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Your current phone service provider will be able to tell you whether you are able to use your existing SIM card and phone within Australia. But it is often cheaper to buy an Australian SIM card, or an Australian phone and SIM card together.
Using your existing phone and SIM card
If your current plan includes international roaming, you may be able to keep using your overseas SIM card. This is common in international travel SIM cards, but can be costly. So, make sure you check all the fees and charges before turning on the international roaming option in your phone settings.
Using your existing phone with an Australian SIM card
Using an Australian SIM card can be cheaper than using international roaming. For this option, you will need to make sure your phone is unlocked and not attached to your current overseas network – this will allow you to use any SIM card in your phone. Most service providers will unlock your phone for free if you contact them before leaving your country.
Things to consider when purchasing an Australian SIM card
- Service type – choose pre-paid (no lock-in contract) or a monthly low-cost fee
- Call rates – look for unlimited and free
- Data – the more the better
- International calls – look for low cost or free
Purchasing a phone and SIM card in Australia
If your phone is not compatible with Australian networks, you might need to buy a new phone and SIM card together. These are sold as pre-paid packages and as contracts or plans.
Pre-paid phone starter packs are popular choices for international students. You can buy these at supermarkets, 7-eleven stores and newsagents, and at mobile phone service providers like Teltra, Optus, and Vodafone. Because you pay for your service ahead of time, there are no bills, contracts or monthly commitments.
Contracts or plans
Signing up for a contract or plan means you will pay monthly fees for your phone, calls and data for a certain amount of time (usually 12–24 months). Every contract and plan is different, so speak with a phone service provider to work out the best plan for you.
You will find provider stores in shopping hubs around Sydney. They may ask you for proof of identity (passport) and proof of your Australian address, so be sure to take these documents with you.
You can also compare services online: