Home phone connections comprise of call rates and line rental and it is in your best interest to check the price of both as cheap line rental can often mean very expensive call rates, and visa versa. You will also be charged an installation or connection fee. Some phone companies lease handsets or you can buy one. Due to the changing lifestyle habits of Australians, many households are starting to consider whether they need a home phone at all – usually preferring the flexibility and convenience of mobile phones.
Telstra charges a connection fee of $59 and it will take up to 48 hours for the phone line to be activated, and $72 for the self-installation kit + $9.95 delivery fee. Most properties have a phone line installed and so you will only need to connect the phone.
The major providers for phone services are as follows:
- Telstra http://www.telstra.com
- Optus http://www.optus.com.au
- AAPT http://www.aapt.com.au
- iPrimus http://www.iprimus.com.au
Calling to areas within Australia, outside of Sydney, will incur an STD rate. This is a timed rate and it is normally cheaper than calling from a mobile phone. Some phone companies offer a discounted rate if you call during off-peak times.
To compare the current packages on offer, visit http://youcompare.com.au/homephone/plans.
A popular choice in Sydney has been to choose a service called Naked ADSL. ADSL is a broadband line that uses the telephone line. Once connected it then allows you to make phone calls as per a normal phone but the service is running over the broadband connection. It is unclear as to why it is called Nakes ADSL, but probably because there are no extra costs. These services for residential are approximately $50-$100 a month and include your Internet and Phone for one cost. (Costs vary so check with different providers)
One site that allows you to compare Naked ADSL program costs is http://www.whistleout.com.au/Broadband/Naked-DSL.
Australia is now working on a 3G network and mobile phones need to be 3G phones to take the SIM phone cards from the providers. (SIM = small data card exclusive to you account that sits in the phone). All of Sydney has good mobile coverage. However, mobile phone coverage in Australia can vary, so you will need to check with your phone provider that the areas you intend to live/travel to within Australia will be covered. Your supplier can provide coverage maps – or you will often be able to access maps on their website. Telstra is by the far the most selected provider for coverage Australia-wide and consequently is the most expensive provider.
“Capped” mobile phone charges can often mean very good value for mobile phone customers. Some service providers offer incredibly good deals which comprise of $300-$400 worth of calls for a “capped” rate of $49. Depending how often you use your mobile, your plan, if the phone is supplied by you or the service provider, and where you call to will determine what you pay. Most people pay from between $40 and $80 per month.
These “capped” accounts are available as prepaid and post paid. Most younger adults and children with mobile phones use pre-paid capped plans, which means a parent might buy a $29 pre-paid cap, and that is all the child can use for that month.
To connect to any mobile phone service you will need to complete a minimum 100 point identification check. This will usually comprise of 2-3 standard documents such as either a passport (70 points) or drivers license (70 points) along with other forms of identification such as a credit card, bank card, letter from an employer or utilities company, etc, which can contribute 10-25 points each.
To compare current packages and promotions, visit http://youcompare.com.au/mobilephones/deals.
The major mobile phone companies in Australia are:
- Virgin Mobile http://www.virginmobile.com.au
- Telstra www.telstra.com
- Optus www.optus.com.au
- Primus http://www.primus.com.au
- Vodafone http://www.vodafone.com.au
On post paid contracts there are some 12 month contracts, but most comprise of a 24 month contract. This is generally so that the provider can spread the cost of the handset out over the 24 months.
International calls can be quite expensive calling directly from a landline or mobile phone. It is much cheaper to buy a phone card which you use via your landline. You can purchase these from a newsagent. Skype and other internet chat programs with voice functions are even more affordable or free.