Travel SIMs & Roaming Packs

Canstar Blue’s 2020 review of travel SIMS and international roaming plans compares Optus, Telstra, Vodafone, SIM Corner, ALDI Mobile, Australia Post and TravelSIM, on their value for money, customer service, network coverage, sign-up and activation, ease of recharge and overall customer satisfaction.


See our Ratings Methodology.

Most Satisfied Customers | SIM Corner

Making its debut in the number-one spot in our 2020 roaming ratings is SIM Corner. Beating out big names such as Optus, Telstra and Vodafone, SIM Corner received five stars across almost all of our research categories, including value for money, coverage and overall satisfaction.

Fact Checked Fact Checked

Plane talking: SIM Corner is number one for international roaming plans

These days, travel SIMs and international roaming packs are abundant. They make it easy to prepare for your international trip before you jet off – simply buy a roaming pack or SIM, switch your phone on when you land, and you’re good to go. Gone are the days when you’d get by with a printed map and a last-minute postcard home to Mum. Thanks to smartphones, you’ve got everything you need to navigate, and stay in touch with family, in the palm of your hand.

However, not all travel SIMs and international roaming packs are created equal. Some roaming packages offer low rates and great value – but pick the wrong SIM or plan, and you run the risk of coming home to an unexpectedly high bill. That’s why Canstar Blue seeks the opinions of hundreds of Aussie jetsetters every year to get their views on the best travel SIMs and roaming packs they’ve used on their recent travels. There is an abundance of phones plans offering solutions for those who head overseas – coming in all shapes and sizes – so our annual review aims to cover all bases and get to the bottom of which provider offers the best deal for Aussies on the move.

In our third Travel SIM & Roaming Packs ratings report, we’re pleased to announce that newcomer SIM Corner has taken out the top spot. Debuting at number one in our rankings, the travel SIM provider scored five stars for overall satisfaction, plus five stars for value for money, network coverage, sign and activation, and customer service.

Best for Travel SIMs & Roaming Packs

close-up view of young woman checking roaming on her mobile phone

Our 2020 review of travel SIMs and roaming packs saw seven brands compared and rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:

  1. SIM Corner
  2. ALDI Mobile
  3. Vodafone
  4. TravelSIM
  5. Optus
  6. Telstra
  7. Australia Post Travel SIM

Making a memorable first impression in our ratings is SIM Corner, who takes home the gold with a five-star rating for overall satisfaction. An independent brand that’s not affiliated with any Australian telcos, SIM Corner’s huge range of comprehensive travel products have proved a favourite with jet-setting Australians over the past 12 months. 

So, who offers what? Read on for details as we explain what these providers can do for you the next time you head overseas.

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Selection of Plans with Roaming Features

To give you an idea of the plans available with international roaming features, the table below lists a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of advertised cost, lowest cost first, then by data allowance. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

To give you an idea of the plans available with international roaming features, the table below lists a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of advertised cost, lowest cost first, then by data allowance. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Travel SIMs & Roaming Packs Compared

SIM Corner Travel SIMs

Making its debut in our Travel SIM ratings, SIM Corner has partnered with major international carriers to offer a range of overseas roaming SIM cards tailored to your destination. Travellers can customise their packages with single-country, multi-country or continent-wide all-in-one SIMs, with data-only or all-inclusive (talk, text and data) options available.

All cards are prepaid to avoid bill shock, and while prices vary by destination, all plans include a set amount of minutes, SMS and data. There’s no pay-as-you rates to calculate, and all SIM card packages are available in standard, micro and Nano SIM sizes to fit any phone. 

Plans come with a 30-day or 60-day expiry from activation, and depending on your package, may be recharged during travel at selected retail locations. Some SIM Corner products also include unlimited standard outgoing calls and texts in your destination country, as well as hotspotting and tethering capabilities. SIM packages are available for the UK and Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East and New Zealand/Australia/Fiji. 

