What is a SIM only phone plan?
SIM only mobile plans don't come with a mobile phone. They typically include talk and text credit and a data allowance.
What type of SIM only plans can you get?
There are two types of SIM only plans: prepaid and postpaid. The main difference, as you might have realised, comes down to when you pay.
Prepaid SIMs let you pay in advance for your talk, text, and data inclusions. The main advantage of a prepaid SIM is that you know exactly what you're going to pay and how much credit you'll have to use. This also means that you'll need to keep on top of your usage habits, to avoid paying more for data top-ups later.
Postpaid SIMs allow you to pay for your mobile usage after you’ve used it and will usually have expiry periods of 28 or 30 days. In other words, you’ll receive a phone bill for your usage at the end of the month. The bill includes your standard plan price, plus any additional charges you might have incurred (like if you went over your data limits, or used international roaming).
What is a SIM card?
A SIM card is a small chip that you plug into your phone's SIM card slot that acts as a 'key' to connect your phone to your service provider's network.
There are also eSIMs, which work in the same way as physical SIMs, only you 'download' it directly to your phone.
What’s included in a SIM only phone plan?
SIM only plans typically come with unlimited talk and text to standard Australian phone numbers and a mobile data allowance.
Some SIM only plans also come with international calls included, but that depends on the carrier.
What are the pros and cons of a SIM only plan?
The advantages of SIM only plans include:
✓ Use your own phone
✓ Change your device any time
✓ Potential for lower monthly costs (not paying for new phone)
✓ Freedom to swap SIM between unlocked phones
✓ Often you won’t be locked-in to a contract
✓ Flexibility to change plans and providers if there’s a better deal
✓ Shop around for a cheaper phone if you don’t need the latest tech
✓ No credit check on SIM only plans without contracts.
The disadvantages of SIM only plans include:
X You must be able to afford a phone outright, which is a higher upfront expense
X You won’t have the support of the telco if something goes wrong with your phone (e.g. faulty hardware) and will have to contact the place you bought it from yourself.
Which telco providers offer SIM only phone plans?
Most of Australia’s major telco providers offer SIM only phone plans. These include Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone. But, there are a whole host of smaller providers out there (known as MVNOs) with competitive pricing and inclusions.
So, when it comes time to compare mobile phone plans, make sure you compare the price with what the plan actually includes (e.g. data, and talk and text benefits) across a few different carriers.
What's the best SIM only mobile phone plan?
While the best mobile phone plans for you will differ depending on your needs, the 2023 Mozo Experts Choice Awards for Mobile Phone Plans revealed some of the best value plans on the market. Winners include: