SIM Only Plans

Compare SIM-only plans from 37 providers. 

 

 

Fact Checked Fact Checked

SIM-only plans are the most common phone plan available in Australia, with plans available from many different telcos. These plans are simple, straightforward and can be as cheap as $10, or carry over 100GB of data. No matter what your phone plan needs are, you’ll find a SIM-only plan to suit you. 

Compare the best everyday SIM-only plans

If you’re looking for a phone plan for general everyday use, you’ll need to consider how much data you need on your plan. Medium usage phone users — that is, people using mobile data for a couple hours each day — might find a phone plan with 10GB or more to be enough for their needs. The below tables compare SIM-only postpaid and prepaid phone plans with 10GB of data or more included on the plan.

 

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Try using our mobile phone plan comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data each month, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. If you want to compare a larger range of offers from other providers, use our phone plan comparison tool. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Compare the cheapest SIM-only plans

If you’re on a tight budget, or just looking to save money, you can compare cheap SIM plans from as little as $10 per month (or less). Light data users can easily find a plan with 1GB or 2GB for around $10-$15 per month, and even plans with around 10GB of data are available for under $20. And if you’re looking for alternative cheap options, you might want to look into PAYG mobile plans and whether these plans could be a better option for you.

 

Prepaid Plans Under $20

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $20 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by standard data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our mobile phone comparison tool to see a wider range of prepaid plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Postpaid Plans Under $20

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $20 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by standard data allowance, largest to smallest. Compare postpaid mobile plans from a wider range of providers using our comparison tool. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Best big-data SIM-only plans

If you’re a heavy data user, or maybe your data needs fluctuate each month and you need to make sure you have enough on hand, there are plenty of big-data phone plans around. Whether you need 50GB or 100GB, there are plenty of prepaid and postpaid plans to suit your needs. Keep in mind that some prepaid plans with big data inclusions might be long-term prepaid plans with an expiry period of six months or even a full year.

 

The following table shows a selection of postpaid phone plans from Canstar Blue’s database with 50GB of data or more, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by standard data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our mobile phone comparison tool to see a wider range of plans and providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

The following table shows a selection of prepaid phone plans from Canstar Blue’s database with 50GB of data or more, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by standard data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our mobile phone comparison tool to see a wider range of plans and providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Best unlimited data SIM-only plans

Unlimited data phone plans might not be common in Australia, but several telcos do offer these plans in some form. There is only one truly unlimited data phone plan (with unlimited fast-speed data) in Australia, which is the Vodafone $85 Ultra+ plan.

Most ‘unlimited’ data phone plans will include a fast-speed data allowance and once you’ve used up your data allowance, you’ll then be able to continue using data at a capped speed. Felix is also the only telco to offer unlimited data only on its prepaid plan, however this data is capped at speeds of 20Mbps.

 

The following table shows all a selection of postpaid plans on Canstar Blue’s database with unlimited data (full speed and capped-speed), listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows all a selection of prepaid plans on Canstar Blue’s database with unlimited data (full speed and capped-speed), listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Best SIM-only phone plan providers

Choosing a SIM-only plan can be overwhelming, as there are dozens of telcos to choose from, all with something different to offer.

If you like to base your choice on what existing customers think of their telco, each year Canstar Blue surveys Aussies to find out what they think of their SIM-only phone plan provider (across both prepaid and postpaid plans). These providers are then rated across a variety of categories, with one telco taking out the award for most satisfied customers.

Here are the top five telcos, as voted by Aussies, for the 2021 Most Satisfied Customers awards across SIM-only prepaid and postpaid.

Best prepaid SIM-only providers

The top five telcos from Canstar Blue’s 2021 rating for Most Satisfied customers for Prepaid Mobile SIM-Only were:

  1. Aldi Mobile
  2. Woolworths Mobile
  3. Amaysim
  4. Boost Mobile
  5. Catch Connect

Best postpaid SIM-only providers

The top 5 telcos from Canstar Blue’s 2021 rating for Most Satisfied customers for Postpaid Mobile SIM-Only were:

  1. Moose Mobile
  2. Vaya
  3. Southern Phone
  4. Woolworths Mobile
  5. Belong

How to find the best SIM-only plans for you

In this guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about SIM-only plans, including how to compare a range of different options to find the best plan for your needs.

 

 

What is a SIM-only plan?

A SIM-only plan is a phone plan that only includes a SIM card and the plan itself. You will not get a new phone included with your SIM-only plan.

