SIM Only Plans

SIM only plans are an easy, affordable way to make the most of the mobile phone you already own.

Updated

Fact checked
Moose 36 50GB 12 Month
Promoted
$36/month

50GB data
  • 12 month postpaid plan
  • Unlimited standard national calls + texts
  • $400 international credit

Not keen on spending more money on a brand new phone? BYO phone and grab a SIM only plan instead.

Don't need a new phone? Compare SIM only plans below

We've pre-selected month-to-month SIM only plans, but if you want to see 12- or 24-month contracts, simply select "Filter results" and choose the "Contract" option. You can also use those filters to compare plans according to your data, budget and network preferences.

What is a SIM-only phone plan?

A SIM-only phone plan gives you call, text and data services via a small plastic SIM card you insert into your phone. SIM only plans don't come with a bundled handset, so it's a great money-saving option for you if you already have a phone you can use. If you need a new phone you'll want to consider a contract postpaid plan instead.

SIM only mobile plans traditionally operate on a postpaid basis, charging you at the end of every billing cycle based on your chosen plan and any excess calls or data you may have used. Most SIM only plans bill on a monthly basis and include an allotment of calls, text and data that refreshes at the start of every billing cycle. These plans will almost always come with unlimited talk and text to domestic numbers.

Pros

  • Usually no lock-in contract so you can change your plan at any time
  • You can swap between phones freely or wait to switch to the latest model
  • Often include international minutes for calling friends and family overseas
  • Frequent discounts and promotions to take advantage of

Cons

  • Doesn't include a phone so you'll have to bring your own
  • Excess usage can lead to bill shock

SIM card in SIM holder - SIM only plans are exactly as their name suggests

What’s the difference between SIM only and prepaid mobile plans?

Prepaid plans can technically also be thought of as SIM only plans, since you don't get a handset with either type of plan. Both come with just a SIM card you insert into your phone: either a regular, micro or nano SIM card depending on your device.

The biggest difference between the two is when you're actually paying for your plan. SIM only plans are traditionally postpaid, whereas a prepaid SIM plan is in its own category. Since SIM only plans are postpaid, it means you pay for your usage at the end of the month, which includes the price of any excess data used or international calls made. For a prepaid plan, you pay for all your usage in advance and your service simply becomes unavailable if you exceed the included limits.

You also tend to get greater value out of a SIM only plan in exchange for putting yourself at risk of extra charges.

How should I compare SIM only plans?

Here's what matters when it comes to choosing one SIM only plan over another:

  • Monthly cost: Find the lowest monthly cost for the calls, text and data limits you need. In addition, you should consider how much of a premium the plan charges for extra data and such when you go over. Remember that any additional usage (such as roaming, overseas calls or excess data) will incur additional costs.
  • Included data: One of the biggest difference makers for mobile plans. Make sure that you get sufficient data for your online habits, whether you use your phone to download files or you just love streaming videos and music. If you're going month to month, you can always switch to a higher data cap plan temporarily if you need to. If you're not sure how much data you need, check out our mobile data usage calculator.
  • International coverage: One of the key benefits of SIM only contract plans over prepaid is that they typically support global roaming. If you travel regularly, it’s well worth looking at the relative costs for global roaming usage in your most common destinations, as that could help a given telco stand out against the competition. Even if you don’t travel, many SIM only plans include an allotment of international minutes for calling friends and family overseas. It’s well worth checking if your destination of choice is on a reduced or even free call list with a given provider.
  • Network coverage: Plenty of telcos offer SIM only plans, but they all use one of just three different mobile networks. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone provide the infrastructure for every mobile provider, so it's worth checking coverage for the telco you're looking to go with. If you're planning to head out of the metro area or perhaps even grab some 5G access, have a look at a coverage map before picking a plan.

Unlocking your phone for a new SIM only plan

Whether or not you need to unlock your phone depends on where you got it from. If you bought it outright, it likely doesn't need unlocking. However, if you got it as part of a prepaid plan or on a contract, it could be locked to a network, but this is increasingly uncommon. Here's how to free it for general use:

  1. Find the IMEI number of your device. This is a 15-digit identifier for your mobile you can find by dialling *#06# into your regular phone keypad.
  2. Make sure any contracts you're on have expired. If the phone is newly obtained on a plan, you probably won't be able to unlock it unless a lot of time has passed or you pay to exit the contract early.
  3. Call up your service provider and request to unlock the phone. This may attract a fee if you're on a contract, as above.

And that's it! You're now ready to pop in a SIM card from any provider you desire.

Latest mobile news


Read more on this topic

Latest mobile plan deals on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

11 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MichaelSeptember 17, 2019

    I am interested in a sim only plan. I spent about 4 hours a day reading news and long form articles. Only reading, no videos or social media. How much GB will I need in a monthly plan?

    Thank you.

    • Default Gravatar
      NikkiSeptember 18, 2019

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your message. Reading online doesnt take too much data compared to video calling, watching, net calling, sending pictures. Reading on articles is as low a requirement as net browsing. Somewhere between 2GB or 4GB would suffice but this will ultimately depend on your usage. What you can do is subscribe for the lowest data arrangement and see how it will reach you in numbered days and increase as you go along.

      Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    johnAugust 14, 2019

    Does SIM apply to mobile phones & does a 4G SIM plan cover my 3G mobile?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniAugust 14, 2019Staff

      Hi John,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Yes. You can use a 4G SIM card in a 3G enabled phone, but you can not use 4G in it. To use 4G, You require a 4G enabled handset along with a 4G SIM. This is due to the reason that 3G phones work on WCDMA technology, which is different from LTE technology used for 4G connections.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  3. Default Gravatar
    SamFebruary 27, 2019

    I am looking for a best sim only plan for Sri lanka calls. Belong mobile was best, but not anymore as they removed Sri Lanka calls from their add-on since last week. I don’t need big data plan (happy with even 2GB). Please advice.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 1, 2019Staff

      Hi Sam,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Sorry to hear that change with your current provider. Regarding your query on providers that offer international calls to Sri Lanka, you may consider Virgin, Lebara, Optus and Lycamobile. You may also check out this page to start comparing mobile plans with international calls.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  4. Avatarfinder Customer Care
    MayDecember 20, 2018Staff

    Hi Sanjay,

    Thanks for reaching out.

    Basically, the mobile plans you can compare with cheap international calling (including India) are listed on this page. Local calls are usually unlimited, but for international calls, number minutes are generally capped. You can find that information in the description of the plans listed on the page. Once you’ve chosen your plan, you can go directly to the provider’s page and apply from there.

    Hope this has helped.

    Cheers,
    May

  5. Default Gravatar
    jeffDecember 8, 2018

    I cannot receive Optus bills as normal automatic email attachments. I have asked five different Optus shops to set it up for me and they all said that I would receive a link. Result – no link or anything else received.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnDecember 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      You may log in to your online Optus account so you could opt in to receiving your bill via your email. If this does not work, calling the Optus customer support number would help so they could set it up directly for you. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  6. Default Gravatar
    tapioMarch 22, 2018

    Best mobile deal for international calls?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RonMarch 23, 2018Staff

      Hello Tapio,

      Good day! Appreciate you contacting finder regarding your inquiry.

      You have multiple options when it comes to mobile plans with international calling feature. Depending on your preference, you can check the following pages to look for the plan that’s right for you.

      1. https://www.finder.com.au/best-mobile-plans-international-calling
      2. https://www.finder.com.au/mobile-cheap-international-calls

      Kindly review the call rates per network provider and ensure that the country you are going to call is included on the supported country list.

      Hope this helps!

      All the best,
      Ron

Ask a question
Go to site