We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Best SIM card for 1 month in Australia

Which Perth hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Darfield, New...
Level Contributor
5 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
Best SIM card for 1 month in Australia

Hi, we are travelling from NZ to Perth (2 weeks to be near family), Alice Spings (9 days camping with family) and Gold Coast (5 days at the end).

I think I need a Telstra SIM card to get better coverage but what is the best plan for a month - we have Wifi in our accommodation in Perth and Gold Coast so it would just be for calls / texts to family and internet searching while out for the day.

We will mostly be near towns (apart from doing the Alice / Uluru / Kings Canyon bit) and maybe will be out the back of Perth walking or mountian biking some days and possibly down the coast a bit so do I need Telstra or would the Optus $2 / day option work as well?

Is there a Telstra and/or Optus shop near Scarborough (where we are staying) or at the airport?

Thanks

Kirsty

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
1,777 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Best SIM card for 1 month in Australia

Current Telstra prepaid rates are here:

telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/…

Since you'll be here nearly a month you may get more value out of one of these, compared to someone here for only a week or two.

Only you can know your usage but it looks like the $50 is a good deal for lots of talk time, and the $70 includes 1.5G data so might be needed if you intend on using maps and such a lot.

Here's a tip for understanding Australian mobile phone rates; when you see something like a "cap" plan, they will say something like, "$30 cap buys $250 credit." That is a bit misleading - the $250 credit should really be something like, "250 Telstra units." Then further down the page (marked "Telstra Pre-Paid Cap Encore Rates") you can figure out how many "Telstra units" it takes to make a call, and from that figure out how many minutes of talking the 250 "Telstra units" or credit actually is.

It is very annoying that the phone companies use the $ symbol to refer to the credit/cap units when they aren't directly analogous to the amount of money you have actually paid. Complicating this is that some services, like international calls or premium services, can't be charged to the "Telstra units" (the cap) but instead come off a separate AUD$ sub-account (shown as "recharge" on that page). Confused yet?

Optus deserves some praise for simplifying all of this with the $2/day plan. Hopefully the ACCC (the competition regulator) will sort this out one day - it is something they are investigating, because it is misleading to use the $ to refer something that isn't' really Australian dollars, but an internal unit.

P.S., I just realised you're from NZ, not further overseas, and perhaps you use this same "cap" system so this isn't new info. But decided to leave it anyway in case it helps others.

Edited: 12:01 am, March 25, 2014
Darfield, New...
Level Contributor
5 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Best SIM card for 1 month in Australia

Thanks for the feedback - NZ has much simpler prepay plans - you get so many minutes and GB of data per month (and usually unlimited texts) so I'm glad you left the confusing bits in!!

I like the Optus idea (and at least I can understand what I am getting) but have read that Telstra has better coverage - anyone with thoughts on that?

Cheers

Kirsty

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
3,051 posts
236 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Best SIM card for 1 month in Australia

Telstra has the best generic network - why dont you post a question on the forums of a few of the places you plan to visit to find out if Telstra or Optus has better coverage for where you are going?

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
1,777 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Best SIM card for 1 month in Australia

Kerry1G, the OP did ask this question about the need for Telstra coverage in the Perth area:

<<We will mostly be near towns (apart from doing the Alice / Uluru / Kings Canyon bit) and maybe will be out the back of Perth walking or mountian biking some days and possibly down the coast a bit so do I need Telstra>>

I can't answer this about WA, so maybe a Perth local will comment. In the east, Telstra is definitely an advantage in those sorts of country areas, but normally Optus coverage is fine near/in towns.

Buckinghamshire
Level Contributor
1 post
43 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Best SIM card for 1 month in Australia

Undoubtedly the best option providing you have an unlocked phone is the Optus prepaid SIM. It cost $30, it lasts for 30 days and gives you 240mins of free calls which amazingly includes calls to 23 different countries, unlimited texts, 500MB of data and unlimited connection to Facebook and some other social media. You can buy additional data for $5 per 500MB. It is 3g and 4g compatible.

Optus is running a big ad campaign at the moment highlighting that their coverage is only 1% less than Telstra. In the month that I used it around the east coast from Melbourne to Airlie Beach I had service all the time.

There are Optus shops in most airports and cities. They are very helpful and will set the whole thing up for you as part of the service.

Sydney/Melbourne
Level Contributor
17,748 posts
68 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Best SIM card for 1 month in Australia

I've been to all the places mentioned by the OP at one time or other and I'm with Optus. Never had a problem yet. Only place I have really struggled with Optus was in Tasmania and Kakadu.

Edited: 5:37 pm, March 27, 2014
Perth, Western...
Level Contributor
1,688 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Best SIM card for 1 month in Australia

You might also want to look at Virgin (which uses Optus lines). You can get $450 worth of credit (lasts 28 days) for $29 and that also includes 1 GB of data. I would think that $450 credit would be ample for 2 weeks.

virginmobile.com.au/prepaid-mobile-phones-pl… (you want the Cap plan).

I'm glad you find our system confusing - when I'm in NZ, I can never get my head around "minutes". :) (I've lived here for so long that I never had a mobile phone in NZ, so have only ever used the Oz system except when I'm home on holiday.)

By the way, if by any chance you're with 2Degrees you can use your phone here quite cheaply.

Edited: 7:53 pm, March 29, 2014
8. Re: Best SIM card for 1 month in Australia

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 1:15 am, March 31, 2015