These simple and straightforward plans are available as both prepaid and postpaid. Plans can be as cheap as $10 per month, or have as much as 100GB — or even unlimited — data. There are a wide range of telcos in Australia, with the majority of them only offering SIM-only plans to customers.

What is a SIM card?

A SIM card is a chip that stores your phone number and connects you to a mobile network to allow you to make phone calls and send text messages. SIM cards can come in multiple sizes, and can be purchased separately, or comes as part of a phone plan.

Why would I get a SIM-only plan?

If you’ve been locked into the two-year, new phone-on-a-plan cycle, you may not be familiar with SIM-only phone plans. An alternative to signing a standard 12, 24 or 36-month phone contract, a SIM-only plan allows you to bring your own device to a provider and select a plan of your choice.

The obvious reason to jump to a SIM-only plan – also known as a bring-your-own (BYO) phone plan –  is the potential to save some money, even just short-term. Essentially, if you’re happy with your current phone and want to save some cash, SIM-only plans are worth looking into.

There are plenty of telcos that offer SIM-only phone plans in Australia, and that includes big names like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. SIM-only mobile plans generally fall into two types: postpaid plans and prepaid plans.

Pros and cons of SIM-only plans

SIM-only plans can suit a wide-range of people with different needs from their phone plan. However, if you’re in the market for a new phone, a SIM-only plan might not be the answer. Here are some pros and cons of SIM-only plans.

Pros:

  • You’re just paying for the plan
  • Cheap SIM-only plans are easy to find
  • Wide range of providers to choose from, even the ‘big three’ telcos

Cons:

  • Does not include a new phone
  • You’ll most likely need an unlocked phone
  • If you’re looking to buy an expensive/premium phone, you’ll need to buy your phone outright

Types of SIM-only plans

There are two types of SIM-only plans – prepaid and postpaid. But what exactly are the differences, and how do they work?

Prepaid Plans

Prepaid SIM plans allow you to pay for your talk, text, and data inclusions in advance. Some telcos offer both postpaid and prepaid, but there are many exclusively prepaid providers on the Australian market. Most prepaid plans are priced at a set amount for each renewal, and include unlimited standard calls and messages, along with a data allowance.

You’ll receive a set length of time — known as an expiry period — in which to use these plan allowances, after which your plan will reset. You may then need to manually ‘recharge’ your service by purchasing more credit or plan inclusions, but many providers now offer an auto-recharge option that instantly renews your plan after each expiry period ends.

Expiry periods can be from as short as seven days, or as long as a year. However, the standard length for most prepaid plans is 28 or 30 days, so you’ll recharge or renew your plan about once every month.

Postpaid Plans

If you’re on a postpaid phone plan (or with a postpaid provider), you’ll receive a bill for your mobile use at the end of each month, which will include your standard plan price, plus any additional charges you may have incurred during your billing period.

Most postpaid plans offer unlimited standard talk and text, plus a monthly data allowance. However, you may be charged extra for items such as excess data use, international roaming or non-standard calls.

Postpaid plans are generally billed on a monthly cycle, and tend to be contract-free, although 12-month and 24-month plans are available. These plans are more or less identical to those offered with a new smartphone, but allow you to bring your own phone instead.

How to choose the best SIM-only plans for you

While there’s no single best SIM-only plan in Australia, you can find the plan that’s best for you. If you’re comparing SIM-only phone plans, you may want to ask the following questions:

  • Do I need prepaid or postpaid? Depending on how you like to pay and manage your bills, you may find one option is more convenient than the other.
  • Which phone network do I prefer? There are three phone networks in Australia – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Smaller mobile providers use one or more of these networks to deliver their services, although may not have access to the same coverage as the big three telcos, or to technology such as 5G. Make sure to compare network coverage when comparing plans, especially if you’re in a regional area.
  • What inclusions do I need? There is little point paying for unlimited calls and texts if you’re not going to make the most of them. Likewise, give serious thought to how much data you actually need each month, as well as extra features such as international inclusions.
  • What is my budget? If you’re bound by a budget, try comparing plans within your price range and narrowing down your choice from there.

Once you’ve decided on plan type, budget, network and inclusions, you can use our SIM-only plan comparison tool to find the best plan for your needs.

Compare SIM-only plans on Australia’s largest networks

If you’re comparing SIM-only plans in Australia, all telcos use either Telstra, Optus or Vodafone’s mobile networks.

