Best SIM-only plans in Australia (February 2024)

Young woman using smartphone in Sydney
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A SIM-only plan could be right for you if you already own a phone you’re happy with, or you’re looking to buy your next mobile phone outright. Put simply, a SIM-only plan doesn’t lock you into paying off a handset – it just offers you data, calls and text messages.

This page looks at postpaid SIM-only plans, which means you pay your bill once a month at the end of your billing cycle. That’s different to prepaid plans, which you pay for before you start using it. We have an in-depth guide to the best prepaid mobile plans in Australia if you want to go the prepaid route instead.

We’ve found that the best SIM-only plans aren’t available directly from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone, but rather come from resellers known as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). MVNOs are smaller telcos which don’t own the infrastructure they use to provide your mobile service – they buy access from the big three, and then resell it onto you, often at a much cheaper price. Well-known MVNOs include Amaysim, Boost Mobile and Belong.

Ready for our recommendations? Read on or if you know what you want, jump ahead using the links below:

Jump to:
Best SIM-only plan for most people – Spintel 25GB for AU$14p/m
Best cheap SIM-only plan – Spintel 25GB for AU$14p/m
Best high data plan – Moose Mobile 100GB for AU$28.80p/m
Best 5G SIM-only plan – Tangerine 64GB for AU$33p/m
Best SIM-only plan on the Telstra network – Tangerine 64GB for AU$33p/m
Best SIM-only plan on the Optus network – Spintel 25GB for AU$14p/m
Best SIM-only plan on the Vodafone network – iiNet 40GB for AU$15p/m

Noteworthy SIM-only deals for February 2024

We’ll get to our best SIM-only recommendations below, but first, we’re highlighting a number of ace deals on postpaid SIMs. Here are the current offers worth considering before choosing your provider:

Best SIM-only plans: our picks

Best SIM-only plan for most people

Spintel25GB dataNo lock-in contractAU$14p/m (first 6 months, then AU$22p/m)

Spintel | 25GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$14p/m (first 6 months, then AU$22p/m)

Spintel is our new choice this month for best SIM-only plan. The intro offer is ridiculously cheap, starting at AU$14 a month for your first six months, which gets you a healthy 25GB.  After the intro offer ends, the ongoing cost only increases to AU$22 a month, which is significantly less than what you’d pay with any of the major telcos. Spintel’s mobile coverage comes from the Optus 4G Plus network, and the provider is highly rated on Product Review.

Total minimum cost is AU$14 | Total cost for first year: AU$216 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$264

Best cheap SIM-only plan

Spintel25GB dataNo lock-in contractAU$14p/m (first 6 months, then AU$22p/m)

Spintel | 25GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$14p/m (first 6 months, then AU$22p/m)

Spintel is also our new recommendation for best cheap SIM-only plan. You’ll initially pay AU$14 a month for Spintel’s 25GB plan, which then reverts to its standard cost of AU$22 after your first six months on the service. It’s really incredible value if you’re looking for an alternative to the major telcos (it’ll cost you just AU$216 for your first year!) and its coverage is secured from the Optus 4G network, which should be reliable in most parts of Australia.

Total minimum cost is AU$14 | Total cost for first year: AU$216 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$264

Best high data plan

Moose Mobile100GB dataNo lock-in contractAU$28.80p/m (first 12 months, then AU$36.80p/m)

Moose Mobile | 100GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$28.80p/m (first 12 months, then AU$36.80p/m)

There was no contest this month – Moose Mobile easily has the best high data plan. It comes with 100GB of data every month, and you’re able to rollover any unused data into a bank of up to 200GB. You’ll pay a very reasonable AU$28.80 a month for your first 12 months with Moose Mobile, before your bill reverts back to the regular pricing of AU$36.80 each billing. Coverage comes from the Optus 4G network.

Total minimum cost is AU$28.80 | Total cost for first year: AU$345.60 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$441.60

Best 5G SIM-only plan

Tangerine64GB data (first 3 months, then 32GB)No lock-in contractAU$33p/m (first 2 months free)

Tangerine | 64GB data (first 3 months, then 32GB) | No lock-in contract | AU$33p/m (first 2 months free)

Our new pick for best 5G SIM-only plan goes to Tangerine. This plan comes with double data for your first three months, so you’ll initially get 64GB each month before it reverts back to the standard 32GB. On top of that, you get your first two months with Tangerine completely free, after which you’ll pay AU$33 each billing. Tangerine uses parts of the Telstra 5G network, but download speeds are capped at 100Mbps.

