A SIM-only plan is a mobile phone contract that offers calls, texts and data in return for a monthly fee, but doesn't come bundled with a phone. Leaving the phone out of the equation means SIM-only plans can be much cheaper than general mobile phone plans which makes them ideal if you already have a handset or are eyeing up a SIM-free phone.
To make things easy for you, we've gone through and combed through all of Australia’s available SIM-only plans to picks the ones we think offer the most bang for your buck. Our choices start from $16 per month for a basic plan, but we've also looked at more expensive plans at $40 and $60, and there are some great options for power users who need loads of data.
- Discover our picks for the best outright mobile phones on the planet
Below, you'll find the very best SIM-only plans in Australia as of March 2018. Whether you’re after the cheapest plan possible, want to dig out the best-value big data SIM plan or just want an all-round great deal but don’t know how much to spend, you should find a recommendation here that suits your needs.
Best SIM-only plans for under $25 a month
Virgin Mobile| 12-month contract | 5GB data | Unlimited national calls and text | Unused data rollover | $24 per month | Optus 4G Network
A good SIM-only plan for those who don't mind being on a contract, you get unlimited calls and texts within Australia, $50 worth of international calls and 5GB of monthly data for $24 per month. Best of all, any data you don't used gets rolled over to the next month. Minimum cost $288 over 12 months.
Amaysim | No contracts | 2.5GB data | Unlimited national calls | Unlimited texts | $20 per 28 days | Optus 4G Network
With its new SIM-only, pay-as-you-go plans, Amaysim is offering terrific value when it comes to data, talk and text. $20 will get you 2.5GB of data, unlimited national talk and text, all on the Optus 4G Network.
Vaya | No contracts | 3GB data | Unlimited national calls | Unlimited texts | $24 per month | Optus 4G Network
A plan that offers terrific value, Vaya's Unlimited 3GB plan offers unlimited national calls and texts with 3GB of data for just $24 per month. Best of all, there are no contracts involved, so your minimum cost is the initial monthly payment.
Best SIM-only plans for under $40 a month
Amaysim | No contracts | 15GB data | Unlimited national calls (international calls included) | Unlimited texts | $40 per 28 days | Optus 4G Network
A fantastic package on a pay-as-you-go plans, Amaysim is offering 15GB data, plus unlimited national talk and text. You'll also get unlimited international calls to 10 specific countries, and 300 minutes to a further 22 countries. Amazing value for only $40 per 28 days.
Virgin Mobile | 12-month contract | 15GB + 13GB bonus data | Unlimited national calls | Unlimited texts | $300 international calls and text |$40 per month | Optus 4G Network
If data is what you crave, you can't go wrong with this exceptional deal that offers 28GB of total monthly data (with data rollover), unlimited talk and text, and $300 worth of international calls for only $40 per month. The catch? You'll need to go on a 12-month contract. Still pretty great, if you ask us. Minimum cost $480 over 12 months.
Optus | 12-month contract | 10GB + 5GB bonus data | $300 international calls (select countries) | Unlimited national texts | $40 per month | Optus 4G Network
While this plan does require you to sign up to a 12-month contract, there's plenty of value included here for just $40 per month. You get 15GB of total monthly data (10GB + 5GB bonus when you sign up or recontract), as well as data-free streaming through selected apps, with an Optus Sports subscription also included. Minimum cost $480 over 12 months.
Think Mobile | No contracts | 10GB + 10GB bonus data | Unlimited national calls and texts | $37 per month | Vodafone 4G Network (in available areas)
With up to 4G speeds in available areas on the Vodafone network, Think Mobile's Ultimate 10GB plan offers double data for the first 12 months (so long as you sign up before February 28, 2018), giving customers a total of 20GB to play with for only $37 per month. You also get unlimited calls and texts. If the '4G in available areas' thing has you hesitant, you'll be happy to know that there are no contracts involved in this SIM-only plan, meaning you opt out at any time.
