Hello Mobile Australia: Not The Worst SIM Card Anymore

4.0 rating

If I had written this Hello Mobile review a few months earlier, I would have said that Hello Mobile is the worst prepaid SIM card in Australia, together with Gotalk.

Hello Mobile’s plans used to be expensive – you got charged per MB, minute, and SMS at high rates.

Hello Mobile SIM Card Held by Adu from Phone Travel Wiz

At the same time, almost all Australian operators would give you a data allowance and slap unlimited national calls and SMS.

Some operators are even generous enough to give you free international minutes – that was a foreign concept to Hello Mobile.

However, between the time I tested Hello Mobile and the time I actually wrote this review, Hello Mobile has changed its plans – for the better.

They have improved so much that they have become a good option for those wanting to buy an Australian prepaid SIM card.

Such a drastic change, for the better, is not something I see often.

In this review, I will tell you all about Hello Mobile and how they have improved. They may be the best Vodafone Australia MVNO for your situation. Let’s do this.

Hello Mobile Review by Adu from Phone Travel Wiz (logo of Hello Mobile)

Original publication: 2nd of October 2020

What is Hello Mobile Australia

Hello Mobile Australia Logo

Hello Mobile Australia, simply known as Hello Mobile or Hellomobile, is an Australian Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) using the Vodafone Australia network.

It is one of the many prepaid MVNOs that Australia has to offer.

This is a review about Hello Mobile Australia, although I will refer to them as just Hello Mobile. There are other operators called Hello Mobile in South Africa and the United States – this review is not about any of those two operators.

Hello Mobile Australia Frequencies

When talking about Hello Mobile’s frequencies, we have to look at the ones from Vodafone Australia because Hello Mobile is a Vodafone Australia MVNO. 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)

What about 2G in Australia? 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.

Oh, 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.

Vodafone Australia has been rolling out 5G NR since mid-2020 (3500 MHz on n78). However, Vodafone Australia MVNOs will not have access to 5G anytime soon.

Hello Mobile Australia Coverage

Like how we had to look at Vodafone Australia’s frequencies when talking about Hello Mobile, we have to do the same when talking about mobile coverage.

Do note that Vodafone Australia has been, and probably still is, known as Vodafail for having an awful network. At least, compared to Telstra and Optus.

Vodafone Australia has improved its network significantly since they have gotten that nickname, but they are still the worst out of the big three.  Be aware of that when considering getting a Hello 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.

The number of towers has undoubtedly gone up by then. However, it still shows you how Vodafone Australia has always been lagging behind its competitors.

The good thing with Hello Mobile is that you get access to Vodafone Australia’s 4G/LTE network. You used to only gain access to their 3G network until late 2019 or early 2020.

The Hello Mobile still shows a banner that they have upgraded to 4G at the time of original publication – this banner has been up for about a year now.

Hello Mobile 4G Upgrade Banner

That is quite funny because their website was down for a week or two mid-2020 for an upgrade – I guess they forgot to remove the banner, or at least update the destination of the link.

Anyway.

The coverage map Hello 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
You cannot see any coverage unless you zoom in.

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.

TAKE IMAGES FROM GOTALK

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

What about coverage in Central Australia, also known as the Outback? Mobile coverage in Central Australia barely exists because almost nobody lives there.

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.

So, if you plan on going to the Outback or going on long road trips, be prepared to have no mobile coverage for some stretches during your journey – this is normal, sadly.

How to Buy a Hello Mobile Prepaid SIM Card & Price

Hello Mobile SIM cards, both the standard and data-only SIM cards, are available starting from 10 AUD in many retailers across Australia, such as Big W stores, gas stations, post offices, and newsstands. You can also order a Hello Mobile SIM card online with free shipping.

The thing with Hello Mobile SIM cards is that they are not sold in major supermarkets, like Coles and Woolworths.

In fact, when I ordered my Hello Mobile SIM card online, I thought that ordering it was your only option. Only later did I learn that they are sold in non-traditional outlets compared to other Australian prepaid SIM cards.

Australian SIM Cards sold at a Woolworths
SIM card rack at a Woolworths

Ordering a Hello Mobile SIM card is quite easy. You simply select your plan of choice, add it to your card, fill in your shipping details, and you will receive it in a day or two with free express shipping.

