmyphonework.net

The supermarket chains offer some reasonable deals, with no locked-in contract.
Pick up a SIM card in the supermarket or have it delivered by mail
  • https://www.colesmobile.com.au (Optus network)
  • https://mobile.woolworths.com.au (Telstra network)
  • https://www.aldimobile.com.au/plans/value-packs (Telstra network)

Other resellers (alphabetical order - not a recommendation)
  • https://www.amaysim.com.au/mobile-plans/
  • https://www.belong.com.au/mobile (owned by Telstra)
  • https://boost.com.au/plans/
  • https://www.dodo.com.au/
  • https://www.lebara.com.au/mobile-plans/30-day-plans
  • https://www.tpg.com.au/mobile
  • https://www.vaya.net.au
  • and others
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_mobile_virtual_network_operator s

There are comparison web sites aimed at Australia residents. These may not be that suitable for visitors to Australia. They may not be 100% independent or show all options.
  • https://youcompare.com.au/mobilephones/
  • https://www.whistleout.com.au/MobilePhones/
  • https://whatphone.com.au
  • https://www.canstarblue.com.au/compare/mobile
  • and others

Identify Check
To activate an Australian phone-SIM card a 100 point identity check is needed. It is not always asked for. There is a post where a FTer had trouble doing this. Link---> Post 111
The airport booth guys or a phone shop will be able to activate a SIM card. Ask before you buy.

Australian Communications and Media Authority (Au gov) link---> https://www.acma.gov.au/acmas-rules-id-checks-prepaid-mobiles
Australian Government legislation link (very legalistic)--> https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L00399
Aldi pdf for information (typical?) https://www.aldimobile.com.au/m3/docs/identity_verification_policy.pdf

The 2 main carriers claim high 90's% coverage of the Australian population centres. Note this is not the same as geographic coverage (land area). Any of the 2 (or 3) mains carriers will have coverage of the main areas where most people will visit. Telstra has the reputation for the largest geographic coverage. (Optus may not agree). If you are 100 miles out the back of Bourke or in remote Western Australia or on the Nullarbor or wherever there may be no coverage. Areas with no coverage exist all over the country. But it is not a problem for most visitors to Australia.

Telstra coverage map--------> https://www.telstra.com.au/coverage-networks/our-coverage
Telstra block spot program ----> https://www.telstra.com.au/coverage-networks/mobile-black-spot-program

The above is a very general guide only. It may not be 100% accurate
Mobile phone plans are for ever changing.
Any additions or corrections are welcome

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Prepaid SIM (Data or Voice) - Australia

Old May 6, 2013, 11:13 am
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Prepaid SIM (Data or Voice) - Australia

I have searched and with no luck on this clunky app have not been able to find a string.

But my question is this. Taking our annual trip to visit wife's family in Sydney. Thinking about taking my Verizon iPhone 5 instead of borrowing in-laws cell while there.

Is it as truly simple as buying a prepaid SIM and install and go? I have seen conflicting articles.

Anyone have real world experience

Thoughts and opinions would be welcome.


thx10 is offline  
Old May 6, 2013, 12:12 pm
Join Date: Jun 2005
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I would suggest you call Vz global support to double check: 908 559-4899. At the very worst, they'll unlock for you. Or if you have a sim card laying around, try it out stateside.
dtsm is offline  
Old May 6, 2013, 2:44 pm
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The VZW IPhone 5 is unlocked out of the box. No need to call to unlock like the iPhone 4S. For voice/SMS it will work out of the box upon insertion of an activated SIM card worldwide. For data depending on the SIM card it can be automatic (there is a automated script on the card by the carrier) or manual (manual configuration of the APN settings). If you are not a techie and don't want to mess with APN settings by connecting to WiFi and using a certain website I suggest using voice/SMS only.
willzzz88 is offline  
Old May 7, 2013, 7:14 am
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Verizon iphone5 in Australia

Cool. So it is pretty simple. Just need to figure out what network to use when I am down there or try to remember what my in-laws use.
thx10 is offline  
Old May 7, 2013, 8:38 am
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The Verizon iPhone 5 is mostly unlocked. You should be able to slip in a SIM (I suggest the $30 Kogan or Telstra plans).

