Leading SIM cards are quite affordable in Australia yet come with generous packages. We have an extremely competitive telecom market in the country to thank for that. You can have an Australian SIM card for as low as 2 AUD (1.50 USD). Australia has 3 major operators: Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone, and several MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators). There are a total of 50 operators to choose from, out of which 47 are MVNOs.
The data is cheap, and almost all operators offer unlimited local texts and calls. Many also offer unmetered international voice minutes and SMS to over 50 countries. Plus, they permit “data rollover” i.e., transferring leftover mobile data into a new month. With that said, let’s talk about the best SIM cards available in Australia to choose from.
Telstra is the largest and the most popular wireless carrier in Australia. It won the Speedtest Awards for the “Fastest Mobile Network” in the year 2018. Its coverage area is the largest, covering even The Outback, which most operators can’t. It is important to note that Telstra has two networks — retail and wholesale. The retail network of Telstra is far superior to the wholesale one.
Telstra SIM cards are available for as low as 2 AUD, and ubiquitous — you can find them in Telstra stores, retail stores, electronic shops, grocery stores, and order one online. Apart from the basic 2 AUD plan, Telstra offers several packages like Telstra Prepaid Complete (for varying data, minutes, and SMS), and Telstra Prepaid Mobile Broadband (if you need data in abundance).
Optus is the second-largest carrier in Australia after Telstra. The company offers the best value for money plans. Currently, Optus prepaid customers cannot use the 5G network. However, this Australian carrier has superb network coverage throughout the country, including the populated Outback. Unlike Telstra, Optus has no cap speeds for its MVNOs, and they can have complete access to the Optus network (except 5G).
Optus SIM cards are available in Optus stores, newsstands, grocery stores, and corner shops for as low as 2 AUD. Besides the basic 2 AUD cards, Optus offers several other SIM cards and packages. Epic Data is one of those — 10 GB of data, unlimited local voice minutes and SMS, and unmetered international minutes to 15 countries. Optus Flex (unlimited local calls and text, customizable data, starting at 1 GB for 1 day for $1), and Epic Value (variable data amount, unlimited local calls, and SMS with extended validity) are two others.
Vodafone Australia was formerly known as Vodafone Hutchison Australia. Its current name is TPG Telecom after TPG took over Vodafone Australia in 2020. Despite being the smallest major network operator in the country, this carrier offers economic plans. Just like Optus, Vodafone, at present, doesn’t allow prepaid customers to access its 5G network wherever it is available. Vodafone has extensive network coverage in the country, but it is by far the worst among the three major networks.
Unlike Telstra but the same as Optus, Vodafone doesn’t cap speeds for its MVNOs. Therefore, they, too, can have full access to their network except for 5G. Vodafone SIM cards are also easily available anywhere for as low as 2 AUD. There are two types of Vodafone SIM cards in Australia. Prepaid Plus SIM cards come with unlimited data, limitless local minutes and SMS, and unmetered international minutes to select 69 countries. In contrast, Prepaid Mobile Internet only offers unlimited data.
ALDImobile is a Telstra prepaid MVNO. The company uses Telstra’s wholesale network, which has limited network penetration and capped speed. You can buy an ALDImobile SIM card in ALDI stores or online for a minimum of 5 AUD. Its recharge vouchers are available in ALDI stores for 15 AUD, 25 AUD, and 35 AUD. The recharge can be done online or through the ALDImobile app. The company offers three types of data plans — Mobile Plans (combo plans with unlimited local calls and SMS and unmetered international minutes and SMS to some countries), Data Plans (data with 1-year validity), and Add-ons. ALDImobile doesn’t offer any international roaming with any of its plans, but you can still roam in 60 countries using this carrier’s SIM card. However, you must remember the international roaming charges are exorbitant.
Amaysim is an MVNO of Optus. It is the largest MVNO in Australia and was previously the fourth-largest operator in the country before Optus acquired it in November 2020. You can easily get an Amaysim SIM card in any grocery store, 7-Eleven, post office, and similar places for a minimum price of 2 AUD. You can even order it online without any shipping charges. They also sell top-up vouchers in various stores for 10 AUD, 20 AUD, 30 AUD, 40 AUD, 50 AUD, and 100 AUD. You can recharge and check your balance through its online portal or the Amaysim app.
The company also offers many data feature plans like the Short-Term Mobile Plan, Data-Only Plans, SIM-Only Mobile Plans, Long-Expiry Plans. All of them include some form of data allowance. Also, every plan except Data-Only Plan includes unlimited local SMS and voice minutes, and unmetered voice minutes to 28 or 42 countries, depending on the plan you choose. Amaysim doesn’t offer international roaming with any plan, but you can roam in 110 countries with its SIM card. The roaming charges are, yet again, quite expensive.
Belong Mobile is a SIM-only brand of Belong, a low-cost internet service provider. Not only does Telstra wholly own them, but Belong Mobile is Telstra’s MVNO, as it doesn’t have its mobile network infrastructure in the country. And because it uses Telstra’s wholesale network, this carrier has limited coverage and its speed capped to 100 Mbps at a maximum. You can buy a Belong Mobile SIM card from many stores or order it online for free.
The SIM card from this mobile network provider is substantially more expensive than the 2 AUD SIM cards other operators offer. However, it includes 10 GB of data and unlimited local voice calls and SMS. The company offers only one type of plan with variable data (20 GB to 80 GB) and unlimited local voice calls and SMS. Moreover, it brings unlimited international minutes and SMS to select 30 countries. Finally, an extra 2 GB of data is available through its 10 AUD add-on.