Are you planning your trip to Australia and thinking about staying connected with an e-sim card? This is a complete guide with everything you need to know about using an e-sim card when traveling to Australia including a comparison of the best Australia e-sim cards for 2024.
Don’t waste money on high roaming charges, read my recommendations below and order an e-sim card for Australia on the internet and get connected in just a couple minutes. Below you will find up to date prices as per January 2024, including all specifications per tourist e-sim card.
This guide will show you where and when to order an e-sim card for Australia, answer all your FAQ’s about e-sim cards, a comparison with local prepaid sim cards for Australia and of course links to directly order your e-sim card for traveling to Australia online.
Since 2012 I am already traveling the world full time and throughout the years I turned my passion for traveling into a lifestyle and became a full time nomadic travel blogger. That is why I constantly get to a different country and pretty much every week I need to look for a new sim card to stay connected.
In 2022 I visited 62 different countries and in 2023 I visited 34 countries so imagine how many different prepaid and e-sim cards I used in the last two years.
In the past I used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival in every country, but nowadays I mostly use e-sim cards to stay connected when traveling abroad. On my latest trips to Australia I tested the below recommended Australia e-sim cards for tourists.
Helping other travelers to save money while traveling the world is one of the reasons I started this travel blog. Providing essential travel tips is what made me start writing sim card guides from every country I visited and now on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world.
Of course Traveltomtom also wrote a complete guide for buying a prepaid sim card for Australia in 2024 as well as a guide for buying a tourist sim card at Sydney Airport, Brisbane Airport and Melbourne Airport.
Recently Traveltomtom also started writing specific and in-depth guides for buying e-sim cards: New Zealand, USA, Canada, Turkey, Egypt, Dubai, Asia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Europe, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, international e-sim cards and many more.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your holiday destination.
After my e-sim card comparison I will explain how e-sim cards work, more about the network coverage and 4G/5G data speed, some FAQ about e-sim cards, the difference between e-sim cards for tourists and local prepaid sim cards in Australia and everything else you need to know about using e-sim cards when traveling to Australia.
Let me start with giving you my e-sim card recommendation for Australia. These are my favorite e-sim cards for traveling to Australia in 2024.
Traveltomtom recommends the following two e-sim cards for traveling to Australia in 2024:
- 20 GB data-only e-sim
- Valid in Australia only
- Valid for 45 days
- Operates on the Vodafone 4G/LTE network
- Only $1.50 USD per Gigabyte
- 20 GB data-only e-sim
- Valid in Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada and Hong Kong
- Valid for 30 days
- Comes with a +852 phone number
- Incoming calls and sms are supported
- Tiktok is blocked
- $1.75 USD per Gigabyte
The best value tourist e-sim card for Australia is an Australia e-sim cards from Nomad. These e-sim cards operate on the 4G/LTE Optus mobile data in Australia. Nomad has more e-sim card offers for Australia, some good, some bad. But you can’t beat only $1.50 USD per Gigabyte on this 20 GB data plan.
A good second best is an e-sim card for Australia via Three Hong Kong. You can order this international e-sim card via SimOptions and it is valid in 6 countries. It is perfect if you combine your trip to Australia with visiting New Zealand as well. This e-sim card is more expensive. Traveltomtom has always had very good experiences with e-sim cards from SimOptions.
Both e-sim cards are data-only e-sim cards. On the Nomad e-sim card incoming and outgoing calls or sms are not supported, but the Three HK e-sim card that you can order via SimOptions comes with a Hong Kong based phone number that starts with +852. It supports incoming calls and sms.
Is Australia one of your stops on a trip to the Pacific or around the world then you can also look into getting an e-sim card for world travelers. There are a bunch of e-sim cards that cover multiple countries.
There are 2 very important things to check before ordering an e-sim card for Australia or in general before using an e-sim card.
Unlocked phones only
Make sure your phone is unlocked. E-sim cards for tourists only work in unlocked phones. If you are not sure if your phone is unlocked then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country.
In general phones from Europe, Asia and the Middle East tend to be unlocked. Phones from North America are often locked.