Here's proof:
zacaltman is offline  
Old May 7, 2013, 9:54 am
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Detroit; Formerly Dubai
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There are three main (not virtual) networks in Australia -- Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone. Telstra is the best network, Optus is #2, and Vodafone has been sadly lagging behind in a distant third place. Recently, Vodafone has stepped up its game a bit.

One issue you could run into is registration. Some places don't ask for any ID, most will happily accept a foreign passport, and one or two places demand proof of residency. If you run into Group 3, argue a little and then vote with your feet. The next store will sell you.

The best place to learn about Australian cellular is:


Most SIMs are scripted to automatically install the appropriate access point on an iPhone. If you run into the exception, you can get the configurations here:

Dubai Stu is offline  
Old May 7, 2013, 2:38 pm
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Let's rename this thread and make it the official new prepaid SIM for Australia thread.
gfunkdave is offline  
Old May 7, 2013, 4:38 pm
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I've picked up both Telstra & Optus prepaid SIMs with no registration information. You can get the SIMs at the company stores, newsagents, and many grocery stores. Usually you buy a package which has the SIM and a phone number for a couple of bucks then purchase a voucher for additional time. My Telstra phone is a bit expensive at 10c per minute but am thinking of trying the Woolworth's branded Optus SIM when I'm there next month.

Zarf4 is offline  
Old May 7, 2013, 5:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Zarf4
I've picked up both Telstra & Optus prepaid SIMs with no registration information.
Interesting. As far as I know, there is a requirement to identify and register the purchaser, typically using a drivers licence for AUS residents, for security/policing reasons. As we all know, mobile phones can be used in all kinds of illegal and life-threatening uses. Creating the link between purchaser and SIM is helpful, especially when linked to phone/SIM tracking.
Buzz53 is offline  
Old May 7, 2013, 7:00 pm
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Detroit; Formerly Dubai
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My understanding is that if you have the SIM delivered to your flat, you don't need to additionally verify it, but if it is a cash and carry transaction, some ID is required.

See, eg:

(read Step 3)


(page 25 of the PDF)

A foreign passport should be deemed a category A document, but as I've said I've heard a few clerks say it wasn't.
Dubai Stu is offline  
Old May 7, 2013, 7:04 pm
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I believe you are correct in that IIRC 100 points of ID should be required...

Pragmatically it is not enforced by many many outlets. I've purchased $20/$30 starter packs with SIMs at: Coles, Servos, and even paid cash at the Telstra shop at SYD airport T3 last year without any form of ID. You can find them on ebay.com.au and pay with a prepaid credit card.

Just guessing that not too many people care since it hasn't presented a major security risk so far.

Also on that whirlpool.net.au website you'll find many people who also have purchased SIMs without ID.
Zarf4 is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 5:09 am
Join Date: Nov 2006
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I agree that it is generally not enforced. I was just prepping people to encounter some inconsistency in that department and that you don't succeed "try, try again." You won't have to go the end of the block before two or three people sell you the SIM.
Dubai Stu is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 9:15 am
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Any comment about Amaysim?
JCary is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 9:32 am
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My best friend and his entire family switched to Amaysim from Telstra (prepaid). They live in the Brisbane CBD. The wife works for Queensland Health and travels around a bit. The son goes to school in the suburbs and teaches sailing (so he is off coast by several miles going up and down the coast). They have not had any problems whatsoever and are delighted with their savings.

Amaysim uses the Optus network which is solid, but as noted before Telstra seems to be the choice of people who can't bear to be without coverage anywhere. The other issue is that there is cross-network roaming in Australia, but it is generally surcharged.
Dubai Stu is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 10:01 am
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Thank you!
JCary is offline  

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