Total minimum cost is AU$0 | Total cost for first year: AU$330 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$396

Best SIM-only plan on the Telstra network

Tangerine64GB data (first 3 months, then 32GB)No lock-in contractAU$33p/m (first 2 months free)

Tangerine | 64GB data (first 3 months, then 32GB) | No lock-in contract | AU$33p/m (first 2 months free)

Tangerine is also our top pick for best SIM-only plan on the Telstra network. You’ll get your first two months for free, and after that, your plan will only cost you AU$33 a month – much cheaper than going with Telstra direct. You also get bonus double data for your first three months, and any unused gigs get rolled over into a data bank which holds up to 500GB. Your download speeds are capped at 100Mbps, which is on par with the best NBN 100 plans.

Total minimum cost is AU$0 | Total cost for first year: AU$330 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$396

• Not the right plan for you? Check out our comparison of the best Telstra mobile plans.

Best SIM-only plan on the Optus network

Spintel25GB dataNo lock-in contractAU$14p/m (first 6 months, then AU$22p/m)

Spintel | 25GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$14p/m (first 6 months, then AU$22p/m)

Spintel took out the best SIM-only plan this month, so naturally it's our pick for best SIM-only plan on the Optus network as well. The intro price is very affordable at just AU$14, and even after the price increases after your first six months, it only goes up to AU$22 a month. Whatever way you spin it, Spintel is much cheaper than Optus – Optus’ Small plan is AU$49 for 30GB of data.

Total minimum cost is AU$14 | Total cost for first year: AU$216 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$264

• Not what you’re looking for? See our comparison of the best Optus mobile plans.

Best SIM-only plan on the Vodafone network

iiNet40GB dataNo lock-in contractAU$15p/m (first 6 months, then AU$29.99p/m)

iiNet | 40GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$15p/m (first 6 months, then AU$29.99p/m)

You may know iiNet for its internet plans, but the provider has also moved into the mobile space, and it’s offering a great SIM-only deal. The plan is discounted by 50% for your first six months, so you’ll initially pay just AU$15 for 40GB of data. It then reverts back to its standard price of AU$30 each billing, which still makes it better value than any of Vodafone’s mobile plans.

Total minimum cost is AU$15 | Total cost for first year: AU$269.94 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$359.88

Not what you want? We’ve also got a full comparison of all the best Vodafone mobile plans.

How we judge

To select our picks for the best SIM-only plans, our experts consider and weigh the following key aspects:

Data allowance: The average Australian uses 15.9GB of data each month on a postpaid plan, so we only recommend plans with 15GB of data at a minimum. Conversely, we generally don’t recommend plans with exceptionally high data allowances either, as most Aussies simply won’t use that data, so there’s no point paying for it. 

Included calls and SMS: Most SIM-only plans now come with unlimited talk and text to standard numbers in Australia, so we don’t recommend plans without this feature.

Price: Price plays a big part in our decision-making process, and is weighed up alongside the included data allowance. We look for SIM-only plans that come with a good-value cost-per-gigabyte, both before and after any initial discount periods. Speaking of discounts, lots of telcos offer discounts for six months or more when you first sign up, but the ongoing price must also remain competitive in the market to get our recommendation.

Network coverage: Network coverage is our next big consideration when judging SIM-only plans. Regardless of their size, all Australian telcos use either the Telstra, Optus or Vodafone networks to provide their services, so knowing which network a provider uses gives us an idea of what that telco’s coverage is like. Telstra has the widest-reaching 4G and 5G coverage in Australia, and Optus trails not too far behind. Vodafone has the smallest network of the big three, but its 5G coverage now reaches 85% of the population in 10 major cities and regions.

Perks: We consider additional perks as nice to have, but they’re not a key driver of our best SIM-only plan picks. Some examples of perks include Australian-based support, or the ability to bank any unused data each month. Some providers offer financial perks too, for instance, Everyday Mobile (formerly Woolworths Mobile) gives its customers 10% off a grocery shop each month at Woolies.

Should I go SIM-only?

If you a) want to save some money; b) don’t want to be tied into a lengthy contract; c) already own a perfectly fine phone; or d) all of the above, then going SIM-only is a logical choice. In fact, you’re probably in one of two situations if your thoughts are turning to a SIM-only mobile plan:

1. You’re coming to the end of your contract and your phone is still fighting fit. On a good SIM-only plan, you’ll wind up paying much less than you are under contract, and you can often stick to a rolling month-to-month arrangement so that if your circumstances change, you can change with them.

2. It’s time for a shiny new smartphone and you want to get the best value humanly possible. You’ll have to find a few hundred bucks (or thousand at this stage) upfront for the handset, but if you choose a sensible SIM-only plan you’ll end up better off at the end of it all. Plus, if you’re a commitment-phobe, most SIM-only plans don’t require you to sign up for two years of handset repayments, like you would with a normal contract.

