How to Get Started with Your Mobile When in Australia?
If you are new to Australia; and want to start with your mobile to connect with your family; and friends abroad then you need to do quite a few things. Let’s have a look at how to get started with your mobile in Australia.
- You need to find the best mobile phone deal that is cost-effective
- Use your already owned phone or get a new one
- Think of prepaid or post-paid mobile
- Get a fixed-term contract of 12- 24 months or get a monthly one
- Find the best mobile plan like the exact amount of usage; or value plan or choose a cap with limited usage.
- Have the plan with landline internet broadband or otherwise
- If you are buying a new phone then you need to pay a one-off cost for the phone itself in a plan, or have the cost of the phone covered in the monthly fee for using the phone
Getting a Prepaid Mobile Plan
‘Pre-paid’ means you will use a mobile phone that you already own; and pay in advance for using your phone on a mobile service provider’s network. That is, you buy credit. When your credit is all used up, you can receive calls but you can’t make calls. You have to buy more credit to make calls with your phone. Sometimes you lose your remaining credit if you don’t use it all within a certain time period like for 30 days.
Mobile Phone Plans and Contracts
A ‘mobile phone plan’ is what a mobile service provider will provide you with; how the provider will charge you for using your phone and how you will pay. Within each plan, there is a range of services that you need to play in different ways. Understanding how your phone will be charged; and how costs can be added to your bill will help you choose the best plan. Once you decide on a plan that suits you, you sign a ‘contract’. This is a legal agreement saying that you accept everything that’s described in the plan.
Included and Excluded value plan
‘Included value’ means everything you get for your regular monthly payment. ‘Excluded value’ is anything you have to pay extra for. For example, 1300 and 1800 numbers are part of the ‘included value’ in some plans but not in others.
The provider should be able to show you the following costs in print:
- Making a 2-minute standard voice call to another phone in Australia (including flag fall)
- Sending a standard mobile SMS (text) to another phone in Australia
- Using 1 MB (megabyte) of data when you are in Australia.
Note that if a plan includes a ‘free’ mobile phone handset; you’ll still end up paying for it one way or another. The cost is usually included in the plan’s monthly fee.
Data Mobile Plans
‘Data’ includes internet use, emails, live video chat, app updates, downloads and sending pictures in a text message (MMS).
Data does not include texting (SMS), voice calls, listening to voice messages or taking photos. Like watching a minute video online of about 5 MB. Or Downloading a casino app or game of about 350 MB etc
Finally, you need to think about which plan you want to access your online activity that is internet or web or mobile browsing. Whether you want a WI-FI 3G 4G or 5G. For data, it’s often cheaper to use your mobile phone with wi-fi than to access the internet on your mobile network. Because data charges using a mobile network are usually higher than for other forms of internet connection such as your home connection.
Other Points to Note when Getting Started with your Mobile
- The best mobile network providers in Australia are Optus, Telstra and Vodafone. Your mobile phone will utilise the 2G, 3G or 4G (5G is in the pipeline for launching in 2019/20) network. And your mobile will pick the signals as you can roam depending on your phone’s capability.
- Coverage wise Telstra’s 3G covers more of Australia than any other network. The next best coverage is Optus but that still only equates to half the space that Telstra covers. You’re unlikely to strike a problem in most larger towns and cities – it’s the rural areas where you’ll start hitting dead spots.
- Grab yourself a new SIM card once you get to Australia. You can buy these at nearly all the major supermarkets, fuel stations, and larger retail stores. Like Big-W, K-Marts and Australia Post, most shopping malls will have three major network operators and smaller resellers in them.
- A new SIM card will mean that you will receive a new mobile phone number. Often you would go on a pay-as-you-go arrangement. Also, if you are doing this, check your phone is not ‘locked’ to your network in your home country otherwise the new SIM card will not work.
- Also, you could enquire with your current service provider in your home country; and ask them what deals they have regarding roaming. With this option, check if your telco knows which network will be used in Australia. As ideally, you’ll want it to be Telstra.
- You can consider utilising Hot Spots. Many cafes and restaurants offer the facility of hooking up to their Wi-Fi Hot Spot – some are free. And some may charge a small fee for hooking up to their Wi-Fi. You may find that you can work it so that you travel the country. And hook up to a Wi-Fi connection at cafés for the small price of a coffee.
Now with all this in mind and clarity of things you can easily get started using your mobile in Australia.