Communication solutions are one of the important things to address when you arrive in Perth and Western Australia. Below are some suggestions:
Using your current Mobile Phone – If your current phone provider has an International Roaming Agreement with one of the Australian networks you can access the network with your existing phone. Your local network provider will give you more details and explain what costs are involved. Beware: This is often an expensive option especially for data usage. We recommend you turn off your data and use your phone for texts and short phone calls until you find a longer term solution.
Should your mobile handset be ‘unlocked’ (so not locked to a mobile phone provider) you should be able to use the handset and then purchase a local sim card.
Mobile Phone Pre-paid Options – This is a good way to get communicating when you first arrive. You purchase a pre-paid handset, sim and calling credits for $49 - $250 depending on the make or model of the handset. These phones are available at Post Offices, Supermarkets and most of the Phone shops. You purchase additional calling credit as required (in supermarkets or newsagents and convenience stores) or you can also add to your credit online. Calls cost in the region of 92c per minute at peak times and 34c off peak.
Mobile Phone Post-Paid Option – If you take a contract out with a phone provider you can get lower phone costs and capped plan contracts offer additional benefits such as no limit texting or social data services plus bonus credit. It is worth shopping around for the best deal. Contracts are usually 12 or 24 month term. Sim only contract (when you already have your own handset) are approximately $20 a month or including a handset (which is charged over the course of the contract term) from $30 a month – for IPhone 4 or a later model you would be expect to be on $60 a month or above. Check call and data inclusions as exceeding your quota can result is high excess charges. Check your current data usage, to make sure you stay on track, online or by call their allocated number.
- Check mobile phone plans for competitive rates for overseas calls.
- Calling cards offering low cost overseas calls (you first dial a number and enter a Pin) can be bought at convenience stores (from about $10) and are a way to reduce costs and budget your spend. Top up calling credits with a credit card. See: www.cardcall.com.au
- Skype offers one of the cheapest ways to make overseas calls as long as you have an internet connection at home (alternatively a Skype App on your phone) and you can see your friends/family if you have a camera function. www.skype.com.au
- Viber is another App which lets you make free calls and texts to Viber members. www.viber.com
- WhatsApp allows you to text free and also send photo messages to other WhatsApp users. www.whatsapp.com
- Voxer is a walkie Talkie style App allowing you to leave free voice messages for other Voxer users. Voxer is available from the itunes store: www.itunes.com
Mobile Internet - The simplest way to get connected to the Internet immediadely with the added bonus that it is a portable option. Buy a USB modem which clicks into your laptop, a Wi Fi modem or a SIM (for ipad and mobile use). Costs are different between devices and providers but expect to pay at least $79 for a Vodaphone USB modem to up to $299 for a Telstra Wi Fi Modem. Buy data credits and top up as required or monthly online or in store – this allows you to budget. A 12 or 24 monthly data contract will often include the price of the device with the cost spread over the term of the plan. A contract offers better rates but you are tied in for a certain period – charges above your agreed usage can be charged at a premium. These portable internet devices are best for light to medium users with data quotas starting from 2Gig.
Wireless Internet – For broad coverage at home you can take out plans from a six month contract with one of the main providers – TPG, Telstra, DoDo. You will pay $69 and above for the modem (plugs in to a phone line) and approximately $60 a month for unlimited data usage. This is best for those needing higher usage who want to ensure no exorbitant excess data charges and those who want to access the internet across a range of devices in the home.
Free Wifi – Perth and Western Australia offers free Wifi in most of the Western Australian libraries, some cafes and hotels and in some public places. in order to find your nearest Wi-Fi outlet you can download an APP called WI-Fi Finder – see www.jiwire.com.