After my one-month long tour in Europe in March (Portugal, Spain, Andorra, Italy, (Vatican City), Malta, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia & Slovenia + the Czech Republic and Poland in January), where I visited and tested 53 local SIM cards, two regional travel eSIMs & an international SIM card, it was time for me to head to Australia.
You see, I was in Australia in 2019 and 2020 and was supposed to stay for a year.
Unfortunately, things were cut short due to the pandamic.
But this disaster allowed me to stay in Taiwan for a year… which was amazing (and my time there also made me take reviews to the next level).
Now, I am back in Australia and will stay for a year, so that I can stay and see my partner again after being separated for two whole years.
Back in 2019/2020, I tested about 15 Australian SIM cards.
However, the review were not up to standard… so I am redoing those tests and reviews.
And since then, the travel eSIM market has flurished – so have the number of eSIM compatible phones been increased.
So, what am I doing now? I am testing seven local Australian SIM cards (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone Australia, ALDimobile Australia, Amaysim, Boost Mobile Australia & Lebara Australia) and four travel eSIMs (Airalo, Holafly, Nomad & SimOptions) so that I can compare them all.
And decide a definite winner.
You cannot say something is the best without a proper comparison, I would say 😏.
Oh, and I am doing tests with all these SIM cards and eSIMs in five Australian states/territories: Australian Capital Territory (Canberra), New South Wales (Sydney), Queensland (Brisbane… maybe Gold Coast too), South Australia (Adelaide) & Victoria (Melbourne & Shepparton).
I may do them in Tasmania (Hobart) and Western Australia (Perth) too.
As I was bored in Adelaide, others have told me that I will certainly be bored in those two cities… so probably not, lol.
From eSIM packages, prices, which phones can use Holafly eSIMs, other countries Holafly eSIMs can be uses in, my experience with the eSIM in the cities I visited & speed comparisons between the Holafly Australia and the local mobile operator the eSIM was roaming on.
So this review will be packed with solid data!
By the way, many blogs and sites will first write a few paragraphs about the history of eSIMs and how to install an eSIM.
If you want to learn how eSIMs work, I have this article for you.
The installation process is straightforward, especially if you follow the instructions given by Holafly, so I will skip that part too.
That way, we can get to the meat of this review quicker 😎.
Original publication: 8th of July 2022. Last updated: 16th of August 2023.
Table of Contents
Which Phones are Compatible with Holafly Travel eSIMs?
Before discussing the Holafly Australia eSIM specifically, you must know whether your phone can even support Holafly's eSIM.
Sure, your phone may support eSIM, but the local mobile operator and travel eSIM provider, like Holafly, first needs to certify a phone before the users can use their products.
As of August 2023, the phones shown in the infographic below are compatible with Holafly eSIMs:
With that out of the way, let's talk about the Holafly Australia eSIM!
How Much Does the Holafly Australia Travel eSIM Cost?
You can get the Holafly Australia eSIM for 34 USD for 10 GB (30 days) or 44 USD for 20 GB (30 days).
Very straightforward, is it not? And you can save 5% on your Holafly Australia eSIM with code PHONETRAVELWIZ.
Just to let you know, you can use this code on any other Holafly eSIM you wish to purchase, so the discounts can be greater.
Also, as of mid-June, Holafly introduced unlimited data plans for most of Europe (all of the European Union, except for Liechtenstein), Indonesia, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States & Vietnam.
But I have been informed that Holafly is also planning on introducing unlimited data plans in Australia soon, so stay tuned!
If the same pricing strategy is implemented, you can expect to pay the following for Holafly Australia eSIMs:
- Unlimited data for 5 days for 19 USD/19 EUR/19 GBP
- Unlimited data for 10 days for 34 USD/34 EUR/29 GBP
- Unlimited data for 15 days for 47 USD/47 EUR/44 GBP
- Unlimited data for 20 days for 54 USD/57 EUR/49 GBP
- Unlimited data for 30 days for 64 USD/69 EUR/59 GBP
- Unlimited data for 60 days for 84 USD/87 EUR/77 GBP
- Unlimited data for 90 days for 99 USD/99 EUR/87 GBP
And, of course, you can save 5% if you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ when these plans get introduced in Australia.
In Which Countries Can Holafly Travel eSIMs Be Used?
Of course, you can use code PHONETRAVELWIZ on any eSIM for 5% off 😏.
In most countries, you can think off, Holafly has an eSIM for it.
Unfortunately, this applies to most travel eSIMs and SIM cards, so it is not too surprising, except for Airalo, surprisingly.
But yeah, you can use a Holafly travel eSIM in the most popular travel destinations.
