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What's The Best eSIM For Australia? We've Ranked the Top Providers in 2024

Jan Watermann, writer at Monito.com

Jan Watermann

Guide

Jun 17, 2024
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Known for its rugged Outback, marsupial wildlife, and stunning beaches like Byron Bay and Whitehaven, Australia isn't popular with tourists without reason. If you're planning to visit the country soon, it should come as no surprise that you won't be able to call, SMS, or access the web on the go with your smartphone as you usually would at home, and if you do manage to get connected via roaming, it can result in hefty additional charges.

However, none of this means you should leave your smartphone at home. If your device is a newish model (i.e., from 2019 or later), there's a good chance it'll support an eSIM. These nifty digital SIM cards can be downloaded and installed before you travel, promising blazing-fast internet in Australia at a very low cost compared to roaming and great convenience compared to physical SIMs. In this guide, we explore everything you have to know about eSIMs in Australia and what the best deals might be for you.

Compare all 150 eSIM data plans for Australia in just a few clicks:

As we'll explore in more depth in this guide, when choosing an eSIM, you have two options. The first option is for you to go through a digital eSIM provider, and the second option is to purchase an eSIM directly from your network provider or carrier. We strongly recommend the first option. After all, with reputable online providers, you can always be sure you'll get good support, excellent rates, and quality instructions that normally exceed those of the big carriers.

According to our review and comparison of the best options on the market, the best four eSIM providers for Australia are Holafly, Airalo, GigSky, and Yesim. Here are a few key facts:

Key Facts About eSIMs in Australia

📱No. of Providers Compared

12

📶 No. of Plans Compared

150

💲 Cheapest Price

$0.80 /GB

💵 Highest Price

$4.04 /GB

Best For Unlimited Data: Holafly

📡 Network(s)

Optus

💵 Price /Plan

$19 - $54

📅 Duration

5 - 20 days

📶 Speed in Australia

4G / LTE

Holafly is another trusted eSIM service which also offers eSIMs for Australia. The remarkable thing about Holafly is that it only provides packages with unlimited data for Australia and other countries worldwide. Although these packages cost quite a bit more than the smaller Airalo packages, in return, they offer the certainty that you'll never use up all your data.

Holafly's data packages cost between $19 and $54 once off for trips to Australia and are valid from five to 20 days. Like Airalo, Holafly's plans in Australia give you data via Optus networks. This means you'll get coverage like a local no matter where you travel in the country (however, coverage can still drop in large parts of Australia like the Outback, as we'll see later in this article.)

Although Holafly's packages are generally great if you'd like uncapped access to the web, it's worth remembering that most travellers don't usually need such a large sum of data and that normally, 5 GB to 10 GB, at most, should be enough for everyday travel needs in Australia like navigating, browsing, and using social media. Moreover, your speeds might be temporarily throttled if you use a very extensive amount of data (e.g., for non-stop HD streaming or downloading large files). During our test in the UK, this happened to us at around 4.5 GB of usage. Sadly, Holafly's fair use policies don't clearly outline when networks throttle speeds since it comes down to the individual network or carrier and the country you're browsing in.

If you're curious, we tested Holafly extensively to see if its data plans really live up to their 'unlimited' promise. The short answer? Yes, but there are a few things you should know. Take a look at our Holafly review to find out what they are.

recommendation icon

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Best For a Free 100 MB Test: GigSky

GigSky


GigSky is a popular US-based eSIM provider that offers a unique opportunity: it lets you download and install a free eSIM with 100 MB of allowance to test how eSIMs work without being obligated to pay more once you've used up your data.

Like Airalo, GigSky offers fixed data plans in around 200 destinations worldwide, including Australia. GigSky's Australian plans range from 100 MB (which, as mentioned above, is free) to 10 GB, which costs just $19.99. And just like Airalo and Holafly, you can easily top up or renew your plan from the app if you ever run out of data.

Most interestingly (unlike Airalo and Holafly), Gigsky offers special data plans for flights and cruises. Although they're pricier than the normal plans, they could be useful for you if you'd like to connect in the air or at sea.