Ordering a Hello Mobile SIM Card online

Note: Hello Mobile has been advertising the free express shipping deal for a limited time only for more than a year. I have the feeling that this limited deal is more of a permanent deal.

Hello Mobile Free Express SIM Delivery Deal

Another thing to be aware of is that your have to purchase a Hello Mobile starter pack with the correct SIM size for your device (standard, micro, or nano) – Hello Mobile SIM cards are not sold as trio-SIM cards.

Hello Mobile Nano SIM Card Holder

Every other Australian operator sell their SIM card as trio SIM cards, meaning that you can pop out the correct SIM card size for your device, like Gotalk (which is an Australian SIM card you should avoid at all cost).

Gotalk Trio SIM Card Holder

Hello Mobile, however, sells SIM card starter packs in just one size, meaning that you have to pay attention when buying a starter pack or ordering a SIM online.

Luckily, the online store will allow you to buy a pack with the correct SIM size, and the starter kits sold at retailsers will show the SIM card on the package too.

Hello Mobile SIM card size selection on their website
SIM card selection when ordering a SIM card online
Hello Mobile Prepaid Mobile SIM Starter Kit
SIM card size shown on the starter kit

Make sure to confirm you have selected the correct SIM card size once you have received the order confirmation.

Hello Mobile SIM card order confirmation

How to Register & Activate a Hello Mobile Australia SIM Card

You can register a Hello Mobile SIM card on the online activation page. You need proof of identification and the SIM card starter pack to activate your Hello 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.

I did not take screenshots of when I was activating my Hello Mobile SIM card. But I can tell you that the process is easy.

First, you have to go to the activation page.

Hello Mobile SIM Card Activation Instructions in the booklet

Here, you have to fill in the phone number shown on your Hello Mobile starter kit (starting with 04) and the last 10-digits of your SIM number (starting with 8961030000):

How to Register and Activate a Hello Mobile SIM Card

After that, you have to fill in your personal details, including:

  • 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 done! You will also receive a confirmation email:

How to Register and Activate a Hello Mobile SIM Card

How to Recharge a Hello Mobile Australia SIM Card

You can get Hello Mobile recharge cards in many shops throughout Australia, such as post offices, Big W stores, gas stations, and newsstands. It is also possible to recharge online.

Below is a list of retailers that sell Hello Mobile recharge cards:

  • 7-Eleven
  • Australia Post
  • Beffa Electrical
  • Bing Lee
  • BP
  • Caltex
  • CIVIC
  • Freedom Fuels
  • Harvey Norman
  • Matilda
  • NewsLink
  • Nextra
  • Supanews
  • Video Ezy
Hello Mobile Recharge Retailers

To redeem a Hello Mobile voucher, dial 126 999, select option 2, and follow the instructions. You can also redeem the voucher online with a debit or credit card.

Hello Mobile Online Recharge

How to Check Your Hello Mobile Australia Balance

To check your balance, text bal to 126 999. You can also use the Hello Mobile app to check your balance (for iOS only).

Hello Mobile Balance Check

Hello Mobile Australia Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Hello Mobile has two types of mobile plans you can choose from: the Unlimited Calls & Text Plans, and the Pay As You Go plans. The Data SIM, also known as Wireless Broadband, has three data packs.

The Unlimited Calls & Texts Plans, starting from 19 AUD, come with unlimited national calls and SMS plus data. The Pay As You GO plans, all costing 10 AUD, may come with data or you will be charged standard rates for data, minutes, and SMS.

The Data Packs for Wireless Broadband start from 10 AUD with 500 MB to 30 AUD with 2 GB.

Let’s go through all the plans.

Hello Mobile Australia Unlimited Calls & Texts Plans

The Unlimited Calls & Texts Plans range from 19 AUD to 35 AUD, coming with at least 2 GB to 10 GB plus unlimited national calls and SMS.

Below is an overview of the three plans:

PricePlanDataNational MinutesNational SMS
19 AUDUnlimited 2 GB2 GBUnlimitedUnlimited
29.90 AUDUnlimited 5 GB5 GBUnlimitedUnlimited
35 AUDUnlimited 10 GB10 GBUnlimitedUnlimited

The Unlimited Calls & Text Plans are, in my opinion, Hello Mobile's best plans.

If you are interested in the standard rates for these plans, like the international rates (which are nor part of any Unlimited Calls & Text Plan), you can read about them in the Critical Information Summaries (CIS) – 2 GB plan, 5 GB plan & 10 GB plan.

