Buying a SIM Card in Australia

By Dave Dean Get connected January 1, 2022 93 Comments Published for the first time in 2013.

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Australia is home to over seven million tourists each year.

However, all those flat whites and suntans come with a price. It is not cheap to travel to the country and it is also expensive to stay there.

Although the high cost of staying connected has been a problem for years, new entrants in the cellular market have brought down prices. If you choose the right provider, it’s easy and affordable to get a local SIM Card Down Under.

Some cell companies make it more difficult for overseas visitors to top up online or provide proof of their identity and address. Some of the best-value options for tourists are provided by providers who make it easy to use their service.

Here are the facts.

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Companies

  • For most travellers, we recommend Optus and Amaysim.
  • If you plan to spend a lot of time in rural locations, consider Telstra or one its resellers such as Boost Mobile

Telstra is the largest network provider in Australia and has the most coverage. It also has the most expensive plans. Although the Optus network may not be as extensive, it is likely to work in most major cities and tourist areas. You’ll find dead zones in rural areas.

Vodafone’s coverage is good and growing, but it’s still not the best. To ensure you get the service you need, you can check the coverage maps ( Telstra, Optus, Vodafone ) if you know that you will be visiting small towns or rural areas.

Visitors can usually get the cheapest option from Amaysim. This reseller offers Optus 3G/4G/LTE service. Optus offered similar prices to its resellers on my last trip to Australia. However, you would get more value with Amaysim if you chose to purchase the more expensive packages.

Optus will typically offer faster speeds, so make sure you check the pricing before making your final decision.

How to buy a prepaid SIM card in Australia

Amaysim

Amaysim does not have its own retail outlets. Instead, it sells SIM cards through various outlets such as post offices, supermarket chains and gas stations.

If you have an Australian address, you can order them online. It takes 1-3 days for them to arrive , depending on where you live .

I was able to purchase a SIM card and top-up voucher within minutes by walking into one of the major electronics shops in suburban Melbourne. There were cutouts available for every size: micro, nano, and standard.

Although you can activate your SIM, add credit and select packages using your phone, I prefer to do this from my laptop. It is easy to follow the instructions. First, enter the SIM number that was on the package. Next, select a number within a range.

The next step is to enter your name, passport details and phone number. The address is not subject to additional verification. You can use it for your hostel or hotel without any problems.

After that, you can choose the call, text and data bundle you would like and how to pay for it. You can use Paypal to pay for international credit or debit cards.

Your SIM must be activated immediately after the bundle has been purchased. You will be automatically renewed every 28 days using the card or Paypal address you have specified. You can turn off auto renewal from the Amaysim website or app if you don’t wish this to happen.

Optus

Optus has stores in Australia at all international airports. SIMs can be ordered to be sent to any Australian address. It will take approximately 1-3 business days for them to reach you.

On my last trip to Cairns, I could have bought from a kiosk in the arrivals section. Instead, I waited until my arrival in Cairns and then walked into the main shopping centre.

Some companies are a little funny when it comes to identifying overseas customers. At most, a passport was not required in this instance.

After selecting a call, text and data package, I handed over cash and the staff member insisted that the SIM be inserted. Then, the staff member confirmed that it worked and sent me on my way. It took less than ten minutes.

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Prepaid SIM Costs

Amaysim

Amaysim is usually noticeably less expensive than other SIM cards, especially if you need a lot of data. No matter where you buy the SIM card, it costs $2. There are many call, data and text packages available at very affordable prices.

Monthly plans with unlimited domestic calls, texts and data start at $20 AUD for 6GB. For $30 you can get 30GB and for $40 up to 80GB.

Promos can often bring extra value. For $20 your first month, I was able to get 88GB on my recent trip in early 2022. Because Australia doesn’t have free Wi-Fi, expect to use more data than in other countries.

Some international destinations are also included in the pricier packages. This is a good thing to keep in mind if you intend to call your home often.

Optus

My most recent Optus trip was competitively priced. The $30 AUD package included the SIM and unlimited domestic calls and text as well as 30GB data. For $150 AUD, you can get 120GB of data for one year if you are planning on staying in Australia.

Topping Up

Amaysim

Amaysim makes it easy to top up. You can easily top up with Amaysim if you have linked your credit card, debit card or Paypal account. To 568. TOP10, for example, will add $10. TOP1GB will purchase 1GB more data if you run out. It costs $10.

As you can see, the call/text/data package you have selected will automatically renew every 28 days using the payment method that you specify. You can also use a coupon to replace auto-renewal if you have turned it off. You can find them anywhere you sell SIM cards.

You can also upgrade your package from the app or site at any time.

Optus

Top up with a voucher purchased at an Optus retail shop or any other location that displays the Optus logo. This includes convenience stores, gas stations, supermarkets, and other retail outlets.

The mobile app of the company makes it even easier to top up with credit or debit cards, including ones issued overseas.

Data Speeds and Coverage

Since Amaysim uses the Optus network, you’ll get a service that covers “98.5% of the Aussie population.” 3G/HSPA+ speeds in central Melbourne were reasonably quick at 8Mb/sec, and LTE speeds were close to 30Mbps.

Optus SIMs in the same area gave twice the LTE speeds, despite it being the same network. This is important if you are looking for the fastest speeds. Optus also offers 5G, starting at $2/day.

 

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