Regardless of what kind of data plan you're looking for, GigSky probably has you covered—and at great rates to boot. Sign up now for a no-obligation free 500 MB and top up your data later if you need more.

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Best Overall: Airalo

📡 Network(s)

Optus

💵 Price /GB

$2 - $4.50, depending on plan

📅 Duration

7 - 30 days

📶 Speed in Australia

3G / 4G / 5G / LTE

Airalo is an excellent eSIM provider for Australia. Its online platform offers global access to eSIMs through collaboration with big local telecom providers. In Australia, for example, Airalo works directly with Optus, Australia's second-largest network operator, to provide you with high-speed coverage directly from their networks across all cities and most popular tourist spots across the nation.

Once-off prices for eSIMs in Australia range from $4.50 to $40 and include between 1 GB and 20 GB of data. Depending on your plan, that's just $2 to $4.50 per gigabyte! Most travellers should be able to get by with these amounts without any problems. Setting up and activating your eSIM happens entirely on your smartphone, and it's very quick. In our test, we just took two minutes (watch our how-to video on YouTube to see how it's done). Moreover, you can easily top this up via the Airalo app if you start running low on data during your trip. This saves you time and hassle compared to buying a physical SIM, where you'd usually need to stand in line at the counter to buy or top up your card or package.

We also recommend Airalo in general, especially if you travel overseas often. The service provides an excellent connectivity companion while you're abroad in dozens of countries. To find out more about this excellent eSIM provider, take a look at our in-depth Airalo review.

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Another Reliable Alternative: Yesim

📡 Network(s)

Optus, Vodafone

💵 Price /GB

$2.20 - $4.03, depending on plan

📅 Duration

7 - 30 days

📶 Speed in Australia

3G / 4G / 5G / LTE

A smaller and newer company than Airalo and Holafly, Yesim is a Swiss-based eSIM provider offering highly-rated eSIMs for Australia and other countries around the globe. Its website and app are simple, straightforward, and easy to use, and over 300,000 customers have chosen Yesim's eSIMs so far.

Like its larger competitors, Yesim gives you an eSIM card connecting to local carriers while you're in Australia (specifically Optus and Vodafone networks). It can be installed quickly and effortlessly right from the app or via a QR code sent to your email after purchase. Interestingly, alongside its eSIM service, Yesim also offers a virtual number service that allows you to get an online-only US (+1), Canadian (+1), or Israeli (+972) mobile phone number to use for apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, OpenAI, Binance, Tinder, or TikTok. These virtual numbers can be used for a flat fee of $2.75 per month.

Going back to eSIMs, Yesim's packages cost between $12 and $44 in Australia for 3 GB to 20 GB (that's just $2.20 to $4 per gigabyte), with contract durations lasting from seven to 30 days. Yesim also offers three unlimited packages in Australia for varying durations (7, 15, and 30 days). Another perk is that Yesim gives you coverage not only on Optus networks but also on Vodafone's, meaning you'll be able to switch between the two and enjoy the best coverage available. This is Yesim's chief advantage over Airalo and Holafly, and it can be especially useful given that large parts of Australia are remote and provide a spotty reception.

Although well-priced, we still think that Yesim's data packages are ever-so-slightly less attractive than Airalo's when traveling to Australia. However, it's worth remembering that, depending on your plan, Yesim's prices can sometimes be fractionally lower per gigabyte than Airalo's, so if you're looking for the best deal, make sure you visit Yesim's website and compare their prices to Airalo's directly.

How Do They Compare?

In the chart below, we've compared Airalo, Holafly, and Yesim based on a few factors you might find important on your trip to Australia or anywhere else in the world. As you'll see, the three are very competitive, with differences normally being slight. If you'd like to compare Holafly and Airalo directly, take a look at our side-by-side review of the two too.