Hello Mobile Australia Pay As You Go Plans

The Pay As You Go Plans will charge you per action (MB, minute, and SMS). However, some of the plans come with a data allowance of 200 MB or 1 GB. All Pay As You Go Plans costs 10 AUD.

The following three Pay As You Go Plans are available. Because the standard rates differ per plan, the rates will be individualized.

Hello Mobile Australia SUPA Plus Pay As You Go Plan

The SUPA plan is the Pay As You Go plan with the most extended credit validity, lasting you 90 days (unlike 30 with the other two Pas As You Go plans). Moreover, 200 MB is included in your plan.

You will be charged the following rates with SUPA Plus:

ActionPrice
National Mobile0.12 AUD/min + flagfall
National Landline0.00 AUD/min + flagfall
Hello to Hello0.00 AUD/min + flagfall
National Flagfall0.30 AUD
Hello to Hello Flagfall0.10 AUD
National SMS0.10 AUD/SMS
International SMS0.10 AUD
Included Data200 MB
Data Rates0.05 AUD/MB
Validity90 days

Hello Mobile Australia PAYG 1GB Pay As You Go Plan

The PAYG 1GB plan is a Pay As You Go plan that charges you standard rates, but comes with 1 GB of data included. Moreover, you pay no flagfall.

You will be charged the following rates with PAYG 1GB:

ActionPrice
National Mobile0.10 AUD/min
National Landline0.10 AUD/min
Hello to Hello0.05 AUD/min
National SMS0.12 AUD/SMS
International SMS0.12 AUD/SMS
Included Data1 GB
Data Rates0.05 AUD/MB
Validity30 days

Hello Mobile Australia Combo 10 Pay As You Go Plan

The Combo 10 plan is a Pay As You Go plan that does not include data. You do, however, get 50 international to call to 16 international destinations.

You will be charged the following rates with Combo 10:

ActionPrice
National Mobile0.10 AUD/min
National Landline0.10 AUD/min
Hello to Hello0.05 AUD/min
National SMS0.12 AUD/SMS
International SMS0.12 AUD/SMS
Included Data1 GB
Data Rates0.05 AUD/MB
Validity30 days

The 16 countries you can use your free 50 international minutes on are:

  • Canada
  • China
  • France (landline only)
  • Germany (landline only)
  • Hong Kong (landline only)
  • India
  • Indonesia (landline only)
  • Italy (landline only)
  • Greece (landline only)
  • Malaysia (landline only)
  • New Zealand (landline only)
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan (landline only)
  • Thailand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Hello Mobile Combo 10 International Destinations for international calls

Hello Mobile Australia Add-On Data (Discount Packs)

The Add-On Data Packs, also known as Discount Packs, are data add-ons in the care you run low on data or do not wish to pay standard data rates.

The following three Add-On Data packs are available:

PriceAdd-OnDataValidity
5 AUDAdd-on Data 500 MB500 MB30 Days
10 AUDAdd-on Data 1 GB1 GB30 Days
15 AUDAdd-on Data 2 GB2 GB30 Days
Hello Mobile Add-On Data (Discount Packs)

Hello Mobile Australia Wireless Broadband Internet/Data Packs

The Data Packs are packages that only come with data and neither minutes nor SMS. Only those with the Data SIM can activate Data Packs.

The following three data packs are available:

PriceDataValidity
10 AUD500 MB30 days
20 AUD1 GB30 days
30 AUD2 GB30 days

Hello Mobile Australia Speed Test Results

Can you expect fast speeds with Hello Mobile using the Vodafone Australia 4G network? I had to find out.

I had low expectations for all the speed test I did with any Vodafone Australia MVNO, mainly because everyone and their mother keep saying their network is so bad.

However, those who complain about Vodafone Australia’s network are often referring to coverage and outages, not speed (in most cases).

I also knew that Telstra MVNOs have slower speeds than Telstra itself because Telstra has its retail network and its wholesale network – most Telstra MVNOs are on the wholesale network (not Boost Mobile – they have access to the Telstra retail network).

This video below explains the difference between the two Telstra networks. I know that it is not about Hello Mobile, or Vodafone Australia for that matter, but I assumed that Optus and Vodafone Australia did the same thing as Telstra – I was wrong.

