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eSIMs in Australia

An increasing number of mobile providers are now offering eSIMs in Australia, which let you sign up to a new mobile plan without the need of a physical SIM card.

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You might be familiar with SIM cards – those little chips you put in your phone so you can connect to your mobile provider.

But there's a new SIM bad boy in town – the eSIM. eSIMs are the future, both due to necessity and convenience. With more providers offering as an option these days, find out how they work and why they could make your life easier.

What is an eSIM?

eSIM is short for embedded SIM. Rather than using a physical plastic chip you need to move between phones and replace every time you move to a new carrier, eSIMs are already built into your phone.

This is great for when:

  • You're traveling and need to get a prepaid SIM from another country. You can just find an eSIM provider and activate your plan, rather than looking for a physical SIM to buy.
  • You want multiple numbers on the 1 phone. Depending on how your phone supports eSIM, there's no need for a dual-SIM phone anymore.
  • You have a smartwatch and want to pair it with your smartphone to share its phone number.
  • You're looking to sign up to a new mobile plan. You no longer need to wait for a physical SIM to arrive in the mail.

Is eSIM better than a physical SIM?

It depends. While eSIMs can be convenient, because they're not widely available in Australia yet, you might not want to ditch your physical SIM just yet.

Pros

  • Quicker to change mobile providers
  • Less waste
  • Can have 2 plans in the 1 phone at the same time (1 eSIM, 1 regular)
  • Great for travellers
  • You don't have to deal with that tiny SIM removal tool that gets lost almost immediately

Cons

  • There aren't a lot of providers that are compatible with eSIMs in Australia at the moment
  • There is a more limited range of phones compatible with the technology (and it's generally saved for premium flagship phones)

What are the eSIM providers in Australia?

eSIMs are yet to become popular with a lot of mobile providers in Australia. The 3 major telcos and a handful of the smaller ones offer it as an option when you sign up.

There are others that support eSIM for travellers (such as Airalo, GigSky, eSIM Australia and KnowRoaming), while ALDImobile is considering moving into eSIMs in the near future.

We've compiled a table of plans which currently offer eSIMs in Australia. The first tab shows plans that offer eSIMs for phones and tablets and the second tab shows plans that allow you to share the same number between your phone and a wearable device.

1 - 4 of 57
Name Product Features Data Price
Green Company
Exclusive
-50%
  • $17.50/mth for the first 3 months, then $35/mth. Use code FINDER50. New customers only. T&Cs apply. Ends 31.08.22
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
Unlimited data
At speeds up to 20Mbps
$17.50
per month
Exclusive
Unlimited data
At speeds up to 20Mbps

-50%
$17.50
per month
Go to site
View details
  • EOFY offer: $30 SIM for $10 online. T&Cs apply. Ends 30.06.22
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
30GB
Data
$1.00 per GB
$30
per 30 days expiry
30GB
Data

$1.00/GB
$30
per 30 days expiry
Go to site
View details
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
120GB
Data
$1.00 per GB
$120
per 365 days expiry
120GB
Data

$1.00/GB
$120
per 365 days expiry
Go to site
View details
  • Get 70GB bonus data per month. T&Cs apply. Ends 30.06.22
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
80GB
Full speed data
Slowed to 2Mbps after full speed data used up
$0.50 per GB
$40
per month
80GB
Full speed data
Slowed to 2Mbps after full speed data used up

$0.50/GB
$40
per month
Go to site
View details
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Compare up to 4 providers

1 - 4 of 43
Name Product Features Data Price
  • $50/mth instead of $55/mth for the life of your plan. T&Cs apply. Ends 30.06.22
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
200GB
Full speed data
Slowed to 10Mbps after full speed data used up
$0.25 per GB
$50
per month
200GB
Full speed data
Slowed to 10Mbps after full speed data used up

$0.25/GB
$50
per month
Go to site
View details
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
120GB
Full speed data
Slowed to 1.5Mbps after full speed data used up
$0.71 per GB
$85
per month
120GB
Full speed data
Slowed to 1.5Mbps after full speed data used up

$0.71/GB
$85
per month
Go to site
View details
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
60GB
Data
$1.00 per GB
$60
per 30 days expiry
+ $2 upfront
60GB
Data

$1.00/GB
$60
+ $2 upfront
per 30 days expiry
Go to site
View details
  • Get 90GB bonus data per month. T&Cs apply. Ends 30.06.22
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
120GB
Full speed data
Slowed to 2Mbps after full speed data used up
$0.38 per GB
$45
per month
120GB
Full speed data
Slowed to 2Mbps after full speed data used up

$0.38/GB
$45
per month
Go to site
View details
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Compare up to 4 providers

Which provider is the best for eSIMs?

