SIM Only Plans

Save up to 30% on your phone bill.
  • Saves money, you get better value plans
  • Flexible billing, no need for long contracts
  • Bring your number with you or choose a new one
  • Buy direct from telcos or get the best deals from resellers
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Common questions about SIM Only / BYO Plans

What are the advantages of taking a SIM Only plan ?

Put simply, a lot of people don’t need a new, expensive phone. Many people already have their own phone and it does them fine.

SIM Only plans are ideal for people who just want just the voice minutes, texts / SMS and data offered in a plan instead of getting a new phone at the same time.

Most people find that they can reduce their monthly outlay on phone company services with a SIM Only or BYO Plan.

SIM only or BYO plans are playing an increasingly important role for phone purchasers in Australia.

How can I be sure my phone will work with the new SIM ?

It almost certainly will.

Whichever phone you choose, you’ve got to make sure it works with the same frequencies available from the phone company you’re considering. Each phone has a number of frequencies or ‘bands’ which it uses to access the phone company your agreement is with. Years ago, your phone would only have had two or three of these bands or frequencies. The number of frequencies that phones work with has increased over the years. The latest iPhones now work with 14 different bands !

A key call out here is that Telstra phones ( that’s phones you got under contract with Telstra ) are likely to work on the 850 MHz network. Only Telstra use the 850 MHz network in Australia. If you want to move across to Telstra, make sure your phone works on that frequency.

Remember, it is incredibly rare these days to find a combination that won’t work for you. If it does happen ( i.e. if you go with Telstra and you’ve got an old phone you bought overseas ) then you’ll be able to take the SIM back to big T for a refund.

Can I use any mobile phone with SIM card?

Very much so. If you bought your phone through a carrier, give them a call and ask for the phone to be “unblocked” before you get a new sim. We have an article about unlocking your phone if you’d like more details.

Can I keep my phone number with SIM only mobile deal?

Yes you can. You’ll see an option for this whichever phone company you go with. They’ll remind you while you’re checking out. You give them your current number and, by the time your SIM card arrives, it’ll have your existing number attached to it.

You’re welcome to read our article if you need more information on this very common question.

Are SIM Only plans 4G ( superfast data ) enabled?

Erm, mostly, yes, they are. Especially the new ones. There are a couple of exceptions.

We have a lot of information on what 4G is.

You might also like to read about our view of the best 4G plans.

What is a SIM technically ?

A SIM is a Subscriber Identity Module. It’s a key you can use to get on to the network of the phone company you choose. Since the phone company knows it’s your key specifically ( that it belongs to you ) it / they can charge you for using the network.

Technically, SIM cards are integrated circuits which store your personal identification information on them. This information is then used to identify and authenticate the SIM when you make a call.

Will I need to pass a credit check to get a SIM Only plan ?

The rules they have in place might be far less stringent than those you would have to oblige in order to be provided a phone. However, providing a SIM to you does still represent a credit risk to the phone company. In theory, some customers could take out a SIM only plan, go overseas and run up roaming bills for thousands of dollars which represent a real cost to the phone company. A credit check is required to minimise the risk.

Which SIM Only Plan is best for calls home ( International )?

The answer to this sort of question always depends on the specifics of your calling habits.

Generally, however, we recommend Lebara for the best international rates.

 

What if I need a Nano SIM ?

Nano SIMs are just smaller SIMs that some of the newest phones take.

A number of phones have Nano SIMs these days. You will find a Nano SIM option with literally every phone company you can imagine in Australia. Nano SIMs came out in 2011 so they’ve had plenty of time to adapt.

You can choose a Nano SIM on our site by choosing the links associated with Nano SIMs, or when you’re on a phone company website. Options for Nano SIMs usually pop up in or near the checkout as part of your ordering process. It’ll be obvious.

What if I have BlackBerry ?

First of all, congratulations. They’re great products and you probably cop it for having such an old phone!

You’ll need to contact your specific phone company before you sign up to see if your BlackBerry will work with a SIM Only plan. Make sure you do it before you sign up. We recommend the chat facility that the phone company has on their website. There may be a small incremental fee to cover access to the BlackBerry service.

Why get a SIM only / BYO Plan?

SIM Only (also known as BYO – Bring Your Own – Mobile) used to be the best kept secret in telco.  Now SIM only plans are some of the best sellers in Australia’s Smartphone plans market and make up around 40% – 60 % of phone company business. If you’re looking for a great value deal on calls + data and you already have have your own device, well read on. You’ve hit the jackpot.

