Back when the iPad was a brand new thing, it was released offering buyers the choice between models with and without 3G mobile connectivity. Many people opted for the Wi-Fi only model, and for a very good reason.
There wasn’t much available when it came to getting the device connected to a mobile network, and what was on offer was way too expensive. The idea of being able to take your tablet or laptop out on the road and have reliable internet access may have been extremely appealing. However, many people relied on the data connection on their smartphone to check email or Google something. That’s not the case anymore. Data plans are more accessible than ever.
Nowadays, data-only SIM cards are available from most providers, with the focus being on getting you as big a data limit as possible. All for a price that easily betters anything on offer from a standard phone SIM. This dedicated data SIM can be used in everything from Android tablets and iPads (you’ll need an iPad with 4G functionality, though) to portable Wi-Fi modems to USB dongles. Basically, if there’s a way of getting your portable device connected to a mobile network, these are the SIMs you should be looking for.
As a side note, it’s worth mentioning that, depending on your data needs, you may find that one of the standard phone SIM offers suits you better. Yes, you can buy a prepaid or post-paid phone SIM and use it in your data device instead (obviously giving up the ability to make voice calls on it). In some cases, that option may be worth exploring. However, generally speaking, the separate data SIM will be the ideal way to go. You’ll get higher data allowances, especially important for laptops. Furthermore, you’ll likely have potentially longer expiry times as well.
Before you ask about unlimited data mobile plans, it’s best to let go of that idea now. There aren’t any, nor are there likely to be any in the foreseeable future. Mobile data is a finite resource. If you give everyone unlimited data even for a short time, the entire network can slow to a crawl!
A different option – a data SIM in your phone
While data SIMs and their plans are targeted specifically at users of larger devices, nothing stops you from putting one in your smartphone. That way you can enjoy the benefits of a nice big data limit – perfect for those who spend most of their time with their phone online rather than on calls.
While data SIMs usually don’t come with any voice call functionality, they can still receive calls. Your friends and colleagues could call you as normal. You just wouldn’t be able to call anyone yourself. But you can easily get around that with apps such as Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime and others. It’s worth considering if you make very few phone calls.
Don’t worry – the emergency numbers 000 and 112 are still callable even from a SIM that doesn’t have voice call access. You won’t be compromising your safety by opting for this way of doing things.
Data-only SIMs – the contenders
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a provider for your data SIM these days. Just trying to sort through all the different options can be daunting. As can be finding the data-only SIMs on some providers’ web sites at all. They’re often tucked away in a corner behind all those glossy desirable phone plans and offers!
So what’s the best mobile data plan? We’ve done some looking around of our own. Here’s what we think are half a dozen of the best options around for your data SIM right now.
A well-respected Australian company that consistently wins awards for value, Moose Mobile’s data-only plans provide reasonably priced offerings in Australia. Moose runs on the Optus 4G Plus network, giving you access to the extremely fast speeds offered by the latest mobile tech – if your device supports it. The telco offers six different data plans, all of which are post-paid. In other words, you’re charged automatically every month until you stop the service. These plans operate on a one-month minimum term – no contracts or long-term commitments to worry about here.
Prices range from $12 to $78 per month, with $18 buying you a modest 5GB while the top-end $78 plan throws a whopping 70GB at you. In between, you can get 15GB for $42 or 50GB for $58 – and it’s those two plans that represent the best value by far. If you’re a moderate data user, go for the 15GB. If you’re more data-hungry, it’s hard to say no to an additional 35GB for only $16 extra.
Keep in mind that excess data charges apply to all of these plans at $15 per gigabyte. It’s better to err on the side of having too much data than it is to get a surprise bill for excess usage down the track!
Moose Mobile 2019 Offers
If you’re in need of a SIM-only mobile plan, you’ll find Moose Mobile’s latest offerings valuable. For only 1 cent for the first month, you can try Moose’s network by choosing between Moose 9, 14, and 19 with data allowances of 1GB, 1.5GB, and 2.5GB respectively. Except for the Moose 9, these plans deliver unlimited calls and texts in Australia.
Relative newcomer, OVO Mobile, has been shaking things up in the mobile phone market in quite a unique way. They’re giving customers access to streaming video channels of Australian sports, on a network they run themselves known as OVOPlay. Clients can watch content from V8 Supercars, Gymnastics Australia and Audi Sport, with plans to expand further in the future.
It’s a neat bonus on top of what are some very keenly priced data-only packages. All of OVO’s data plans are prepaid and all have a 30-day expiry except for one (more on that in a moment). They range from a basic 5GB plan for $19.95 to a 250GB plan for $119.95 per 30 days (more info below). The sweet spot with OVO is the 15GB “Large” plan, which comes in at $39.95 per 30 days.
All of OVO’s prepaid plans, running on the Optus 4G Plus network, automatically recharge themselves every 30 days. You can turn that off at any time using the web account interface you gain access to when you join. It’s also worth noting that you can only recharge once every 30 days. So while you can start with the 5GB plan and then decide to move up to the 15GB one, you will have to wait out the 30 days until you can switch. Like with all data plans, try to get an idea of your usage before you take the plunge.