SIM Corner was a standout in our 2020 ratings, scoring not only five stars for overall satisfaction, but also value for money, network coverage, sign up and activation, and customer service. However, it did score only three stars for ease of recharge.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
SIM Corner Logo

USA Canada Mexico Travel SIM Card

  • Unlimited calls to standard US, Canadian and Mexican numbers
  • Unlimited SMS to standard US, Canadian and Mexican mobiles

min. cost $58 over 30 days

8GBMax Data**/billing period $58Advertised Cost^^/billing period
SIM Corner Logo

Europe and UK Travel SIM Card

  • Unlimited calls within Europe and UK
  • Unlimited SMS within Europe and UK

min. cost $36 over 30 days

12GBMax Data**/billing period $36Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

ALDI Mobile International Roaming

Prepaid plans aren’t typically known for having great overseas roaming options, but supermarket chain ALDI Mobile has been a consistent favourite among survey participants, and was last year’s top-rated travel SIM provider. ALDI Mobile customers can opt-in to pay-as-you-go roaming online, with all charges taken from your PAYG account credit. Simply add PAYG credit online before you leave (or when travelling), make sure your phone is enabled for roaming at least a week in advance, and you’re good to go. ALDI Mobile customers can roam in over 50 countries across the world, and rates are comparatively low; calls tend to be charged at $1 per minute, SMS at $0.50 or $1 per message sent, and data use at 50c or $1 per megabyte.

Rates will vary depending on the country, however, so it’s important to check ALDI Mobile’s roaming charges before you depart. However, as all costs are taken from your prepaid pay-as-you-go credit, there’s no danger of accidentally racking up a massive roaming bill on your travels. It’s also worth saying that, when in Australia, ALDI operates on the Telstra mobile network.

ALDI Mobile performed well in our 2020 review, scoring four stars for overall satisfaction. The telco also scored five stars for its app/website and five stars for ease of recharge.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
ALDIMobile Logo

Small Value Pack

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $15 over 30 day billing period

3GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Cost^^/billing period
ALDIMobile Logo

XL Value Pack

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited calls to 15 countries
  • 200 mins to 35 countries

min. cost $25 over 30 day billing period

37GBMax Data**/billing period $35Advertised Cost^^/billing period
ALDIMobile Logo

Jumbo Value Pack

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited calls to 15 countries
  • 300 mins to 35 countries

min. cost $45 over 30 day billing period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Vodafone International Roaming

Vodafone’s main global roaming option is the $5 Roaming add-on, available on all postpaid plans. For $5 per day, you’ll be able to use your plan’s inclusions – unlimited calls, texts, and your data allowance – in 80 countries. You’ll only be charged $5 on days you actually use your device, and the feature is already pre-activated for most customers. It’s a convenient option for anyone wanting to keep their own number and phone when outside Australia, and much cheaper than pay-as-you-go roaming.

Unfortunately, $5 roaming isn’t available for prepaid customers, but you can buy roaming add-ons for prepaid plans. Add-ons begin from $5 for 200GB of data, 25 minutes of calls and 30 SMS with a one-day expiry, and can be used in over 50 countries. Pay-as-you-go roaming is also available on all plans if necessary, with rates of $1 per minute for calls, 75 cents per SMS sent, and $1 per megabyte of data.

