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Now I am back on the topic of prepaid data and simcards again. No matter how much I research all the different options to get to an affordable yet useable (i.e. enough data) solution, I bump my head against a wall.

The scenario: I have an iPhone, a Samsung tablet and a Laptop (which obviously all use data). I am coming over to Australia (Melbourne) about 3 months before my partner and therefore I need to be able to have enough data to Skype video call at least once a day. Then just normal web browsing, email and other normal usage; nothing too hectic.

The problem: I keep on hearing that Telstra is the best. But they are also the most expensive and their data allocations on prepaid is not very generous. (Then again it seems pre-paid data is relatively expensive on all the networks).

I have looked at Optus. They have a $2/day card which sounds quite cool since you get 500MB data a day. I thought of doing that and then using my phone / tablet as a Wi-Fi hotspot for the PC, but then I read in the fine print that it is not allowed on that plan.

I am at a loss; I don’t know which option to take that will work out the best for me. Luckily the people I am living with for the first few weeks as home broadband, so I can use that when at home. But when I move into my own place that is not an option any more…

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The reason people say Telstra is the best is not because of service or prices or data allowances or plans but solely because Telstra has the best coverage. I travel to country areas alot and have been with Vodafone and Optus but had to move to Telstra because I got sick and tired of not having any signal. Now that is in country areas. When I am in the city it was fine.

The others besides Telstra offer much plans and prices than Telstra and if you are going to be solely in a major city they will be fine.

But for you to skype each day will require lots of data. Skype suggests you will use 3Mb per minute for a voice call and 15Mb per minute for a video call. So a 30 minute video call per day will use 30 min x 15 megs x 30 days = 13.5 gigs a month. Ouch!

You would be better off getting a 4G wifi modem https://www.optus.com.au/shop/broadband/mobilebroadband/e5776/wifi

$67 a month gets you 10 gigs with Optus and you can connect all your devices to it via wifi

http://www.virginmobile.com.au/mobile-broadband-plans

$60 gets you 13 gigs with Virgin

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I made the mistake of buying a 4G modem from Telstra. It is blazing fast at 50Mbs, but boy do you go through your data quickly. I have adsl2 at home now and have a $30 per month prepaid telstra sim in my Ipad that gives me 3gigs a month. Aldi sells 2gig a month prepaid plans for $15, but I haven't tried them.

Edited by AndreR
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There are three main phone carrier networks in Australia . . . . Telstra (the new name for Telecom Australia since 1998 and obviously Australian owned), Optus which has been bought from Cable & Wireless (British company) by Singapore Telecom about 12 years ago, and Vodafone (British company).

Every other phone company in Australia piggy backs off one of these networks in Australia . . . . Boost (Telstra), Amaysim (Optus), Virgin, Lebara and others.

Living in one of Australia's major capital cities . . . . Melbourne . . . will be pretty well covered by all the three networks, so you needn't pay thro the nose for good national coverage unless you're regularly travelling across Australia and going thro some of Australia's more remote regions.

My advice is to give Amaysim a good look.

They piggy back off the Optus network, so wherever you can get an Optus signal, Amaysim will operate.

I get unlimited calls to landlines and mobile phones within Australia, unlimited text messages (SMS) within Australia, unlimited photos (MMS) within Australia, calls unlimited to 1300 and 1800 numbers (the kind of numbers that banks and other businesses use for you to call them on).

I get a whopping 4Gb of data to use on my mobile phone. I use an iPhone 4S which I tether to my Apple MacBook for internet. After hooking up with Amaysim in early October after being abroad for a number of months last year, I texted "TETHER" to the Amaysim call centre and they switched me over to be able use my mobile phone as a modem for internet purposes with my MacBook.

Cost A$39.90 a month (30 days)

I belong to my local automobile association here in Adelaide, so the AA in South Australia has a special deal with Woolworth's, allowing me to buy A$100 shopping vouchers for A$95. I use these each month to buy an Amaysim Unlimited pre-pay (pay as you go) voucher and that only actually costs me A$37.90 using the Woolworth's shopping card.

