Communications, mobile and Wi-Fi
Australia's digital network is compatible with GSM 900 and 1800 handsets. Australian mobile networks operate on GSM and 3G technology. To avoid Global Roaming charges, you need an unlocked handset that takes prepaid SIM cards from Australian providers such as Telstra, Optus, Virgin or Vodafone.
Disable your phone's data roaming feature to avoid consuming data on an expensive overseas network. This turns your âsmartphone' into a âdumbphone' that only activates voice and SMS.
You will still be able to use your smartphone for Internet and apps when connected to a WiFi network. Find out where to connect to free Wi-Fi.
Purchase an International Data Roaming Pack from your carrier for your existing smartphone. This gives you data to use while in Sydney, provided it has an Australian carrier as a network partner. You can also purchase a pack when you arrive in Australia.
Local data plans
Swapping your SIM card for a local prepaid voice and data SIM when you arrive in Sydney is the most cost-effective option. This provides Internet access at affordable rates. You will also be able to make low-rate calls to local phone numbers.
Your hotel concierge can recommend a local SIM card or you can buy these through a mobile phone store, at supermarkets or newsagents. Remember to 'unlock' your smartphone from your carrier before you depart from your own country or it will not work with an Australian SIM card.
Wi-Fi access in Sydney and beyond
If you're visiting Sydney and want to stay connected, you'll find widespread access to the internet via Wi-Fi or plug-in at locations around the city. They include internet cafes, most hotels, backpacker accommodation and hostels, major airports, some railway stations, public libraries, fast-food chains, and on board Sydney Ferries.
Stay connected in Sydney at:
- City of Sydney Public Libraries
- Customs House Library at Circular Quay
- State Library of New South Wales in Macquarie Street, Sydney
- Sydney Airport
- Sydney Ferries.
- Manly Fast Ferry
- Circular Quay Station
- Darling Harbour
- Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo
- Museum of Sydney
View more locations where you can access free wi-fi in Sydney
Beyond Sydney, stay connected at:
- Newcastle Airport
- YHA NSW (Youth Hostels Australia)
- Caravan and Camping Association
- Visitor information centres around NSW
Internet access on holidays in Sydney and Australia
It may be a good idea to sign up to an Australian broadband plan during your stay. Find out more about the National Broadband Network and/or compare rates of internet providers. Don't forget - making and/or receiving international calls on your mobile may be expensive. Read about roaming in Australia on the ACMA website (Australian Communications and Media Authority).
You can buy a local SIM card from most mobile telecommunications companies, newsagencies or supermarkets in Australia.