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Topic # 90017 13-Sep-2011 12:45
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We're going to be in and around Sydney for a week next month, and I'm thinking I should get a local prepay SIM card so that there's data for use on maps, the obligatory tweeting, and the like while I'm over there. My wife will be keeping her phone on VFNZ roaming so it won't matter that I get a new number.

I'm wondering what is the latest experience of GZ members is on:
  • what is the best deal, for data primarily (I think 1Gb is a good baseline) but with at least 30 or 40 minutes calling too?
  • what is the best network to choose, given where I'm going to be? 
  • which is the easiest to setup and recharge with $ if required?
  • should I pack my SIM card cutter just in case?
There's so many options, and Aussie prepay call plans are very confusing.

While there's been a few previous postings on this, the last comprehensive one appears to be almost a year ago. In the meantime it seems all the rates and plans have changed. Getting up-to-date opinions on this is hard!

thanks

Alan

 

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  Reply # 520410 13-Sep-2011 12:47
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Lots of info on here about this recently, a quick search should find it all for you.

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  Reply # 520420 13-Sep-2011 12:55
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I've previously used a Virgin Mobile pre-pay SIM on the $19 cap which gives me $1GB Data and $50 calls.




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.



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  Reply # 520619 13-Sep-2011 19:46
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openmedia: I've previously used a Virgin Mobile pre-pay SIM on the $19 cap which gives me $1GB Data and $50 calls.


That's a nice deal  - I'll have a look for it. Was it a micro-SIM, or did you have to cut a regular mini-SIM down?

What was the coverage like? Speeds?

thanks! 



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Reply # 520621 13-Sep-2011 19:49
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gehenna: Lots of info on here about this recently, a quick search should find it all for you.


Hmmm, well, I'm not quickly finding it all.

Sure, there's a post in April from someone wanting to move to Australia;

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=48&topicid=81219

there's some good conversations and a blog posting in October last year;

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/vrtual/7418

another in December;

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=48&topicid=73553

All of these provide some answers, but apart from that, answers to my specific questions are not obviously findable. Many mobile providers change their plans all the time; what is good six months ago might not be so hot now. Hence my questions.

Having said that, the previous postings do hint that I should, in addition to Vodafone, consider Telstra (for coverage) and Optus (for price). I shall do this, and have been doing this, but I'm really not a lot further ahead. (Not that Geekzone owes me any answers of course.)

(Edited to add hyperlinks.)

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  Reply # 520629 13-Sep-2011 19:59
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Another option for Virgin (what I used last time I was in Aussie) is the Home Made plan, $0.10/min back to NZ Landline or Mobile, $19 topup last 28 days IIRC (the SIM is $10, with $10 credit, 28 days expiry).

a 1GB pack will cost you $10, not sure if you can get a Micro SIM?

nzbnw 







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  Reply # 520634 13-Sep-2011 20:12
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Telstra will give you the most reliable and fastest experience, if that's important to you. It's slightly more expensive than the alternatives though (Virgin, Three, etc)



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  Reply # 520683 13-Sep-2011 21:16
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nzbnw: Another option for Virgin (what I used last time I was in Aussie) is the Home Made plan, $0.10/min back to NZ Landline or Mobile, $19 topup last 28 days IIRC (the SIM is $10, with $10 credit, 28 days expiry).

a 1GB pack will cost you $10, not sure if you can get a Micro SIM? 


That is a nice deal. But I checked it out and it looks like the Prepay data is only 300Mb per $10 recharge; so yeah, pretty good if you don't need data.

I think I'm starting to need a slightly obsessive Google spreadsheet for this.   :-)

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  Reply # 520690 13-Sep-2011 21:27
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amaysim is pretty hard to beat pricewise - www.amaysim.com.au

They're an MVNO on the Optus network.

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  Reply # 520706 13-Sep-2011 22:02
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When I was in Australia in April I went on Optus for 21 days, I went on this plan:

http://personal.optus.com.au/web/ocaportal.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=Template_woRHS&FP=/p...

Unlimited calling, texts, and data for $2 a day, its great for if you have other people on Australian networks to contact but its not so flexible you were going to be calling or texting back to New Zealand. I think calls back to NZ were $1 a minute, not so sure about texts.