Telstra network SIM-only plans

Customers can find prepaid and postpaid Telstra SIM plans at a range of price points. Some of the SIM plan providers using the Telstra network include:

Optus network SIM-only plans

Optus SIM plans include postpaid and prepaid, with a variety of prices and inclusions available. Some of the major providers who also use Optus’ network are:

Vodafone network SIM-only plans

Vodafone’s SIM-only plans are available on both prepaid and postpaid terms and at competitive prices. Many well-known telcos also use Vodafone’s networks, such as:

Compare travel & international SIM cards

If you’re planning to use your phone overseas, you may find it easier and cheaper to replace your normal SIM card with a travel or international SIM.

Travel SIMs are usually prepaid, and allow you to load and top-up your service with talk, text, and data credit. You’ll generally want to buy a travel SIM card before you head overseas, and they can often be used across multiple countries. However, data use in particular can be expensive when compared to rates in Australia.

International SIMs are cards which offer service in one country or region outside Australia, and can be bought after you’ve landed at your destination. Depending on the country you’re in ,and the SIM plan you opt for, this can be cheaper than buying a travel SIM. However, you’ll need to check that the network providing coverage is compatible with your phone, and that you won’t be continually billed for your overseas SIM plan once you’ve returned home – a prepaid plan that requires a manual recharge is usually the best option to avoid surprise fees.


TaraAbout the author

As Canstar Blue’s Telco Editor, Tara Donnelly covers the internet and mobile sectors – topics she’s spent a decade focused on, alongside consumer technology, within the comparison industry. Her telco expertise has seen her appear in national media including 9 News, 7 News, Sunrise, the ABC and The Sydney Morning Herald. You can follow Tara on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Learn more about Canstar Blue’s Editorial Team.


Frequently asked questions

The type of phone you have will determine which size SIM card you need. There are three types of SIM cards that can be used — Standard, Micro and Nano. A Nano SIM is the smallest size of SIM card, and the most common SIM card type you’ll need for newer smartphones.

If you’re not sure which SIM card you need, either look at the SIM card tray in your phone, or look up your phone’s model and SIM card size. Most telcos offer 3-in-1 SIM cards, so you’ll be able to snap out the size that you need for your specific smartphone.

Before you get a SIM-only plan, you’ll need to make sure your phone is unlocked from its original network. If you bought your device on a postpaid plan, it’s probably already unlocked, but there are exceptions.

Fortunately, unlocking a device from a specific telco’s network is easier than ever — you can usually do it yourself online, provided you have your phone’s IMEI number. However, sometimes unlocking your phone will require you to pay a fee, depending on which telco your phone is locked to.

With a SIM-only plan, you’re just paying for the plan itself — a SIM card (if switching providers) and the plan’s inclusions. When you look at buying a phone on a plan, in addition to the phone plan a telco will require you to bundle your device with, you’re also paying for the handset repayment. This can add as little as $10 or so on to your plan, or as much as $100 or more, depending on your choice of phone, repayment period and telco.

So, while you might be signing up to a cheap phone plan, such as a $20 per month plan, if you add on a new smartphone which costs $80 per month to pay off over 24 months, you’re suddenly paying a $100 phone bill for two years.

If you’re looking at SIM-only plans, but want to make sure your plan is future-proof for the latest mobile technology, the good news is that you can get SIM-only plans with 5G access included.

These plans are available from the big three telcos (which all own and operate their own 5G mobile networks), along with a small handful of MVNOs. Currently, only MVNOs using the Optus network, including Southern Phone and Aussie Broadband, offer 5G SIM-only plans. These plans also tend to be more expensive than 4G plans.

Four Australian providers currently offer some form of unlimited data on SIM-only plans: Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, and Felix Mobile. However, with the exception of Vodafone, this ‘unlimited’ data comes with speed restrictions, so isn’t necessarily as fast as what you’ll get on standard, data-capped SIM plans.

Telstra and Optus each include unlimited data on all their respective postpaid plans, which is capped at speeds of 1.5Mbps. This is fast enough for general browsing, and is available to customers who have exceeded their plan’s full-speed data allowance each month.

Likewise, Vodafone offers speed-capped data across postpaid plans, which is limited to speeds of 2Mbps or 10Mbps, depending on your choice of plan. The telco also now offers a truly unlimited Ultra+ SIM plan, which includes unlimited data at the fastest speed available across 4G or 5G networks.

In terms of prepaid, Felix Mobile’s sole plan includes unlimited data each month, restricted to speeds of 20Mbps. Unlike Telstra, Vodafone or Optus, this plan doesn’t include a full-speed data allowance. All your data is capped at 20Mbps, but this is fast enough for social media, HD streaming, and more.

You can choose the best SIM-only plan for you by comparing providers and plans with Canstar Blue’s free, easy to use comparison tool. You can filter results by price, data inclusions, network provider and more, to help you find the plan that best meets your needs.