expat network

Getting Connected In Australia

Getting connected – organising mobile phones (cellphones) for yourself and your family members, together with broadband for your new home –  will be one of your first and most important tasks when arriving in the Australia. 



Mains voltage in Australia is 230V 50Hz. Most countries in Europe, Asia and Africa have appliances that work on the same mains voltage as Australia – therefore you will not need a voltage converter. However, USA, Canada and Japan use 100/120V 50/60Hz and so will not be able to use electrical appliances without using a converter and will need to consider buying electrical equipment on arrival.



Australia has a vast land mass and much of it is remote and sparsely populated. There are therefore many rural areas where you cannot connect to telecommunications other than by satellite phone. However, for most people in urban areas coverage is good.


Telephone installation

Telstra and Optus are the dominant telecommunications service providers in Australia. Phone installation can be arranged by phone, online or by visiting the local branch. As part of your application to have a landline installed you will need to provide:

  • Proof of identity and that you are over 18 – ID or driving licence
  • Your address
  • Contact details – email and phone number

Installation is generally achieved quickly in the major cities with existing lines to be taken over service in place within 7 to 10 days, but in less densely populated areas it can take longer.  New buildings where connections need to be set up for the first time, it can take longer.

Connection charges vary from city to city.  There are many plans available to suit your needs ranging from home phone packages with charges based on time, duration and destination of the call to packages or bundles including local, national and international call, internet and TV.



ADSL, ADSL2+, National Broadband Network (NBN), cable and wireless broadband are available in Australia.

NBN was established in 2009 by the Australian Government to design, build and operate Australia’s new fast, wholesale local access broadband network. This creates a wholesale only, open-access broadband network.  Premises with fibre connections to the NBN can in theory get a peak rate of 100Mbps. In fact, there are five tiers of NBN connections, varying between Tier 1 (12Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds) to Tier 5 (100Mbpsof download and 40Mbps upload).

There are a wide range of providers of Internet services in Australia, including Telstra, Optus, TPG, iinet and engin. You can use comparison sites like Finder.com.au or Compare Broadband to see which service might meet your needs best. Bundled options apply and will generally be more attractive than getting all of your telecoms service separately.  Free Wifi is widely available in retail

establishments and a number of cities provide free public Wifi hotspots. Service providers include access to hotspots in their packages.


Mobile phones

There are three mobile network operators in Australia: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. There are a wide range of other virtual network operators (companies that sell their own branded mobile phone service using someone else’s network) so there is plenty of choice and enough competition to keep prices reasonable.  When choosing an internet service provider, it is important to check coverage as, although all provide coverage to the major cities, some rural areas have reduced or no coverage.

Australian mobile phone providers offer the usual options of contract and pre-paid. Your likely usage of the phone for calls, texts and data will determine which is best for you. The terms available vary between providers and your data and international usage may be key considerations.

When you first arrive in Australia it may be worth considering a pre-paid plan until you can provide proof of employment and proof of a permanent address. If you have an existing mobile phone that can be unlocked this can be used provided it uses GSM technology.

Contracts are generally for two years although shorter terms are possible. Early cancellation will involve exit charges and so if you are in Australia temporarily you should be sure you will be there to make us of the full term.

Use of a mobile phone while driving, without the use of a hands-free kit, is an offence in Australia.