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The best SIM-only plans in Australia: updated August 2020

When it comes to mobile plans , those that come bundled with a handset tend to steal the limelight, but if you've already got a phone y...

When it comes to mobile plans, those that come bundled with a handset tend to steal the limelight, but if you've already got a phone you're happy with, then SIM-only plans present an excellent opportunity to save some money.

As the name implies, a SIM-only plan is any plan that doesn't bundle in a phone, whether it's on a 12-month contract or a no lock-in situation where you simply pay month-to-month, there is often a great deal of value to be found in these plans.

To make it even easier for you, we've gone through each of the SIM-only providers available to Aussies right now and have hand-picked the best deals we've come across, whether they're big on data, low on cost, or an excellent middle-ground overall.

Editor's pick: Best SIM-only plan under AU$25

Circles.Life | 20GB data | Prepaid monthly | AU$18 per month (first six months, then AU$28 per month)

Circles.Life has taken the crown for the two best and most affordable SIM-only plans in Australia right now. This is thanks, in a big way, to the offer of AU$10 off the first six months of the 20GB and 100GB (see below) data plans. On top of that, there's no lock-in contract and you can earn bill credit by referring friends. Just remember to enter the code DATAMANIA when signing up.

Total minimum cost is AU$18View Deal

Editor's pick: Best SIM-only plan under AU$40

Circles.Life | 100GB data | AU$28 per month (first six months, then AU$38 per month)

Relatively new to the Australian market, Circles.Life is offering up the best SIM-only deal we've seen to date. For only AU$38 per month, you'll score a huge 100GB of data, plus you can discount your first six months by AU$10 by entering the code DATAMANIA at checkout. You can add 300 minutes of international calls for AU$5 pm, cancel the service any time without a fee, and it uses the Optus 4G Plus network. It's a real winner, even after the discount is over.

Total minimum cost is AU$28View Deal

Live-updated SIM-only deals: Plans under AU$40

Editor's pick: Best premium SIM-only plan

Optus | 100GB data | AU$59 per month

Now that Telsta's plans have risen in cost, it's a better time than any to go with Optus if you're after one of the major telcos. You’ll score yourself 100GB of data each month, plus unlimited national talk and text and unlimited international talk and text to 35 selected countries. There’s also a 12-month subscription to Apple Music thrown in to make this a more tempting offer. You won’t face any cancellation fees if you decide to leave the service either. Total minimum cost is AU$59View Deal

Live-updated SIM-only deals: Plans over AU$40

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 well worth considering. 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 (if it isn't, then head to our best mobile phones deal page to see what plan you can grab alongside a phone), 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 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) up front for the handset (be sure to check our SIM free comparison chart) but 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 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 now being rolling one-month contracts for ultimate flexibility. You can sometimes 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 could 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: 

  • 0-5GB 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 it makes total sense. 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.
  • 5-10GB For anybody who needs data for little more than the occasional Google Maps route planning, 10GB plans come cheap and give you much more freedom to scroll away online away from the Wi-Fi.
  • 10-20GB 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.
  • 20-40GB This is a significant amount of data and many networks now offer something in this range for a reasonably appetising price. Whether streaming music, downloading podcasts and watching social media videos or the occasional movie or TV show is your thing, you should be covered.
  • 40GB+ 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.

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!



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