So . . . . $37.90 a month for unlimited calls, texts, photos and 4Gb of data is not too bad.

http://www.amaysim.com.au/mobile-plans/amaysim-unlimited.html?cid=gsems&s_kwcid=TC%257C16539%257Camaysim%257C%257CS%257Ce%257C32283676313

Check out Amaysim's call rates for calling overseas to South Africa and other international destinations.

If you want to make heaps of overseas calls to South Africa, then Lebara may also be worth a look, but I don't think their data package is as good as Amaysim.

Edited by Bob
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You would be better off getting a 4G wifi modem https://www.optus.com.au/shop/broadband/mobilebroadband/e5776/wifi

$67 a month gets you 10 gigs with Optus and you can connect all your devices to it via wifi

The 4G modem sounds like just the thing I need! Thanks Jordy!

Aldi sells 2gig a month prepaid plans for $15, but I haven't tried them.

I will look into that thanks :)

Living in one of Australia's major capital cities . . . . Melbourne . . . will be pretty well covered by all the three networks, so you needn't pay thro the nose for good national coverage unless you're regularly travelling across Australia and going thro some of Australia's more remote regions.

My advice is to give Amaysim a good look.

They piggy back off the Optus network, so wherever you can get an Optus signal, Amaysim will operate.

I get unlimited calls to landlines and mobile phones within Australia, unlimited text messages (SMS) within Australia, unlimited photos (MMS) within Australia, calls unlimited to 1300 and 1800 numbers (the kind of numbers that banks and other businesses use for you to call them on).

I get a whopping 4Gb of data to use on my mobile phone. I use an iPhone 4S which I tether to my Apple MacBook for internet. After hooking up with Amaysim in early October after being abroad for a number of months last year, I texted "TETHER" to the Amaysim call centre and they switched me over to be able use my mobile phone as a modem for internet purposes with my MacBook.

Check out Amaysim's call rates for calling overseas to South Africa and other international destinations.

If I can tether that will be awesome. I do not want to buy 3 different sim cards!

Thanks for all your advice everyone! Awesome! I knew this was where I was going to find the answers.

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I travel around (out of the city) a heck of a lot so went with telstra for the coverage, and have a telstra 4g wireless hotspot device sitting in the closet gathering dust, if you decide to go with a telstra plan you more than welcome to borrow it (Im also in Melbourne)

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I use a fair bit of data and this is what I have come across. Telstra is not the best they just have the best coverage but the worst plans. The rest of them have ups and downs with coverage even in the big cities but one thing they all have in common is congestion so speeds tend to be slow in peak hours. Look carefully at the coverage maps they provide and go with whoever has the best coverage where you live. Also make sure you check coverage inside the house as a lot of the networks have problems penetrating wooden walls.

However for Skyping I found around 5am the best as its about 9pm in South Africa and the speeds are generally good then.

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Hi there.

After speaking to a new arrival yesterday I realised that many Saffers might not know about Whirlpool. There's a bit of moaning there, like any forum, but it gives you access to info about all kinds of options for just about anything. There are numerous sub forums to read up info on and pose your own questions.

Check them out for your mobile data questions.

For broadband info: http://bc.whirlpool.net.au

For forums: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au

-G

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Whirlpool is an awesome source for info, Like any forum just filter the trolls and people who are going way over the top with a complaint. Also have a couple of 4g modems laying about if you need for telstra,

Good luck with your travels

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Bronwyn&Co

Hi there.

After speaking to a new arrival yesterday I realised that many Saffers might not know about Whirlpool. There's a bit of moaning there, like any forum, but it gives you access to info about all kinds of options for just about anything. There are numerous sub forums to read up info on and pose your own questions.

Check them out for your mobile data questions.

