CHOOSING AN AUSTRALIAN MOBILE NETWORK
Australia has always been a little behind when it comes to mobile phone networks especially where data allowances come in to it. Purchasing a reasonable priced plan, with good data allowance and network coverage is a nightmare.
Firstly, what you need to know is that there are only three telecoms companies who own/operate the mobile towers infrastructure - Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone. No matter which provider you choose your network will be provided by one of these.
Tip: A good site for searching what mobile coverage you have in your area is: https://oztowers.com.au/
At the time of writing there are 30 mobile phone carriers:
- Southern Phone
- Hello Mobile
Looking at the list above you are probably wondering where to start. If you are going to travel away from the cities then you need to look at Telstra or Optus networks with Telstra being the winner when it comes to network coverage.
To be honest there are not enough Vodaphone towers for you to even consider them unless you live, work and play in one of the main cities.
Fetching a phone from overseas?
If you're thinking or fetching a phone from overseas, below are the main frequencies that each carrier uses. (N.B. 2G is in the process of being phased out)
Now you have an idea of what network provider to choose you need to consider whether you want a prepaid or contract phone.
When you first touch down in Australia you are best picking up a SIM card from places like Woolworths, Coles, Servos, Newsagents or Post Offices. These can be purchased for $2 and will give you an Australian contact number to help you sort out Jobs, rentals, Medicare etc. Remember to get your mobile phone unlocked before you arrive in Australia if you are leaving your phone behind you can purchase a pre paid one for around $60.
When you have purchased your sim you will then get to choose what plan you go on. These are called BYO Plans (bring your own) or Pre Paid Plans. Remember to check if data allowance is included and how much. Also some providers do a rollover so as long as you keep paying them a monthly top Up fee your unused minutes and data will be carried over to the next month.
What do I need to get a Prepaid Sim?
When you purchase a prepaid sim they will ask for Identification, usually a passport or driving license.
Postpaid or Contract
Most mobile phone contracts in Australia are for a 2 year period so you need to check that the coverage is right for you before signing any legal documents.
An example cost would be:
IPhone 7 32gig on Virgin mobile
$62 per month gives you $300 calls and 500mb data
$81 per month gives you $300 calls and 6 gig data
In comparison for the same phone Telstra is currently
$91 per month gives you $550 calls and 1 gig data.
As you can see Telstra are one of the most expensive on their plans but shop around because each provider often changes their deals on a regular basis.
Tip: A good comparison site for comparing mobile contracts is: https://www.whistleout.com.au/MobilePhones
What do I need to get a mobile contract?
The first thing they will ask is if you can meet the 100 point check, so you are going to need some ID like an Australian Driving License or a Medicare Card as well as a bank card. They will also ask if you are employed and how much you earn. Now I've known cases where people have managed to get a contract without this information or may say they are self employed and they will ask how much you currently earn. They do not ask for wage slips.
Once the ID is provided they will make a call to see if you have a bad credit rating. Again I have not personally known anyone fail who has been a new arrival.