Having your phone up and running as soon as possible when you land in a Australia can make your life a lot easier. It is easiest to organise your phone setup once you are here in Australia.
A benefit of getting a local SIM is that it will be a lot cheaper than using your home provider, as paying international rates on a regular basis will quickly result in a growing phone bill!
Here’s our tips tips to get you connected
Choose a provider
There is plenty of competition in Australia’s mobile phone market, which means a good deal for students is never far away. The three biggest operators – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – are worthwhile if you are willing to enter into a long term contract and want to upgrade your phone. Smaller providers offer cheaper short term and prepaid deals, which are generally better suited to international students. Aldi Mobile, amaysim and Lebara Mobile tend to be the pick of the bunch among students.
Prepaid vs. Plan
Once you have chosen a provider, you then need to choose whether you want a prepaid package or a plan (long term contract). Prepaid means you pay upfront for calls, texting and data, and have greater control over how much you spend. The purchasing process is quick and easy too. Some providers offer new phones at a discount as part of the package. With a plan, you enter into a minimum one year contract and pay a fixed amount per month for a quota of calls, texts and data. This option suits long-term users and anyone looking to upgrade their phone, with many plans offering a free or heavily discounted new phone as part of the deal.
Buy a SIM/card
You can buy prepaid SIMs at supermarkets, phone retail stores and a range of retail shops. When you have used up your credit, you can top up online or buy more credit at a retail store. For a plan, you will need to go into a phone retail store to fill out the relevant forms and pass an identity check.
To get a SIM, you are required by Australian law to show your passport. You also need to provide a valid Australian address, be it a hostel where you are staying temporarily or a permanent street address.
A SIM costs between $2 to $10. For those on a budget, you can get away with around $15-20 of credit per month for calls, texts and data. If you are hungrier for data and international calling, prices will start from around $40 per month. For a plan that includes a new phone and even more data and calls, you can pay up to $100 per month.
To wrap up
Make sure you choose an option within your budget, and don’t over-commit to a contract if you are unable to complete the payments. If you’re not sure what is the best option for you, start with pre-paid, and when you have seen what your patterns of usage are, then you can explore a plan option that is right for you.
The big operators tend to offer student discounts – contact them direct to find the best provider to suit your needs!