Prepaid SIM Card

prepaid sim card

What are prepaid SIM plans?

Prepaid SIM plans are mobile plans that you have to pay for before using the service. In most cases, prepaid SIM pans offer the same or similar inclusions as postpaid SIM plans. They also have the same network coverage as postpaid plans on the same network. The primary difference between prepaid and postpaid plans is when you have to pay for the service.

Because prepaid plans have to be paid for before their inclusions can be used, customers don’t have to get a credit check before signing up. This is one of the major benefits of prepaid plans when compared to postpaid plans, as well as the fact that you can cancel prepaid plans at any time by deciding not to recharge.

Once upon a time, prepaid plans were looked down upon. Compared to their postpaid counterparts, prepaid plans were considered to be not so glamorous. But these days, you’ll find a ton of prepaid plans in Australia, with more and more users signing up for the straightforward, no-strings service. 

Most telcos offer prepaid SIM cards free of charge, but some charge a fee. But in most cases, even where a prepaid SIM card comes at a cost, telcos typically offer a starter SIM pack with inclusions that end up resulting in a great, value-driven deal.

In this post, we’ll tell you all about prepaid SIM cards and plans in Australia. Read on to get all the information you need to get started.

Available prepaid SIM plans in Australia

Prepaid plans have grown in popularity over the past decade. These days, it’s difficult to find a telco – big or small – that doesn’t offer prepaid SIM plans to customers.

The spike in popularity of prepaid plans is due largely to the spike in the number of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). These MVNOs are smaller telcos that resell the mobile networks of Australia’s three major telcos – Telstra, Optus, and TPG Telecom (Vodafone).

Because of how small MVNOs are, they typically target customers who just want a simple, straightforward, cheap SIM plan. And what plans can be cheaper and more straightforward than prepaid plans? As a result, the majority of MVNOs offer prepaid SIM plans, even though some offer postpaid plans as well.

Given how successful these MVNOs have become, the major telcos have began taking a bite out of their business models. All three major telcos now have some great prepaid SIM plan offers, as well as MVNOs of their own with cheap and simple offerings.

Telcos that offers prepaid SIM

The vast majority of telcos in Australia now offer prepaid SIM plans. We’ve selected some of the best prepaid plans:

  • Optus Prepaid Epic Data
    Ranging from $30 to $180 (currently being offered on promo for $10 to $150) on 28-day expiry, including unlimited national voice and SMS, unlimited International calls to 15 countries, and 40GB to 100GB data (on current promo, which is typically the first 3 recharges).
  • iinet
    Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large prepaid plans ranging from $19.99 to $39.99 (currently on promo offer for starter SIM kit ranging from $10 to $20), including unlimited national SMS and calls (some plans include International calls), and 8GB to 55GB data.
  • Gomo
    This Optus MVNO offers prepaid plans ranging from $15 to $35 per 30-day recharge, including unlimited voice and SMS, as well as 8GB to 60GB data for first three recharges (4GB to 18GB afterwards).
  • Boost
    Prepaid plans ranging from $20 to $300. Higher cost plans are long-expiry plans that last up to 12 months. Boost normal expiry prepaid plans last 28 days and include unlimited voice and SMS, as well as 5GB to 82GB data (bonus included in some plans).
  • TPG Telecom (Vodafone)
    Prepaid plans with starter SIM kits ranging from $20 to $40, including unlimited voice and SMS (as well as International calls on some plans), and 12GB to 60GB data.

eSIM technology and plans

While prepaid plans typically offer starter SIM kits with a physical SIM card to plug into your phone, you can also find some prepaid plans that use eSIM technology.

An eSIM is a SIM that is embedded into a mobile device. Many new flagship phones have eSIM capabilities, which allow you to purchase and activate a prepaid SIM plan without having to wait for a starter SIM kit to be delivered by post.

With a traditional SIM card, you have to wait for it to get delivered, and then physically install it in your phone. But with an eSIM prepaid plan, all you have to do is scan a QR code and activate your plan digitally without having to wait for any physical SIM card.

This means you can switch telcos easily – if you find a prepaid offer from a telco that offers more value than your current plan, all you have to do is purchase and activate that plan with your phone’s eSIM (if it has an eSIM and if that telco offers eSIM plans).

However, only the three major telcos currently offer eSIM plans – Telstra, Optus, and TPG Telecom (Vodafone). However, Telstra have announced that MVNOs reselling their network will have access to eSIM plans in the coming months, so expect to see even more eSIM plans soon.


A growing number of phones are now being shipped with ‘eSIMs’ installed. The industry is getting ready to roll over to the new technology over the course of the next 24 months or so (by 2024). The old days of waiting for a SIM card in the post, or finding a prepaid SIM at a service station or shopping center will soon be behind us. It’s about time. The only purpose a SIM serves is connecting your identity to a bill from the phone company. Very soon, Prepaid SIM cards will not be a topic of discussion, and they shouldn’t be. Instead, the focus will be on the Prepaid Plan itself – and that’s the most important thing.

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.