There is no singular provider known to be best for eSIMs. There are some which have a more convenient activation process (i.e. you don't have to head in-store to get a QR code), but the best one for you will depend on which mobile plan suits your needs.

We've broken down the 3 major mobile providers offering eSIMs below so you can get a better understanding of how the process works.

Telstra eSIM plans

Telstra has committed to eSIMs by offering 2 types of plans:

  1. eSIM plans for compatible phones and tablets (like a regular phone plan, but with slightly less plastic).
  2. "One Number" which allows you to share the same number between your phone and a wearable (such as an Apple Watch) as long as you're on a postpaid plan.

You can request a regular eSIM plan via the phone app if you're already an existing customer. Otherwise you can request one when you sign up.

  • Keep in mind: We've found that Telstra does intermittently stop offering eSIMs to new customers, so check the lay of the land at the time.

You will need to either go in-store for the activation QR code or get one mailed to you, so the process isn't entirely seamless yet.

Meanwhile, the One Number plan will cost you an extra $5 a month but you'll be able to use it across multiple devices. You can sign up for it on your device, but you'll need to chat to Telstra to finish activating it.

Optus eSIM plans

Optus has made things a bit easier for eSIM users, with neither of their plans requiring a QR code for activation. The 2 types of plans available are:

  1. "Number Share" for wearables.
  2. eSIM prepaid Flex and postpaid plans for eSIM-compatible phones.

Optus's Number Share is the same as Telstra's One Number, in that you need to be on a postpaid plan, activate it in the app for your device and then chat to Optus to confirm it. Number Share costs $5 a month.

If you're an Optus customer and would prefer to use an eSIM, you can use the My Optus app to activate and download it, without resorting to a physical QR code.

Vodafone eSIM plans

Vodafone has similar options to the other 2 bigger providers. Its options are:

  • NumberSync for wearables on postpaid plans costs $5 a month and can be activated through the device's app.
  • Customers on postpaid plans can request to switch to eSIM through the Vodafone app.
  • eSIM is available for prepaid plans, but you have to buy and activate a physical SIM first.

The company also strikes the happy middle of requiring a QR code, but without the need of going in-store for it.

Is my phone eSIM compatible?

There are heaps of phones that support eSIMs in Australia. Phones with eSIM tend to be ones closer to the top of the range, with most newer flagship phones being compatible.

Name Product Display Display Rear camera Battery size Overall rating More info More info
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
6.5
inches

1242 x 2688

  • Display

    6.5 inches

    1242 x 2688

  • Rear camera

    12MP + 12MP + 12MP
  • Battery size

    4,000 mAh
12MP + 12MP + 12MP
4,000
mAh
View details
Apple iPhone 11 Pro
5.8
inches

1125 x 2436

  • Display

    5.8 inches

    1125 x 2436

  • Rear camera

    12MP + 12MP + 12MP
  • Battery size

    N/A
12MP + 12MP + 12MP
N/A
Not yet rated
View details
Apple iPhone 11
6.1
inches

828 x 1792

  • Display

    6.1 inches

    828 x 1792

  • Rear camera

    12MP + 12MP
  • Battery size

    N/A
12MP + 12MP
N/A
Not yet rated
View details
Google Pixel 3a
5.6
inches

1080 x 2280

  • Display

    5.6 inches

    1080 x 2280

  • Rear camera

    12.2MP
  • Battery size

    3,000 mAh
12.2MP
3,000
mAh
View details
Google Pixel 3 XL
6.3
inches

1440 x 2960

  • Display

    6.3 inches

    1440 x 2960

  • Rear camera

    12.2MP
  • Battery size

    3,430 mAh
12.2MP
3,430
mAh
View details
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Compare up to 4 providers

Which smartwatches support eSIMs?

Only 2 brands currently meet the criteria for watches with eSIM capability. These include:

  • Apple Watches 1–6 (with cellular capabilities)
  • Samsung watches (with cellular capabilities)

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