Gotalk Review: Australia’s Worst Prepaid SIM Card

2.0 rating

I will start this review by saying that Gotalk Mobile is probably the worst SIM card in Australia for data – probably for calling and texting too.

And that is not because Gotalk Mobile’s network is terrible (they use the Vodafone Australia network), but mainly because their rates and plans are expensive compared to its competitors.

Gotalk SIM card held by Adu from Phone Travel Wiz

Even Telstra, which is the most expensive operator in Australia, has more generous plans that Gotalk Mobile.

However, Gotalk Mobile can be useful to some who do not use a lot of data (less than you are thinking of) or barely call or text, but you are probably not one of them.

Even then, you would have much better options with other Australian operators that offer prepaid plans or hybrid postpaid plans.

In this review, I will tell you why I believe Gotalk Mobile may be the worst Australian SIM card, but how they can be suitable for certain users. Let’s get started.

Gotalk Australia SIM card review by Adu from Phone Travel Wiz (Gotalk logo)

What is Gotalk Mobile

Gotalk Mobile, also known as just Gotalk or Gotalk Australia, is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) using the Vodafone Australia network.

They are a prepaid MVNO that focuses on customers who are interested in national calls and SMS but do not use their phones as much.

Moreover, their standard international call rates are somewhat competitive, but many of its competitors include international minutes as part of their plan, negating Gotalk Mobile’s selling point.

Because Gotalk is also the name of a video conference app, the name Gotalk Mobile will be used throughout this review.

Gotalk Mobile Frequencies

Because Gotalk Mobile uses the Vodafone Australia network, we have to look at Vodafone Australia’s frequencies. They use the following frequencies:

  • 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 850 MHz (Band 5), 1800 MHz (Band 3), and 2100 MHz (Band 1)

You may have noticed that I did not mention any 2G frequencies. That is because the three Australian Main Operators (Telstra, Optus & Vodafone Australia) shut down their 2G networks in 2017. Therefore, you need a phone that supports at least 3G (on 850 MHz and/or 900 MHz) when going to Australia.

By the way, I made a big comparison of the three Australian Main Operators. You can check that comparison here. It is in-depth, I can tell you!

To learn whether your device supports these frequencies or not, go to this site to find out.

As always, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator.

Although Vodafone Australia has been rolling out 5G NR since mid-2020 (3500 MHz on n78), Vodafone Australia MVNOs will not have access to 5G anytime soon. Especially Gotalk, as they switched to 4G only late 2019 or early 2020 (even though Vodafone Australia activated its 4G network in October 2014).

Gotalk Mobile Coverage

Gotalk Mobile uses the Vodafone Australia network. Vodafone Australia is known for having the worst network in Australia compared to the two other big Main Operators, which are Telstra and Optus. Vodafone Australia has also been dubbed as Vodafail by the Australian media and Australians.

Although Vodafone Australia’s coverage has improved a lot over the years, their coverage still lacks behind the ones of Telstra and Optus, which is something to be aware of when considering getting a Gotalk Mobile SIM card,

Before OzTowers shut down, it was reported that Vodafone Australia had 4750 4G base towers across the country in March 2019, compared to Telstra’s 6410+ towers and Optus’ 5970+ base towers.

Again, the number of towers has increased over the years, but no accurate numbers can be found online.

To this day, many sites, especially review sites, claim that Gotalk Mobile has only access to Vodafone Australia’s 3G network. In fact, the Gotalk Mobile’s own website, which looks like it has not been updated in years, even states that they use 3G for their services – this is incorrect.

Gotalk's Website in 2020
A design like this used to be popular back in the early 2010's.

Gotalk Mobile has had access to Vodafone Australia’s 4G/LTE network since at least 2020.

They even have a banner on their website for more than a year, saying that they will be upgrading to 4G. Clicking on this banner has been resulting in a broken link for more than half a year, at the time of original publication, but I can confirm that Gotalk Mobile indeed uses 4G/LTE now.