For broadband info: http://bc.whirlpool.net.au

For forums: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au

-G

I like Whirlpool. Just remember to check the dates of the posts.

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Firstly maybe phone every 2nd day, that will cut your costs in half to start with. Then use whatup or something similar for the day you don't call.

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I like Whirlpool. Just remember to check the dates of the posts.

I love Whirlpool as well, sometimes "Whinge-Pool" Gee people can whinge on there and attack each other, but it is a heck of a good source or useful relevant information.

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SurferMan

I had Vivid, what a crap service, all the excuses in the known universe. Switched Telstra, ADSL2 at home, and contract phones. Yes expensive, but peerless performance and coverage. Like Telkom without the K@k.... :ilikeit::ilikeit:

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Hi

I keep reading these suggestions but need some clarity.

Please can anyone advise what "pay as you go" packages for cell phones one should get when you arrive in Australia that won't break the bank? We are 2 adults and 2 kids.

We are initially staying with friends and then need to find a place to rent. When we have a plave to rent what is the best package to get for Tv, adsl as these seem to be linked?

thanks

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Hi

I keep reading these suggestions but need some clarity.

Please can anyone advise what "pay as you go" packages for cell phones one should get when you arrive in Australia that won't break the bank? We are 2 adults and 2 kids.

We are initially staying with friends and then need to find a place to rent. When we have a plave to rent what is the best package to get for Tv, adsl as these seem to be linked?

thanks

You will have to look at the plans and see which one suits your needs, I have a Virgin $50 which gives me free txts in Australia free Virgin to Virgin and $700 credit and I can use all of it on international calls if I wish plus 3gb of data. Broadband you cant go past IInet or TPG for value.

As for TV forget Foxtel etc as all the shows you watched on DSTV are on free TV here.

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Thank you for your advice everyone! Appreciated!

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Hi

I keep reading these suggestions but need some clarity.

Please can anyone advise what "pay as you go" packages for cell phones one should get when you arrive in Australia that won't break the bank? We are 2 adults and 2 kids.

We are initially staying with friends and then need to find a place to rent. When we have a plave to rent what is the best package to get for Tv, adsl as these seem to be linked?

thanks

For our mobiles, we have used the Vodafone "International" pre-paid service. We found that for basic phone use, these rates worked out the best. We do not use our mobiles much, and only use it for making phone calls, no internet activities. If you recharge with $20 + per month, you get free Vodafone to Vodafone calls. You can roll forward any unused credit provided you recharge within 30 days.

http://www.vodafone.com.au/personal/prepaid

At home we went with Optus Entertainment Bundle (For $115 per month gets you unlimited Cable or ADSL, home phone with free calls to most landline numbers in Australia, and Optus TV with Fetch, which is a PVR on which you also get 30 free pre-selected movies a month, and can rent online from about 2000 movies (not Foxtel)

https://www.optus.com.au/shop/broadband/bundles/115-entertainment

Edited by Eagle101
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Can you get an Aussie mobile number from a service provider and then later switch to another and still keep your number? What happens if you go from a "pay as you go" option to a contract option...can you keep your number?

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Yes you can move your number between any Australian carriers and you can also move from pay as you go to on a plan with no issue.

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Cool thanx. I want to let my brother in Aus get me a number so long so I can have bew business cards printed here before we go. The card shop has my design on file so I can just ask them to change my nr and website so at least I will have the cards as soon as we getto Aus. I just dont want to get there and not happy with the provider and then I am stuck with the number and loads of business cards etc.

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Quite frankly, anyone living in an urban area getting reasonable reception from Optus (95% of Australia's population) would seriously need to reconsider if they are willing to pay $130 a month to Telstra, over 24 months (= $3 120) when you can get the same deal, if not better (4 Gb of data each month, instead of only 3Gb) from AMAYSIM, which piggy back off Optus, for only $37.90 a month (- $909.72 over 24 months) . . . . a saving of over $2100! . . . . the price of a return airfare to Joburg from Sydney.

