Your phone is going to be one of the most important parts of setting up your new life in Australia and guess what, you can get it sorted out at the airport if you want to! Most Australian international airports have cell phone carriers within the terminal but the big question is, what is best for you?
Start off with a pre-paid plan but get it with the provider that you would like to remain with as you can carry your number onto a plan more easily this way.
If you have a little more time and want to take a look around here at the recommended options for setting up a phone in Australia.
Do remember when you get off the plane to keep an eye on your international data roaming on your current phone as this can become very costly quickly. I would always recommend starting with a prepaid sim to get you started, most cost around $30.00 and can be used almost instantly. It will help when using Uber and maps when you first get in. It then gives you the luxury to work out exactly what you need.
CHOOSING A NETWORK
There are three major mobile (cell) networks in Australia. As a local, I would recommend that you don’t mess around with anything else, just go with one of these for the best coverage and basically the same price.
Before you do commit, find out the area you will be living in and check that the coverage is good in that area. If you are coming over with an employer it might be useful to check in with the company to make sure that you have coverage in all areas.
4G is a fairly normal standard in Australia particularly in the metropolitan areas.
MOBILE (CELL) NETWORK PROVIDERS
There are four stand-out options when considering networks in Australia.
– the leading network with package options for broadband, mobile, and home networks. They have the widest coverage across the country and are generally the best choice if you intend to do a lot of traveling
– they have a wide range of personal plan and prepaid options along with home internet and phone packages. Their coverage is similar to Telstra however the do not have as wide of a network
– the smallest of these, Vodafone operates best in Metro areas but have a great range of deals to chose from.
a cheaper option and generally the favorite choice for backpackers. They do use the Optus network to provide coverage so the choices here are really about how you use your phone.
Which package is best for you?
These providers offer a range of options and coverage, such as:
Plans – a contract where you pay a monthly fee for a fixed time. Most are around eighteen months to two years.
Pre-paid – pay as you go style. Best for people who don’t use their phones a lot or travelers who are not stopping in for a long period of time. Most phones allow you to top up on the go but you can also purchase top up cards in most grocery stores or convenience stores
Caps – the ability to set a certain amount of data and calls that you want
If you intend to bring your own phone from your home country there are a few things you need to know.
Is it compatible with Australian GSM technology – take a look at the frequency of your cell phone on your current carrier’s website. It will look a little something like this…. 7000MHz. Take a look at the chart below to see if your phone meets the requirements.
Make sure that your phone will fit a universal SIM card. Most smartphones these days will have a universal sim but it is worth checking.
Finally, make sure that you phone is unlocked from your currently, network. If you have bought your phone through a network it may be locked to that carrier so double check this as it can take a while to do internationally.
There are a few useful websites for comparing plans and packages