Best SIM-Only plans Australia (September 2023)

Check out the best SIM Only mobile plans you can get right now. 

Best value
TPG 45GB Plan
🔥First six months for
Typical price
Best cheap
iiNet 40GB Mobile Plan
🔥First six months for
Typical price
Best big data
Vodafone $55 Medium SIM Only Plan
Starts at
Typical price
150GB 300GB
🔥 Deal
150GB bonus data
Best perks
Telstra Basic Upfront SIM Plan
Starts at
Typical price
Most popular Telstra
Tangerine Telcom
Tangerine 12GB Mobile SIM Plan
Starts at
Typical price
Alex Choros
Sep 21, 2023
Icon Time To Read7 min read

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Whether you've bought a new phone like an iPhone 15 or Galaxy S23 outright or have an older phone you're ready to upgrade, SIM Only mobile plans are a great value way to get connected. 

A SIM Only plan is a phone plan that covers your talk, text and data usage, but doesn’t come with a mobile phone (often referred to as ‘BYO phone’ plans). As the name implies, a SIM Only plan comes with a SIM card that you need to put into your phone (or an eSIM for newer devices). 

In this guide, we'll look at our picks for the best SIM Only plans in Australia, covering everything from the cheapest SIM-only plans in our database to plans with ludicrous amounts of data.  

Best value SIM Only plan

TPG 45GB Plan

TPG has one of the best value SIM Only plans on the market right now, where $15 will get you 45GB of data.

This goes up to $30 per month after your first six months, but the plan is still pretty competitive even at full price. Alternatively, the plan is contract-free, so you can always leave after the price goes up. 

If you're an existing TPG internet customer, you'll pay a slightly cheaper rate of $25 per month when your initial discount runs out.

TPG is powered by the Vodafone 4G network. 

For comparison, below is a daily updating list of popular SIM Only plans with at least 30GB of data. 

Best cheap SIM Only phone plan

iiNet Mobile 40GB Plan

Normally priced at $29.99 per month, iiNet is currently offering this plan for $15 per month for the first six month. That sum gets you 40GB of data, in addition to the standard unlimited talk and text. If you bundle in an iiNet internet plan, the provider will triple that to 120GB.

iiNet is powered by the Optus 4G network. 

For comparison, below is a daily updating list of popular SIM Only plans that don’t cost more than $20 per month (at least initially).

Best big-data SIM Only plan

Vodafone $55 Medium SIM Only Plan

If you need oodles of data, it's worth looking at Vodafone's $55 Medium SIM Only plan. This plan comes with 150GB of data, unlimited talk and text in Australia, and unlimited international calls to 35 countries.

If you exceed your 150GB allowance, you'll be capped to speeds of 2Mbps. You'll also get Vodafone's $5 per day roaming, which could make this plan extra appealing to frequent flyers. 

For comparison, below is a daily updated list of popular SIM Only plans with at least 100GB of data.

Best SIM Only plan for perks

Telstra $62 Basic Upfront SIM Plan

If you're all about getting as many extras as you can with your phone plan, Telstra's Basic Upfront SIM Only plan is worth considering. 

To start, you'll get 50GB of data for $62 per month, which while not the cheapest plan around, isn't unreasonable for Telstra.

While you might be paying more than with other telcos, being a Telstra customer gets you a whole lot of perks. 

These include: 

If you join Telstra Plus, you'll also earn points for every dollar spent on your bill, which can then be redeemed for a discount on various tech products. 

Just note that this plan has its speeds capped to 250Mbps. That's still very fast, however - faster than most NBN plans. 

Most popular Telstra network SIM Only plan

Tangerine 12GB Mobile SIM

Please note the plan above and the ones below may change daily based on the most popular SIM Only plans on the Telstra network.

Tangerine has taken the top spot when it comes to popular SIM Only plans on the Telstra network. You'll get 12GB of monthly data, plus access to data banking. 

Check out a daily changing list of popular Telstra SIM Only plans below.

Most popular Optus network SIM Only plan

$49 Optus Choice Plus Plan

Please note the plan above and the ones below may change daily based on the most popular SIM Only plans on the Optus network.

Optus themselves are responsible for the most popular plan in our database that runs on the Optus network. You'll pay $49 per month for 30GB of data. There are no extra inclusions beyond the usual here, but the sheer value for money is good enough to see it rise to the top.

You can see the popular Optus network SIM Only picks below.

Most popular Vodafone network SIM Only plan

Kogan Small Monthly Plan

Please note the plan above and the ones below may change daily based on the most popular SIM Only plans on the Vodafone network.

Kogan currently has the most popular plan on the Vodafone network. You'll get a 10GB allowance and pay $15 per month. It's nothing fancy, but if you're after a cheap phone plan in a financial pinch it'll suit just fine.

Below is a daily updating snapshot of the popular SIM Only plans on the Vodafone network.

What's the best SIM Only plan?

When you're trying to choose the best SIM-only plan, there are considerations to take into account other than price. One important factor to consider is the coverage you'll get with your SIM-Only plan.

While there are three main mobile networks in Australia, there are two parts to the largest one. In terms of coverage, Telstra’s network is the most expansive, followed by Optus and then Vodafone behind those. Telstra users get access to the full Telstra network, whereas MVNO telcos that operate on the Telstra network have access to the slightly smaller Telstra wholesale network. Check out how the mobile networks compare in terms of 3G and 4G coverage:

  • Telstra: 99.5% of the Australian population 
  • Telstra wholesale: 98.8% of the Australian population
  • Optus: 98.5% of the Australian population
  • Vodafone: 96% of the Australian population

It’s worth noting that these percentages are for 3G and 4G connectivity and don’t cover the currently rolling-out respective 5G networks. While coverage is important, the cheapest SIM Only plans tend to operate in reverse order: the Vodafone network, then Optus, followed by Telstra.

