The best SIM Only plans available in September 2021

The best SIM Only picks every month across value, perks, cheap, cheapest and big-data categories.
  • Best value

    Circles.Life

    100GB Monthly Plan

    Read review
    4 out of 5 overall
    103GB p/mth
    $28 p/mth (first 6mths)
  • Best cheap SIM Only

    Moose Mobile

    16.80 SIM Only Promo

    Read review
    4 out of 5 overall
    20GB p/mth
    $16.80 p/mth (first year)
  • Best for big data

    Spintel

    $65 5G Mobile Plan

    Read review
    3.5 out of 5 overall
    200GB p/mth
    $55 p/mth (first 6mths)
  • Most popular Vodafone

    iiNet

    Mobile 8GB Plan

    Read review
    3.5 out of 5 overall
    8GB p/mth
    $10 p/mth (first 6mths)
  • Most popular Telstra

    Belong

    20GB Monthly Plan

    Read review
    4 out of 5 overall
    20GB p/mth
    $25 p/mth
Recent Updates: 3 weeks ago
A new contender rises for our pick of the best cheap SIM Only plan (no more than $20 per month), there’s a change of the guard for big data, and an old favourite returns as the popular pick on the Telstra network.
2 months ago
We’ve introduced a new category to separate the best cheap SIM Only plans from cheapest, plus Circles.Life returns to take out best value SIM Only plan and Vodafone steps things up for big-data users.
3 months ago
Spintel takes out the top spot for best value SIM Only plan, Moose Mobile returns for best cheap plan, and Vodafone offers a massive amount of data for a reasonable monthly fee.
Less than 6 months
With Moose Mobile’s long-reining deal set to expire in the first week of June, there’s a new winner for the best cheap SIM Only plan, plus Telstra has a great deal for those seeking plenty of data.
Less than 6 months
While four of our seven categories have remained the same as April, Circles.Life has unbeatable dollars-to-data value in its 100GB Monthly Plan. For more data, the Vodafone $120 SIM Only Ultra Plan is hard to pass up, and the iiNet Mobile 8GB Plan is currently the most popular SIM Only pick on the Vodafone network.

So you’ve got a new iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21 and want the right SIM Only plan to pair it with. We’ve got you covered. Moose Mobile dethrones one of Circles.Life’s categories for those after a cheap SIM Only plan, and the telco hangs onto our best cheapest pick, too.

The other big change this month is for the big-data category, which shifts from Vodafone to Spintel, despite Vodafone introducing a full-speed unlimited-data SIM Only plan. All of our other picks from August are the same in September, with the only other main change being the return of a popular Belong plan on the Telstra network. Scroll on for the tweaks and breakdown of everything else.

Best value SIM Only plan

Moose Mobile 16.80 SIM Only Promo

Moose Mobile 16.80 SIM Only Promo at a glance:

  • $16.80 initial monthly fee (12 months)
  • $23.80 per month (normally)
  • $201.60 first-year cost
  • 20GB data
  • Optus network
  • Month-to-month plan

Last month, the appeal of the Circles.Life deal was too much to pass up on for this newly split category—best cheap plans up to $20 and best cheapest plan of no more than $15 per month—so it took out the top spot. But now that promo has been tweaked and the first-year value isn’t so great, plus it’s 10GB lighter on bonus data than it used to be.

That’s left a gap for Moose Mobile to gallop in and nab the top spot with its 16.80 SIM Only Promo. While there’s currently no end date for the limited-time promo pricing, new sign-ups pay $16.80 per month for the first year instead of the typical $23.80 monthly fee. Also, anyone who signs up by the end of October is in the running for a $1,000 gift card.

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

Best perks SIM Only plan

Woolworths Mobile $35 SIM Only

Woolworths Mobile $35 SIM Only at a glance:

  • $35 per month
  • $420 first-year cost
  • 40GB data
  • 300GB data bank
  • International talk and text
  • 10% off groceries
  • Telstra network
  • Month-to-month plan

The perk-packed king returns and maintains its dominance for yet another monthly reign. Woolworths Mobile is back with its $35 SIM Only plan, which includes a few tempting perks. That $35 monthly fee nets you 40GB of data (up from 35GB), which is a great starting point. Any data you don’t use can be stored in a 300GB data bank.

The first main perk is Woolworths Mobile operates on the Telstra wholesale network, which has the next best coverage behind being a Telstra customer, ahead of both Optus and Vodafone’s networks. There’s also unlimited talk and text to 22 selected countries, plus you can take 10% off your Woolies shop once a month (up to $50).

For comparison, below is a daily updating list of popular SIM Only plans with at least 35GB of data.