I did several field tests with all the Australian SIM cards I tried while in Australia. All tests were done in Melbourne (South Melbourne and Melbourne CBD). Here are my results with Hello Mobile:

Hello Mobile Speed Test in Melbourne
Hello Mobile Speed Test in Melbourne
Hello Mobile Speed Test in Melbourne

Note: all the test say Vodafone because Hello Mobile uses the Vodafone Australia network as a Vodafone Australia MVNO.

Those are not the type of speeds you would expect with an MVNO on the worst network in Australia, right? At least, I was not.

Even though Australia is known for having bad and slow broadband internet, it has one of the fastest average download speeds in the world.

The Speedtest Global Index places Australia on position 9, with an average download speed of around 70 Mbps – the highest in Oceania.

Australia average mobile download speed according to the Speedtest Global Index (position 9)

For comparison, the world average mobile download speed is around 35 Mbps.

Global Average Mobile Speeds according to the Speedtest Global Index

So yeah, Hello Mobile, and Vodafone Australia for that matter, surprised me.

Should You Get a Hello Mobile Australia SIM Card?

I would recommend Hello Mobile to those wanting to buy an Australian SIM card.

A few months ago, I would have discouraged anyone from getting a Hello Mobile SIM card, just like Gotalk. Here is why.

If you are wondering why I keep referring to Gotalk, Hello Mobile and Gotalk are owned by the same parent company called TPC Consolidated Ltd.

Both Hello Mobile and Gotalk used to have unattractive plans, especially compared to their competitors.

Gotalk is still an awful option – they are also the first SIM card I do not recommend of all the SIM card reviews I have written at the time of original publication.

Gotalk Logo
Learn why I dislike Gotalk so much.

Between the time I tested Hello Mobile and actually wrote this review, Hello Mobile launched new plans (the Unlimited Calls & Text Plans) which are MUCH better than the plans they used to havethey were expensive, I can tell you.

The new Unlimited Calls & Text Plans make Hello Mobile a serious Vodafone Australia MVNO that you can consider, or any other Australian prepaid SIM card for that matter.

Before those new plans were released, you would have wasted money if you had a Hello Mobile SIM card.

Although Hello Mobile is not the worst Vodafone Australia MVNO, they are also not the best. However, they are a good option now.

One thing I am not a fan of is the flagfall fees Hello Mobile charges you if you have the SUPA Plus Pay As You Go plan. No other Australian operator, except for Gotalk (go figure), charges flagfall, which is odd.

Hello Mobile SUPA Plus Pay As You Go Plan rates

However, this is just for that specific plan – all the other mobile plans do not charge you flagfall, which is the industry standard.

Another thing that displeases me is the Data Packs for the Wireless Broadband SIM card. The data allowance each Data Pack gives you are criminally low, especially for Australian standards.

Just some background information – none of Hello Mobile’s old plans used to include a data allowance, meaning you would have to pay 0.05 AUD/MB, or 51.20 AUD/GB – that was awful.

You would even be charged per minute and SMS, while almost all Australian operators would give you unlimited national calls and SMS.

This made the Wireless Broadband SIM card the best option if you wanted data with Hello Mobile, even though the Data Packs are significantly more expensive than its competitors – even Vodafone Australia was (and still is) more generous.

Hello Mobile Wireless Broadband Data Packs

Sadly, the Data Packs for the Wireless Broadband SIM card have not been updated or improved, making them a bad option for those wanting a data-only SIM card for their phones, dongles, mobile hotspots, or routers.

One thing I do like is that Vodafone Australia does not throttle the speeds of its MVNOs. In the speed section, you saw that I got incredible fast speeds with Hello Mobile.

Of course, these tests were done in Melbourne – you will probably get fast speeds when in the other big Australian cities. As soon as you visit regional towns, your speeds will be much slower, but that is the case with almost every operator worldwide.

Overall, Hello Mobile has stepped up its game by making their plans much more competitive than before. They are now a Vodafone Australia MVNO you can consider, or an Australian prepaid SIM card that should be on your radar when planning on buying a (new) Australian SIM card.

With all of that said, Hello Mobile has become an interesting prepaid SIM card for those wanting data, national minutes, and SMS. Although its plan selection is limited to its competitors, it has still become an attractive player in the market. Hello Mobile still has some flaws, which is why they deserve their 4-star rating.

Buying a SIM Card in Australia Review Series

This Hello 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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