Moving to Australia

Setting Up Phone and Internet Accounts in Australia

These days, it’s pretty much impossible to live life without phone and internet access. We do everything online, don’t we? It’s how we do our banking, research purchases, find out where to go and how to get there, keep in touch with friends and loved ones, conduct business, exchange photos, look up symptoms, discover what’s around us and so much more. So setting up a phone and internet account has got to be high on the list of priorities when you arrive in Australia.

Do you need a landline anymore?

Allianz Global Assistance Overseas Health - landline phones in Australia

In Australia, as in much of the rest of the world, the trend is moving away from landline telephones. It stands to reason because with the cost of mobile phone plans spiralling downwards thanks to fierce competition between providers, it seems silly to have a separate phone line that you can only use inside the house. Another disadvantage is that if you move house, you may or may not be able to retain the same landline phone number.

Basically, since the majority of consumers have their own mobile phone, there really isn’t a great deal of use for a landline telephone these days. Still, some internet service providers include landlines as part of a bundling deal.

There are of course, reasons why some people do prefer to have a landline telephone. If you have children in the house, there needs to be a way for them to communicate if they don’t have a mobile phone. Children should always be taught how to use the telephone to call emergency services in the event of an accident. The number in Australia is 000 (triple zero) to summon police, fire department or ambulance.

One reason why you may have to set up a landline telephone account is if you can only access ADSL internet and not cable. Then you will need to have a phone line so the ADSL connection can go through it.

Researching internet service providers

Allianz Global Assistance Overseas Health - Choosing an internet provider

Even when trying to find the right internet service provider for you, you need to use the internet for your research! If you want to find a mobile phone company, you can simply walk into a shopping mall or strip shop where there is usually more than one choice. But for internet service providers, it’s best to compare offers online and then contact the one you think is right for you.

Use a comparison website

Today there is so much competition among providers that clever organisations have set up comparison websites to make it incredibly easy for consumers to decide. One of them is Whistle Out , where you can do all your research in one place. They enable you to search more than 3,000 broadband plans to get the best deal at the best price. All you need to do is enter your local area, the type of plan you want, how much data you need and what kind of bundling option you prefer. You might also like to try Compare Broadband.

What plan you choose will depend on your needs. For many overseas visitors, being able to call their home country inexpensively is vital. Not too many years ago, the best way to call overseas was by purchasing a pre-paid international calling card. Today, those cards are best for people only staying a short while. When setting up phone and internet accounts, you can choose ‘high international usage’ as one of your must-have items.

There are mobile phone plans that provide call costs as low as one cent per minute to specific destination countries. Similarly, there are internet accounts that provide unlimited data so you can do better than phone home; you can set up a video connection via FaceTime, Skype, Facebook video chat or any number of other video calling services. If you are lucky enough to live in an area that is serviced by the NBN (National Broadband Network), then your connection will give you the highest speeds in the country and your video calls will be clear and sharp.

Canstar Blue rating system

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A really smart way to investigate providers when setting up phone and internet accounts is to use the Canstar Blue website. It provides a 5-star rating program for a range of criteria including:

  • Overall satisfaction
  • Value for money
  • Customer service
  • Network performance
  • Contract clarity
  • Bill clarity.

Contract or no contract?

Depending on how long you will be staying in Australia, you may need to choose a plan that is month by month, without a contract. Or, you can choose a prepaid mobile phone account that you top up as you use data and calls.

To find out which providers are offering ‘no contract broadband plans’, visit Compare Broadband. If you would like to use prepaid mobile broadband, you can purchase a range of devices from suppliers such as Telstra, Optus, Vodafone or Dodo, among others. Each offers its own packages, data capacity, bonus data and top-up methods.

Staying longer in Australia

If you are planning on staying longer in Australia, then you will be more inclined to sign up for a contract. They are usually for 24 months but some phone and internet account providers offer shorter terms. Generally speaking, contracts offer cheaper monthly pricing so you can obtain a better deal.

Every consumer must meet eligibility requirements before setting up phone and internet accounts. You will normally be asked to present documents such as: bank statements, utilities bills, Medicare card, passport or driver’s license. For a contract, you will probably have to provide 100 points of ID and each provider will have their own assessment of how many points each of those documents satisfies.

Nobody wants to be out of touch, wherever they are. Be sure that you know exactly what you need from your phone and internet accounts, do your research and ask as many questions as you can, before signing up for anything. And if you experience difficulties paying for your services, simply contact your provider and they will help by setting you up on a payment plan.

Happy chatting and web-surfing!


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