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Here in the UK, when we think about buying a new mobile phone, we think about what phone do I want and which provider is offering the best deal. To an extent Australia is pretty much the same, with one BIG extra consideration…. Who has the best coverage!! The same as most countries, there’s plenty of competition out there but what are the best mobile phone plans in Australia?
In this post we are going to look at:
- Is it best to take my existing phone or just buy a new one on arrival
- Is it better to be on contract or pay as you go.
- Which providers offer the best deals.
- Which providers have the best coverage.
So should I take my phone or buy a new one?
When travelling to Australia, it’s obvious that you’ll want to keep in touch with loved ones while you’re away. Not having a phone is just NOT an option, so what do you do? Buy a phone when you get there or take you old one with you!?
With the latest generation of smart phone costing up to a wallet destroying £1000! There’s really only one answer to this… Taking you’re old phone is definitely the firm favorite.
Before I left for Australia, I had this same dilemma so as yourself I checked it out on websites just like this one, (well not as good as this one may I add ;)) I found that one of Australia’s major service providers was Vodafone, “oh hey! Look my phone’s on Vodaphone, jobs a gooden!!…” If only life was that simple, as it turns out Vodafone AU has absolutely nothing to do with Vodafone UK. Was that just me being naive, yes I’d say it probably was.
In the end it was a nightmare, trekking round Perth city centre looking for a mobile phone shop that was able to unlock it for me. When, I finally found somewhere that would unlock it… Let’s just say the guy behind the counter saw me coming…. $110 lighter when I left!!
Anyways, the moral of the story is you need to get you’re mobile phone unlocked before you arrive, it just saves so much hassle. Head over to Doctor Sim who can do it remotely on most types of phone, stating at roughly $30. If only I would have known that before I left eh!?
Which provider has the best coverage?
As stated earlier, coverage is not something we automatically think of when it comes to getting a new phone/sim card here in the UK but it’s one of the most crucial factors when making the same choice in Australia. Let’s be serious, if you’re car breaks down in the back crack of nowhere, you’ve got 3 gulps of water and two chocolate biscuits left, the last thing you want is to reach for you’re phone and well, yeah which way do you think the closest signal will be!?
So which is the best provider for signal strength!?
To be honest there is no actual answer to this question as it always depends on where you are going to be. All providers have great reception in all the capital cities but soon as you move out into smaller towns and rural areas things completely change. For instance if you’re on Optus you may have great signal in Dubbo but soon as you move onto Mildura you might have none what so ever but Telstra has brilliant signal. It’s just a lottery to be honest.
On the east coast, pretty much everywhere has good signal. The rest of Australia is pretty barren for signal. The rule of thumb is; The more populated an area, the better the phone signal.
Overall, rumor has it that Telstra is the best in most places but you can check the maps for the different providers here.
Pay as you go or contract sim?
Hopefully you’ve taken my advice on the section above and got you’re phone unlocked remotely by Doctor Sim.
Once you’ve done that, the next thing to decide is whether to get a contract sim or go pay as you go. Most contracts in Australia usually last for at least 12 months, so if you are only on a 3-month tourist visa then these are definitely not for you. However, if you’re on a 1 year working holiday visa and don’t mind the commitment then these do work out a little cheaper than the pay as you go sim only deals, but as with all contracts, once you sign on the dotted line you’re stuck with it for at least 12 months.
Some contracts are 24 months in duration, so be sure to check that out before you sign for anything.
In my opinion unless you are definitely staying in Australia for a minimum of 18 months you are better off with a pay as you go sim, as there isn’t a great deal of difference in the deals available.
Right! The deals!!
I think it goes without saying that there are hundreds, if not thousands of different deals available. So here I will go through a few of the most popular ones, for both contract and pay as you go plans.
Contract sim only:
- The cheap end; Southern Green (Optus 3G network) are offering unlimited national calls and texts, 4GB of data per month all for $22. Extra data is charged at $10 per GB. 12 month contract.
- With a bit more data and speed; Telstra Go (Telstra 4G network) are offering unlimited national calls and texts, 15GB of data all for $59. Extra data is charged at $10 per GB. 12 month contract.
Pay as you go:
- The cheap end; Vaya Unlimited (Optus 4G network) are offering unlimited national calls and texts, 3GB of date all for $24. Again extra data is charged at $10 per GB. Credit you add to the sim card is valid for 28 days.
- With a little more data; Vodafone (vodafone 4G network) are offering unlimited national calls and texts, 15.5GB of data all for $50 extra data is $10 per GB. Credit is valid for 35 days.
Check out the latest deals here at finder.
All in all, in my opinion it’s best to keep your existing phone, get it unlocked at Doctor Sim before you arrive as once it is unlocked it will work in any country indefinitely. After that’s sorted, if you know where you’re going to be spending a lot of time, have a look at the coverage maps. Decide which network will be best for you, then head over to finder, browse through the best mobile phone plans in Australia and find which sim card will suit you best. Job done!!I
Anyone reading this have anything to add? Any stories of being caught without signal?