Cell phone users in the United States have grown accustomed to being able to use the phones without concern for how many calls, text messages and, in most cases, data usage they will consume. They know that they pay X amount to Verizon, AT&T or however the carrier may be and that’s it. However, traveling outside of the US is another story. Roaming with your US carrier can be prohibitively expensive. Sure, they offer packages for calls and data but it still is expensive and you have to be extremely vigilant about exceeding the package lest you get hit by unreasonably high overages. While we use our phones pretty much in a carefree fashion back home, when we go on vacation, having to be on top of your cell phone usage is just an added stress that many travelers don’t need. Now, at least for travelers who need a cellular plan for Australia, things have changed.
We now offer a solution for Australia that offers unlimited calls and texts within Australia and unlimited calls back to the United States and Canada. In addition, the plan comes with 2GB of data at 3G speeds. While 2GB is not unlimited, it is more than enough data for most people.
So how do you get this service to work on your device and will it work on your device? That is a good question. So good that it requires a drawn out answer.
If your current cell phone is unlocked (most aren’t) AND globally compatible (most are), you can just buy an Australian SIM card before you leave and put it in your phone. Check with your carrier to see if your device is unlocked or if they can unlock if for you (note: iPhone 5 phones from Verizon are now always unlocked). Also, there are 3 sizes of SIM cards, standard, micro and nano so make sure you get the right size for your device. Why are there 3 SIM card sizes? Well, not to be cynical but a good possibility is that the carriers are trying to throw just another curve ball at travelers who want to get local SIM cards for their travels. It is unlikely that they are trying to make the the SIM card size smaller so that they can add more components to the inside of the devices they sell as the differences between standard, nano and micro SIMs is literally measurable in millimeters.
if you discover that your phone is locked or for some reason you just don’t want to have to deal with swapping out the SIM card, you can also rent or buy a cell phone before you leave. A lot of people like having an inexpensive cell phone regardless of whether or not their cell phone would work with a local SIM. One advantage is that you don’t have to worry about your $700 iPhone being stolen or you being targeted as a “rich American.” This is a bit less relevant for Australia but if you were traveling to a developing country and your phone is worth a year’s salary, you might want to cheapen yourself down a bit to local standards. Nowadays, you can even get a cell phone with internet capabilities for less than $100. My recommendation to travelers, and one that I do myself, is to travel anyway with 2 phones. There is nothing worse than having an issue with a cell phone and being miles away from a cell phone store when you are overseas. A little bit of redundancy while traveling never hurt anybody.
In sum, when most people travel, they want to have the best experience at the lowest price. The Lebara SIM card for Australia is a perfect solution for anyone going to Australia needing a reliable and affordable plan for calling and data.