My Experience with the Holafly Australia Travel eSIM in Adelaide, Melbourne & Shepperton (Compared to Vodafone AU)
I used the Holafly Australia eSIM in Adelaide (South Australia), Melbourne Metropolitan area (Victoria), Mooroopna (northern Victoria) & Shepperton (northern Victoria).
So you may be thinking, why did I menyion 12 cities in the title of this review?
Well, you have cities within cities in Australia.
Yeah… that sounds strange, but let me explain.
Currently, I live in a suburb called Oakleigh with my partner.
Oakleigh is in the City of Monash, which is still part of metro Melbourne, but not the City of Melbourne (which includes Melbourne CBD).
We previously lived in South Melbourne, part of the City of Port Phillip.
Yeah… still a strange affair, but that is how I managed to do tests in 12 cities while only doing tests in only 4 cities and towns.
But that is enough about cities in Melbourne; but you can read more about them on this Wikipedia page.
Mostly because I want to share my Holafly Australia experiences with you.
Holafly's roaming partner is Vodafone Australia, although it used to be Optus.
Vodafone Australia has the worst network in the country.
And you can easily find Australians who will use colorful words to describe Vodafone Australia 💀.
But I can tell you that it has greatly improved its network over the years.
At least, if you stay in metro areas – Vodafone Australia's coverage is still whack in regional Australia.
Anyway, the main purpose of doing all the tests with all these SIM cards was to compare the Australian mobile operators with each other.
While eSIMs are becoming more popular, about 100 different phones support eSIM – a tiny number when you remember how many phones get released every year.
As a result, there will be significant speed differences between the Holafly Australia eSIM and Vodafone Australia – its roaming partner, especially where Vodafone Australia had 5G NR reception, which Holafly cannot use (yet).
Even though I am staying in Australia for a year (eight more months to go at the time of writing), I could not be bothered to do even more tests on 4G/LTE with Vodafone Australia if it had 5G NR reception at that location.
That would even add more time per testing location, and all this testing takes a lot of time already – let alone the processing 🥲.
But now you will understand why I got only a download speed of 70 Mbps with Holafly, whereas Vodafone Australia got a download speed of 300+ or whatever.
I will also mention whether the Holafly Australia eSIM passed the 4k video streaming and live streaming test.
What are those tests?
A download speed of more than 25 Mbps is enough to video stream content @ 4k resolution.
Social media sites that allow for live streaming, like Facebook Live, recommend an upload speed of at least 10 Mbps.
So if the average download speed with the Holafly Australia eSIM in the Western suburbs of Melbourne was 50 Mbps, then it passed the video streaming test.
But if the average upload speed was only 3.5 Mbps, then it did not pass the live stream test.
All 5G NR speed test results are underlined. All in italic are on 3G.
Any number that is in bold means that the speed test result was the fastest at that location between all the local mobile operators, Airalo Australia Yes! Go! eSIM, Holafly Australia eSIM, Nomad Australia eSIM & SimOptions Australia eSIM.
Note: I will visit Brisbane (Queensland), Canberra (Australian Capital Territory) & Sydney (New South Wales) in October or November, so more results will be added then. Initially, I wanted to add Cairns (Queensland), Darwin (Northern Territory), Hobart (Tasmania) & Perth (Western Australia) to the list. Adelaide was extremely boring, and many told me the other cities mentioned earlier would not be much better… so I will not visit them anytime soon 🗿.
Holafly Australia in Adelaide
Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, is the largest city in the state.
But it is a boring place compared to Melbourne 💀.
According to the Opensignal Australia Mobile Network Experience Report of April 2022, Vodafone Australia has the slowest download speeds in South Australia but the fastest upload speeds.
Let's see how Holafly performed in greater Adelaide in the City of Adelaide, the City of Port Adelaide Enfield (north of Adelaide CBD) & the City of West Torrens (Adelaide Airport – west of Adelaide CBD):
On average, the Holafly Australia eSIM was 76% slower than Vodafone Australia – its roaming partner – in metro Adelaide. The Holafly Australia eSIM did pass the video streaming test (34.27 Mbps average download speed – 25 Mbps minimum for 4k streaming) but not the live streaming test (9.69 Mbps average upload speed – 10 Mbps minimum for HD live streaming) in greater Adelaide.
Now, you may be thinking that it is obvious that a SIM card or eSIM roaming on another network is always slower than the local operator, so what is the point in these comparisons?
Well, that is not always the same.
Some mobile operators throttle the speeds of their prepaid customers (like in Austria, Canada, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland & many more).
Most mobile operators are transparent about this… some are not (like in Slovakia, for example).
So in some cases, it may be better to use a travel eSIM, like Holafly, than getting a local SIM card if you do not want to deal with embarrassing slow speeds (like the budget flanker brands in Canada do, throttling speeds at 3 Mbps).