 

60 Second Intro to SIM Only Plans

  • SIM Only plans are an easy, flexible way to save money on your phone tariff.
  • They’re such a sensible choice and represent such good value that they are taking over.
  • Today, the majority ( around 60% ) of people have a SIM Only plan from their phone company.
  • SIM Only plans provide access to the phone company’s network services.
  • Network services are the data, voice, SMS, international calls and other phone company services you need to use your phone.
  • There are different types of SIM Only plan : Prepaid, Postpaid, and PAYG. We explain each of these terms below.
  • SIM Only plans rarely have contracts. They are extremely flexible agreements.
  • You can usually change the plan you’re on at the end of each month.
  • Or, you can move to a new phone company whenever you want to.
  • Even if you’re buying a brand new phone yourself and adding a SIM to it, you can save a lot of money.
  • We often suggest SIM Only plans from smaller phone companies ( also known as MVNOs ) because they’re so much better value.
  • There are some changes coming in Australia which are likely to make SIM Only (and eSIMs ) an even bigger part of the market.

 

The basics of SIM Only plans

If you hit any snags in doing setting your phone up with a SIM Only plan, don’t worry, your SIM Only agreement entitles you to call the phone company’s support team.

SIM Only plans are often the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to get a phone service from a phone company. There are some basic questions that come up about SIM Only plans all the time. Almost everyone thinking of buying a SIM Only plan asks the same things. We have tried to answer them here.

  • What do SIM Only plans give me ? :
    This sort of plan offers you a connection for whatever device you have to the phone company network. Importantly, you get access to the network without buying the phone itself from the phone company. Access to the phone company network gives you the use of voice, text, data, international calling and any other ‘network services’ you need.
  • So where does the phone come from then ?
    To use a SIM Only deal, you’re going to need to already have a phone. Pretty much any phone you have will be fine. If you have been given a phone by a family member, bought one on eBay or took it out of a cupboard, that’s fine. SIM Only will provide you with what you need.
  • How do SIM Only plans work ? :
    Put the new SIM in your existing phone and you’re done. There are sometimes a few small configuration issues to take care of. For example – setting up a data ‘APN’ on the new network you’ve joined. If you hit any snags in doing setting your phone up with a SIM Only plan, don’t worry. Your SIM Only agreement entitles you to call the phone company’s support team, just as if you’d bought the phone from them.
  • Do I need to unlock my phone :
    If you bought your phone ( the one you’re trying to put this new SIM in to ) under a contract from one of the phone companies, you might have to give them a call to unlock it. We explain more about unlocking phones in this article.
  • Can I keep my existing phone number ? :
    Whether you’re buying your phone outright or taking a SIM Only deal – you can keep your existing phone number.
  • Why are SIM Only plans called different things e.g SIM Only / BYO ? :
    SIM only plans are also known as BYO mobile by some phone companies – mostly Virgin Mobile. It’s crazy in our view. There is enough confusion in the market for phone services already. SIM Only and BYO are exactly the same thing.
  • How long will it take to move phone companies ? Will I be without my phone number / phone service for long ?
    No ! You won’t be without either your phone number or phone service for long at all ! The major constraint to moving is porting your phone number which usually takes only 2 hours. The absolute most you’ll be without a service is 2 days. I move around a lot and the most I’ve been without service is 4 hours.

 

Different types of SIM Only plan

Within the SIM Only family, there is a lot of choice. There are many different types of SIM Only plan

Within the SIM Only family, there is a lot of choice. There are many different types of SIM Only plan. The most common are prepaid and postpaid SIM Only plans which are usually just called SIM Only plans. Less common are PAYG ( Pay As You Go ) plans and contract agreements.

Below, we have explained the differences between the different types of SIM Only plans that are available. If you’d like more detail, we have it here.

Compare the best SIM Only Plans, PAYG Plans and Prepaid Plans

 

Prepaid SIM Only Plans :

Prepaid SIMs used to be the realm of the teenager. Now some of the best SIM Only pricing you’ll find is on a Prepaid Plan. I use one myself.

In prepaid agreements, the user has no more commitment than what they’ve spend on their initial SIM or a recharge. Customers pay at the start of the billing period with prepaid. You then use the network services within the entitlements of the plan, for a specified period. One example might be ‘Unlimited Calls and SMS in Australia for 30 days.’ When the time period for the plan and entitlements is up, you ‘recharge’ your service and start the time window once more.

Who are Prepaid SIM Only plan right for ?Prepaid SIM Only plans service a lot of people. They’re Australia’s biggest single type of SIM Only plan. Generally, since no credit card is required in order to get one of these plans, they tend to be used by younger people with no credit rating. However, because they offer such great value, anyone could use them.
What is a typical monthly cost of a SIM Only Plan ?Spend levels of $30 or more per month.

Note : If you’re looking to spend $30 per month, you will get better rates on a prepaid plan rather than a postpaid SIM Only plan from the 3 major Australian phone companies.
Where can I find out more ?You are welcome to click through to our dedicated prepaid plan page or to check out our ‘cheap SIM Only Plans’ where they feature prominently,
What do I need to be careful of ?Prepaid plans can run out of ‘credit’ at inconvenient times. If you really need to be able to use your phone whenever you want, it can be inconvenient to realize that your existing plan has just ended and that you’ll need to recharge before you can talk, text or get on the internet again.