My brother and Dad were on Telstra the 21 days and only topped up once when they landed and both used calling, texting and data for the entire time casually I think. We drove from Sydney to Melbourne spending a couple of days in and around Sydney, coverage was pretty equal at all times to be honest, Telstra was a little faster than Optus for data.

I found with the unlimited use plan I never had to worry about how much I was using which was handy. There was Telstra, Vodafone and Optus stores all at Sydney airport when we landed so sorted out Sims there, not sure about micro Sims as we didn't need any.

Keep in mind when you buy a sim it needs to be registered in your name so you'll need to have your passport with you, technically you need an Australian address too but since we were in a campervan for the trip the Optus store just use a random address for Tourists.

I used the Vodafone Australia forum when I had questions as I was considering them, if you have any plan questions you could always contact customer service via email prior to leaving. Or it'd be fairly easy to ask at the different stores at the Airport.

Hope this helps a bit, if you have other questions I'll try and answer them for you!

Alex

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  Reply # 520708 13-Sep-2011 22:04
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I go with Vodafone, for the reason that they give out free sim's at Sydney airport (stall next to arrivals), their prepay plan is $29 and gives you 500mb data, $150 of credit (incl calls to Aus, NZ e.t.c) and $350 credit to vodafone AU, free twitter, Facebook, foursquare blah blah blah (I don't work for them, promise!). Anywho, heres link http://vodafone.com.au/personal/prepaid/home/options/flexi-cap/index.htm I used for 14 days when I was there and hotspot with 4 other devices, I still didn't reach my limits.

The again, there is always Optus, or Telstra or......

FYI. Three is now owned by VodafoneAU. So VodafoneAU have 2x as many stores as they used to. 



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  Reply # 520709 13-Sep-2011 22:14
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Thanks for all the replies.

One thing that seems amazing to me is how unbelievably cheap prepaid mobile is in Australia. It must be all that competition!

Pricing wise, they all seem to use the concept of "included call credit", so that you pay $40 and they'll "give" you "$500" call credit. I assume this is a way to a) confuse people; and b) to obscure the fact that actual call prices are now down to mere single digit cents per minute or less.

I think I will take my SIM cutter so that I don't have to worry about trying to find an actual "iPhone" plan. 

I'm still investigating, but after the above replies am leaning towards Telstra for speed and coverage. It turns out that when you do the numbers they actually have some of the best prepaid offers too - for the example the "Prepaid Cap+" has a nice mix of included credit )great for international calls back home), Australia calls and texts, and a decent amount of data for $40.

(Telstra's detailed PDF here.)

I might post my Google Spreadsheet later if I can get it into a decent state. Boost Mobile (Optus?) and Vodafone also have some nice prepaid offers too.

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  Reply # 520710 13-Sep-2011 22:15
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I have used Telstra in the past but currently use Vodafone. The Telstra network is fantastic - great coverage and very fast. However, it is more expensive. I changed to Vodafone because my Telstra sim expired (6 months of no use) and it was going to be $30 for a new one. Vodafone is far cheaper - I think I paid $5 for a microsim. I use the data prepaid packs, which from memory were $5 for 150mb. The network isn't great but is more than adequate for email, maps etc on an iPhone when in Australia for a few days.



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  Reply # 520711 13-Sep-2011 22:23
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I changed to Vodafone because my Telstra sim expired (6 months of no use) and it was going to be $30 for a new one. Vodafone is far cheaper - I think I paid $5 for a microsim.


Telstra do now appear to offer SIMs for $2 but it's not clear if they are MicroSIMs or not. 



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  Reply # 520715 13-Sep-2011 22:35
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sbiddle: amaysim is pretty hard to beat pricewise - www.amaysim.com.au They're an MVNO on the Optus network.


Wow: those guys do seem pretty good: all MicroSIMs and very very cheap. I suppose I could get the SIM sent to a friends place in Oz... 

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  Reply # 520996 14-Sep-2011 15:14
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I have been using Amaysim for 3 months in Brisbane, no flagfalls, free calls to landlines and mobiles, free txts and 4GB data.

$39AUD per month

Can't beat it. The only extra cost is to txt or ring NZ or any toll calls like to 6 digit Australia number like taxi companies



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