Gotalk upgrading to 4G (using Vodafone Australia's network)

As a result, connectivity, bandwidth, and speeds are much better with Gotalk Mobile than what those sites want you to believe, as shown in the speed test section.

The coverage map Gotalk Mobile links to is the one of Vodafone Australia because they use their network.

The issue with this map is that it will not show you the nationwide coverage. Instead, you have to zoom in at least twice to see the local coverage.

I would have to show you about eight photos to display Vodafone Australia’s complete coverage, which would be confusing.

Vodafone Australia's Coverage Map with no coverage shown
You cannot see any coverage unless you zoom in.
Vodafone Australia's Coverage map of Victoria, Tasmania, and the Southern part of New South Wales
Once you zoom in, you can see something.

Instead, I will show a coverage map produced by the Speedtest app, which does give you a great insight into the coverage you can expect in Australia in general and in specific areas.

Vodafone Australia's coverage map according to the Speedtest App
A proper nationwide look.
Vodafone Australia Coverage Map according to the Speedtest App (showing Victoria, Tasmania, and a part of New South Wales)
A focus on Victoria, Tasmania, and Southern New South Wales

You may be thinking that coverage with Gotalk Mobile will be abysmal because most of Central Australia, also known as the Outback, is not covered. That is because barely anyone lives in the Outback.

Not even Telstra, which has the best coverage throughout Australia, or Optus have antennas in that area (as covered in my Australia Main Operators Comparison post).

Because of the lack of population, mobile operators do not bother to invest in those areas.

Although I cannot blame the telcos for that, it is something to be aware of when going off the beaten track or on interstate road trips – you may find yourself with no reception for large parts of your journey.

If you are staying in the metropolitan areas, then you should not have to worry about coverage with Gotalk.

How to Buy a Gotalk Mobile Prepaid SIM Card & Price

Gotalk Mobile SIM cards, both the Prepaid Mobile and Wireless Broadband SIM cards, are available in many retailers throughout Australia, such as Big W stores, post offices, newsstands, and gas stations, ranging from 9.95 AUD to 39.95 AUD. It is also possible to order a SIM card online.

Unlike most Australian SIM cards, getting a Gotalk Mobile SIM card was quite a challenge.

The most popular operators sell their SIM cards in Woolworths or Coles (big supermarket chains in Australia, for the non-Aussies among us). You will not be able to find a Gotalk Mobile SIM card in supermarkets.

A Woolworths selling SIM cards

Gotalk Mobile claims that 7-Elevens across Australia also have their SIM cards in stock, but I could not find them in the ones I visited.

I did not try out gas stations because I cannot drive and have no reason to visit any gas stations (but I found out that Gotalk Mobile SIM cards are available in gas stations after I left the country, so I can still not confirm this claim).

What I did, instead, was order a Gotalk Mobile SIM card online.

I ordered a Gotalk BYO Wireless Broadband SIM, which is a data-only SIM card. The starter pack costs 15 AUD – significantly higher than bare SIM cards of other telcos (between 2 AUD and 10 AUD).

Gotalk Mobile BYO Modem Prepaid Broadband SIM Card Product Page

The SIM card arrived the next day because I ordered another prepaid SIM card, called Hello Mobile, at the same time. Gotalk Mobile and Hello Mobile are owned by the same parent company, TPC Consolidated Ltd, who offered free express shipping to Hello Mobile orders.

