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Mobile Phone & Internet Access

Australian Mobile Phone Networks

The biggest Australian mobile phone (or cell phone) network provider is Telstra. This means that if you are planning on living or travelling in Australia you would be better off choosing the Telstra network over one of their competitors. The other main Australian mobile phone service providers are Optus, Vodafone and Virgin and whilst these can have good coverage in the major cities, they often have little or no coverage outside the major metropolitan areas of Australia. We have often heard from migrants who bought a mobile from Vodafone as they recognised the brand, only to change to Telstra later due to significant network coverage issues. There are also a number of smaller companies who generally operate off the Optus, Virgin or Vodafone networks so will have the same or less coverage than them.

Mobile Network Coverage

Visit the network coverage maps for Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin

Many new migrants find it challenging to get a new mobile phone contract as you will have no credit history when you arrive in Australia and your good credit history from your home country cannot be transferred. Phone companies are a little behind and tend to be inflexible with their policies so generally offer only prepaid contracts to migrants and especially those who hold temporary residence visas. This is usually okay after a few months when you have a fixed address, have a credit card (or other credit history), though some people still find it challenging. Fortunately, Portal Relocation (featured above) can assist most new migrants post pay mobile (cell) contracts, click on their logo above for more information and how to contact them.

Internet Access

There are two main types of internet service that you can join in Australia:

  • Mobile internet – where you have a device that allows you to connect your computer, tablet or laptop to the mobile internet via 3G or 4G.
  • Broadband Internet – this requires a land line phone and allows you to connect to either ADSL, ADSL2 (faster), Cable Internet (faster again and not available everywhere), NBN (the newest and fastest and being rolled out across Australia.

There are many different mobile providers and the main question to ask is network coverage, particularly if you opt for mobile internet. Telstra is probably your best bet in this instance. If you have a landline phone then you can choose a provider and there are many, though it is worth noting that Telstra generally owns the phone lines and require a line rental payment. This can also mean any technical issues you encounter can sometimes be difficult to resolve as your internet provider may say the fault lies with the Telstra line and Telstra blame the issue on the other provider… your call.

Often companies offer bundled discounts for more than one service with them, so do shop around and speak to friends and work colleagues who live in the same area to find out which provider is best in your neighbourhood.

Australian Internet Service Providers

Home Phone and Internet Service Providers:

Telstra and Telstra Bigpond – own most of the phone lines in Australia and can provide internet and home phone (fixed line) services to most addresses. Offers ADSL, ADSL2+, Cable (in some locations) and NBN (currently in limited locations).
Optus – Offers home phone, broadband internet (with ADSL2 or Cable – in Cable areas) and NBN (where the NBN is installed).
TPG Telecom – Offer home phone, ADSL2 and NBN (where available) landline internet services, they recently acquired iinet to create Australia’s second biggest ISP after Telstra.
iinet – also offers home phone and various landline internet services, recently acquired by TPG.
iPrimus – Offer home phone, ADSL, Fibre and NBN (where available). They are owned by the M2 Group.
Dodo Internet – Offer the same services as most of those above and also owned by the M2 Group.

Mobile Internet Service Providers:

There are many other companies that offer mobile internet plans via the 3G and 4G (faster) networks. As per the information on mobile phone networks above, you should remember that not all will have the same network coverage or cover you in as many places as the four largest mobile phone providers (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile).

Mobile internet makes sense for your initial arrival for access in temporary accommodation and hotels. Some rental properties may also not have a landline installed or active when you move in too. If it is available in your area, then 4G is the obvious choice as is much faster.
Please keep in mind that mobile broadband is not nearly as fast, or reliable as broadband (landline or cable internet). The costs for large amounts of data are also generally a lot higher with mobile internet too.

Click to Continue to the next section (Australian Property).

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