If your smartphone is locked that means it does not allow another prepaid sim card or e-sim card to operate in the device. You can easily unlock your phone, but depending on your mobile internet provider you will be charged a fee for unlocking your phone.
E-sim compatible phones only
Second, and equally important: e-sim cards only work if your smartphone supports e-sim cards, also called e-sim compatible. All newer smartphones support e-sim cards. If you are not sure if your phone is e-sim compatible then simply go to Google and type in your mobile phone model in the search bar and ask if it is e-sim compatible. You will get the answer instantly.
If your phone is NOT e-sim compatible then there is no other solution and you can NOT use an e-sim card for traveling to Australia.
However, you can still order a sim card for Australia on the internet before your trip. Check out Traveltomtom’s complete guide for buying a prepaid sim card for Australia in 2024 or find out everything you need to know about international sim cards for traveling abroad in 2024.
Comparison of the best e-sim cards for Australia
Buying an e-sim card on arrival in Australia is still not possible at international airports. As per January 2024 Vodafone, Optus and Telstra only provide physical prepaid sim cards at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Airport.
However, if you go to an official phone store in the city center of any tourist destination in Australia you can opt for an e-sim card instead of a physical prepaid sim card.
Luckily there are multiple e-sim providers on the internet that sell Australia e-sim cards for tourists. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Australia from one of the well-known e-sim card providers that have proven to be reliable operators.
These are the 3 big e-sim card providers and they sell great e-sim card plans for Australia. They are tested and reviewed multiple times by Traveltomtom:
Nowadays, you can buy an e-sim card for pretty much every country around the world. Order directly from one of the above e-sim card providers and instantly receive your e-sim card in your email. But before you buy an e-sim card first read all my tips below.
SimOptions is the only e-sim provider that also offers international prepaid sim cards for Australia. These are pre-activated physical prepaid sim cards that will be delivered to your home address before your trip and it is plug and play when you arrive in the Australia.
Airalo and Nomad only sell e-sim cards for Australia.
Airalo is a very reliable e-sim card provider and Traveltomtom has used Airalo uncountable times in more than 50 countries around the world. I can totally recommend using Airalo for ordering an e-sim card.
Normally Airalo is always one of my top recommendations but the Airalo e-sim card plans for Australia are more expensive compared to SimOptions and Nomad.
Here are the Airalo data-only e-sim card plans for Australia for 2024:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $9 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $12.5 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $20 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $40 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Australia from Airalo.
The Airalo e-sim cards for Australia are from Yes! Go! and they operate on the 4G/LTE network of Optus. Unfortunately the Airalo Yes! Go! e-sim cards for Australia are not 5G ready. Side note, there isn’t much 5G yet in Australia. Even as of 2024 there is pretty much only 5G in the big cities.
In most of the amazing places to visit in Australia you will find a 4G/LTE signal tho and the data speed is reasonably good these days.
In some other Australia travel blogs I named Down Under a third world country for WiFi and mobile data, because it can be terribly disappointing and slow sometimes.
For more info about the best 4G/5G network in Australia check my complete guide for the best prepaid sim card for Australia in 2024, including network coverage maps of all the mobile internet providers.
All the Airalo e-sim cards are data-only sim cards without a phone number, so any phone/sms service is NOT supported. An Airalo e-sim card has to be installed within 1 month and after activation the credit validity starts when it connects the first time to a supported network. For more info check out the Airalo website.
SimOptions is another very reputable e-sim card provider that is very much recommended by Traveltomtom. Ordering your tourist e-sim card for Australia through SimOptions is done fast and easy. Traveltomtom has used SimOptions uncountable times for staying connected when traveling abroad. Very reliable, never an issue and often some of the cheapest e-sim card deals.
Why using SimOptions? When it comes to Australia e-sim cards SimOptions has better e-sim card plans than Airalo and is therefore also recommended as one of the best e-sim cards for Australia.
SimOptions offers two types of e-sim cards for Australia. Their own brand data-only sim cards and international e-sim cards from Three HK.
