SIM-only plans in Australia

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With a highly competitive market and lots of deals on offer, you can get great value on a SIM-only plan for any mobile phone that you already have.

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Customise the table below using the filters for data, monthly cost and more to find the right plan. You can even compare up to 4 plans side-by-side by selecting the "compare" box under the plan details.

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Consider these 5 things to find the perfect SIM-only plan

There are a lot of mobile plan providers out there, each one vying for your money. To make things less overwhelming, consider these 5 questions when comparing your options.

Is a SIM-only deal worth it?

Think about whether a limited time deal is worth it in the long run.

How much data do I need?

Make sure you get a plan with enough data for the month to avoid paying extra charges.

Does the network cover me?

Depending on where you live, you might be outside the coverage area for some mobile networks.

What about contracts?

SIM-only contracts usually provide better value in exchange for long-term commitment.

Do I need any international inclusions?

Consider whether you need a plan with international calls and text included.

If you're still unsure about whether a SIM-only plan is right for you, have a read through the rest of this guide as we explain the ins and outs of SIM-only plans and how they're different to prepaid options.

Check out these cheap SIM-only plans

What is a SIM-only mobile plan?

SIM only plans let you make calls, send texts, and use mobile data. They come with a SIM for a phone you provide, since they aren't bundled with handsets.

Usually, they operate on a postpaid basis, charging you for your plan and any excess usage. Plans usually come with unlimited talk and text to domestic numbers these days.

If you need a new phone and you don't want to buy one outright, you'll want to consider a contract postpaid plan instead.

What is the difference between prepaid and SIM-only?

Although prepaid plans also come as a SIM card, they function differently. On a prepaid plan, you pay for all your data, talk and text before you use it. Once you've used it up, that's it – your service gets cut off.

On a SIM-only plan, you'll always have access to data and calls, but you'll be charged for the excess at the end of the month. You'll always get service, but if you use it too much, your bill might surprise you.

FeaturePrepaidSIM-only
Pay your bills...At the start of the monthAt the end of the month
Excess bill chargesNeverWhen you exceed your data or call limits
Promotional dealsRarelyOften
ContractsNoAvailable
Data valueUsually lowerUsually higher

Both plan types come with their own pros and cons, so the one that's right for you will depend on your usage habits. You can get an estimate of your data habits and ways to reduce your use with our data calculator page.

Is a SIM-only plan right for me?

SIM-only plans are a convenient and cheap option for many people. Here's why you might benefit from swapping to a SIM-only plan:

  • You already have a phone that you like. SIM plans don't provide new handsets, so you'll need to have one of your own.
  • You don't want a contract. Whether you're waiting for a new phone release or you prefer flexibility, there are plenty of good monthly SIM-only plans.
  • You use multiple handsets. These plans aren't network-locked, so switching phones is as easy as popping in your SIM.
  • Your data usage varies monthly. You can swap plans to get more data for a few months, then drop back down.

If you like the phone you currently have, SIM-only plans are a cost-efficient choice.

Cheap SIM-only plans

We define "cheap" plans as those that cost you less than $20 per month. Plans in this price range usually include about 5GB of monthly data, giving you just over 1GB per week to play with.

Although 1GB may not sound like much these days, that's almost 7 hours of music streaming or a few hours of YouTube outside the house every week. You can even manage your use more easily with a data-tracking app.

If you're looking for something cheaper, there are plans that cost as little as $10 monthly. These offer about 1GB monthly, which is great if you're not glued to your phone very often. Some of these plans limit how many calls or texts you can make, though, and you'll have to pay for any excess.

Top 5 most popular SIM-only plans

There are hundreds of SIM-only plans on the market and while the right one for your needs will vary, sometimes it's nice to know what others have gone with to help you in your comparison. Below is a table of the top 5 most popular SIM only plans based on clicks from Finder users over the last three months.

ProviderPlan
#1Circles.LifeCircles.Life SIM-only plan. 200GB. $28/month.
#2Circles.LifeCircles.Life SIM-only plan. 50GB. $18/month.
#3numobilenumobile Month-to-Month Plan. 30GB. $30/month.
#4OptusOptus Choice. 60GB. $49/month.
#5VodafoneVodafone SIM-only Plus Plan. 10GB. $35/month.

In the last three months, Circles.Life has really stood out as a disruptor in the SIM-only plans market, with its deals blowing the rest of the competition out of the water. Just a note here that the top 2 popular plans listed in the table above are both Finder Exclusive offers, so you won't find them available to purchase anywhere else!

Is it better to go SIM-only or contract?

Getting a phone on a contract is an attractive option since the phone itself costs the same either way. But if you're willing and able to buy the handset outright, you may be able to save money in the long run.

This is because phone contracts allow companies to lock you into a non-competitive contract for a long period of time. It's made worse by the fact that most phone contracts are offered by the big three – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – which usually have pricier plans than their competition.

Here's a quick comparison:

On a planBought outright
Phone modelSamsung Galaxy S20 4G (128GB)Samsung Galaxy S20 4G (128GB)
ProviderTelstraMate
Outright cost$0$1,349
Monthly cost$106.20 ($51.20 phone + $55 plan)$40
Monthly data40GB40GB
Contract period24 monthsNo contract
Talk/textUnlimitedUnlimited
Total cost over 24 months$2,548.80$2,309

As you can see, it works out to be about $240 cheaper if you buy your phone outright and use a SIM-only plan. It might seem like you're forking over a lot of money when you buy your phone outright, but it does end up being worthwhile in the long run, especially if the SIM only plan you use with the phone is cheaper than the ones you'd get attached to a phone plan.

That said, an MVNO won't give you all the extra features that a big name like Telstra would, so the contract could still be a good choice for you. Going with a contract plan also means your handset repayments are spread out so you don't have to worry about using a chunk of money all in one go.

Whether or not a contract makes sense comes down to your needs and what (and when) you're willing to pay.

FAQ about SIM-only plans

Which SIM-only plan should I pick?

This depends on what you need out of your phone plan, but you can use our Mobile Plan Finder™ to find the right SIM-only plan for you.

Can I keep my phone number with a SIM-only deal?

Absolutely. All plan providers are legally required to port your current number over to your new service. To find out how to do this, see our guide to number porting.

Is SIM-only cheaper?

SIM-only plans aren't inherently cheaper, since you'll be paying the same for your phone whether you buy it outright or on a contract. The main benefit comes from finding a competitive monthly plan, rather than being locked into an expensive one.

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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 page below and to look for the plan that’s right for you.

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

      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

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