Be aware that Gotalk has several starter plans and rate plans to choose from – all with different rates and allowances. The plans are:

I will go through each fair plan in-depth, but here is a brief overview of the five Mobile Prepaid plans:

PlanStarter Kit 1Starter Kit 2DataOn-Net MinutesOn-Net SMSNational Landline CallsNational Mobile CallsFlagfallNational SMSInternational SMS
Gotalk Anytime9.95 AUD29.95 AUD0.05 AUD/MB5 Minutes Free0.05 AUD/SMSFree + Flagfall0.19 + Flagfall0.29 AUD0.15 AUD/SMS0.15 AUD/SMS
Gotalk Aussie 3029.95 AUDN/A2 GBUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedN/AUnlimited0.10 AUD/SMS
Gotalk Aussie 40N/A39.95 SUD4 GBUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedN/AUnlimited0.10 AUD/SMS
Gotalk MAX9.95 AUD29.95 AUD0.05 AUD/MB5 Minutes Free0.05 AUD/SMS0.19 AUD/min + Flagfall0.19 AUD/min + Flagfall0.30 AUD0.15 AUD0.15 AUD
Straight Talk Plus9.95 AUD29.95 AUD0.05 AUD/MB5 Minutes Free0.05 AUD/SMS0.15 AUD/min + Flagfall0.15 AUD/min + Flagfall0.35 AUD0.15 AUD0.15 AUD

1. Flagfall is the fee you pay for every call, regardless of the length of the call. Also known as a connection fee.
2. Gotalk Aussie & Straight Talk Plus: first 5 minutes to other Gotalk numbers are. After that, you will be charged 0.15 AUD/min and 0.29 flagfall for the Aussie plans and 0.30 AUD flagfall for Straight Talk Plus.
3. National call rates drop from 0.19 AUD/min + flagfall to 0.10 AUD/min + flagfall between midnight (00:00/12 AM) to 11:00/11AM (calculated at local time) 

Gotalk Anytime

The Gotalk Anytime tariff plan is a rate plan sold for 9.95 AUD and 29.95 AUD. You will only be charged the flagfall rate (0.29 AUD) when making calls to landline numbers, 0.19 AUD/min + flagfall to mobile numbers, and 0.15 AUD per SMS. Data is charged at 0.05 AUD/MB.

Below is a table with all the rates for Gotalk Anytime:

ActionPrice
Landline Calls0.00 AUD/min + Flagfall
Mobile Calls0.19 AUD/min + Flagfall
On-Net CallsFirst 5 min free, then regular rates
Flagfall0.29 AUD
National & International SMS0.15 AUD/SMS
On-Net SMS0.05 AUD/SMS
Data0.05 AUD/MB

Gotalk Aussie 30 & 40

The Aussie 30 and Aussie 40 tariff plans are rate plans sold for 30 AUD and 40 AUD, respectively. You will get unlimited national minutes (both landline and mobile) and unlimited SMS. Additionally, you get 2 GB or 4 GB of data depending on the plan you choose.  

This is the tariff plan you choose if you want data, minutes, and SMS.

Gotalk MAX

The Gotalk MAX tariff plan is a rate plan sold for 9.95 AUD and 29.95 AUD. You will be charged 0.10 AUD/min + flagfall (0.30 AUD) during off-peak hours (midnight until 11:00 (AM)) and 0.00 AUD/min + flagfall to 45 countries (mostly landline) instead of 0.19 AUD/min + flagfall. Texting is charged at 0.15 AUD/SMS, and data is charged at 0.05 AUD/MB.

The countries where the 0.00 AUD/min + flagfall rate apply are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • China (including mobile)
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Estonia (including mobile)
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guam (including mobile)
  • Hong Kong (including mobile)
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia (including mobile)
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Singapore (including mobile)
  • South Africa
  • South Korea (including mobile)
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand (including mobile)
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States (including Alaska & Hawaii)

Below is a table with all the rates for Gotalk MAX:

ActionPrice
Peak Landline Calls0.19 AUD/min + Flagfall
Off Peak Landline Calls0.10 AUD/min + Flagfall
Peak Mobile Calls0.19 AUD/min + Flagfall
Off Peak Mobile Calls0.10 AUD/min + Flagfall
On-Net CallsFirst 5 min free, then regular rates
Flagfall0.30 AUD
National & International SMS0.15 AUD/SMS
On-Net SMS0.05 AUD/SMS
Data0.05 AUD/MB

(Seafarers) Straight Talk Plus

The Straight Talk Plus tariff plan is a rate plan sold for 9.95 AUD and 29.95 AUD. You will be charged 0.19 AUD/min + flagfall, texting is set at 0.15 AUD/SMS, and data is charged at 0.05 AUD/MB.