Here are the e-sim card plans from SimOptions for 2024:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $9.90 USD
- 6 GB data for 10 days = $17.90 USD
The e-sim cards that you order through SimOptions are international e-sim cards that are valid in up to 26 countries.
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Australia via SimOptions.
Unfortunately SimOptions doesn’t specify exactly which mobile network operator in Australia they use. The international e-sim cards are not 5G ready, so the max data speed on the e-sim cards from SimOptions is 4G/LTE.
The Three HK e-sim cards that you can order through SimOptions are international e-sim cards that are valid in: Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada and Hong Kong.
Since it is a Hong Kong based e-sim card it has been reported that TikTok is blocked on this e-sim card. The advantage of these Three HK e-sim cards are that they come with a phone number that starts with +852. Incoming phone calls and sms are supported.
The other SimOptions e-sim cards for Australia do not come with a phone number and they do not offer incoming/outgoing calls or sms services.
The validity of these e-sim cards is 1 year and the credit validity starts instantly after installing the e-sim card, even if you are not in Australia. For more info check the SimOptions website.
Last but not least there is Nomad and actually Nomad has some of the cheapest Australia e-sim card plans. The Nomad e-sim cards for Australia are from various operators. Below I listed the cheapest plans.
Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for Australia:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $12 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $19 USD
- 15 GB data for 30 days = $25 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $30 USD
- 30 GB data for 30 days = $80 USD*
- 40 GB data for 30 days = $110 USD*
- 50 GB data for 30 days = $125 USD*
Click here to order an e-sim card for Australia from Nomad.
*The last three e-sim card plans are 5G ready.
The Nomad website is a bit messy for finding the best e-sim card for traveling to Australia and it is not as easy to spot the amazing e-sim card deals.
Most of the the Nomad e-sim cards are from SingTel, only the last three plans are from JoyTel. The Joytel e-sim cards operate on the Optus 5G/4G/LTE network and are 5G ready, the other plans from SingTel only support 4G/LTE. But as said there is not much 5G in Australia apart from the big cities.
Traveltomtom does not directly recommend the Joytel e-sim cards from Nomad as they are literally more than 2x the price of the SingTel e-sim cards from Nomad.
All the Nomad e-sim cards are data-only and incoming and outgoing calls and sms are NOT supported.
But as I mentioned before some of the Nomad e-sim cards for Australia have exceptional good value and they go as low as $1.50 USD per Gigabyte. Therefore Traveltomtom rates a Nomad e-sim the best e-sim card for traveling to Australia in 2024.
The Nomad Australia e-sim cards have to be installed on your phone within 30 days and after installation its validity starts when it connects for the first time to a supported network in Australia. Basically when the plane lands. For more info check the Nomad website.
Besides all the above e-sim cards that you can order on the internet you can also opt to go to an official phone store of one of the mobile internet operators in Australia and buy an e-sim card directly from the provider.
Reminder that you can only buy the following e-sim cards on arrival in Australia, you can NOT order them on the internet.
Optus offers physical as well as e-sim cards for tourists in Optus stores all around Australia and they have 3 standard tourist plans:
- 5 GB data + unlimited calls/sms for 7 days = $12 AUD - $7.6 USD
- 40 GB data + unlimited calls/sms + international calls for 28 days = $35 AUD - $22 USD
- 60 GB data + unlimited calls/sms + international calls for 28 days = $45 AUD - $29 USD
In Vodafone stores in Australia tourists can also get an e-sim card and the following plans are available:
- 40 GB data + unlimited calls/sms + international calls for 28 days = $30 AUD - $19 USD
- 50 GB data + unlimited calls/sms + international calls for 28 days = $40 AUD - $25 USD
- 60 GB data + unlimited calls/sms + international calls for 28 days = $50 AUD - $32 USD
Telstra is the mobile internet that has by far the best mobile 4G/5G network coverage in Australia:
- 3 GB data + unlimited calls/sms for 7 days = $12 AUD - $7.6 USD
- 35 GB data + unlimited calls/sms + international calls for 28 days = $35 AUD - $35 USD
- 45 GB data + unlimited calls/sms + international calls for 28 days = $45 AUD - $45 USD
In Traveltomtom’s comparison of the Australia prepaid sim cards Telstra came out as the best buy, simply because it has the strongest mobile internet network and the widest 4G/5G coverage in Australia compared to Vodafone and Optus.