Vodafone’s travel options scored an overall satisfaction result of four stars in 2020, and four stars in all other categories.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$40 SIM Only Plus Plan

  • Unlimited data*(capped at 1.5Mbps after 10GB)
  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $40 over one month plan period

10GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$50 SIM Only Plus Plan

  • Unlimited data*(capped at 1.5Mbps after 60GB)
  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • 1000 international minutes to Zone 1 countries, 100 international minutes to Zone 2 countries

min. cost $50 over one month plan period

60GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$60 SIM Only Plus Plan

  • Unlimited data*(capped at 1.5Mbps after 100GB)
  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited international minutes to Zone 1 countries, 200 minutes to Zone 2 countries

min. cost $60 over one month plan period

100GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$80 SIM Only Plus Plan

  • Unlimited data*(capped at 1.5Mbps after 150GB)
  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited international calls to Zone 1 countries, 300 international minutes to Zone 2 countries

min. cost $80 over one month plan period

150GBMax Data**/billing period $80Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

TravelSIM

TravelSIM is a non-telco affiliated company offering specialty international roaming SIM cards on a prepaid basis. Buy your SIM, recharge with credit and use your balance to call, text or access data in more than 180 countries. Rates vary by country, but calls are priced from 25c per minute, SMS from 25c per message sent, and data from 15c per megabyte used. Data-only packs are also available that cover more than 90 countries, and as TravelSIM is a prepaid-only service, you will never need to worry about unexpected charges.

The downside is you won’t be able to use your existing Australian number (as you’ll be replacing your usual SIM card with TravelSIM), but the service is available for all smartphones and tablets, comes with a free smartphone app, and includes 24/7 Australian-based customer service.

In its second year featured in our ratings, TravelSIM scored three stars for overall satisfaction, plus four-star results for value for money, network coverage, sign up and activation, customer service and ease of recharge.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
AusPost Logo

$25 Starter Pack

  • $25 credit with optional top up – 25c text/calls/megabyte to 180 countries

min. cost $25

PAYGMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period
AusPost Logo

$40 Double Pack

  • $50 credit with optional top up – 25c text/calls/megabyte to 180 countries
  • Includes 2 prepaid SIM cards, each with individual numbers

min. cost $40

PAYGMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Optus International Roaming

If you’re an Optus postpaid customer, you can add an optional Roaming Pass to your account before heading overseas. For $10 per day, you’ll get unlimited standard talk and SMS, plus 1GB of daily data to use over 24 hours. You’ll only be charged for days you actually use your device overseas, but keep in mind that use over 1GB in a single day will automatically add another $10 pass to your account.

Customers on selected Optus phone plans will also receive included roaming data as part of their plan: 2GB per month on the $59 plan, and 4GB on the $79 option. If you’re a prepaid customer, you can add $10 Travel Credit, $10 or $20 Extras Credit, or $20 Data Roaming add-ons to cover any usage overseas. Prepaid roaming rates depend on your destination, but Zone 1 countries are usually charged at $1 per minute for calls, 50c for sent SMS, and 50c per megabyte of data.

Optus was rated three stars for overall satisfaction in our 2020 review, with four-star scores for customer service, coverage, ease of recharge, and for its app.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$39 Small Choice Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $39 over one month plan period

10GBMax Data**/billing period $39Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$49 Medium Choice Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited standard international calls to 35 countries
  • Stream Optus Sport data free

min. cost $49 over one month plan period

60GBMax Data**/billing period $49Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$59 Large Choice Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited standard international calls to 35 countries
  • Stream Optus Sport data free
  • 2GB global roaming data

min. cost $59 over one month plan period

100GBMax Data**/billing period $59Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$79 Extra Large Choice Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited standard international calls to 35 countries
  • Stream Optus Sport data free
  • 4GB global roaming data

min. cost $79 over one month plan period

120GBMax Data**/billing period $79Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Telstra International Roaming

Like Vodafone, Telstra now offers a per-day roaming option that allows customers to use capped data, plus unlimited talk and text, in many selected countries. International Day Pass is available to postpaid customers for an additional $10 per day (or $5 in New Zealand) and gives you a daily data allowance of 200MB, plus unlimited calls and messages. As with Vodafone’s $5 Roaming feature, the International Day Pass is only charged on days you use your phone, and is available to use in over 70 countries.