 

Prepaid SIMs used to be the realm of the teenager. Now some of the best SIM Only pricing you’ll find is on a Prepaid Plan. I use one myself. Prepaid offers features that other plans don’t. One obvious one is that if you are not going to be using your phone for a while, you don’t have to recharge until you need it.

If you’re aiming to spend $30 or less, prepaid should be your first port of call. With the major phone companies, at the $30 price point, you’ll get better inclusions than if you took their postpaid equivalent.

There are providers out there who only offer prepaid plans. And their value is often incredible. For example, Lebara have unlimited plans with huge data inclusions. And Boost offer 4G access to the Telstra Mobile Network cheaper than anywhere else you’ll find on this site.

 

Postpaid SIM Only agreements ( also known as ‘SIM Only’ ):

At the other end of the spectrum are postpaid SIM Only agreements. The name of these is mostly abbreviated to ‘SIM Only plans.’

The key difference between a SIM Only plan and a prepaid plan is that customers choosing a postpaid agreement pay at the end of the billing period with a SIM Only plan. Typically, that’s a month in arrears ( behind. ) In some ways, it’s a trivial distinction. Postpaid plans are seen as more responsible and grown up by some people. They tend to be entered in to by older people because a ( rudimentary ) credit check is required in order to get this type of plan.

Who are SIM Only Plans right for ?Postpaid SIM Only plans start to provide better value than prepaid plans at roughly $30. There are some Unlimited Plans from smaller phone companies or network resellers which are prepaid, cost up to $40 and are certainly worth a look.
What is a typical monthly cost of a SIM Only Plan ?Spend levels of $30 or more per month.
Where can I find out more ?You are on the SIM Only page.
What do I need to be careful of ?We always advise people to have a clear view of their usage with any plan. It’s especially important with a postpaid plan. Postpaid means you pay after the event. That means you could be running up a large bill. If you hit your data allowance with some providers, they will charge you out of bundle rates. Overseas roaming can also be expensive. Overseas roaming is very expensive ! Use the app your phone company provides and check it every day or two. That way, there are no possible surprises.

 

Contract SIM Only Plans :

Contract SIM Only Plans are rare these days. In Australia, only Telstra and Telechoice have 12 month contract options. There’s clearly a little more commitment involved with a contract. However, in exchange for your dedication, you’ll save some money. People usually save around $10 per month for signing a multiple month agreement.

Contract plans make sense for people who don’t have the time to check their options every month. It’s important to be realistic about what you’re going to have time to do. If you won’t have the time or inclination to check the competition regularly, maybe signing up to a contract and taking the price saving is the most sensible thing to do.

Who are Contract SIM Only Plans right for ?Contract SIM Only plans might be right for you if you like the providers that offer them, want better pricing than a month to month agreement and / or you won’t have time to regularly check competitor pricing for changes.
What is a typical monthly cost of a SIM Only Plan ?Spend levels of $30 or more per month.
Where can I find out more ?On our Telstra SIM Only Plan Review and ComparisonTelstra or Telechoice pages.
What do I need to be careful of ?Be careful of your commitment. Things move fast when it comes to phone plans. Every week, it seems like competition in the market has caused a phone company to add more data to their plan inclusions. If you’re locked in to a contract, you might not be able to take advantage of it.

 

 PAYG:

PAYG plans – also known as ‘ Pay As You Go’ plans have a mixture of prepaid and postpaid features. They’re pretty rare in Australia. With this sort of plan, buy the SIM, add a PAYG plan to it at the point of activation and then charge – all as you would a prepaid service. However, from that point, money comes from your account as if you were a postpaid customer.

Who are PAYG SIM Only Plans right for ?PAYG plans make the most sense for people who spend $5 to $10 per month on making calls to other people. Remember though, with a PAYG SIM in your phone, you’ll still receive as many phone calls as you would with any other plan. If you’re the popular one and people call you all day, PAYG might just be right for you.
What is a typical monthly costWe recommend PAYG plans to anyone who makes around a call a day and wants to spend less than $10 per month.
Where can I find out more ?We have an article about Australia’s best PAYG plans.
What do I need to be careful of ?If there’s one thing to be careful of with PAYG plans, it’s using data. Typical data rates on an Australian PAYG plan are 5c per MB. That doesn’t sound like a lot but average usage these days on a smart mobile phone like an iPhone is often over 1GB per month. That’s around 1000 MB or $50 per month just for the data in your plan ! Think ahead and be warned – if you have a smart mobile phone like a Galaxy S5 or an older phone on which you do a bunch of internet surfing, PAY