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, Vaya Mobile plans state that their 4G data offerings are the cheapest in Australia. Depending on which one you choose, they are right. Vaya 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. Vaya offers four 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 $19 to $79 per month, with $19 buying you a modest 5GB while the top-end $79 plan throws a whopping 70GB at you. In between, you can get 15GB for $39 or 50GB for $59 – 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 $20 extra.
Keep in mind that excess data charges apply to all of these plans at $10 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!
Vaya Mobile 2019 Offers
From October 2017, Vaya clients get more bang for their buck. The telco recently upped data inclusions on all plans. You can now use between 1.5GB on the cheapest plan up to 13GB on the $44 offer. All plans come with unlimited talk and text. As for data plans, get them with a $5 discount if you sign up before Halloween.
Relative newcomer Ovo 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 3GB plan for $15.95 to a 100GB plan for $69.95 per 30 days (more info below). The sweet spot with Ovo is the 13GB “Medium” plan, which comes in at $29.95 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 3GB plan and then decide to move up to the 13GB 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 whooping 100GB for only $69.95. 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.
Using the speedy Telstra 4G network as its backbone, Boost Mobile doesn’t offer pure data plans – but it is all about the data. Their prepaid plans all include unlimited calls and texts, brilliant if you’re the sort of person who swaps between mobile and tablet. Or, of course, if your way of getting your laptop online is via tethering your mobile.
Boost offers a base monthly data limit on its plans and then drops in an extra gigabyte of data each weekend. They have a sweet-spot plan providing great value for a $40 28-day recharge. You get 5GB of base data, along with an extra GB every weekend for a total of 9GB. Plus the aforementioned unlimited calls and unlimited international calls to ten countries.
You can recharge as often as you like, too, making Boost’s plans easy ones to tailor to your usage as you go.
Boost 2019 Offers
Get unlimited international minutes with Boost Mobile. Both the $40 and $50 mobile plans come with unlimited international calls to 10 countries, including Canada, USA, United Kingdom, India, New Zealand, and Singapore. In October 2017, the $40 is discounted by 50% for new customers. Sign up online and get it for only $20.
Well-regarded veteran provider provider Amaysim offers two data plans on the Optus 4G Plus network. Both 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 other plan as well – 6GB for $35. If you’re streaming Netflix or downloading a ton of photos you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. More exactly, at what the telco calls mobile broadband plans. There are two – 50GB for $65 and 70GB for $80.
Amaysim 2019 Offers
Right now amaysim is offering a special discount – get any of their $30+ pfor $5 less. Use code 5OFF6 at checkout and enjoy $5 off your chosen plan before November 19.
Boasting the full use of their blisteringly fast 4G network, Telstra’s mobile data plans are available on a contract or month to omonth. With the best value plan sitting at $45 per month for 10GB of data, it’s pricier than some of the competition. But you’re unlikely to complain when it comes to raw network speeds.
A key feature of all of Telstra’s plans is data sharing – something that will be very appealing if you also have a Telstra mobile phone service. What this lets you do is effectively combine the data allowances from your phone and tablet plans, and draw on that bigger total pool of data on either device. For example, if you had the 10GB tablet plan and a 5GB phone plan, you’d have 15GB in total that you could use on either device.
That’s why we’d opt for the $15/month 1GB plan – if you already have a Telstra mobile. That gets your tablet or laptop online cheaply and gives you a small data allowance to start with. If necessary, you can draw on your mobile’s allowance as well. As long as you never use up your Telstra mobile data each month, this could be an elegant and frugal way to get your tablet onto the Telstra network.
As a bonus, you can also stream every AFL, NRL and Netball game live this year completely free and without impacting your data limit. Magpies Vs Cats live and direct on your iPad while sitting on the train sounds appealing? Thought so!
Telstra Mobile 2019 Offers
Select Telstra Mobile plans now come with a free Foxtel Now subscription! From October 2017, Telstra Mobile customers are able to enjoy a completely free Foxtel Now subscription that will last them an entire year. The offer is available for the L and XL SIM-only plans, as well as for the L, XL, XXL, and Premium phone plans. Also applies for the M and L data plans. Select your Starter packs and start binge-watching.
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
In October 2017, Yomojo helps you keep the conversation going. The company’s unlimited plans give you 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 started offering two 3G-only plans that pack massive amounts of data – 30GB for $59.90/month and 90GB for $89.90/month.
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!