Australia is the land of the kangaroos, koalas, and emus. The country itself is so large that it can be called a country, which some people do. However, Australia is part of Asia Pacific or Oceania. It is also the 6th largest country in the world.
Although you may not find your typical Oceanian resorts in Australia, there is plenty of things to do and to see.
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, and Darwin. Those are 6 places in Australia everyone knows (but may not be able to pinpoint).
A lot of graduates go to Australia for a year or more as backpackers, taking part in Australia's Working Holiday program. Most of these Working Holiday Makers work in the hospitality industry or on farms (to meet the requirements to stay another year).
Other travelers prefer to go on sightseeing in the larger cities, go on a road trip of their lifetime, or try to find kangaroos or koalas in the Outback (rural Australia). Be sure to watch out for drop bears, though!
While being in such a remarkable country, it is essential to share your travel adventures with the world because you have to make your friends and family jealous.
For many destinations around the world, it can take at least 12 hours to get to Australia, which makes it a popular travel destination, but also a challenging one (because of ticket prices). So it is understandable you want to share your experiences.
In a vast country like Australia, it is important to get a local SIM card that will provide you coverage and good speeds while going on your adventures. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why travelers should get an Australian SIM card.
Unlike many countries around the world, SIM cards and data packages are not extremely expensive, especially when taking the currency exchange into consideration.
When I started my Working Holiday program in Australia, I decided to test out as many Australian SIM cards. From the main operators, Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone Australia, to Mobile Virtual Network Operators, Amaysim, Boost Mobile, Belong, Lebara Australia, and ALDImobile.
In this review, I will share my experience with ALDImobile. Let's see whether they are any good or if you should avoid them. Let's get started.
Buying a SIM Card in Australia Series
This ALDImobile review is part of my Australian SIM Card Reviews Series where I review 20 individual Australian SIM cards.
Because there are so many MVNOs in Australia, this review is also part of the following series:
- Australian SIM Comparison (Main Operators)
- Telstra MVNO Series (Telstra MVNO comparison & individual Telstra MVNO reviews)
It is highly recommended to read the Main Operator comparison after this article, followed by the Telstra MVNO comparison. With that said, let's get started.
Telecom Providers in Australia
Before I tell you more about ALDImobile, you need to know about the operator situation in Australia. If you have read my Buying a SIM Card in Australia Guide, then you know what Australia has 3 telecom operators: Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone Australia (officially Vodafone Hutchison Australia).
All these operators, which I refer to as Main Operators but are officially called Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), have various Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) underneath them that operate as separate companies using the networks of the Main Operators.
There are more than 50 Australia MVNOs in Australia, and around 20 of them offer prepaid SIM cards (imagine how many SIM cards I had to test AND have tested so far!).
One of the pros of getting a SIM card from an MVNO is that they often can offer more perks for the same price as the Main Operator would offer while offering (almost) the same coverage, speeds, and quality of service.
Main Operators can decide to give MVNOs access to their main network or only to their wholesale network. The wholesale network often has slightly worse coverage and limited speeds than the main network. Coverage wise, the difference is negligible. The speeds between both networks can vastly differ, which is one of the cons of using an MVNO.
Another con is that MVNOs often solely operate online, while the Main Networks have plenty of stores you can go to for help and advice.
Now that you know all of this, it is time to introduce ALDImobile.
ALDImobile is the mobile brand of the ALDI chain in Australia. ALDImobile is an MVNO using Telstra’s wholesale network. Telstra is the largest Australian operator and is known for having the best coverage and speeds throughout Australia. Based on this, you could assume Telstra MVNOs would do well as well.
Now it is time to figure out whether that is the case or not, so let’s see what ALDImobile has to offer to us.
How Do I Buy an ALDImobile Prepaid SIM Card?
You can buy an ALDImobile SIM card in an ALDI store or online for 5 AUD. If you plan on ordering an ALDImobile SIM card online, make sure to do it a few days before arriving in Australia. That way, you would not have to spend days waiting for your SIM card to arrive. However, most cities in Australia have an ALDI anyway, so you may be better off going to a store and buying your SIM card in person.
Also, ask your ho(s)tel or Airbnb if they can keep your SIM card safe for you in case you plan to order it online. Else, they may be wondering why they received a random ALDImobile SIM card.
If you have seen my ALDImobile video review, you will see that the ALDImobile starter pack is orange. In 2020, they changed the layout of the starter kit (and their site too) to blue. It is unlikely that you will find the old ALDImobile starter kit in stores. But if you do, worry not – it is official.
How Do I Activate my ALDImobile SIM card?
In Australia, you are required by law to show your passport when buying an Australian prepaid SIM card. However, most operators allow you to register your SIM card online. You cannot register your ALDImobile SIM card in an ALDI store, so it has to be done online (or you can call ALDImobile at 1300 989 000, but online will be much faster).
On the back of your ALDImobile starter pack, it tells you to go to their website to activate your SIM card. Click on the Activate button on the menu or click on this direct link to the activation page. There, you click on the Activate my SIM button in the New Service new customer box.