If you do exceed your 200MB daily data limit, you’ll automatically be billed $10 for an extra 500MB of data, for use over 31 days. Pay-as-you-go-roaming is also available in those countries that aren’t covered by Telstra’s Day Pass, and prepaid customers can add data-only Roaming Browse Plus Packs to their plan. These begin at $29 for 100MB of data to use over 30 days, up to $160 for 600MB.

Telstra scored three stars for overall satisfaction in our 2020 ratings, and earned four stars for network coverage, sign up, customer service, ease of recharge and for its app.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Small Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • No excess data charges
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network
  • 3 months free BINGE streaming subscription (redeem by 18/01/21).

min. cost $55 over one month

40GBMax Data**/billing period $55Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • No excess data charges
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network
  • 5G network access included
  • 3 months free BINGE streaming subscription (redeem by 18/01/21).

min. cost $65 over one month

80GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Large Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • No excess data charges
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network
  • 5G network access included
  • 3 months free BINGE streaming subscription (redeem by 18/01/21).

min. cost $85 over one month

120GBMax Data**/billing period $85Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Extra Large Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • No excess data charges
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network
  • 5G network access included
  • 3 months free BINGE streaming subscription (redeem by 18/01/21).

min. cost $115 over one month

180GBMax Data**/billing period $115Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Australia Post Travel SIM

Australia Post now offers its own branded prepaid travel SIM, providing coverage in more than 180 countries. As with the above Travel SIM product, Australia Post’s SIM works in place of your existing SIM card, allowing customers to use prepaid credit to call, text or access data on a pay-as-you-go basis. Rates begin at just 25c for each message sent or each minute of talk time, and from 15c per megabyte of data.

Add-on data packs are also available, with prices beginning at $25 per gigabyte. Recharges can be made at any time, with customer support readily available 24/7, and all SIM packs include $5 of overseas credit at time of activation. Keep in mind that rates will vary between countries, so check individual pricing before you fly out.

Australia Post scored three stars for overall satisfaction in our 2020 ratings, but did receive four stars for its app and website and for ease of recharge.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
AusPost Logo

$25 Starter Pack

  • $5 credit with optional top up – 25c text/calls/megabyte to 180 countries

min. cost $25

PAYGMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Why do Aussies use travel SIMs and international roaming?

Modern communication technology mobile phone high tech

Travel is expensive enough without the added stress of excessive mobile roaming fees: you’ve no doubt heard horror stories about Aussies who went overseas, only to return home with a $1,000+ phone bill. Nowadays, this can be easily mitigated through the use of prepaid travel SIMs, as well as international roaming add-ons from the big telcos.

Most Australians who use travel SIMs or packs do so to avoid any post-holiday bill shock. 77% of this year’s survey respondents bought a travel SIM or international roaming add-on because traditional roaming is simply too expensive. And they have a point! Convenience is also a factor. 66% also did so because finding a local SIM card in the country they are in was too hard – they’d just prefer to hit the ground running!

More than half of survey respondents are also experienced in international travel – 59% have used their travel SIM or roaming pack in multiple countries, while 37% had to purchase multiple SIMs on their last overseas trip. With that said, there’s not much use for talk and text, as 70% – that’s almost three quarters of respondents! – used their plan mostly for data.

Close to half of us prefer to stick to what we know, even when preparing for an overseas jaunt. 45% of respondents bought their travel SIM or add-on through their phone provider at home – and that’s certainly convenient, but make sure you compare your options before making a decision.

Aussies love to travel overseas, but want to make sure they’re getting the most for their money when it comes to roaming. Our user ratings provide a helpful guide as to which travel SIMs and roaming packs are offering the best value, because they’re reviewed by people who have actually used them. With that in mind, we hope you find this comparison helpful.

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Image credits: Georgejmclittle, Pathdoc

Frequently Asked Questions

Canstar Blue surveyed 9,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have used a SIM Card or roaming pack for overseas travel in the last 2 years (not including for use in Australia or SIM cards purchased overseas)– in this case, 1,347 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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