How To Activate my new SIM card in Australia 2024

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This guide explains the mysterious SIM card that allows you to receive calls, send SMS messages and connect to a Wi-Fi network. Whether you’re a tourist exploring Australia, a student looking for an affordable deal or just looking for some help on how to place a SIM card in your phone. With almost 31.2 Million mobile phone connections in Australia, a number that seems to be on the rise, even the most off the grid Australians will require a SIM card soon enough. So, this is the guide for you, whether you’re activating your first SIM Card or inserting a SIM Card into your third phone this year.

Anytime you have to fiddle around with your phone’s SIM card, it’s a nerve-wracking experience. You may be trying to replace your destroyed SIM card, coupling a new phone with an accompanying plan, getting a smaller SIM or changing provider, or handling the set-up of a new SIM. Ultimately, it can be stressful, especially for an all-around business operator or worker who desperately needs to activate their sim to receive and take calls.

The worst outcome is for you to have thought you’ve done everything right, only to find out your SIM was never activated and your phone has been unreachable. Luckily, the activation is simple. Follow the steps provided in this article and the paper your SIM is attached to, and you’ll be making calls in no time.


A Mobile Phone

SIM Card

Tools required

Sim Ejection Key (Go to your nearest Phone store if you are missing one).

Simple Steps to Activate a Phones SIM Card

Step 1:

Using the SIM Key that accompanies your SIM card, eject pin key (or a paper clip or earring) poke into the hole outside your phone’s SIM ejector tray. Once it pops open, place your SIM inside (making sure it fits correctly), and viola, your SIM is in your phone. Remember to have your phone turned on to know if everything worked perfectly.

Activate a Phones SIM Card
Step 2:

Activate your new SIM card with the activation code provided with the SIM package. Remember: you may need a valid ID or login details for your provider.

Activating simcard manually
Step 3:

Activate your SIM online. You will require an internet connection of some sort. Follow the directions of your provider through their website.

Activating simcard online
Step 4:

Now all you need is patience. Wait some time, and you will be able to activate your SIM card in no time.

While this is a solid step-by-step for any available SIM activation, be sure to follow the steps provided along with your SIM card.

Waiting for online activation of simcard

What is a SIM Card, and why do you need it?

Standing for ‘Subscriber Identity Module’, SIM cards are used in smartphones worldwide. A small piece of plastic with a chip on it, a SIM card holds a unique identification number and phone number and other data that connects to the consumer. Making and receiving phone calls and sending and receiving text messages are all due to the SIM card.

While they can hold data within their storage, SIM cards do not affect your phone’s storage data. The only data your SIM relates to is the mobile network data you use to access the internet on your phone when you are away from the WI-FI of your home.

If your connection during phone calls is stuttering or lagging, your SIM card could be the issue, and it might be time for a new one. Luckily for you, this guide has everything you need to know if that’s the case!

While there are many factors and nuances to SIM cards, these are the general facts you need to know. If you want a smartphone or most other kinds of phones, the chances are you need a SIM Card – and it will make your life a lot easier than the alternative.

Can I Use Any SIM Card?

Short answer; no.

Many factors decide what kind of SIM card you can use, and one of them is whether your phone is unlocked or not. If the phone you purchased is locked in and connected to a specific plan, you will find it problematic to change SIM card services.

While more phones are sold today in an unlocked state, pre-paid phones can still be locked and sealed to a specific phone provider. Contact the company or provider you purchased the phone from if you aren’t sure.

Will any kind of SIM card work with my phone?

Once again, no.

There are three different types and sizes of SIM cards; Standard, Micro and Nano. If your phone is on the older side, chances are it takes a standard SIM, while any modern phone is guaranteed to use a Micro or Nano.

Luckily for you, when you order a new SIM, it is most likely to be delivered as a Standard SIM card, and can easily be turned into a Micro or Nano SIM depending on the needs of you and your phone.

Unimportantly but worthy of mention, eSIM technology is a thing today, providing the experience of a SIM Card without the physical card. Check with your network phone provider (and phone model) whether they offer eSIM capability.

Is A New SIM Card Free?

While you can buy a SIM card online or from your local supermarket, the most common SIM card purchase comes through phone bundles and prepaid and postpaid plans. These plans combine the price of the SIM card and the phone plan itself, resulting in a combined price.

Don’t ignore the letter that comes with your Sim Card!

Your sim card provider will have sent an accompanying letter with your SIM Card that holds important information and a guide to activating your new SIM card. On that letter will be an activation code and, (if you’ve changed your mobile number) the new phone number connected to your new SIM card. Make sure you remember and pay attention to both numbers.

Completing the activation process, only to have to take your SIM card out of your phone to double-check the numbers isn’t an experience I recommend.

Register your SIM online

Through the app on your phone or a search engine, log in to your SIM provider’s online service.

Be sure to have your login details and those numbers I mentioned above. From there, just follow the option to ‘activate my SIM’ and you’re ready to go.

How do I insert the SIM card into my phone?

While this process can sometimes be a bit of a hassle if everything doesn’t go as planned, it’s simple. The SIM Card has to go into your phone to work. You have to find the slot it goes into, open it and place your new SIM inside.

Using the SIM Key packaged with the SIM, or a paper clip, back of a new earring or any other object you think will fit that is strong enough, poke into the tiny hole where your SIM Card slots in should pop straight out. Put your SIM card in (making sure it’s the right size!), and you’re done.

Depending on your provider, you may be able to get it done for you by a professional and avoid doing it yourself.

Does my mobile number change?

You can change or replace your SIM card without getting a new number. Whether or not this is the case depends on your specification. In general, a need for a new SIM usually correlates with the want for a new number.

If it so happens that you do have a new contact number, make sure to tell everyone you know. While it’s easier today than in the past with a lot of data transferring from old phone to new phone, you wouldn’t be the first to get a new SIM, throw out the old one and then have no one to call and nobody who knows your new number.

What’s the right SIM Card plan for me in Australia?

There are a million different reasons a plan might not be suitable for you. Maybe you barely require internet outside of your home and thus don’t need to pay for mobile data, or perhaps the days of calling and texting are behind you, meaning you’ll happily pay for as much mobile data as possible. Luckily for you, Australia has an abundance of options to fit any need.

While most Australians opt for a postpaid plan, both prepaid SIM card plans and postpaid SIM card plans can have their benefits. Whether you choose prepaid or postpaid, choose what fits you best.

Here is a quick summary:

A prepaid plan sets you up to receive a service paid for in advance. Prepaid plans are a suitable option if you want to know how much you’ll spend each period.
A postpaid plan allows you to use your phone as fit and pay for it afterwards.
It’s all in the name, but don’t feel bad if you’re confused – they’re confusing!

Below is a compilation of SIM card plans, taking into account what is best for various users (and what costs the least, for the most value).

Best Budget (Prepaid)

ProviderPlan NameData AllowanceBenefitsPrice
AmaysimUnlimited 10GB Prepaid10GBPay for what you need with 10GB for $10.$10
KoganLarge Plan45GBYou get a massive chunk of Data for a low price.$25
iiNetMobile Voice Sim Only40GB$15 off first six months.$29.99 ($14.99)
Boost$30 Prepaid32GBData rollover if you recharge before expiry date$30
TPGT4G Medium Plan25GBPay for what you get with one of the top providers.$25

Best Budget (Postpaid)

If a postpaid plan seems more like your style, call up the provider of your choice and see what they can do for you. Hate calling people, but ironically still want a SIM? Head to your local supermarket and pick up a SIM you think is sufficient for your daily phone usage.

Final Verdict

Mobile network coverage

For the most part, larger phone providers provide better network coverage and reception in rural areas across Australia. Even between the big dogs like Optus and Telstra – I had no reception when hiking, while my girlfriend had four bars. If you live in a big city, the chances are that no matter who you decide on, your reception will be acceptable in 90% of your locations.

If, however, you live in a more regional part of the country, your provider could be crucial to your ability to use your phone and SIM.

For example, here is the Vodofone (Fig2) coverage map. Compared to Amaysim (Fig1), you can see the difference between certain companies.

While its 5G coverage might be lacking, Telstra has stable and extensive network coverage. If you live in a rural area, shop yourself around and find the right deal for you.


Max Delaney
Max Delaney

Max Delaney is a Journalism student at Macquarie University, joining Gadget User in 2022 and reporting on a variety of topics. Only early in his career, Max is excited to write guides, reviews and more to help you make informed purchases!