Slowly but surely, the eSIM will kill off the humble SIM card. While this service isn’t available everywhere yet, over the past year we’ve seen more Australian telcos begin to offer eSIMs as prepaid or postpaid plans.
If this is your first time hearing about an eSIM, it’s a rewritable SIM card that’s built directly into your smartphone, smartwatch, tablet or laptop (eSIM is short for “embedded SIM”). An eSIM never leaves your device, so there’s no need to mess around with finicky trays or pry off a case. Instead, you download a “software SIM” from your provider of choice. In most cases, you’ll do this by scanning a QR code.
This article has been updated since it was first published.
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Which providers offer postpaid eSIMs in Australia?
If you’re looking for eSIM support on a postpaid plan, we’ve seen a fair few providers come to the table over the past few months. Currently, you can pick up an eSim through Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, along with MVNOs Circles.Life, Kogan Mobile, More, Spintel, Tangerine and Woolworths Mobile.
More, Tangerine and Woolworths Mobile are powered by the Telstra network; Circles.Life and Spintel are powered by the Optus network; and Kogan Mobile is powered by the Vodafone network.
What postpaid eSIM plans are available?
Here are the cheapest postpaid plans available in Australia currently:
In most cases, you should be able to pick between an eSIM and a physical SIM at sign-up.
Currently, Spintel has the cheapest option of the lot, with a 25GB plan that’s $14 per month for the first six months of your connection, and then $22 per month thereafter.
Kogan Mobile also has a 10GB plan that is usually $15 per month, but if you sign up before December 17 your first month will only be $5.
Which providers offer prepaid eSIMs in Australia?
If you’d prefer a prepaid plan, you’ve got a couple of extra options when it comes to providers that support eSIM. Firstly, almost every postpaid provider with eSIM also has prepaid plans that support it. This means prepaid plans Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Woolworths Mobile and Kogan Mobile are all compatible.
What prepaid eSIM plans are available?
Here are the cheapest prepaid eSIM plans in Australia from these aforementioned providers that have a minimum 28-day expiry and at least 20GB of data:
For the cheapest plans, Telstra is currently offering its $35 prepaid plan for $17, which also includes an additional 20GB of data for the first three recharges (bringing its total to 35GB). After this first month, the pricing will return to the standard $35 per recharge.
Felix Mobile is currently running a sale where you can get its 25GB prepaid plan for $12.50 for the first three months, instead of $25 per month. The provider is also offering its 50GB plan with a similar half-off deal, where you’ll pay $15 for the first three months you’re connected.
Superloop is offering a deal where you’ll receive double data for your first three recharges with its 30GB plan (to a total of 60GB). This prepaid plan is a flat rate of $30 per 30-day renewal, and you’re able to bank up to 500GB of unused data.
As far as dollar-to-data value goes, amaysim has an 80GB plan for a flat rate of $40 per 28-day renewal, with access to Telstra’s 5G network. That’s more data and only a bit more expensive than the full price of the aforementioned $35 prepaid plan that’s being offered by Telstra.
Why would you want an eSIM?
If you opt for an eSIM, you can keep your physical SIM slot free for a secondary SIM. This essentially turns your phone into a dual SIM device. There are a couple of reasons this could be handy:
- You want to have a personal number and a work number without carrying two separate devices.
- You want to keep using an Australian phone number when using your phone overseas, but pick up a more cost-effective local SIM for mobile data.
- You want the benefit of coverage from two different networks. For example, if you get patchy Optus when road-tripping, you could throw a prepaid Telstra SIM in the second slot for additional coverage in the outback when you need it.
What phones support eSIM?
Before you go out and grab an eSIM, it’s important to check if your current smartphone can use one in the first place.
The following phone series support eSIM:
- Apple: iPhone XS / XR and newer
- Samsung: Galaxy S20 and newer, Galaxy Fold and newer, Galaxy Z Flip and newer
- Google: Pixel 3a and newer
- OPPO: Find X3 Pro and newer, Find X3 and newer
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
Image: Marvel Studios