What is the cheapest e-sim card for Australia?
The cheapest e-sim card for Australia is an e-sim card from Airalo for just $4.5 USD, it will give you 1 GB data for 7 days. This e-sim is only valid in Australia and does not support calling and texting.
Why ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Australia
E-sim cards are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Australia in 2024 and you can arrange everything online in just a couple clicks. No more visiting a sim card shop and swapping physical sim cards. Order online, scan the QR code, follow the steps and you are connected in less than 2 minutes.
The most important reason to get an e-sim card is because we would like to stay connected on our trip to Australia without wasting money on high roaming costs. Our smartphones are pretty useless without a working data connection. Think about ordering a taxi through an app, finding nearby friends, restaurants and bars. Get directions from Google Maps or simply staying in touch with family back home, check your social media apps on long bus rides or your banking apps when paying contactless.
One of the best things about arriving in Australia with an activated e-sim card is that you are online as soon as the plane lands. More about when to instal your e-sim card later.
There are so many reasons to stay connected when traveling to Australia, but the most important reason is that it makes your trip to Australia so much more convenient and fun!
At the same time we don’t want to waste money on high roaming charges. Many mobile internet operators still charge $3 USD per MB for data roaming, that means just opening the Instagram app will already cost you 20 MB * $3 USD = $60 USD! Not kidding… it still is very common in 2024.
E-sim cards are the easiest way to avoid high roaming charges!
Overseas data roaming plans
So what about overseas data roaming plans? Well, not recommended! Why? Did you read the small letters at what data speed you can use data roaming? Pretty much all mobile internet operators limit the data speed for overseas data roaming plans, which means you end up with 3G data speed. Do you have the patience to handle 3G? It is frustrating when all around you at pretty much every amazing tourist destinations in Australia there is 4G/LTE available.
And price-wise it should be a no brainer since you have seen how cheap the e-sim cards for Australia are.
Uncountable times travel friends have asked me: “Tom, can I use your hotspot? My data roaming plan is so slow, it is barely working!” Trust me, get yourself an e-sim card or an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Australia. Spend a couple dollars extra and be connected all the time instead of begging for WiFi or a hotspot from friends.
Where to buy an e-sim card for Australia?
You can only buy an e-sim card for Australia on the internet through an e-sim card provider. There are multiple e-sim card providers for Australia. Traveltomtom compared 6 e-sim card providers and concluded that the above mentioned ones (SimOptions, Airalo and Nomad) are the best e-sim card providers in 2024.
When buying an e-sim card for Australia through one of the above recommended e-sim providers you only need your email address and the e-sim card is instantly ready to use after installation. There is no ID registration needed.
On arrival in Australia
There are 3 main mobile internet provider in Australia: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Unfortunately none of the operators sell e-sim cards at the international airports. You can only get an e-sim card for tourists in the official phone stores around Australia.
When you arrive in Australia and you buy a local prepaid sim card for tourists in an official mobile operator store from either Telstra, Optus or Vodafone you can choose to get a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim card.
For more info about buying a prepaid sim card for tourists in Australia in 2024 click on the link to read my complete guide and comparison of all the mobile internet providers in Australia, including a comparison of the 4G/5G network.
Flying into Australia and landing in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Cairns or Perth then you can buy a tourist sim card for Australia on arrival at the airport. Although you will find sim card shops from Vodafone, Optus and Telstra you can only buy a physical prepaid sim card, tourist e-sim cards are not available at airports in Australia.
When to order/activate an e-sim card for Australia?
You can order an e-sim card for Australia pretty much any time you want. Most e-sim cards have to be installed on a phone within 1 month after purchasing, some even within 1 year, so you have time.
More important therefore is when do you instal/activate the e-sim card. The validity of some e-sims start straight after the installation, other e-sim cards only start their validity when they connect the first time to a supported network.
