Travel SIMs & Roaming Packs

Canstar Blue’s 2019 review of travel SIMS and international roaming plans compares Optus, Telstra, Vodafone, ALDI Mobile, Coles 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 | ALDI Mobile

ALDI Mobile has proved a surprise winner of our travel SIM & Roaming Pack ratings in 2019. Leading the way from telco giants Optus, Telstra and Vodafone, and others, ALDI Mobile got five stars across almost all of our research categories, including value for money, coverage and overall satisfaction.

Plane talking: ALDI Mobile jets ahead 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 second Travel SIM & Roaming Packs ratings report, we’re pleased to announce that ALDI Mobile has taken out the top spot. The prepaid telco scored five-star ratings on value for money, network coverage, ease of recharge, sign up and activation, its app and website, and for overall customer satisfaction.

Best for Travel SIMs & Roaming Packs

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

Our 2019 review of travel SIMs and roaming packs saw seven telcos compared and rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:

  • 1st ALDI Mobile
  • 2nd Vodafone
  • 3rd Coles Mobile
  • 4th Telstra
  • 5th Optus
  • 6th TravelSIM
  • 7th Australia Post Travel SIM

Vodafone – last year’s co-winner, alongside Optus – made another impressive showing, scoring an overall satisfaction rating of four stars for its comprehensive global roaming options. In third place, new entrant Coles Mobile also made the case for prepaid roaming, beating out both Telstra and Optus for the bronze. While ALDI Mobile was ranked best on value, Vodafone was the only telco deemed worthy of five stars for customer service.

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

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 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.

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

Prepaid $40 for 35 Days

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • 250 minutes to 10 countries

min. cost $40 over 35 day expiry

10GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$45 Red Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • 1000 international minutes to Zone 1 countries, 100 international minutes to Zone 2 countries

min. cost $45 over one month plan period

30GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Optus Logo

$49 My Plan Plus (12M SIM)

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • 400 minutes standard international calls to 35 countries
  • Stream Optus Sport data free
  • Special offer: Up to 12 months free Apple Music

min. cost $588 over 12 month plan period

30GBMax Data**/billing period $49Advertised Data^^/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
  • 5G network access included until 20 June, 2020

min. cost $50 over one month

15GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
ALDIMobile Logo

Jumbo Value Pack

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited calls to 15 countries
  • 400 mins to 35 countries
  • $5 Upfront Cost inc. $5 credit

min. cost $55 over 30 day billing period

60GBMax Data**/billing period $55Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Travel SIMs & Roaming Packs Compared

ALDI Mobile International Roaming

Prepaid plans aren’t typically known for having great overseas roaming options, but supermarket chain ALDI was rated best in our 2019 ratings. 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 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’s simple roaming options saw the telco score a five-star rating in almost all categories this year, including overall satisfaction. The one exception is the customer service category, where ALDI Mobile achieved a still-impressive four stars.

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

Small Value Pack

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • $5 Upfront Cost inc. $5 credit

min. cost $15 over 30 day billing period

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

XL Value Pack

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited calls to 15 countries
  • 200 mins to 35 countries
  • $5 Upfront Cost inc. $5 credit

min. cost $25 over 30 day billing period

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

Jumbo Value Pack

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited calls to 15 countries
  • 400 mins to 35 countries
  • $5 Upfront Cost inc. $5 credit

min. cost $55 over 30 day billing period

60GBMax Data**/billing period $55Advertised Data^^/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 more than 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 $25 for 100GB of data, 30 minutes of calls and 30 SMS with a three-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 2019, with five-star results for customer service and sign up and activation.

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

$35 Red Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $35 over one month plan period

5GBMax Data**/billing period $35Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$45 Red Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • 1000 international minutes to Zone 1 countries, 100 international minutes to Zone 2 countries

min. cost $45 over one month plan period

30GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$55 Red Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • 2000 international minutes to Zone 1 countries, 200 minutes to Zone 2 countries

min. cost $55 over one month plan period

80GBMax Data**/billing period $55Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$65 Red Plan

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited international minutes to Zone 1 countries, 300 international minutes to Zone 2 countries

min. cost $65 over one month plan period

120GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$45 Red Plus Plan

  • Unlimited data*(capped at 1.5Mbps after 30GB)
  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • 1000 international minutes to Zone 1 countries, 100 international minutes to Zone 2 countries

min. cost $45 over one month plan period

30GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$55 Red Plus Plan

  • Unlimited data*(capped at 1.5Mbps after 80GB)
  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • 2000 international minutes to Zone 1 countries, 200 minutes to Zone 2 countries

min. cost $55 over one month plan period

80GBMax Data**/billing period $55Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

$65 Red Plus Plan

  • Unlimited data*(capped at 1.5Mbps after 120GB)
  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Unlimited international calls to Zone 1 countries, 300 international minutes to Zone 2 countries

min. cost $65 over one month plan period

120GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Coles Mobile International Roaming

Another supermarket chain offering prepaid phone plans, Coles Mobile operates on the Optus 3G and 4G networks across Australia. If you’re a Coles Mobile customer, you can use your plan’s Extras Credit to pay for your talk, text and data use when outside of Australia, with both $5 and $15 Extras Credit add-ons available.