In the case of Australia, however, prepaid speeds are not severely throttled, although Telstra limits the 4G/LTE download speeds for most of its MVNOs to 100 Mbps and 250 Mbps for 5G NR (which is still fast).
In the case of Vodafone Australia, prepaid speeds are not throttled (as you saw above), even on 5G NR.
As Holafly Australia uses 3 Hong Kong to roam on the Vodafone Australia network, speeds suffer even more.
In terms of reception, I was on 3G more often than I would like, especially when I was practically on 4G/LTE with my Vodafone Australia SIM card.
Even then, browsing with the Holafly Australia eSIM was smooth in most cases.
Holafly Australia in Northern- & Central Melbourne (Cities of Hume, Inner City & Yarra)
Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, is the second-largest city in Australia.
And it is also my favorite Australian city because… well… I live there 😏.
Melburnians say Melbourne is more exciting and welcoming than Sydney… but I will see for myself in a few months 👀.
According to the Opensignal Australia Mobile Network Experience Report of April 2022, Vodafone Australia has the slowest download speeds in Victoria but the fastest upload speeds.
Just like in South Australia… interesting.
Anyway, Wikipedia splits Melbourne into five regions: Inner City, Eastern Municipalities, Northern Municipalities, Southeastern Municipalities & Western Municipalities.
If you are wondering what happened to the Southern Municipalities?
It got flooded and became Port Phillip Bay.
I am joking about the flood, but Southern Melbourne is mostly Port Phillip Bay.
I only did two tests in the Northern Municipalities (Broadmeadows and Melbourne Airport), so I am combining this section with the Inner City (City of Hume, City of Melbourne & City of Yarra) in nine suburbs: Abbotsford, Collingwood, Docklands, East Melbourne, Kensington, Melbourne CBD, Richmond, South Melbourne & West Melbourne.
So let's see how Holafly performed in Northern- and Central Melbourne:
On average, the Holafly Australia eSIM was 41.3% slower than Vodafone Australia – its roaming partner – in Northern- and Central Melbourne. The Holafly Australia eSIM did pass the video streaming test (68.32 Mbps average download speed – 25 Mbps minimum for 4k streaming) and the live streaming test (11.13 Mbps average upload speed – 10 Mbps minimum for HD live streaming) in Northern- and Central Melbourne.
Yeah, the speeds were significantly faster in Northern- and Central Melbourne compared to greater Adelaide.
And the spread between the Holafly Australia eSIM and Vodafone Australia SIM card was smaller too.
But Melbourne is the city with the fastest mobile download speeds in Australia (52.53 Mbps), slightly ahead of Darwin (NT – 52.42 Mbps), Brisbane (QLD – 52.41 Mbps), Sydney (NSW – 52.3 Mbps) & Gold Coast (QLD – 51.43 Mbps), according to the Speedtest Market Analysis of Q3 2021.
And I was not stuck on 3G that often with the Holafly Australia eSIM, so that helped too.
But yeah, the Holafly Australia eSIM performed well in Northern- and Central Melbourne.
Holafly Australia in Southeastern- & Western Melbourne (Cities of Glen Eira, Maribyrnong, Monash & Stonnington)
Okay, so why did combine Western Melbourne with Southeastern Melbourne, which are on the opposite sides of Melbourne?
Mostly because I did only one test in Western Melbourne 💀.
I may do a few more in a few months, but not now.
Anyway, I live in the Southeastern side of Melbourne, Oakleigh, so of course I got more tests done there than on the literal other side of where I live.
I primairy did test on the City of Monash, where I live, and the City of Stonnington.
The latter is apparently the richest local government in the state of Victoria.
It also hosts Chadstone – the largest shopping mall in the Southerm Hemisphere, which I visit quite often to be honest.
Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I did only one test in Western Melbourne (Footscray Station in the City of Maribyrnong).
In the Southeastern Municipalities, I did tests in three cities (City of Glen Eira, City of Monash & City of Stonnington) in nine suburbs: Caulfield, Clayton, Hughedale, Huntingdale, Malvern East, Murrumbeena, Oakleigh, South Yarra & St Kilda.
So let's see how Holafly performed in Southeastern Melbourne:
On average, the Holafly Australia eSIM was 64.1% slower than Vodafone Australia – its roaming partner – in Southeastern Melbourne. The Holafly Australia eSIM did pass the video streaming test (59.58 Mbps average download speed – 25 Mbps minimum for 4k streaming) and the live streaming test (11.19 Mbps average upload speed – 10 Mbps minimum for HD live streaming) in Southeastern Melbourne.
The Holafly Australia was slightly slower in Southeast Melbourne than in Northern- and Central Melbourne.
