When you arrive in Queensland one of the important things to do is to set up mobile phones, internet and have a reasonably inexpensive means of communicating . Here are some suggestions:
Selecting Mobile Phones:
Your existing mobile phone– If your phone provider has an International Roaming Agreement with an Australian network you will be able to access the network with your existing mobile phone. Your network provider will have more details and explain the costs involved. This is often expensive especially for data usage. Turn off your data and use your phone for texts and short phone calls to keep the costs minimal until you find a longer term solution.
If your handset is ‘unlocked’ (you are not locked to a mobile phone provider) you then purchase a local sim card and use that handset.
Pre-paid Options – Prepaid mobile which can be bought from supermarkets and newsagents is an excellent way to get started. A pre-paid handset, sim and calling credits start at around $50 . You can buy additional calling credit from supermarkets, newsagents and convenience stores or online. Calls costs vary but can be around 90c per minute at peak times and 35c off peak.
Post-Paid Options – A contract with a phone provider means lower phone costs and capped plan contracts give benefits such as unlimited texting and/or social data services and often bonus credit. Look around for the best deal. Contracts are most often a 12 or 24 month term. Sim only contracts (when you already own a handset) are around $20 a month. With a handset (which is charged over the course of the contract term) costs are from $30 a month. For IPhone 4 or a later model you would be expect to pay $60 a month or above. Check your call and data inclusions as going beyond your quota can result is high excess charges. Also monitor your current data usage online to make sure you keep within your budget or call their allocated number.
- Look around for mobile phone plans with competitive rates for overseas calls.
- Investigate calling cards offering cheap overseas calls (you dial a number and enter a Pin then the number you wish to reach) can be obtained at convenience stores (from about $10) and vary according to which country you want to reach. It may be cheaper to have two different cards if you are ringing two different countries or more as the rates each provider offers to different countries can be significantly different. Buy more calling credits with a credit card. E.G : www.cardcall.com.au
- Skype is one of the most inexpensive ways to make overseas calls provided you have an internet connection at home ( a Skype App on your phone will work) and if you have a camera function you can also see friends and family. www.skype.com.au
- Viber App lets you make free calls and texts to Viber members. www.viber.com
- WhatsApp gives you free texts and photo messages to other WhatsApp users. www.whatsapp.com
- Voxer is a walkie Talkie style App to leave free voice messages for other Voxer users and is available from the itunes store: www.itunes.com
Mobile Internet - The easiest way to get connected to the Internet immediately and it is a portable option. Get a USB modem which clicks into your laptop, a Wi Fi modem or a SIM (for ipad and mobile use). Costs differ but expect to pay around $80 for a Vodaphone USB modem and around $299 for a Telstra Wi Fi Modem. Buy data credits and top up as you need or pay monthly online or in store.. A 12 or 24 monthly data plan will most often include the price of the device with the cost spread over the term of the contract. A plan offers better rates but you are tied in for a certain time – charges above your agreed usage can be very expensive. Portable internet devices are best for infrequent users with data quotas starting from 2Gig.
Wireless Internet – For broad coverage at home you get a six month or more contract with one of the main providers – TPG, Telstra, DoDo. You will pay around $70 and above for the modem (plugs in to a phone line) and approximately $60 a month for unlimited data usage. This is useful for those needing higher usage who want to ensure no excessive excess data charges. It will also suit those who want to access the internet across a range of devices in the home.
Free Wifi – Brisbane offers free Wifi in most of the Queensland libraries, some cafes and hotels and in some public places.Find your nearest Wi-Fi outlet by downloading an APP called WI-Fi Finder – see www.jiwire.com.