Traveltomtom advices to instal your e-sim card on the day of departure to Australia or before. When in Australia you will need an internet connection to instal your e-sim card. Pretty much every international airport in Australia has free WiFi so you could use that to install your e-sim card. Just make sure it is a stable internet connection and therefore Traveltomtom advices you to install/activate your e-sim card in your home country.
My personal advice is to instal your tourist e-sim card for Australia before you get into the plane and as soon as the plane lands you will be connected without any problems.
How do I know all this? Traveltomtom has visited Australia almost 10 times and traveled all around the country for 8 months in total. In 2023 I visited Brisbane and Sydney on two different trips.
I also wrote a blog about buying a sim card at Melbourne Airport and there is also a vlog on my YouTube channel about my arrival at Melbourne Airport and buying a prepaid sim card for traveling in Australia.
How to activate an e-sim card
Installing and activating an e-sim card is made as simple as possible. Everyone can activate an e-sim card and the instructions on how to are very detailed and will be send to you instantly by email. But wait, it gets even easier. Just scan the QR code.
When you order an e-sim card plan for Australia you instantly receive a summery of your order including a QR-code after the payment is processed.
You will see a summary of your e-sim card order including a QR code on your screen and at the same time you will also receive an email with the same QR code. The email contains instructions on how to instal and activate your Australia e-sim card.
But installing an activating an e-sim card is as easy as scanning the QR code with the same phone where you want to activate the e-sim card on. The QR contains all the information about your Australia e-sim card.
Once you scan the code you will be guided through a couple simple steps and within less than 1 minute your e-sim card is successfully installed.
Very important is that you are connected to the internet when installing your e-sim card otherwise you will get an error and issues can occur.
Tip: if you order an e-sim card with the same phone where you want to instal the e-sim card on then ask a friend or someone nearby to take a photo of the QR code and then you scan the QR code from his/her phone and start the installation.
Things to know before ordering an e-sim card for Australia
Here are some general tips for using e-sim cards when traveling abroad. These tips do not only apply for Australia e-sim cards, but are things you have to know before buying an e-sim card in general.
Make sure your phone is unlocked
To make sure you didn’t miss this, let me say this again: e-sim cards only work in UNLOCKED phones. If your phone is unlocked then you can use any e-sim card without any problems.
If your phone is locked then ask your mobile internet provider from your home country to unlock your phone before your trip to Australia. It is likely that your mobile internet provider will charge you a fee for unlocking your smartphone.
If you are unable to unlock your phone you can look into getting a portable WiFi for staying connected when traveling to Australia or better… bring a second unlocked phone on your trip to Australia and use it as a portable WiFi device.
Which smartphones support e-sim cards?
Another very important thing you have to check before buying an e-sim card is if your smartphone supports e-sim cards. If you have any of the latest smartphones then there is no need to worry, all new smartphones of the well known brands support e-sim cards.
The fastest way to find out if your phone is e-sim compatible is by asking Google the question: is my (your phone model) e-sim compatible? Simple as that!
Can I trust these e-sim card providers?
All the e-sim card providers for Australia recommended above (SimOptions, Airalo and Nomad) are reputable e-sim card providers reviewed and tested by Traveltomtom. All of them are licensed third party companies and resellers that partner or work directly with the mobile internet providers in Australia.
Traveltomtom has successfully partnered for several consecutive years with SimOptions and Airalo. Nomad is a fairly new partner of Traveltomtom, but has so far proven to be a reliable e-sim card provider. All e-sim card providers have their own Helpdesk which you can contact may you encounter any problems or in case you want to claim a refund.
Traveltomtom does NOT sell Australia e-sim cards, only RECOMMENDS you to use e-sim cards for traveling to Australia.
Can I keep my phone number from home with an Australia e-sim card?
Yes, you can and this is for many people a reason to order an e-sim card to stay connected when traveling to Australia. An e-sim card can be used next to your physical or e-sim card from your home country at the same time. You do not need a dual-sim phone for using an e-sim card.