The next page will ask for your activation code. In your starter kit, you will have a piece with a code of 6 digits. Enter the activation in the Activation code field and select No – new number from the Keeping your new number? list.
On the next few pages, ALDImobile will ask for your details (personal details, (Australian) address, identify, and first top-up). Unfortunately, I have been using my ALDImobile SIM card for months and did not take screenshots when activating it (in fact, my partner activated the SIM card for me a few months before I even went to Australia). However, the activation process should be straightforward.
Before the activation process can be concluded, ALDImobile requires you to make a top-up. All Australian operators do this to ensure you are a real person and verify who you claim to be. Luckily, you can use an international debit or credit card to top-up.
However, foreign currency exchange with traditional debit and credit cards are expensive because banks use unfavorable currency exchange rates or take an insanely high commission, which is almost criminal. That is why I use Transferwise for any non-Euro payments (because my main currency is the Euro).
TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to Australian dollars for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment. I even use my Transferwise debit card when paying for things abroad (with Google Pay as well).
How and Where Can I Top Up my ALDImobile SIM Card?
You can buy ALDImobile top-up vouchers in ALDI stores and recharge by texting the voucher code to 590, online on the ALDImobile website, or on the ALDImobile app.
Using a Top-Up Voucher
With a top-up voucher, you would text CODE with the Voucher Code to 590. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would text CODE 123456 to 590.
You can also use the Voucher code recharge method online, where you enter your mobile number, account number, and voucher code on the recharge page.
These methods, however, require you to go to an ALDI store and buy a voucher in person, which could cost a lot of time, depending on where the store is. If you use the Voucher code recharge method, you would be better off topping up online or the ALDImobile app.
Using the My ALDImobile
To recharge online, you will need your account details you created when activating your ALDImobile SIM card. First, I will show you how to recharge on the ALDI mobile website, then on the app.
To start, you have to log into My ALDImobile.
After then, click on Manage account and click on Recharge.
There, you can select what you wish to buy. In this example, I will assume you want to purchase regular credit, which they call Pay As You Go.
Select the amount of credit you wish to buy by clicking on the Select button.
Then, click on Switch Plan and Recharge Now. If your credit card is already linked to My ALDImobile, you will not have to enter your payment information. If not, then you have to add it on the checkout page. You will see a payment confirmation screen and receive the payment confirmation in your mailbox.
Using the ALDImobile App
First, we need to log into the ALDImobile app. If you have logged in before, the app will remember your login details.
Note: the ALDImobile app DOES NOT work outside of Australia (they restrict that for some reason). When I wrote this article, I was in Taiwan, so I had to use my favorite VPN, NordVPN, to change my IP to an Australian one. If I did not, the app would be on the log in page forever.
Once logged in, you will see your active plan or your Pay As You Go credit. Click on the blue Recharge button to recharge your account.
Here, you will find all the plans ALDImobile offers. For this example, I will assume you only want to buy Pay As You Go credit, so I clicked on the Pay As You Go tab and selected the credit amount I wanted.
There, I saw the plan details and clicked on Recharge.
If your credit card is already linked to My ALDImobile, you will not have to enter your payment information (that is how I accidentally bought 35 AUD in credit when writing this tutorial, ha – *cries* ). If not, then you have to add it on the checkout page. You will see a payment confirmation screen and receive the payment confirmation in your mailbox.
What Prepaid Packages Does ALDImobile Offer?
In one of the previous images when I was recharging my SIM card, you 4 different circles:
- Pay As You Go
- Mobile Plans
- Data Plans; and
- Family Plan
ALDImobile Pay As You Go
Pay As You Go are regular credits you can use for whatever you want. If you do not plan on using a lot, getting Pay As You Go credit can be useful. You will pay the following for the following actions:
- 0.12 AUD per minute
- 0.12 AUD per SMS
- 0.35 AUD per MMS
- 0.05 AUD per MB (or 51.20 AUD per GB)
- At least 0.10 AUD per international minute
Pay As You Go credit expires in 365 days.
If you plan on calling or texting a lot, things will become expensive quickly. Not to mention a 10-minute YouTube video at 1080P. In those cases, Mobile Plans will be more economical.
ALDImobile Mobile Plans
ALDImobile Mobile Plans are their combo plans that include unlimited local calls, local SMS, and MMS, and a set amount of data for 30 days. The following ALDImobile monthly Mobile Plans are available:
- 15 AUD: 3 GB, unlimited local calls and unlimited local SMS
- 25 AUD: 18 GB, unl. local min/SMS, unlimited international calls and SMS to 15 countries, 100 minutes to 35 countries, and 50 SMS for 35 countries
- 35 AUD: 35 GB, unl. local min/SMS, unlimited international calls and SMS to 15 countries, 200 minutes to 35 countries, and 50 SMS for 35 countries.
- 45 AUD: 48 GB, unl. local min/SMS, unlimited international calls and SMS to 15 countries, 300 minutes to 35 countries, and 50 SMS for 35 countries
You can save up to 200 GB with ALDImobile’s data bank. Let’s say you bought the 25 AUD 18 GB plan, and you only used 9 GB in a month. If the recharge is successful, you could use 27 GB in the next month. You can rollover 200 GB in total, so you will not be wasting your data if you cannot use all of it within a month.
