Seasoned travellers have noticed communication abroad evolves. And in today’s digital era, reliable connection is paramount. However, the solution is not always straightforward as we would like. Many Australian airports seem to offer a solution for this. As soon as you arrive at the airport, you will notice that many providers are offering different SIM deals specifically designed for travellers. To take advantage of these offers, you must have an unlocked phone. If your phone has only one SIM card slot, you will need to replace your existing SIM card with the local one. And this is a first hurdle for many because most people have single SIM phones. Luckily, there is something called an eSIM.
If your phone supports eSIM, there are plenty of solutions
To clarify, an eSIM can activate a local cellular plan without needing a physical SIM card. Think of it as having multiple SIM cards with different numbers and data plans on your phone at once. However, before purchasing an eSIM for international travel, make sure you know which region you will be visiting and consider the duration of your trip and how much data you will need to choose the best plan. For example, if you are travelling within the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes the member states of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, the Roaming Regulation 2022 ((EU) 2022/612) prohibits roaming charges for those who are from the EU. That means you can use your phone just as you would use it in your home country. International travel is a bit different, however. To make the most of your eSIM for international travel, think about how much data you’ll need before purchasing a card. If you’ll mainly be in cities and have access to WiFi, a smaller data plan should suffice.
Best eSIM Cards When Visiting Australia
Holafly is a global eSIM store with coverage in over 160 locations. It offers a straightforward setup process and the ability to access 4G internet all over the world. Connecting to the internet is as simple as scanning a QR code. They have an excellent Trustpilot rating and a very simple setup with no registrations or subscriptions. Their Australian eSIM lasts for 30 days and has two options – 10GB for 49 AUD or 20GB for 64 AUD.
Airalo is a store that offers a very large selection of local, regional and global eSIMs. You can quickly download and install digital data packs from over 200 countries/regions, allowing you to stay connected the moment you arrive anywhere in the world. As for Australia, they offer 1-20GB packages, with a validity of 7-30 days. Comparing it to Holafly, their 30-day 10GB package is 29 AUD, making it a bit cheaper. On top of that, Airalo has a dedicated app which you can then use to easily select and purchase eSIMs.
The ByteSim eSIM cards are available in over 150 countries and regions worldwide. Just like with the previous two services, ByteSim is trying to make your life as easy as possible with a fast and easy setup. Their mobile service provider is Optus. Optus has the second-best 4G coverage experience, just slightly behind Telstra, but significantly better than Vodafone, meaning you’ll get good coverage in all the major tourist destinations. They are also a bit more flexible regarding the data plans, where you can choose a specific combination of duration and data size. A 30-day 10GB package with ByteSim will set you back 29 AUD.
Nomad is another great eSIM provider with a very modern approach which might be more attractive to younger generations. They promise you near-local rates with no hidden fees or contracts. They have a great smartphone app, aiding transparency and convenience. Nomad’s rate for the 30-day 10GB option is only 15 AUD, making it the cheapest.
If you are going to travel to a specific region, you may want to consider using a Regional eSIM
Southeast Asia is a popular destination for Aussie travellers, but before you buy separate eSIMs for each country you’re planning to visit, there is something better. It’s called a regional eSIM and it works within specific regions of the world. For example, Airalo offers regional SIM cards for six main world regions, so make sure to check them out. More specifically, their AsiaLink eSIM supports up to 13 Asian countries, extending even to Macao. This means you’re covered from riding elephants in Thailand to playing Blackjack in Macao.
Some additional tips
While it may be tempting to automatically go for the cheapest solution, sometimes other factors should be considered as well. Speed and coverage are probably even more important than the price. Telstra has the widest coverage in Australia due to its extensive infrastructure network, but none of the global eSIM providers use its network (if you’re looking for local eSIM, they might be a great option though). If you’re planning a lot of outback trips, ByteSim might be the best solution considering their good coverage. If you’re staying mainly in cities with plenty of WiFi hotspots, opt for a cheaper solution like Nomad. Stay safe!