So you can have multiple e-sim cards installed on your phone? Yes, no problem at all!
For example: you can turn off the mobile data from your sim card from home but still use it for texting and calling. Your new Australia e-sim card you can be used at the same time just for data to ensure you are not wasting money on high roaming costs.
This is also the trick to keep receiving sms for example for OTP (one time password) sms to login to applications.
Switching between physical and e-sim cards is a matter of turning them on/off in the settings. Just always make sure your sim card from home is switched off for data roaming.
Can I make phone calls with an Australia e-sim card?
No, unfortunately all the tourist e-sim cards for Australia available on the internet do NOT include calling and texting. The e-sim cards from Nomad, Airalo and SimOptions are data-only e-sim cards and outgoing calls/sms are not supported.
If you buy a prepaid e-sim card on arrival in Australia in a store then you get unlimited calling and texting included.
Does an Australia e-sim card come with a phone number?
Yes, there are e-sim cards for Australia that come with a phone number. These are the international e-sim cards from Three HK that you can order via SimOptions. They come with a Hong Kong based phone number that starts with +852. This means these e-sims can receive calls and sms.
All other Australia e-sim cards that you can buy on the internet do not come with a phone number which also means these e-sims can not receive any phone calls or sms.
In the above Australia e-sim card comparison you can find all the specifications per e-sim card.
Can I use 5G on an Australia e-sim card?
Unfortunately most of the Australia e-sim cards for tourists are not 5G ready yet as of January 2024. Which means the max data speed is 4G/LTE. That said, there is also still not much 5G available in Australia, although 4G/LTE is widespread in most tourist destinations in Australia.
But for those who are ready to pay extra there is now also 5G e-sim cards plans available. Nomad offers JoyTel e-sim cards that operate on the 5G network of Optus.
- 30 GB data for 30 days = $80 USD
- 40 GB data for 30 days = $110 USD
- 50 GB data for 30 days = $125 USD
Click here to order a 5G ready e-sim card for Australia via Nomad.
Are there e-sim cards for Australia with unlimited data?
None of the by Traveltomtom recommended e-sim cards for tourists include unlimited data.
Even if you would come across e-sim card providers on the internet that sell e-sim cards for Australia with unlimited data then make sure the unlimited data is on max data speed, mostly the data speed is capped after you used X amount of Gigabytes.
Holafly is an e-sim card provider that sells e-sim cards with unlimited data for Australia, but does NOT specify what is the exact Fair Use Policy (FUP).
Traveltomtom does NOT recommend Australia e-sim cards with unlimited data plans. There are always restrictions. And on Holafly sim cards I experienced a reduce in data speed after using more than 2 GB per day. After I contacted support they explained me that I had to wait for 24 hours until my data speed was restored to normal.
Those 24 hours were a nightmare as my data speed was barely enough to use WhatsApp. Social media was not loading!
Again, Traveltomtom does NOT recommend e-sim cards for Australia with unlimited data. But if you think you will never use more than 2 GB per day, then this might be your favorite e-sim card.
The Nomad e-sim card for $30 USD give you 20 GB data. There is no real need for an e-sim card with unlimited data unless you want to upload your whole camera roll to a Google Drive or iCloud via 4G instead of WiFi.
There are a lot of different specifications per e-sim card. Another reason why I advice you to take a close at my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Australia in 2024 before choosing your favorite.
Are e-sim cards the best way to stay connected when traveling to Australia?
E-sim cards are the easiest and fastest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Australia, but what is the best way?
There are 3 ways to stay connected when traveling to Australia:
- Local prepaid sim cards
- International prepaid sim cards
- E-sim cards
Let’s compare e-sim cards, local prepaid sim cards and international prepaid sim cards, for you to find out what is your preferred way of staying connected.
Local prepaid sim cards
If you use a lot of data then local prepaid sim cards for Australia are a cheaper way to stay connected, depending on the length of your trip. Australia prepaid sim cards offer bigger data plans than tourist e-sim cards you order online and on top of that local prepaid sim cards come with unlimited local calls and sms.