What is an MVNO?

A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a telco that does not own the network which it uses to provide mobile services to its customers. Many SIM-only providers are MVNOs, meaning they resell access to the Telstra, Optus or Vodafone networks – usually at much lower prices than the big three will offer themselves.

For this reason, you’ll find that we frequently recommend MVNOs for some of the best SIM-only plans in Australia. Some of the major MVNO brands are Amaysim (Optus), Belong (Telstra), Circles.Life (Optus) and Everyday Mobile (Telstra).

What SIM card size do I need?

There are three sizes of SIM card that you can get for your phone, and the one you need will depend on your handset. It’s been a while since the traditional, so-called standard SIM (15 x 25mm) has genuinely been the staple in new phones.

Instead, any phone you’ve bought within the last five or so years is much more likely to require a micro (12 x 15mm) or nano (8.8 x 12.3mm) SIM – the iPhone 5 was Apple’s first mobile with a nano SIM, while Samsung began using the smallest size in its Galaxy S6.

Before you purchase your new SIM, double-check the manufacturer’s website to see what size you require. And if you’re simply not sure, most networks now send out a triple SIM, so you'll get one of each size.

What contract length should I get?

Unlike with a standard post-paid mobile plan, there’s a lot more flexibility available when it comes to how long your SIM-only plan will last. Because there are no handset repayments to factor in, 2-year commitments are virtually unheard of here, with the norm now being rolling one-month contracts for ultimate flexibility.

You can occasionally get better prices if you tie yourself in for 12 months. But sticking to one month at a time means that you could effectively hand-pick a new plan to suit you every 30 days or so.

How much data do I need?

Because most SIM-only plans come on a lock-in contract, and you can change your plan up more easily than you could on a lengthier 24- or 36-month contract, it’s less crucial to get your data requirements perfect from the start. But if you’re considering a contract of any kind, or just put a personal pride on getting things right the first time, we’ll help you find the data sweet spot.

Firstly, check your phone to see how much data you’ve been using to date, and whether you have the tendency to use more than your current allowance every month, or less. This should provide a good estimate of how much a new plan needs, but if you’re still unsure, here's some general data-use guidance:

0-5GB: Tiny amounts of data on SIM-only plans could be a blessing or a curse. If you’re aiming for a SIM to put in a rarely used phone that will scarcely be away from Wi-Fi then this amount makes some sense. But if you end up with a plan that only has 5GB or less because your head’s turned by the incredible price, you could ultimately end up paying more if you continually go over your allowance.

5-15GB: If your phone is almost always connected to a Wi-Fi network at home, and you’re a fairly light data user during the times you’re out and about, then a data plan between 5-15GB could work for you. If you just use Google Maps, occasionally stream music and check social media, plans in this bracket will give you enough freedom to safely scroll while you’re away from Wi-Fi.

15-50GB: A report published in December 2023 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found that the average mobile user in Australia uses 15.9GB of data a month, so phone plans in this bracket will be best for most people. If you like to stream music or videos and download podcasts when you’re on 4G or 5G, or you use map apps on a daily basis and generally have a data-intensive lifestyle, this is likely to be the cap you should be looking at. Keeping under 50GB can keep your costs affordable too.

50-100GB: You’re going to have to be a real data-drainer for more than 50GB a month to be necessary. This amount will be helpful if you download apps or other large files on the go, stream in HD, frequently use your phone as a hotspot or work from somewhere that doesn’t have Wi-Fi.

100GB-unlimited: 100GB+ plans are for the truly heavy users; let’s be frank – if you’re using this much per month, you’ve either got a serious YouTube/TikTok addiction, or you’re tethering to your phone as your only internet connection. Unlimited data plans aren’t particularly common, with the small MVNO Felix being the only telco to offer a truly unlimited mobile data plan. Felix caps its speeds at 20Mbps, which is still good for streaming video and music. But for most people, unlimited data simply isn’t necessary.

The SIM-only plans on this page are checked regularly, so make sure you visit often if you want to get the most up-to-date information on the plans that are currently available.

Jasmine Gearie
Ecommerce Editor

Jasmine Gearie is an Ecommerce Editor at TechRadar Australia, with a primary focus on helping readers cut through the jargon to find the best mobile and internet plans for their needs. She crunches the numbers to maintain dedicated guides to the latest phones, NBN and broadband plans of all types, and covers the important telco industry news. She also hunts down tech deals on laptops, phones, gaming consoles and more, so readers know where to buy the products they want for the cheapest prices.