Best cheap SIM Only plan

Moose Mobile 16.80 SIM Only Promo

Moose Mobile 16.80 SIM Only Promo at a glance:

  • $16.80 initial monthly fee (12 months)
  • $23.80 per month (normally)
  • $201.60 first-year cost
  • 20GB data
  • Optus network
  • Month-to-month plan

Last month, the appeal of the Circles.Life deal was too much to pass up on for this newly split category—best cheap plans up to $20 and best cheapest plan of no more than $15 per month—so it took out the top spot. But now that promo has been tweaked and the first-year value isn’t so great, plus it’s 10GB lighter on bonus data than it used to be.

That’s left a gap for Moose Mobile to gallop in and nab the top spot with its 16.80 SIM Only Promo. While there’s currently no end date for the limited-time promo pricing, new sign-ups pay $16.80 per month for the first year instead of the typical $23.80 monthly fee. Also, anyone who signs up by the end of October is in the running for a $1,000 gift card.

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

Best cheapest SIM Only plan

Moose Mobile 9.80 SIM Only Promo

Moose Mobile 9.80 SIM Only Promo at a glance:

  • $9.80 initial monthly fee (12 months)
  • $15.80 per month (normally)
  • $117.60 first-year cost
  • 6GB data
  • Optus network
  • Month-to-month plan

While it was dethroned in June as there was uncertainty around whether Moose Mobile would extend the promo-pricing period, the long-running special is back again to reclaim the crown as our pick of the best cheapest SIM Only plan. The Moose 9.80 SIM Only Promo plan normally costs $15.80 a month, which is a reasonable price to pay for 6GB of data.

But the thing is new sign-ups won’t have to pay that monthly fee for the first 12 months, instead paying $9.80 each month. Paying under $10 a month for the first year with 6GB of data to use is unmatched value in the SIM Only space, plus it’s comfortably below the $15-per-month max spend for this category.

Below is a daily updating list of popular SIM Only plans with at least 1GB of data that don’t cost more than $15 per month (at least initially).

Best big-data SIM Only plan

Spintel $65 5G Mobile Plan

Spintel $65 5G Mobile Plan at a glance:

  • $55 initial monthly fee (6 months)
  • $65 per month (normally)
  • $720 first-year cost
  • 200GB data
  • 5G network access
  • Optus network
  • Month-to-month plan

Before we get to the winner, it’s worth flagging that this big-data SIM Only category was recently shaken up when Vodafone introduced an actual unlimited data plan at the start of September. There are a couple of big disclaimers, though: it’s $85 a month and hotspot data is restricted to 30GB (followed by 2Mbps speed cap).

While this Vodafone plan was considered, we’ve ultimately picked the Spintel $65 5G Mobile Plan as our winner for this category. That $65 monthly fee is the usual price, but new sign-ups get a $10 monthly discount for the first six months. Whichever of those prices you’re paying, you get 200GB of data as well as 5G access on the Optus network, which is currently farther-reaching than Vodafone’s 5G network.

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

Most popular Telstra network SIM Only plan

Belong 20GB Mobile Plan

Belong 20GB Mobile Plan at a glance:

  • $25 per month
  • $300 first-year cost
  • 20GB data
  • Data rollover
  • Data gifting
  • Telstra network
  • Month-to-month plan

It’s time for the return of an old favourite SIM Only plan on the Telstra network. While the Telstra $55 Small Upfront SIM Plan was a popular pick last month, the Belong 20GB Mobile Plan has swept back in to reclaim its familiar top spot. In fairness, there was a brief window at the start of the month where the Woolworths Mobile $35 SIM Only plan had the Belong plan beat.

Still, it’s easy to see why this particular Belong plan is popular with those after a Telstra network SIM Only plan. In terms of the basics, it’s affordable at $25 a month and comes with 20GB of data. Plus, if you don’t use up all your data, you can either roll it over to the next month or gift it to other Belong customers.

The top spot for most popular SIM Only Telstra plan may change throughout the month based on demand, but this pick is accurate as of 1 September 2021.

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

Most popular Optus network SIM Only plan

Circles.Life 20GB Monthly Plan

Circles.Life 20GB Monthly Plan at a glance:

  • $18 initial monthly fee (6 months)
  • $28 per month (normally)
  • $276 first-year cost
  • 20GB data
  • 23GB bonus data
  • Optus network
  • Month-to-month plan

At the start of the month, the Circles.Life 20GB Monthly Plan was comfortably ahead of another Optus network contender, the Moose 9.80 SIM Only Promo plan (scroll up to read more about that). And it’s easy to see why. For a little over double the cost of the Moose Mobile plan, the Circles.Life popular pick comes with more than double the data.

While the Moose Mobile plan taps out at 6GB per month, the Circles.Life plan comes with 20GB of base data. For those who buy in by 30 September (unless it’s extended again) using the ‘40GBFORU’ promo code, you’ll pay a $18 monthly fee for the first year instead of the typical $28 monthly cost. That price gets you 20GB of base data, 20GB of bonus data, and 3GB of bill-shock protection if you burn through that 40GB.

The top spot for most popular SIM Only Optus plan may change throughout the month based on demand, but this pick is accurate as of 1 September 2021.

