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Setting up internet, phones and home utilities in Australia

Get connected as soon as possible to avoid problems.

You can start researching providers for utilities and internet as soon as you find a home in Australia. And while you may be able to use your US cell phone, it’s a good idea to switch that over to an Australian provider, too.

Mobile phones

In Australia, cell phones are called “mobile phones.” You can bring your unlocked phone to Australia and purchase a local SIM card and phone plan when you arrive. If you’re planning to remain in Australia for a while and will be calling or messaging Australian phones, this will be a lot cheaper than paying roaming fees on your US phone plan.

Depending on your needs, you have a variety of options when it comes to mobile phone plans, and each provider has different deals. If you’ll be calling your friends and family outside of Australia, look for a plan that offers free or low-cost international calling.

To get a better idea of what your options are, read our guide to Australian phone plans.

How do I apply for a mobile phone/plan in Australia?

While different providers will have different eligibilities and processes in place to apply for and set up your mobile phone plan in Australia, there are a few key things that can help make setting up communication a lot easier.

  • Ask questions. Many mobile phone providers have online chat forums, telephone help services and stores throughout Australia where you can ask questions and get information. Once you’ve considered all your options and are aware of what you want/need in a phone plan, you can contact a representative of your chosen provider to clarify details and help you setup your phone needs.
  • Bring proof of address. In Australia, in order to purchase a phone and/or SIM, you might need to provide certain identification details, which can include name, date of birth, photograph, signature, current residential address in Australia and current contactable phone number. If you don’t have a set address yet, some providers will accept your travel hotel as a valid form of address.
  • Bring identification documents. Some providers might also require you to support the activation of your plan with a suitable number of identification documents. These might include a valid passport and visa, bank account statements, ATM card, a valid Medicare card, utility bills in your name, credit cards and/or a driver’s license. A full list of acceptable forms of ID will be given to you by the provider during the application process.
  • Bring proof of income. If you’re new to Australia, you probably don’t have any bad credit ratings with any phone providers, which can see your application being denied. However, the provider may request proof that you’re able to finance your phone plan.

Once you’ve purchased your plan and have activated it using your personal details, you can then begin using it.

Setting up the internet and broadband

Similar to mobile phone plans, depending on your needs, you have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to internet providers and the services they offer. This could include fixed landline internet, broadband (ADSL), mobile wireless broadband and bundled packages that include mobile and internet services.

The speed and amount of data you wish to download per month will also play a part as will cost. Research and compare your broadband options before committing find the best service for your situation.

How do I apply for an internet bundle in Australia?

Once you’ve decided on the right provider for you, you can then begin the application process. This may be done in store or online, depending on the provider. If you’re purchasing broadband for a home, the provider will assess whether your residence is in an eligible area for the service provided before continuing with your application.

During the application process, you’ll likely be required to fill out your personal details, including name, address, date of birth, contact phone number and contact email address. Some form of identification will also be required of you, which will likely be either a passport number or an Australian driver’s license, so it’s good to have those handy for a smooth application process.

If you’ve just landed or are still setting up home in Australia, it might be good to scout around and see where your nearest wifi hotspots are so you still have access to the internet. Places such as shopping centers, libraries, coffee shops, and some fast food outlets tend to be good options for free wifi.

Home utilities

If you’re currently renting or are in student accommodation, your home utility bills — like water, gas, electricity might already be incorporated into your rent, or might be charged separately to you by your landlord. However, if you’ve purchased a home or are in a position where you are responsible for the household utility bills, then it’s important that you know your options.

Australia has a number of providers for energy and gas needs, including EnergyAustralia, Origin Energy, and AGL, with some providers servicing specific states only. For example, ActewAGL offers residential energy to the ACT and NSW only. If you’re in a position to choose which provider you deal with, then compare prices to get the best deal.

Another option that could be available to you is solar power. While this is still a relatively emerging form of energy, it can offer long-term benefits.

Different water companies service different areas in Australia, so you might not have too much of a choice when it comes to which company supplies your water. Nevertheless, you should still do your research to find out what options are available for your home.

How much do utilities cost in Australia?

Average costs for electricity and gas range from $35 a week to $140 a week, according to the Australian government.

How do I pay for my internet, mobile phone, and utility bills?

Each provider will have their own set options for paying off your bills. Generally, you’ll either receive a paper bill in the mail or an electronic bill via email. Your bill will state how much you owe, the due date and the payment methods available. Like in the US, you may be able to pay via check, cash, credit or debit card or direct debit, depending on the provider.

If you don’t have an Australian bank account yet, or if you’ve just opened an Australian bank account, you can transfer money from the US using a secure money transfer provider.

Compare money transfer providers

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1,000 1 day USD 0.00 1.379 AUD 6,895 OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 1.379 AUD 6,895 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
Go to site Show details
USD 1 Same day USD 0.00 1.387 AUD 6,933 XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
$2,000 1 day USD 0.00 1.379 AUD 6,895 CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates. Go to site Show details
$1 1 - 2 days USD 45.00 1.393 AUD
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
$1 Within an hour USD 8.00 1.362 AUD 6,797 MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Bottom line

To make your move to Australia run as smoothly as possible, look into what utility and internet options are available as soon as you find a home. You’ll also want to set up your phone once you’re in the country. And to find out more about what you’ll need to do to get ready, read our guide to moving to Australia.

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