📡 Carrier(s)

Optus

Optus

Various

Optus, Vodafone

⚡ Data

Unlimited

1 - 20 GB

100 MB - 10 GB

3 - 20 GB

💵 Price (USD)

$19 - $54 /plan

$2 - $4.50 /GB

$0 - $1.99 /GB

$2.20 - $4.03 /GB

📅 Duration

5 - 20 days

7 - 30 days

7 - 30 days

7 - 30 days

📶 Speeds

4G / LTE

3G / 4G / 5G / LTE

3G / 4G / 5G / LTE

3G / 4G / 5G / LTE

✈️ Flight Package

🚢 Cruise Package

🔗 Tethering (Hotspot)

Up to 500 MB /day

🔎 Works With VPN

Visit websiteVisit websiteVisit websiteVisit website

Correct as of 12 March, 2024

Which Australian Carrier Is Best?

Tyler Duston A night view over the Sydney Opera House, Australia.

Australia has only three major mobile network operators, which we've listed below in order of number of subscribers:

  1. Telstra
  2. Optus
  3. Vodafone

No matter which of these three networks your eSIM connects to, you can rest assured that you'll enjoy good coverage in pretty much all cities and tourist destinations in Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast, and Canberra. However, Australia is an enormous country, and most of the nation's landmass is neither populated nor covered by any of the network operators. Accordingly, your coverage will probably become spotty or even nonexistent if you travel to a more remote region of Australia, particularly places like the Outback (including most of Western Australia, South Australia, and Northern Territory, as well as large parts of Queensland and New South Wales) or rural Tasmania.

If you'd like to double-check if the region you're traveling to is covered by each carrier, take a look at this handy map. According to their website, the network with the widest coverage is Telstra.

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Do I Need a SIM Card in Australia?

Alex King A group of surfers on the seashore at dawn, Bondi Beach, Australia.

No, you don't need a SIM card as a tourist in Australia, but having one will enable you to access useful travel apps like Google Maps, social media, Uber, or Airbnb without having to rely on WiFi.

A good place to start would be to review your contract from your mobile network provider before you travel to Australia. Most contracts are limited to use just within your home country (or within the European Union if you live in an EU country). For all other countries, so-called 'roaming charges' typically apply. However, there is one exception: specific contracts sometimes allow you to use your data worldwide. If you have a global internet contract, you can also use it in Australia without unexpected roaming charges.

Otherwise, although precise roaming charges differ according to your network provider, the fees for using mobile internet in Australia are typically around $2 or $3 per 6 MB (six megabytes) of data used, though they could still be higher. For example, if you wanted to download an average-sized app from the Google Play Store onto your Android smartphone, you'd use around 24 MB and pay $8 to $10 in roaming charges. It should, therefore, be clear that roaming with your regular SIM card in Australia is generally not worthwhile and can lead to enormous costs. As we saw earlier, purchasing a local Australian SIM card once you arrive or, better yet, an eSIM before you travel is significantly cheaper.

What Are eSIMs, Anyway?

Photoholgic A view of Uluru/Ayers Rock, Uluru, Petermann, Australia.

Simply put, eSIMs are regular SIM cards that don't require inserting an actual microchip into your device while providing the same benefits. Newer smartphones (but also smartwatches, tablets, and other devices) can be equipped with eSIMs, and since you don't need an actual SIM card to install an eSIM, you can also get one before your trip to Australia. To do this, all you have to do is visit an online eSIM service, purchase the eSIM you want, and follow the instructions to download and install it onto your device.

Like regular SIM cards, prepaid eSIMs come bundled with a certain fixed amount of data, SMSes, or telephone minutes, which you can use at your leisure while travelling. You get to choose the package you want, and you can generally also extend your eSIM's validity easily right from an app.

Pros of Using an eSIM

In general, eSIMs have numerous advantages and are often a better alternative to regular SIM cards for most tourists. In our opinion, the most significant advantages include:

  • internet immediately upon arrival in Australia,
  • no negotiating with SIM card sellers at the airport,
  • transparent and fair pricing,
  • online extension is often possible,
  • credit card payment is possible,
  • local telecom provider networks are used.

In our opinion, there are only a few reasons against using an eSIM when travelling to Australia (which we'll discuss below). In most instances, we're sure that it's a far better deal than using your normal SIM card from your home country on Australian networks.