All roaming is charged on a pay-as-you-go basis, with rates taken directly from Optus’ own prepaid roaming service. These prices will vary depending on which ‘zone’ you’re travelling in, but popular destinations – including the UK, USA, and most of Asia and Europe – are charged at a rate of $1 per minute for calls, 50c per SMS sent, and 50c per megabyte of data.

Despite its similarity to ALDI Mobile in terms of roaming options, Coles scored a satisfaction rating of just three stars, but did achieve four-star results for customer service and for its app and website.

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

Prepaid $10 for 10 Days

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $10 over 10 day expiry

1GBMax Data**/billing period $10Advertised Data^^/billing period
Coles Mobile Logo

Prepaid $20 for 35 Days

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $20 over 35 day expiry

3GBMax Data**/billing period $20Advertised Data^^/billing period
Coles Mobile Logo

Prepaid $40 for 35 Days

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • 250 minutes to 10 countries

min. cost $40 over 35 day expiry

10GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period
Coles Mobile Logo

Prepaid $180 for 365 Days

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS

min. cost $180 over 365 day expiry

36GBMax Data**/billing period $180Advertised Data^^/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 four stars for network coverage, sign-up, ease of recharge, and for its app, but achieved an overall satisfaction rating of three stars.

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
  • 5G network access included until 20 June, 2020

min. cost $50 over one month

15GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/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 until 20 June, 2020

min. cost $60 over one month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Data^^/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 until 20 June, 2020

min. cost $80 over one month

100GBMax Data**/billing period $80Advertised Data^^/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 until 20 June, 2020

min. cost $100 over one month

150GBMax Data**/billing period $100Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Optus International Roaming

If you’re an Optus postpaid customer, you can add an optional Travel Pack to your account before heading overseas. For $10 per day, you’ll get unlimited standard talk and SMS, plus 100MB of daily data to use. Travel Packs cover ‘Zone 1’ destinations, which include most destinations within North America, Asia, Europe and the UK; countries outside this zone are charged on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Customers on Optus’ 200GB phone plans will also receive included roaming data as part of their plan: 2GB per month on the $105 plan, and 4GB on the $125 option. Postpaid SIM-only customers will also receive international call allowance — 2GB on the $59 plan and 4GB on the $79 plan. 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 counties 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, with four-star scores for customer service, coverage, sign up, ease of recharge, and for its app.

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

$65 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Stream Optus Sport data free
  • Up to 12 months free Apple Music

min. cost $1,560 over 24 month plan period

60GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$85 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Stream Optus Sport data free
  • Up to 12 months free Apple Music

min. cost $2,040 over 24 month plan period

80GBMax Data**/billing period $85Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$105 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Stream Optus Sport data free
  • 2GB global roaming data
  • Up to 12 months free Apple Music

min. cost $2,520 over 24 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $105Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$125 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited standard national calls & SMS
  • Stream Optus Sport data free
  • 4GB global roaming data
  • Up to 12 months free Apple Music

min. cost $3,000 over 24 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $125Advertised Data^^/billing period
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 190 countries. Rates vary by country, but calls are priced from 25c per minute, SMS from 25c per message sent, and data from 25c per megabyte used. Data-only packs are also available for European 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.

A new brand to be featured in our travel ratings, TravelSIM scored three stars for overall satisfaction and in most other categories, with a four-star rating 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 190 countries

min. cost $25

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

$30 Double Pack

  • $30 credit with optional top up – 25c text/calls/megabyte to 190 countries
  • Includes 2 prepaid SIM cards, each with individual numbers

min. cost $50

PAYGMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period
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 190 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, per megabyte of data used, or each minute of talk time.

An add-on European data pack is 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 2019 ratings, and three stars in all additional categories.

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 190 countries

min. cost $25

PAYGMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Data^^/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. 63% 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 – 57% have used their travel SIM or roaming pack in multiple countries, while 34% had to purchase multiple SIMs on their last overseas trip. With that said, there’s not much use for talk and text, as 62% – that’s almost two thirds 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. 41% 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.

Compare Plans & Prices

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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