Best mobile phone plan for backpackers and other visitors to Australia

Best mobile phone plan for backpackers and other visitors to Australia

Australia is world famous for our hot summers days, our beautiful golden beaches and our friendly inviting culture. These are just a few of the reasons why Australia sees more than 7 million visitors to our country each year.

For backpackers and travellers to Australia who need to be connected and let’s face it, in today’s connected age of digital streaming and social media, you will need an Aussie SIM card.

In the past getting a local SIM card was an expensive process and a downright hassle for tourists to go through. After travelling so far to Australia, the last thing they would want to do is to fill out countless pieces of paper to apply for one.

Thankfully those days are long gone and getting a SIM card for your smartphone or tablet device is a cheap and simple process.

For overseas visitors coming to our great country, the good news is that you can either walk into one of the many retail stores of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone and sign up for a SIM only prepaid plan.

Or if you can get on a free WiFi connection, visit one of the many different value for money Australian MVNOs websites and order a SIM only card which in most cases will arrive in under 2-3 days.

Recharging can be done online through the provider’s website, taking a wide selection of credit and debit cards, as well as third party providers such as PayPal.


Best SIM Only Plans January 2019

Boost Mobile | Best Prepaid Data Rates On The Full Telstra Network

boost mobile logo

Prepaid | 28 day expiry | On The Telstra Mobile Network 3G+4G

Boost Mobile are a reliable brand. They are the only phone company other than Telstra to resell the full Telstra ‘Retail’ Network. With Boost you’ll get:

  • The full Telstra Mobile Network
    Other phone companies resell part of the Telstra Mobile Network. Only Boost and Telstra plans allow you access the whole thing.
  • Free streamed audio:
    Data free streaming of Apple Music (requires subscription) on top of the data included in your plan.
  • A range that includes 7 day and 28 day plans: 
    Boost offer a selection of plans including 7 and 28 day variants.
  • Recharge options from $10 to $50:
    Boost have a total of 5 recharge options for their prepaid plans, ranging between $10 and $50.

Boost Mobile Plans For Your Mobile

  • Boost $20 PrepaidAdvertisement = Unlimited calls & SMS in Oz + 3GB data.
  • Boost $30 PrepaidAdvertisement = Unlimited calls & SMS in Oz +35GB (includes 23GB bonus data on first 5 recharges) data. 
  • Boost $40 PrepaidAdvertisement = Unlimited calls & SMS in Oz + 45GB  (includes 23GB bonus data on first 5 recharges) data.
  • Boost $50 PrepaidAdvertisement = Unlimited calls & SMS in Oz + 55GB  (includes 23GB bonus data on first 5 recharges) data.
  • Boost $70 PrepaidAdvertisement = Unlimited calls & SMS in Oz + 75GB  (includes 23GB bonus data on first 5 recharges) data.

All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. You can learn more about this company in our Boost Mobile review.


Strong, Simple Plans & A Well Known Brand

Best for big mobile broadband bundles

Amaysim | Prepaid Plans | Optus Mobile Network 3G+4G

Amaysim are the 4th biggest phone company in Australia with over 1m customers. They consistently have one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry and have prepaid (28 day expiry) plan range – just select the option you want in their checkout. With Amaysim, you’ll get:

  • Strong plan range:
    Amaysim have a range starting at $10 per month and rising to $50 per month. Data inclusions are up there with the best available and, with Amaysim, things are nice and simple. You’re just buying voice calls, SMS and data. There are no optional extras.
  • New International Inclusions:
    Any plan you buy, starting at $30 per month will now include free International Calls to 12 destinations.
  • Great Customer Experience:
    Amaysim are consistently one of the best performing†phone companies when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Amaysim’s plan range:

You can find out more about this company in our Amaysim review.



Yomojo plans

Yomojo Logo

Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Optus 4G Plus Network 

Yomojo are unique in the Australian market. They offer you an unbelievable range of plans. Yomojo’s plans are completely configurable through their website. They also have some pre-configured unlimited plans for those who want a more standardised plan.

  • Prepay Plans :
    Yomojo recently revised their plan range and now offer prepaid plans only.
  • Use the full Optus 4G Plus network :
    Yomojo use the full Optus 4G network. You’ll get the latest 4G speeds in 4G coverage areas in all the same places as customers who go to Optus direct.

Yomojo plans for your mobile

You can learn more about them and their unique content in our Yomojo review.



OVO Mobile – Free Video & Radio Content

Best Entertainment plans - 2018

Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Optus 3G and 4G Network 

OVO’s offer a totally new way of looking at a phone company – they’re one of our best selling partners. Their plans are, pretty much on a par for data inclusions with the best in the industry. In addition to talk time, SMS and data, OVO’s plans include exclusive access to exclusive video content. All of OVO’s plans come with ‘OVO Play’ an app which lets you watch their free content on your plan. With OVO, you’ll get:

  • Free Video Content – Motorsport, Sailing, Gymnastics & Water Polo :
    OVO offer a growing list of free video and audio content. Motorsport fans might like the 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series, Australian GT, Formula Drift and other petrol head live streaming. OVO Play also includes other sports like sailing and gymnastics. The price of the content is included in the monthly line rental charge you pay OVO for your prepaid plan. So, importantly: You won’t see your data balance decline while you’re watching them, the streamed content is free.
  • Free Streamed Audio:
    OVO’s plans also offer FREE radio streaming, also included in your plan offers access to the Tripple M network and other selected stations.
  • OVO for Kids:
    OVO’s plans come with the offer of free access to Parental Lock software. Buy your child the $9.95 plan from OVO and you’ll be able to monitor what they access on their phone and set times for it to turn off and turn on it’s own connection to the internet.