Best SIM-only plans for under $60 a month
Amaysim | No contracts | 20GB data | Unlimited national calls (international calls included) | Unlimited texts | $50 per 28 days | Optus 4G Network
Another terrific pay-as-you-go plans from Amaysim gives you 250GB data, plus unlimited national talk and text. You'll also get unlimited international calls to 10 specific countries, and 300 minutes to a further 22 countries. Unbeatable value at $50 per 28 days.
Optus | 12-month contracts | 30GB data | Unlimited national calls | Unlimited texts |$50 per month | Optus 4G Network
Offering a huge amount of data at an appealing price, Optus $50 SIM only plan on a 12-month contact is great value for power users. You get a whopping 30GB of monthly data, unlimited talk and text, data-free streaming of certain apps and an Optus Sports subscription (if that kind of thing excites you),
Optus | 12-month contracts | 50GB data | Unlimited national calls | Unlimited texts |$60 per month | Optus 4G Network
A whopping good deal from Optus that's heavy on the data, you get 50GB of data per month, as well as unlimited talk and text, data-free streaming from certain apps and an Optus Sports subscription – all for just a tenner more than the previous deal. You'll need to go on a 12-month contract, though, which carries a minimum cost of $720 over the year.
Should I go SIM-only?
If you a) want to save some money; b) don't want to be tied into a lengthy contract; or c) both of the above, then going SIM-only is well worth considering. In fact, you're probably in one of two situations if your thoughts are turning to a SIM-only mobile plan:
- You're coming to the end of your contract and your network is calling you a million times a day to get you to upgrade. Well if your phone is dying a death or you just fancy a change, head to our best mobile phones deal page to see what bargains are lurking, but otherwise going SIM only on your current phone is a no-brainer. You'll wind up paying much less than you are under contract, and you can stick to a rolling 30 day contract so that if your circumstances change, you can get out of the arrangement tout suite.
- 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 up front for the handset (be sure to check our SIM free comparison chart) but box clever and you'll end up paying less over the next 24 months (see below). Plus, if you're a commitment-phobe, most SIM-only plans don't require you to sign up for two years like you would with a normal contract.
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 simply send out a triple SIM, so you'll get one of each size.
What contract length should I get?
Unlike with a contract, there's a lot more flexibility available when it comes to how long your SIM-only plan will last. Two year commitments are virtually unheard of, with the norm being either one year or rolling one month contracts for ultimate flexibility. You can often get better prices if you tie yourself in for 12 months, especially on larger data tariffs. But sticking to one month at a time means that you can effectively hand pick a new plan to suit you every 30 days or so.
How much data do I need?
Because you can change your plan up more regularly than a normal, lengthier contract, it's less crucial to get this nailed from the start. But if you're thinking of grabbing a 12-monther or just put a personal pride on getting things right first time, then we'll help you pick out the sweet spot of data for you.
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. Then, if you're still unsure, check out our guidance:
- 0-1GB Tiny amounts of data on SIM only plans could be a blessing or a curse. If you're putting it in a rarely used phone that will scarcely be away from wi-fi then you're quids in. But if you end up with one because your head's turned by the incredible price, then you could end up paying more if you continually go over your allowance.
- 2-3GB For anybody who needs data for little more than the occasional Google Maps route planning, 2GB and 3GB plans come cheap and give you much more freedom to check the football scores and scroll Facebook away from the wi-fi without danger.
- 4-8GB If you can't leave the house without having a music streaming service like Spotify pouring into your ears, then it might be worth paying for some extra GBs of data.
- 10-16GB This is a significant amount of data and some networks offer it for a very appetising price. Whether streaming music, downloading podcasts, watching social media videos, or all three is your thing - you should be covered.
- 20-30GB Only smartphone junkies that need regular (and hefty) data fixes need bother with this avalanche of GBs. You'll be able to rinse Netflix, Spotify and online games without too much fear of topping out.
Do I need unlimited calls and texts?
Call it practicality, call it greediness, call it what you want - it's human nature to want 'unlimited' anything if offered. But you should think genuinely about whether you really need it in a world where the likes of WhatsApp and Skype let you call and text for free over wi-fi or 4G. If you decide that a few thousand monthly minutes and texts should do you, then you could shave off some cash from your bill.
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!