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

Most popular Vodafone network SIM Only plan

iiNet Mobile 8GB Plan

iiNet Mobile 8GB Plan at a glance:

  • $10 initial monthly fee (6 months)
  • $19.99 per month (normally)
  • $179.94 first-year cost
  • 8GB data
  • Vodafone network
  • Month-to-month plan

For the last few months, iiNet has been the popular telco when it comes to finding SIM Only plans on the Vodafone network. Initially, it was the iiNet Mobile 8GB Plan. Then it was the iiNet Mobile 40GB Plan. While both these iiNet plans are still first and second in terms of popularity, the iiNet Mobile 8GB Plan has a very comfortable lead at the start of the month.

As the plan name says, this cheaper iiNet SIM Only plan comes with 8GB of data. What the plan name doesn’t tell you is it normally costs $19.99 per month, but new sign-ups will only pay that fee from month seven, with the first six months charged at $10 apiece.

The top spot for most popular SIM Only Vodafone plan may change throughout the month based on demand, but this pick is accurate as of 1 September 2021.

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

Choosing the best SIM Only plans for coverage

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 biggest, followed by Optus and then Vodafone behind those. For Telstra, though, 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.

This is how coverage looks in terms of the respective networks:

  • Telstra: 99.2% 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 adding that these percentages are for 4G connectivity and don’t cover the currently rolling-out respective 5G networks, though you should expect the same ranking once all 5G networks are complete. While coverage is important, the cheapest SIM Only plans tend to operate in reverse order: the Vodafone network, then Optus, followed by Telstra.

If you want the best chance at having the best coverage, below is a daily updating list of the most popular SIM Only plans that operate on the Telstra network.

How we choose the best SIM Only phone 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 consider all of the providers currently listed in the database of our phone plan search engine. The number of providers in our database does sometimes change, but we typically monitor over 20 providers 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? Contracts are not a dealbreaker for us but you’d better get a pretty good deal in return.

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 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.

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Coverage is essential

As we consider the best 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 networks. People living in regional areas need to research the network coverage in their areas.

To get you started we have coverage maps and a guide to coverage available to check out.

What is a SIM Only phone plan?

A SIM Only plan is a phone plan that covers your talk, text and data usage, but doesn’t come with a mobile phone included. For this reason, SIM Only plans are often referred to as ‘BYO phone’ plans.

As the same implies, a SIM Only plan comes with a SIM card that you need to put into your phone. Every mobile phone needs a SIM card that identifies your account on your carrier’s network, and every time you switch providers you need a new SIM card.

Most SIM Only plans are ‘month-to-month’ or ‘no-contract plans’, meaning that you don’t sign a contract and you can move your service to a different provider at any time without paying any termination fees.

That said, there are now a number of SIM Only phone plans that do have a contract, usually a 12-month contract. These plans tend to be among the best value plans available and are worth considering, even if it means locking yourself into a contract for a year.

A SIM Only plan is usually a Postpaid plan, meaning you pay for your usage 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.

Most Prepaid phone plans are also SIM Only, in that they don’t come with a phone included. However, there are key differences between Postpaid and Prepaid plans, so we often look at Prepaid plans separately to Postpaid SIM Only plans. As well as paying for your usage at the start of the month, Prepaid plans are always month-to-month and don’t include excess usage fees.

What’s the difference between Postpaid and Prepaid?

It can be hard to tell the difference between Postpaid and Prepaid plans when you’re comparing the terms and inclusions. In most ways Postpaid and Prepaid plans are identical these days.

The main difference 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.

This becomes important when looking at excess data charges. If you have a Postpaid plan and you reach your data limit, you will be charged extra for the data you use after this point. With a Prepaid plan, the data is cut off and you are safe from the shock of a giant bill in the mail.

Also, a Postpaid plan is sort of like a line of credit, which means that the phone carriers 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.

What is the best unlimited plan? Is unlimited really unlimited?

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 a number of plans include unlimited calls and messages to overseas phone numbers too.

Telstra and Vodafone both offer plans that slow your internet connection once you reach your monthly data limit. Telstra and Optus plans drop to 1.5Mbps, which is fast enough for a bit of web browsing and streaming some music, but Vodafone recently upped the cap speed and separated it into tiers. Cheaper SIM Only plans are capped at 2Mbps, mid-range plans slow to 10Mbps, and the most expensive plan slows speeds to a very manageable 25Mbps. TPG recently started a new brand called Felix Mobile, which isn’t just pitched as a carbon-neutral service, its current single-plan offering has unlimited data, albeit capped at “up to” 20Mbps.

If you were hoping to find an unlimited data phone plan, it is important to figure out what you’re really looking for. On average, the Australian monthly mobile data usage was 9GB in June 2018 (according to the last release of the June 2018 ABS Internet Activity Survey), which suggested a trend of roughly 20 percent additional mobile data usage every six months. Today, this would mean the average Aussie is using around 20GB of data per month, so unlimited data isn’t particularly essential based on current usage patterns.

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