OVO Plans for your mobile

Picking an OVO plan is simple. All of OVO’s plans include Unlimited talk and SMS in Australia to Australian numbers plus superfast 4G data.

You can learn more about them and their unique content in our OVO review.


Kogan Mobile – Best Value on the Vodafone Network

Kogan Logo

Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Vodafone 3G and 4G Network 

Kogan Mobile keep it simple. They have some of the most competitive SIM Only / Prepaid plans in Australia, on the much improved Vodafone network. With their multi month recharge options, Kogan add some genuine value and choice to the market.

With Kogan, you’ll get

  • Monthly, quarterly or annual options : Do you want a single recharge payment with a 1, 3 or 12 month validity ? With Kogan, you’ll get discounts for multi-month purchases you were going to make anyway. They add the convenience of less frequent running out / topping up. And they keep the total predictability and flexibility of prepaid.

Kogan’s 30 day plan range :

Kogan’s 30 day plans all have Unlimited talk and SMS in Australia to Australian numbers. The difference is the amount of data which is included.

All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. See all Kogan Plans including 90 day and 365 day plans. You can find out more about this company in our Kogan Mobile review.



Who are the Australian national carriers?

In Australia, the three national carrier networks are Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Australia.

All three of these networks offer 4G, which means tourists from other countries can purchase a SIM only card, use their existing smartphone and take advantage of some world-class connection speeds.

But there are alternatives to the big three carriers, which purchase network connectivity from them at wholesale rates and offer users much better deals.

There are alternatives known in the industry as MVNOs or (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) and offer users a much better deal, then if they were to go directly to the main network provider.

Currently, in Australia, Telstra has the best reputation for mobile phone service and connectivity, especially if you are travelling around rural Australia.

This is due to the simple fact, that the networks of both Optus and Vodafone are not really that great once you leave the built up city areas.

When it comes to the inner city and suburban connectivity, the Optus and Vodafone networks have pretty much similar coverage, though for customer support you can’t beat Optus.

Should you a pick prepaid or postpaid plan?

The large majority of tourists and travellers to Australia would be bringing their smartphone with them, as not many people these days would leave home without it.

With a mobile phone already in your possession, there is really no good reason why you would want to be locked into a postpaid plan, it just doesn’t make sense.

Tourists on average only travel around Australia for less than a month and business travellers spend even less time in our great country.

Prepaid SIM only plans are simple, cheap and convenient when you already own a smartphone or SIM capable handheld device.

By paying upfront, you won’t have to worry about bill shock or using more than your allocated calls, texts and mobile data. Before you leave the country, be sure to cancel your plan to ensure that you are not recharged at the end of the month.

Which network has the best coverage?

Of the three network carriers in Australia, Telstra has the best nationwide coverage in both city and rural areas. Unfortunately, Telstra is also the most expensive carrier and as such are not really the best deal on the market.

The good news is, though, that by choosing a Telstra reseller such as Boost Mobile, you can still get access to the fastest network down under, but without the expensive cost.

Vodafone Australia in recent times has gotten much better but, after investing heavily in their network and their front line customer service. If you must be on their network than we would recommend Lebara, rather than going direct.

If you will be travelling to rural Australia and spending most of your holiday in small towns, then Optus is the best choice.

Amaysim is one of the most popular MVNOs currently in Australia and with some of the best value for money deals, including their Unlimited SIM only plans which come with generous 4G mobile data allowances.

The majority of visitors to Australia have found that for the flexibility of choice and the convenience of prepaying, companies such as Amaysim provide them with everything they need, with the least hassle.

Our thoughts on the best plan for travellers

As mentioned in the above sections, there is a lot of choice in Australia for when it comes to doing your research and picking the best SIM only prepaid plan, depending on your travel needs and the length of your time in Australia.

By bringing your own mobile phone, you can simply sign up for one of the great value SIM only plans from one of the popular MVNOs and switch out your international SIM card, to the one given to you from the MVNO.

MVNOs provide users with a lot of choice and flexibility which you just can’t get from the three major carriers, giving you a wide range of plans to select from, with low monthly minimum prepaid spends.

SIM only plans are now at the point where you should be able to choose a plan to cover a short stay in Australia, all without you needing to waste a lot of money.

This Month’s Hot Offers

$ 10.00

/month Visit SiteAdvertisement
Recharge every 28 days.
3G + 4G Plus from Optus

$ 16.90

/month Visit Site
Recharge every 30 days.
3G + 4G from Vodafone

$ 25.00

/month Visit SiteAdvertisement
Month to month
3G + 4G from Telstra

$ 30.00

/month Visit SiteAdvertisement
28 days
4G from Telstra

$ 49.90

/month Visit Site
Recharge every 30 days.
3G + 4G from Vodafone


Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.