Below is a table with all the rates for Straight Talk Plus:

ActionPrice
Landline Calls0.15 AUD/min + Flagfall
Mobile Calls0.15 AUD/min + Flagfall
On-Net Calls1st 5 min free, then regular rates
Flagfall0.35 AUD
On-Net Flagfall0.29 AUD
National & International SMS0.15 AUD/SMS
On-Net SMS0.05 AUD/SMS
Data0.05 AUD/MB

BYO Modem Prepaid Broadband

The BYO Model Prepaid Broadband plans are data-only plans that come with a SIM card that can be used in phones, tablets, and modems that support SIM cards. The starter packs are sold for 15 AUD and 20 AUD.

This is the tariff plan you choose if you only want data.

How to Activate a Gotalk Mobile SIM Card

You can register and activate a Gotalk Mobile SIM card on their registration page. You need proof of identification and the SIM card starter pack to activate your Gotalk Mobile line.

In Australia, unlike some Oceanian countries, you need to register your personal information when activating a prepaid SIM card, including one from Gotalk Mobile.

Unfortunately, I did not take screenshots when I activated my Gotalk Mobile SIM card. However, the process is straightforward.

First, you go to the activation page.

Gotalk SIM Card Registration

There, you fill in the phone number that is shown on your starter kit (starting with 04), and you have to fill in the last 10-digits of your SIM card number (starting with 896103000)/

Gotalk SIM card number and phone number on starter kit

Fill in your personal details, such as:

  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Passport number
  • Australian address (could be your place of stay – you do not have to reside there)

And you are good to go! You will also get a confirmation email, like this:

Gotalk SIM card registration confirmation

How to Recharge a Gotalk Mobile SIM Card

Gotalk Mobile recharge cards are sold in various retailers in Australia, including Big W stores, post offices, gas stations, and newsstands. Recharge online is available too.

To redeem a Gotalk Mobile recharge voucher, simply dial 126 467 and follow the instructions. You can also activate the voucher online.

It is also possible to recharge with debit and credit cards (American Express, MasterCard, and Visa) or PayPal through the Gotalk Mobile website.

Gotalk online recharge methods

First, you have to fill in your mobile number. Then, you have to follow the instructions shown on the website.

Gotalk Prepaid Recharge

Gotalk Mobile Balance Check

To check your balance, text bal to 126 468.

How Does Gotalk Mobile Account Management Look Like?

Gotalk Mobile does not have a mobile app. You can manage your account on the Gotalk Mobile website.

Account management is barebones compared to Gotalk Mobile’s competitors. However, it gets the job done. Below are some photos of the interface.

Gotalk Account Management
Gotalk Account Management

Gotalk Mobile Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Gotalk Mobile has several data recharge options for its BYO Modem Prepaid Broadband SIM card. Regular SIM cards with one of the four Gotalk Mobile Prepaid Mobile plans can use data charged at 0.05 AUD/MB (51.20 AUD/GB).

Exceptions to this rule are the Aussie 30 and Aussie 40 plans with 2 GB and 4 GB of data, respectively.

Regardless of the BYO Modem Prepaid Broadband starter plan you choose; the following three data recharge options are available:

RechargeDataValidity
10 AUD500 MB30 days
20 AUD1 GB30 days
30 AUD1.5 GB30 days

As a reminder, unlike the Gotalk Mobile Prepaid Mobile SIM cards, you cannot call or text with the BYO Model Prepaid Broadband SIM cards – you can only use data.

Gotalk Mobile Speed Test Result

Earlier, we learned that Vodafone Australia has the worst coverage in the country. But does that also mean that they have the worst network and the slowest speeds?

Although Gotalk Mobile is an MVNO, it looked like it did not have to deal with any speed caps (unlike most Telstra MVNOs using the Telstra network, which I explain in the video below).