Do note that if you change to a lower plan, your data bank will reset to 0. For example, if you go from the 25 AUD to the 15 AUD plan, your data bank will be empty. However, if you upgrade from the 25 AUD to the 35 AUD plan, your data bank will remain filled.
Additionally, all plans more than 25 AUD come with unlimited international calls and SMS to the following 15 countries:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
Depending on your plan, you get 100/200/300 international minutes and 50 international SMS to the following 35 countries, which includes the previously mentioned countries (but not added to the list below):
- The Netherlands
- South Africa
For the following destinations, you can only call landline numbers. If you want to call mobile numbers, you would need Pay As You Go credit:
- French Guinea
- Puerto Rico
So in all, international calling and texting can be done to the following countries:
(1) Unlimited calls and SMS
(2) Set number of minutes and 50 SMS
(3) Set number of minutes to landlines only
ALDImobile Data Plans
You also have data plans for those who need a lot of data or do not care about calling or texting (or do not mind to Pay As You Go when calling or texting). The following ALDIMobile data plans are available:
- 95 AUD: 24 GB
- 240 AUD: 185 GB
- 365 AUD: 365 GB
These data plans also have rollover and are valid for 365 days. I would not recommend data plans to those staying in Australia for a short period unless you know you will be using more than 48 GB within 1 month (the data allowance of the largest mobile plan).
ALDImobile Family Plan
Finally, you have the Family Plan. The Family Plan costs 80 AUD and comes with 72 GB (with rollover), unlimited local calls and unlimited SMS for 30 days. You can up to 4 people in this plan (including you) and set data limited for the other users if preferred. This plan is useful for families exploring Australia.
I prefer ALDImobile’s Mobile Plans because they give the most value for the money spent.
How Do I Activate an ALDImobile Data Plan?
The process of activating an ALDImobile data or mobile plan is the same as recharging your account, except for pressing different tabs. Below are some screenshots in a Gallery format on how to buy a plan.
Can I Roam with ALDImobile?
ALDImobile does offer international roaming on Pay As You Go rates but does not provide roaming plans. I have written a separate article about roaming with ALDImobile.
What Speeds Will I Get with ALDImobile in Australia?
I was mainly in (South) Melbourne when I was in Australia. I always try to get 3 speed tests done in the city I am staying in or multiple cities if I know I am exploring the country I am visiting. Because ALDImobile was my primary SIM card, I have limited the number of speed tests to 3. Otherwise, I would have over 50 tests with ALDImobile and only 3-5 with other providers, which is a bit unfair.
I did one speed test in my partner’s apartment, one outside in South Melbourne in front of a Japanese café, and one in the city center of Melbourne, which is also referred to as Melbourne CBD.
ALDImobile has been the first operator that had consistent speeds wherever I was. Some operators have huge fluctuations, from 200 Mbps to 20 Mbps, depending on where I am. That was not the case with ALDImobile, which is impressive.
The speeds are excellent for an MVNO, which shows that the Telstra network is indeed fast and reliable. Of course, I got higher speeds with Telstra itself because they own the network, and ALDImobile uses the wholesale network. Even then, hitting around 100 Mbps is terrific.
Of course, your speeds will probably be slower when you are in the Outback (rural Australia), but you will have excellent speeds when in the big cities in Australia (like Sydney, Perth, Darwin, and Brisbane).
Do I Recommend ALDImobile to Travelers Visiting Australia?
I certainly recommend ALDImobile to those traveling to Australia. I remember reading about ALDImobile on some random blog when looking for information about Working Holidays in Australia. Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the blog, but they recommended ALDImobile because it uses the Telstra network and offers a lot of perks for low prices. I can certainly attest to that.
It is easy to buy an ALDImobile SIM card (in the store or online), and getting it activated is a straightforward process. The plans they offer are fair. The fact they include unlimited international calls and SMS to 15 countries makes it even more appealing, let alone the included minutes to 20 more countries (to a total of 35).
Data rollover is something more operators around the world should implement. I really love it. There is nothing worse than having a plan and not using 50% of it, and it just vanishes next month or during the next recharge.
The only con I can think of is that buying an ALDImobile SIM card is expensive compared to other operators. 5 AUD is still a steal compared to many countries around the world. However, basic SIM cards, SIMs without any perks when you buy is, of many operators in Australia cost 2 AUD. It is a small thing, but that is the only downside I can think of.
ALDImobile has been, and still is, my main operator while in Australia, and I can gladly recommend them to travelers, which is why ALDImobile deserves their 5-star rating.
Buying a SIM Card in Australia Series
This ALDImobile review is part of my Australian SIM card series, which includes 15 Australian SIM card reviews. Be sure to check out the Australian Main Operator comparison (Telstra, Optus & Vodafone Australia) to learn more about the telecom situation in Australia. After that, you may want to learn more about the Australian MVNOs, like the Telstra MVNOs, Optus MVNOs, and Vodafone Australia MVNOs.
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