Why would any normal person want to pay nearly $100 a month more for a plan that has less Gbs a month???

I don't get it, unless there is only Telstra reception where you happen to unfortunately live.

http://www.amaysim.com.au/mobile-plans/amaysim-unlimited.html

I can't see Telstra chucking in a free trip to Joburg.

Edited by Bob
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Cool thanx. I want to let my brother in Aus get me a number so long so I can have bew business cards printed here before we go. The card shop has my design on file so I can just ask them to change my nr and website so at least I will have the cards as soon as we getto Aus. I just dont want to get there and not happy with the provider and then I am stuck with the number and loads of business cards etc.

If you're not happy with a phone provider, find another phone company that gives better service / pricing, etc and "port", or carry your phone number across to that new phone company.

They will get in touch with your old phone company and arrange to carry your number across, free of charge.

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@Bob

Yep i hear you on the cost, but it is situational

We have a ADSL2+ connection to home, as i do a lot of work from home low latency is really important, even though the cell data connections get really great throughput their latency is not great, so im stuck on copper

We also go camping all the time, so the cell phone connection needs to be telstra for their coverage

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@Bob

Yep i hear you on the cost, but it is situational

We have a ADSL2+ connection to home, as i do a lot of work from home low latency is really important, even though the cell data connections get really great throughput their latency is not great, so im stuck on copper

We also go camping all the time, so the cell phone connection needs to be telstra for their coverage

Unfortunately, you're paying dearly for the amount of Gbs that you're getting on your mobile phone, if you go with Telstra.

I don't know where you live, but I suspect it's in an area only serviced by Telstra, the others having next to no coverage.

I was with Telstra a couple of years ago when I was travelling around Australia, camping a lot in country and Outback areas and needing the very best network coverage that a phone company could provide . . . . . . but I paid dearly for it, to keep in the loop with my kids and other family folk.

Telstra is an Australian company, the shareholders being largely the mums and dads and superannuation funds of Aussies here in Australia, so ordinarily I'd support them, but with their costs double compared to a similar monthly plan from another phone company, I just think the good people of Australia are paying a little over the top.

Last year, in Britain, where I stayed 6 months travelling around, I had an iPhone 4S hooked up with unlimited calls, unlimited text messages (SMS), and UNLIMITED data (up to 1 000Gb!) a month for 25 Pounds (around $45 Australian) with no lock-in contract (just 30 days notice).

It was with 3.

I joined Netflix, too, in the U.K. and was watching a movie just about every day, downloaded on my laptop.

Now . . . just compare that to any Telstra plan on offer in Australia and they'd add another $100 a month to that price.

I came home to Australia, just with my Apple laptop and iPhone to provide all my connectivity (I type on it now) and I just tether my iPhone to my Apple laptop for internet, internet banking, getting my emails, surfing the web, going on e-bay . . . . you name it.

Amaysim have the best option for me. I don't have ADSL, as I'm always on the move, but why should you pay heaps for ADSL when there are so many companies out there to provide unlimited GBs for around $60 a month ?. . . . . . half the cost of Telstra's.

http://landing.dodo.com/unlimitedadsl2_1310_platinum_google/?&transaction_id=102874e76493c44a697e1c6b042027&offer_id=552&offer_name=Unlimited+ADSL2%2B+%2439.90+Oct13+-+Platinum+%28Google%29+%5BDOD_A0107%5D&affiliate_id=1212&affiliate_name=Google+AdWords+%28Dodo+Telco%29&advertiser_id=500&aff_sub=&source=

http://www.tpg.com.au

http://www.internode.on.net

To the newcomers to Australia, I'd advise them to shop around and go for the best deal, whether it's for a monthly mobile phone useage, internet for the home computer or even getting a mortgage to buy your first house in Australia.

There are good deals out there, with the occasional better deals, so for comparison here are Telstra's deals

http://www.telstra.com.au/broadband/

Enjoy.

Edited by Bob
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