The other big important consideration is data. You should always right size your plan. There's no point paying for more data than you're using, but you also don't want to end up in a situation where you don't have enough. 

How to switch SIM Only plans

Changing mobile plans is easy. Once you've compared SIM-only plans and picked the best one for you, follow these three simple steps: 

  1. Click "Go To Site" on your chosen plan and then place your order on the provider's website. 
  2. Wait until your new SIM is delivered. You can skip this step by buying a SIM card in a store.
  3. Activate the new SIM card using the instructions included with it.

During setup you'll be given a choice to keep your existing number. 

Your new SIM should typically be active within half an hour, but this can taken longer in some cases.

Most providers will also only transfer numbers during business hours, so be aware of that if you're trying to activate a new SIM on a weekend. 

How much data do I need for a SIM Only plan?

There's no one answer to this question, but for most, we'd recommend at least 20GB per month. If you're a more demanding user, you'll want a larger plan, however. 

When do you pay for SIM Only plans?

Except for Telstra Upfront, SIM Only plans are paid for at the end of the month. Your monthly payment may include additional charges if you use excess data or make international calls that aren’t included in your plan.

What happens if I go over my monthly SIM Only data allowance?

If you have a Postpaid plan and you reach your data limit, you may be charged extra for the data you use after this point. Some telcos like Telstra, Vodafone and Optus cap speeds once you exceed your max-speed monthly data quota. With a Prepaid plan, the data is cut off and you are safe from the shock of a giant bill in the mail.

FAQs about the best SIM-Only plans

What's the difference between Postpaid and Prepaid?

The main difference between Postpaid and Prepaid is when you pay for the service, and as you’ve probably guessed, the key is the name. With a Prepaid phone plan, you pay upfront by recharging your account. If you don’t have any credit on the account, you won’t be able to use the account until you’ve topped up. With a Postpaid service, your carrier will send you a bill at the end of the month (except for Telstra Upfront plans, which are paid ahead of usage).

Do SIM Only plans need a credit check?
Because a Postpaid plan is sort of like a line of credit, it means that telcos will run a credit check before you sign up. If you have had trouble with credit in the past, then a Prepaid plan is a better option.
Is unlimited really unlimited for SIM Only?

The word ‘unlimited’ is thrown around a lot when talking about phone plans, so it is important to be clear about what part of the plan is unlimited, or not. Today, most phone plans include unlimited calls and messages in Australia, and several plans include unlimited calls and messages to overseas phone numbers, too. Some plans even include unlimited data, but these always tend to have caveats. 

Can I use a SIM Only plan for home internet?

If you’re looking to use mobile data for the internet at home, then you should look at a Home Wireless Broadband plan. These plans use the mobile phone network, plus they come with a modem that is robust enough to connect a household’s worth of laptops, tablets and smart devices.

What is a 12-month SIM-Only plan?

12-month SIM-Only plans, also called 365-day or long-expiry SIM-Only plans, are just what they say on the tin: SIM-Only plans that last 12 months. These are prepaid plans, meaning you'll pay at the outset for a certain data allowance that won't expire for 365 days.

Best mobile phone plans in Australia graphic for

The best mobile phone plans in Australia

Haven't found what you're looking for? Check out more of our mobile plan picks by clicking the link below! 

How we choose the best SIM Only plans

There’s a surprising amount to consider before buying a tiny bit of plastic to put in your phone. As the mobile market becomes more competitive, the phone plans become more complex, with carriers adding in bits and pieces to catch your attention.

We regularly consider all of the SIM Only telcos currently listed in the database of our phone plan search engine. The number of telcos in our database does sometimes change, but we typically monitor more than 20 telcos at a time, including the biggest telcos like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, ranging from the cheapest SIM Only plans to more expensive but data and/or perk-packed alternatives.

We start by comparing the cost of the essential components of the phone plans. How much will you pay for unlimited calls and SMS, and how much mobile data do you get each month? Do you need to sign a contract? Most SIM Only plans are contract-free these days. There are some cases where you may be asked to commit to a six-month or year-long contract, but these are very rare now. 

Beyond the basics, we look for high-value bonus features. International phone calls and messages are a great example and, happily, we’re seeing more SIM Only plans include calls overseas. Phone plans may also include access to exclusive video or music services, and while some of these are quite cool, we know that these services aren’t for everyone, so we don’t tend to consider these features too highly in our comparisons.

As for specific categories, we cap our best-value picks at $40 a month, and it’s a similar story for the best cheap and best cheapest SIM Only plans, capped at $20 and $15, respectively (though a cheaper monthly fee is even better). We also limit our big-data picks to plans that cost less than $70. Finally, for our best perks picks, we look at the quantity and quality of extras that come with SIM Only plans in our database.

Coverage is essential

As we consider the best SIM Only plans, we treat mobile coverage evenly, but we’d recommend that you put coverage at the top of your list as you weigh up your options. For most people living in cities across Australia, there is little difference in the day-to-day performance of the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks. People living in regional areas need to research the network coverage in their areas.

Alex Choros
Written by
Alex Choros
Alex Choros is the Group Reviews Editor for Clearlink Australia's local websites -, Safewise, and WhistleOut - and the Managing Editor for WhistleOut Australia. He's been writing about consumer technology for over eight years and is an expert on the Australian telco sector, to the point where he knows far too many phone and internet plans by heart. He also contributes to Gizmodo and Lifehacker, and makes regular appearances on 2GB. Outside of tech, Alex loves long hikes, red wine, and death metal.

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