Cons of Using an eSIM

As we've already seen, eSIMs have very few drawbacks and are an excellent option for accessing mobile internet on your Australian vacation.

However, one disadvantage is the slightly higher upfront cost than physical SIM cards. That said, eSIMs are still comparatively cheap, especially for use in Australia from abroad. In our opinion, the significantly higher level of comfort and the possibility of having access to the internet immediately upon arrival are worth the extra pennies. Another disadvantage is related to installation, where the process may be unfamiliar to you if you've never installed an eSIM before. However, if you follow the instructions carefully, you'll be fine.

Finally, there's a compatibility issue: not all devices support eSIMs. If your device was released before late 2019, we recommend double-checking on the internet or contacting a representative from an eSIM service to confirm whether your device is compatible before you purchase an eSIM. In general, the following devices will support eSIMs though:

  • iPhone 11 or later
  • iPhone XS, iPhone XR, or iPhone SE
  • iPad 7th generation or later,
  • Galaxy S20 or later
  • Google Pixel 3 or later
  • and many other devices (see our full list of compatible devices)

Can I Call From Australia With an eSIM?

Graham Holtshausen A brown kangaroo on the road during the daytime in East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia.

Yes, you can call abroad from Australia with an eSIM, but once again, using your regular network provider and SIM card could result in surprisingly high calling charges at the end of the month (we've personally encountered as high as $4 per minute!). Fortunately, you can call abroad without the high costs, and there are three ways of doing this. We go through each below:

1. Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) With Data

In most cases, eSIM packages are loaded with mobile data, not with minutes or airtime. However, using your data, you can use web-based apps like WhatsApp, Google Meet, Skype, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime and others to stay in touch with family and friends abroad while in Australia.

2. eSIMs With Airtime

Some eSIM services offer talk and text packages alongside normal data packages. These allow you to make direct phone calls or SMSes via local networks in Australia to your home country for only a slightly higher fee than regular data packages. Not all eSIM services offer this service though, but some, like Wraptel, do.

3. International Calling Apps

If you plan to make calls from Australia (or anywhere else abroad) fairly regularly, then your most reliable and affordable option will be to use a third-party app. In our opinion, Rebtel is by far the best service out there, offering low rates and providing you with local Australian phone numbers with which you can make calls abroad as though they were completely domestic.

Although it's popular, we typically don't recommend using Google Fi for this purpose unless you plan to go back and forth from the United States regularly (since Google Fi is only available to Americans and will not work if you spend over 90 days abroad yearly). In general, Rebtel's rates are more affordable than Google Fi's too. Look at our in-depth review to learn more about our first-hand experience with Google Fi.

Recap: All About eSIMs in Australia

Johan Mouchet A view over the Twelve Apostles rock formations on the seaside, Australia.

Are you planning a trip to Australia, and do you have a modern smartphone? Then, you should certainly at least consider getting an eSIM. In our opinion, they offer almost nothing but advantages and are generally far superior to using your regular SIM card.

You should compare the available options to find the right provider for eSIMs in Australia. As we've seen, we recommend looking primarily at the network provider and the price. Airalo, Holafly or possibly Yesim are the best choices, depending on how long you want to stay in Australia. To recap, here are what each can offer you:

  1. Airalo: Best eSIM for Australia overall,
  2. Holafly: Best eSIM for unlimited data in Australia,
  3. Yesim: Good alternative to Airalo.
  4. Wraptel: Best eSIM for airtime and SMSes.
  5. Rebtel: Best calling service for international calls.

Compare more than 150 eSIMs packages for your next trip to Australia:

  • Where are you going?
  • How long is your trip?
  • How much data do you need?
74 results
Sort by
  1. Total data

    5 GB

    $7.37

    $8.19

    Data only
    30 days
    Australia
    10% off with code MONITO
  2. Buy in GBP

    Total data

    5 GB

    $9.18

    $10.80

    Data only
    30 days
    Australia
    15% off with code MONITO15
  3. Total data

    5 GB

    $10.44

    $10.99

    Data only
    30 days
    Australia
    5% off with code MONITO5

FAQ About The Best eSIM For Australia

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