Getting phones and internet is one of the important things to tackle when you arrive in Tasmania. Below are some suggestions:
Use your current Mobile Phone – If the phone provider you use now has an International Roaming Agreement with one of the Australian networks you can access the network with the phone you already have. Your local network provider will give the details and explain the tsts involved. Watch Out: this is often expensive particularly for data usage. By turning off your data and just using your phone for texts and short phone callswhile you investigate a longer term solution you can keep your costs down.
If your mobile handset is ‘unlocked’ (this means that it not locked to a mobile phone provider) just use the handset and buy a local sim card.
Pre-paid Options – Buy a pre-paid handset, sim and calling credits for anything from $50 - $250. 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.
- See 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 keep costs down. Top up calling credits with a credit card. See: www.cardcall.com.au
- Skype is good to make overseas calls as long as you have an internet connection at home (alternatively a Skype App on your phone) and you see friends and family if you have a camera function. www.skype.com
- Viber lets you make free calls and texts to Viber members. www.viber.com
- WhatsApp gives you text free and also sends photo messages to other WhatsApp users. www.whatsapp.com
- Voxer leaves free voice messages for other Voxer users. Voxer is available from the itunes store: www.voxer.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 – Tasmania offers free Wifi in most of the Tasmanian 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 apps.apple.com.