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Moving to Oz: Setting Up Your Cell Phone

mobile phonesAnytime you are heading abroad for an extended amount of time, it makes sense to get your cell phone switched over to a local setup. This tip is specifically targeted to those moving abroad to Australia, whether as a permanent expat or a short-term working holiday maker.

When you’re living Down Under, even if you are planning to move back to your country of origin fairly quickly, having an overseas cell phone plan is going to cost you money in terms of roaming charges and the like. If you’re living here, then chances are you will be using that phone to communicate with new friends, banks, jobs and so on here. Therefore, a local phone number is going to save you money and be more beneficial to dealing with local situations.

Getting Set Up

So, there are a couple of ways you can get set up here. The first way involves you already owning an unlocked cell phone. When you arrive, you simply head to your mobile company of choice, buy a Sim card, insert the Sim in your phone, activate Sim card and start calling. There are several mobile companies on arrival at the Sydney International Airport to make it that much easier.

The second way involves buying a local phone and Sim card when you arrive in Australia. Obviously, this route is for people who don’t already own an unlocked phone, or at least one that they want to continue on using. The process is pretty much the same except you will be making a much larger purchase at the airport or other mobile company shop.

Activating Your Sim Card

To start using your local phone number, you will need to activate the Sim. This can be done fairly easily at a mobile provider’s store, but you will need a valid form of identification to do so. For traveler and expat purposes, a passport would be the best option. Otherwise, you can generally activate your Sim online (if you happen to purchase it elsewhere) and will still require a valid ID.

Choosing a Mobile Provider in Australia

There are several options when it comes to cell phone providers in Australia. In order to choose the one that is right for you, an evaluation of your upcoming location(s), travel itineraries and home location will need to be done. Personally, I have found that Telstra has the best overall coverage in Australia, even in places across the outback and along the Indian Pacific train journey. Before switching to Telstra, I was on Vodafone, which was great for living in Sydney but was bad for travel to many parts of the country. Optus has seemed to fare somewhere in the middle of those two.

Before choosing the right coverage for your stay Down Under, it is vital to look at the features for various companies. Check out: Telstra, Vodafone, Optus, Three, Virgin Mobile.

What mobile provider do you use in Australia, and would you recommend them to others?

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