There are three cellphone networks in Australia namely: Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus. And here are more than a dozen of operators/re-sellers like boost mobile, virgin mobile, amaysim, lebara, just mobile, ALDImobile just to name a few.
Each operator also have multiple plans to address different market, some with more domestic talk time, some with Unlimited SMS, or extra Data allowance, and others have cheaper international call rate to selected countries, or free minutes at certain hours, or longer expiry period, and some even have a combination of them.
This makes selecting the right plan a confusing task for locals, not to mention someone from abroad.
There are 6 key points you will need to know to help you decide what is the best prepaid plan for you:
- How long are you staying in Australia? There are plans with credit expire from a few days to a full year. Once the credit expires, you will only able to receive calls but not making outgoing calls nor SMS, not to mention go online. But you will still be able to make emergency calls to authority by dialing 112 from your handset.
- What is the type of usage you will use your phone most often? Do you use phone on local calls or international calls? Do you rather SMS people then talking? Do you use social network on mobile devices or uses GPS to get around that require a good amount of Data? Do you mostly call the same group of people on a particular network?
- How much of usage will you need on the phone? The sky is the limit when it comes to spending on mobile services, but do you really need all that included calls or SMS?
- How easy can you get support access? Need to make sure the network you are with have stores everywhere so when you lost you SIM or something goes wrong, you are not left in a limbo trying to get someone from an India call center to sent you a replacement SIM or troubleshoot with you over the trouble phone. (It will not end well.)
- What is the data speed you are getting? There are 3 types of speed in general you can receive your data, 2G/GPRS, 3G/HSPDA, 4G/LTE. If speed is important to you, make sure your data allowance is not limited to a slower connection.
- How good is the network Coverage? All three networks are pretty good in metropolitan area but due to the frequency license, some will have trouble getting through walls or concrete block. This means if you are mostly in apartment block, basements, car parks and etc, you will have limited reception. As for rural area of Australia, Telstra has the biggest coverage and there is no way around it unless you upgrade to a satellite phone, but that’s a different kettle of fish all together.