What is a SIM Card?
The acronym ‘SIM’ could stand for either Subscriber Identity Module or Subscriber Identification Module. SIM cards are used by individuals with mobile devices to access a telecommunications network’s range of services. Without SIM cards, many mobile phone users would be unable to enjoy even the simplest of services such as calls, texts, and especially the Internet.
SIM cards contain unique information that enables the specific service provider identify each subscriber on their network. In many cases, SIM cards and the devices they come in are locked to the carrier that provides them, and thus you’d have to choose a plan from that telco.
For example, if an iPhone is purchased from Telstra, you’d need a Telstra SIM card to operate the device. If a SIM card from any other network — say Vodafone or Optus — is put in the device, it simply won’t work.
There’s a way around this though. Smartphones can be unlocked to carry any telco’s SIM. There are services that can do this for you, and if you’re tech savvy, you can do it yourself if you have some detailed instructions handy. There are also phones that are sold already unlocked.
Understanding Prepaid Starter SIMS
Prepaid starter SIM kits function in a similar manner to conventional SIM cards. They possess certain variations, however, which differentiate them from conventional SIM cards.
Essentially, a prepaid starter SIM kit allows the customer access to the network it operates on. For example, if you procure a starter SIM on the Optus network, you can connect a mobile device to the Optus network. With many starters SIMs, the network provider will give the subscriber the choice of keeping their current mobile number or getting a new one.
SIM starter kits are often ‘prepaid’, meaning that, in order to make use of any services on the network that owns the SIM, the subscriber would have to pay in advance. On the other hand, with postpaid plans, the subscriber will pay a designated amount at the end of a stipulated period of time.
You can think of a prepaid SIM starter pack like a gift voucher from a specific store. Once you have the gift card, you can go to that store and pick the specific product you want. With the card, you know you’ll be obtaining an item from that particular store; however, you’re at liberty to decide what product best suits your needs, based on the products available at that store.
Prepaid Starter SIM Kits on the Optus Network. Optus is Australia’s second largest teleco. Source
Procuring a prepaid starter SIM kit
You can get a prepaid starter SIM kit in two major ways:
- Order online — SIMs can be ordered via websites affiliated with the network of choice.
- Brick-and-mortar stores — SIMs can also be procured at physical stores affiliated with the network of choice.
- More on ordering a SIM online
Ordering a starter SIM kit online is a simple and straightforward process. All you have to do is visit the website of the choice service provider, pick a preferred SIM starter pack (based on price and benefits) and proceed to checkout.At checkout, provide valid payment details and shipping address. Many Telcos offer free shipping on SIM starter packs. Often times, an email or preferred phone number is required to complete purchases as this makes the delivery process easier.
- More on ordering a SIM online
Activating a prepaid SIM
Activating your prepaid SIM is based solely on the requirements of the network provider.
On some networks — such as Vodafone — individuals are required to activate the SIM online. During the activation process, a valid form of identification and the activation key will be required.
On other networks — such as the Optus network — individuals simply have to follow the on-screen prompts as provided on the website.
Adding a plan to a prepaid SIM
Adding a plan to a prepaid SIM is also a simple and straightforward process. When purchased, many prepaid SIMS come with a recharge. All the subscriber needs to do is visit the provider’s website or dial a short code and choose the option that best suits their needs from the available prepaid plans.
Prepaid starter SIM kits come with SIM cards that are necessary to stay connected with your mobile phone. They allow the user access to the network it operates on, and are usually prepaid. Postpaid SIMs is also available, mostly from major telcos on contract plans. SIM kits can be procured both online and in stores.