Your Trip Down Under

Your Trip Down Under

Travelling overseas is so exciting, planning the trip, booking the airline tickets and accommodation, and packing the suitcase. However one thing everyone gets confused about is how to stay in touch with family and friends back home. Now I am not talking about post cards, I am talking about your mobile phone and what options are available to you when you visit Australia.

Australia has 3 main telecommunication carriers and then tens of service providers. The carriers are “Telstra” (biggest), which is also a listed Australian company, 50% Government owned. Then there is Optus, which is the second largest telecommunications company in Australia. The third carrier is Vodafone/Hutchison, a new entity formed after the merger of Vodafone Australia and 3 Mobile.

Between these three carriers, they own the airwaves so to speak. They control most of the 3G access as well.

Travelling to Australia and setting up your mobile phone is relatively easy but it’s not something that you can necessarily do from the US (unless your travel agent can sell you an international roaming sim card). You have to wait until you arrive in Australia.

First of all, what you need is an unlocked mobile phone, which means you can swap or add a sim card when you get here. To help you decide which sim card to purchase, compare the prepaid mobile offers available and see what suits your budget and spending patterns. It’s simple with several online services available. Some also offer forums and free chat support should you need additional assistance.

So once you arrive, you need to get your hands on the sim card of choice. Unfortunately most prepaid mobile providers will not mail a sim card overseas. Not sure why but they simply don’t. So you can either have it sent to a friend who lives locally (Australia), or you can buy it when you arrive. The second option is the easiest. Most prepaid sim cards can be purchased from the airport when you arrive or any convenience store.

Here are a few tips:

Enjoy your trip down under!

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