The big difference is that a local Australia prepaid sim card can only be purchased on arrival in Australia in a phone store and NOT on the internet.
More info about the best Australia sim cards for tourists can be found in my complete guide for buying a prepaid sim card for Australia in 2024.
International prepaid sim cards
If your smartphone is not e-sim compatible you can order an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Australia. Some of them are great for Australia as well as in all other countries in for example Europe, Americas and Asia and you can easily order them online.
If after visiting Australia you are traveling onwards in Asia then check Traveltomtom’s list of the best sim cards for traveling internationally in 2024.
A pre-activated physical sim card will be delivered to your home address before your trip. You put this physical sim card in your phone and as soon as the plane touches the ground and the sim card connects to a supported network you are online. Plug and play!
As explained throughout the article there are two different e-sim cards:
- E-sim cards that you buy on the internet through a third party
- E-sim cards that you buy in Australia in a mobile internet provider store
As shown in the comparison of the best e-sim cards for Australia, all of the mobile internet providers in Australia offer e-sim cards. A prepaid sim card plan can be bought as an e-sim card or as a physical prepaid sim card.
Traveltomtom personally shopped around in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to obtain all the vital information for getting a prepaid sim card in Australia as a tourist.
On arrival at the international airports in Australia they only sell physical prepaid sim cards for tourists which is a bit of a bummer.
E-sim cards vs. local prepaid sim cards
Getting an e-sim card on the internet is the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Australia, no doubt! You arrange everything online within just a couple clicks. Right here, right now and you are all set for your trip to Australia. You arrive prepared and there is no need to visit a sim card shop on arrival in Australia.
As soon as the plane lands, you are online!
But what is cheaper? An e-sim card or a local prepaid sim card for tourists?
When we compare Australia e-sim card prices with local prepaid sim cards for Australia, it is an easy conclusion that local prepaid sim cards are much more affordable as you get many more Gigabytes for the same price.
But local prepaid sim cards can only be bought in Australia in a sim card shop and a tourist e-sim card can be bought in 2 minutes on the internet.
That said, e-sim cards that you buy on the internet are in fact cheaper as they start from already $4 USD and local prepaid Australia tourists sim cards start from around $8 USD.
Australia has cheap prepaid sim card plans, especially since Australia is an expensive country to travel. But 40 GB data for just $19 USD is pretty cheap compared to other countries in the world.
Keep in mind that the best value e-sim card from Nomad gives you 50 GB data for just $25 USD as well! So tourist e-sim cards for Australia that you order on the internet are very good deals as well.
For more info check out my article about the best prepaid sim cards for Australia in 2024.
After a long flight you just want to go to your hotel and it is often a big task to go to a sim card store and get connected. With e-sim cards you buy on the internet you are connected as soon as the plane lands. For this convenience Traveltomtom definitely recommends to order one of the listed best e-sim cards for Australia in the comparison above.
Many reasons why a lot of travelers simply get an e-sim card for Australia. Faster, easier, less stress and even cheaper depending on how much data you need.
Another difference between a local prepaid sim card and an e-sim card is that e-sim cards are often through a third party, a so called MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). These MVNO’s operate on the network of one of the main mobile internet operators and basically buy bandwidth.
This may sound a little bit too technical, but what it means is that e-sim cards through an MVNO are the last ones in line when the line is busy. Especially during peak times, the performance of an e-sim cards is less compared to a local prepaid sim card from a mobile internet operator.
Bottomline: the data speed of e-sim cards can be less compared to a local prepaid Australia sim card.
I am sure some of the above tips for finding the best e-sim card for your trip to Australia were helpful. I hope that after reading through my comparison, tips and tricks it was easier to make a decision and order your e-sim card for Australia right away.
If you still have any questions about e-sim cards then please leave me a comment below or reach out to me on social media and I am more than happy to help you out.
Curious what the life of a full time nomadic traveler looks like? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along with daily updates from around the world about the good, the bad and the ugly about traveling.
Traveltomtom is on the road to 197, meaning I would like to travel to every country in the world. As of January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, still about 40 to go, but no rush.
Enjoy your trip to Australia!
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