While eSIMs have been around for a while now, it’s a feature that’s still only available from a small number of telcos in Australia — Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. That is, until now. Felix Mobile has become the latest telco to offer an eSIM option, and considering the brand’s focus on sustainability, it’s a move that makes sense.
Felix, which comes under the TPG Telecom umbrella (including Vodafone, iiNet and TPG itself, among others), has only been in the Australian telco market since November 2020. At launch, Felix positioned itself as a telco different from the crowd, with a focus on sustainability — it only offers one plan, is a web-based provider and offers its plan as a ‘subscription’ style product. It’s also the first Australian telco to be powered by 100% renewable electricity, and a tree will be planted for every month you stay connected, so this switch to eSIMs makes sense when it comes to reducing e-waste.
Felix General Manager Paul Tierney sees this move as another step towards being a more sustainable telco.
“We are very excited about the potential of eSIM technology as an enabler of excellent customer experience and choice and also because it is more environmentally-friendly than traditional plastic SIM cards,” said Mr Tierney.
“Millions of SIM cards are produced and distributed in Australia each year so using eSIM means less plastic, less manufacturing, less packaging and no delivery. This is better for the planet and reinforces Felix’s commitment to reduce waste and avoid single-use plastics going into landfills.”
What can you get with a Felix mobile phone plan?
As already mentioned, Felix only offers one plan, which will cost you $35 per month on a rolling subscription. Like a prepaid plan, you pay upfront for your inclusions, however it’s an ongoing monthly service, rather than one needing a recharge every 28 days or so.
The other stand out is that — in addition to unlimited standard national calls and SMS — you’ll get unlimited data on this plan, but at the capped speed of 20Mbps. The good news is that 20Mbps is a fast enough speed for most activities you’ll use on your phone — HD video streaming, music streaming, video calls, social media and web browsing. However, downloading large files and updating your operating system might be slower than on plans with unlimited speeds.
The following table shows the Felix mobile plan on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This selection of plans includes links to referral partners.
What is an eSIM?
An eSIM (embedded SIM) is essentially a digital SIM card, and means you don’t need to insert a physical SIM card into your phone. There are quite a few advantages to having an eSIM:
- Faster access to your new plan — no waiting for a SIM card to arrive in the post/buy one in store
- More sustainable — no packaging needed and no wastage when you cancel your plan
- You can store two numbers in your phone — one eSIM and one physical SIM, so no switching between the two
- Can be used for wearable devices such as smartwatches, and connects to phone rather than via Bluetooth
- No need to switch out your SIM card when travelling overseas, simply buy an eSIM from a provider in the country you’ve travelled to
Of course not all phones have eSIM compatibility, and most of the devices which currently have eSIM available are newer devices (and usually more expensive phones). The iPhone SE, along with iPhone 11 series, iPhone 12 series and iPhone 13 series all have eSIM compatibility. Google offers eSIM on a range of Pixel devices including the Pixel 4 and 4XL, Pixel 5 and newer Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Samsung offers eSIM on the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy S20 series and Galaxy S21 series.
The number of devices is still quite limited, and the number of telcos offering eSIM is still quite a small pool. But it’s likely that as technology improves, and more telcos and smartphone brands look towards more sustainable practices, we could see the use of eSIM and eSIM compatible phones become more common.