While in Australia, I tried to do three field tests and two tests for my videos (like the Gotalk Mobile video review and the Vodafone Australia MVNO comparison).

Because I had such a small data allowance, I was able to save only one speed test result – that test was probably my fastest Vodafone Australia test I have done (that explains why I had no data left afterward – faster speeds, more data consumed).

Gotalk Speed Test in South Melbourne
The network says Vodafone because Gotalk Mobile is a Telstra Australia MVNO.

Those are incredible speeds, I would say. I did not even get such high speeds with my Vodafone Australia tests. All tests were done at the same four locations (my partner’s apartment in South Melbourne, in front of a Japanese café in South Melbourne, and a McDonald’s in Melbourne CBD, and the Melbourne Botanical Gardens – only for videos).

I was somewhat surprised by these speeds.

I assumed that Vodafone Australia would throttle the speeds for its MVNOs because Telstra does that actively.

This video explains it more in-depth. It focuses on Telstra, but this concept is used by many operators around the world. The video is informational – I promise!

Should You Get a Gotalk Mobile SIM Card?

I would not recommend Gotalk Mobile to those wanting to buy an Australian SIM card.

This is the first time, at the time of original publication, where I outright do not recommend a SIM card – let me explain.

The mobile market in Australia is intensely competitive, with about 40 mobile operators (of which the majority are MVNOs). For a nation with about 25 million people, that is a lot.

Many of these MVNOs are postpaid-only – about 15 of them offer services to prepaid customers or hybrid postpaid plans that can be canceled at any time.

When I compare Gotalk Mobile’s offering to the other Australian operators, the value is just not there.

Gotalk SIM Card

The majority of their plans are Pay-As-You-Go plans where you will be charged per action – almost every other operator will have a plan, package, or bundle that comes with a data allowance of at least 1 GB of data, unlimited national minutes, and unlimited national SMS.

Some operators or plans even throw international minutes and international roaming as part of the bundle.

For example, the cheapest Gotalk Mobile plan that includes data is the Aussie 30 Plan, costing 30 AUD and coming with 2 GB and unlimited national minutes and SMS.

Vodafone Australia will offer you 10 GB, unlimited national minutes and SMS, and even 50 international SMS.

Even Telstra, the most expensive operator in Australia – but also the best Australian operator, will give you 8 GB of data and some other perks.

There is no point in getting any of the Gotalk Mobile plans if almost all other operators give you many more benefits. Even when spending 10 AUD, the starter price of most Gotalk Mobile plans, the other operators will include perks without having you being charged for every action.

Moreover, the flagfall fees charges with almost all plans are rather unique to Gotalk Mobile – and they are expensive.

Woman holding dollar bills

None of the other Australian operators charge you a flagfall rate for national calls, including national mobile calls (mostly because they include calls into their plans). Hello Mobile is the exception because the same parent company owns both Gotalk Mobile and Hello Mobile.

The only good thing that I can think of is that Gotalk Mobile switched to Vodafone Australia’s 4G network late 2019 or early 2020, which results in Gotalk Mobile customers getting access to much faster speeds compared to 3G speeds.

However, you are still on Vodafone Australia’s network, which struggles in rural Australia compared to Telstra (MVNOs) and Optus (MVNOs).

Overall, there are no real reasons why one should go with Gotalk Mobile. Their standard rates are high for Australian standards. The bundles and plans they offer are barebones or bad compared to its competitors, and coverage can be an issue when visiting or living in rural Australia.

If you are, for some reason, a Vodafone Australia fan, you would be better off getting a SIM card from another Vodafone Australia MVNO.

With all of that being said, Gotalk Mobile is a poor MVNO and should be avoided. However, they do deliver what they advertise. Therefore, they deserve their 2-star rating.

Buying a SIM Card in Australia Review Series

This Gotalk Mobile 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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Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 6 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region is Asia. In particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan.

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