OVO also offers a 365-day plan that provides 15GB. That might initially sound like a weird choice given that it averages out to slightly over 1GB per month. But it’s actually great if you’ve got an iPad that you only use occasionally when out and about, and only to do data-light things like checking mail. This plan could be the hassle-free solution that gets you online without needing monthly maintenance. It costs $99.95.
OVO Mobile 2019 Offers
OVO Mobile offers Australia’s biggest mobile data plan. It packs a whopping 250GB for $119.95. The plan is portable and can be activated in hours of receiving the SIM. Moreover, it doesn’t require weeks or months of waiting to get connected comes with no lock-in contracts. If you were looking for a worthwhile alternative to fixed broadband, look no more.
With Southern Phone, you can choose between two of Australia’s giant mobile networks — Telstra and Optus. For Optus-powered data-only plans, what they call the “Green” plans, you’re looking at three options: 8GB plan at $22/month, 15GB plan at $33, and 25GB plan at $50/month. Southern Phone’s “Orange” plans, on the other hand, use the speedy Telstra 3G and 4G networks as its backbone. Prices range from $30 to $85 with data offerings of 5GB to 30GB.
While the Optus-backed mobile broadband plans offer cheaper monthly plan fees with bigger data, it’s also important to note that these plans are on a 12-month contract. Unless that’s something that you’re totally fine with, Telstra’s Orange plans may be the better choice if you value flexibility since it’s on a month-to-month term.
Southern Phone 2019 Offers
Southern Phone’s SIM-only mobile plans powered by Telstra come with unlimited calls and texts plus huge data inclusions. Even better, they have no lock-in contracts so you can cancel anytime without penalties. If you’re a moderate to heavy data user, you can find great value in the 15GB plan at $45/month.
Well-regarded veteran provider Amaysim offers six data plans on the Optus 4G Plus network. All plans auto-renew every 28 days unless you change or cancel your plan. The headline here is the low cost of entry. The cheapest plan is only $15 per month. While it only gives you 2GB of data, for the lightweight user that may very well be all you need. Plus, at the cost of a cup of coffee each week, it’s not likely to break the bank!
That plan’s perfect for email and messaging users, and the intended fairly light usage pattern is reflected in Amaysim’s next plan as well – 5GB for $25. If you’re regularly streaming Netflix or downloading a ton of photos, you’ll probably want bigger data. No worries though, Amaysim’s higher-value data-only plans provide up to 150GB of data for $90/28 days!
Amaysim 2019 Offers
Get unlimited international calls to 10 countries when you sign up to $30 and above plans. You even get additional 300 international minutes to 22 countries if you select the $50 and $60 plans.
Boasting the full use of their blisteringly fast 4G network, Telstra’s mobile plans are all about data. While Telstra has data-only plans, it’s the telco’s BYO mobile plans that pack greater value. Along with unlimited calls and texts, you also get hefty data inclusions thanks to substantial extra data for free. With the lowest value plan sitting at $49 per month for 15GB of data, it’s pricier than some of the competition. But you’re unlikely to complain when it comes to raw network speeds. Besides, there’s bonus data to make up for the higher monthly plan fees — from 15GB to 30GB per month!
Should you still need a dedicated plan for your other devices and has no need for calls and texts, Telstra’s data-only plans offer 2GB up to 15GB with prices ranging from $19/month to $59/month. Just like the SIM-only mobile plans, the telco’s data-only selections are available on a 12-month contract.
As a bonus, you can also stream every AFL, NRL and Netball game live this year completely free and without impacting your data limit plus a 6-month Apple Music subscription. Appealing? Thought so!
Telstra Mobile 2019 Offers
Telstra’s BYO and phone plans currently include bonus data to add more value to your chosen plan. Free additional data start from 10GB up to 60GB plus monthly credits of up to $20!
Well regarded for their great value phone plans, provider Yomojo mobile is no slouch when it comes to prepaid data plans either. They call them “Mobile Broadband” plans and they run on the Optus 4G Plus network. Yomojo offers four data plans all on a 30-day prepaid system. Data limits range from a lean 3GB plan at $15.90 to a hefty 70GB plan at $85.90 (you can change plans at any time, too). The value options in the middle of the pack strike a good balance between data and upfront cost.
For $45.90 you can grab 15GB. Or, if you’re more data-hungry, the $69.90 plan will give you a hefty 50GB to chew through. The cost per megabyte goes down consistently as you move to higher plans. But it’s a matter of balancing what you’ll use versus what you choose. There’s no point in paying for the 50GB plan only to have half of it expire unused after 30 days. Yomojo offers a nicely scaled range of plans that let you start small and scale up if needed.
Yomojo 2019 Offers
The company’s unlimited plans give you the most bang for your buck. Although you can also completely customise plans, if you spend most of your time glued to your smartphone, unlimited options pack greater value. Yomojo also offers a 3G-only plan that packs massive amounts of data – 90GB for $89.90/month. For huge discounts, sign up to the Family Bundle Plan and get as much as 15% off your monthly fees.
The mobile data age has arrived
One thing is for certain – the days of restrictive and expensive mobile data for your gadget are gone. Thanks to the rise of third-party providers operating using the “big three” networks, mobile data can now be had cheaply, easily and at a size and price to suit just about anyone. Shop around, compare, and enjoy the freedom that a connected mobile device brings to everything you do!