Which is interesting, because my Vodafone Australia SIM card was significantly faster in Southeastern Melbourne.
And that is why the spread between the Holafly Australia eSIM and Vodafone Australia increased again (compared to it decreasing between greater Adelaide and Northern- and Central Melbourne).
I barely experienced 3G connections in Southeastern Melbourne, except for my GP visit in Hughedale when I visiting my GP and Oakleigh Station when doing the test (but I was always on 4G/LTE afterward, lol).
Holafly Australia in Regional Victoria (Town of Mooroopna & City of Shepparton)
Shepparton is the sixth-largest urban center in Victoria.
And it is one of the larger cities in regional Victoria.
But should you take an intercontinental flight to visit Shepparton? Absolutely not 💀.
But my partner always wanted to visit the art museum there (SAM), which is why we went there.
And it was a good excuse for me to get some test results outside the metro areas… which are the most interesting to me.
Yes, I have been called a city dweller before 🤪.
Unlike metro Melbourne, I mostly stayed in the City of Shepparton.
And a town called Mooroopna next door, which is still part of greater Shepparton.
Remember in the Adelaide section when I mentioned that Vodafone Australia is basically garbage in regional Australia?
Well, this is clearly visible in the tests done in Shepparton, so let's tale a look:
On average, the Holafly Australia eSIM was 35.8% slower than Vodafone Australia – its roaming partner – in greater Shepparton. The Holafly Australia eSIM did not pass the video streaming test (6.93 Mbps average download speed – 25 Mbps minimum for 4k streaming) nor the live streaming test (1.68 Mbps average upload speed – 10 Mbps minimum for HD live streaming) in greater Shepparton.
Yeah, that is slow, right?
Of course, I did not have any 5G NR reception with Vodafone Australia in greater Shepparton (Optus did neither…. but Telstra did).
As you can see, I sometimes did not have reception to do my tests.
And having no reception at all happened more often than I wanted to (although I did expect this to happen).
For comparison, I had an average download speed, mostly on 5G NR, of 271.11 Mbps with Telstra.
No wonder those living outside metro areas go with Telstra – it is your only reasonable option outside the big cities and The Outback.
So do not go with Vodafone Australia or any travel SIM card or eSIM using Vodafone Australia if you plan on visiting.
And yes, that also includes Holafly.
My Overall Experience with the Holafly Australia eSIM
Overall, I am happy with how the Holafly Australia eSIM worked, even though it was on average 62.2% slower than Vodafone Australia.
But this percentage includes Vodafone Australia on 5G NR.
Even though it has the slowest 5G NR speeds in Australia 🤪.
But on average, you will have slower speeds with the Holafly Australia eSIM than Vodafone Australia – and that is normal.
Installing the eSIM was a breeze.
The activation process is straightforward and quick.
And the download speeds were reasonable most of the time.
However, the upload speeds were on the lower end.
While you probably will not be uploading a 5 GB file with the Holafly Australia eSIM, uploading posts to social media will take longer.
Let alone doing live streaming in decent quality.
But still, I do recommend the Holafly Australia eSIM.
But you should not care about the the fact that your speed with the Holafly Australia eSIM is often slower than Vodafone Australia.
Wait… I say this after doing tests at 56 locations?
Yes, but let me explain.
First, I care about mobile data speeds much more than the regular user.
Mostly because it is an easy way to assess the performance of mobile operators as a person.
Sure, I could say that I had coverage in the 3451 of the 3494 streets I walked through during my trip, but that would be a hassle to keep track of… and it would tell you nothing because there is a small change you would follow my exact footsteps.
But speed test results are also helpful for seeing how coverage is with SIM cards.
A mobile operator could claim it covers a whole country for data usage.
But if you only get a 1 Mbps download speed throughout the whole country, making it basically useless for regular data browsing, would you go with this mobile operator or another one that actually has reception where people live and go to and have an average download speed of 50 Mbps?
Plus, there should be no practical difference for a regular user if the Holafly Australia eSIM managed to get a download speed of 50 Mbps while Vodafone Australia has a speed test result of 625 Mbps.
Because you can still watch YouTube videos at 1080p or 4k, browse social media & even have live streams on Facebook at 50 Mbps without complications.
Now, the 625 Mbps download speed would be useful if you download a large file… like a 5 GB movie.
But you should not do that on 4G/LTE or 5G NR anyway unless you have an unlimited data plan.
And Holafly will introduce unlimited data plans in Australia very soon.
But the average and median speed test results of the Holafly Australia eSIM are relevant.
If the speeds were to hover around 5 Mbps, you would not have a smooth browsing experience at all, and I would point that out.
I cannot wait to use the Holafly eSIM in other countries soon. But the question is… will Hong Kong or New Zealand be first?
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