Where to find a SIM card at Perth airport, and which one to get
To help travellers arriving at Perth airport, this guide will help find a SIM card with good value data, calls, and coverage. I understand the challenges of arriving at a foreign airport, such as Wi-Fi, roaming, and where to go, and this guide is based on the challenges I’ve experienced.
I found two shops at Perth airport which reliably sell prepaid SIM cards:
|Shop||Location||SIM Cards Available|
Open 5am to/small>
|International Arrivals. Facing the exit from customs, slightly to the right. See map above.||
Open 5am to 2am
At Terminal 1 International Arrivals, there are shops representing :
- Optus, directly in front of the doors after customs screening
- Vodafone, adjacent to Optus, can’t miss it after customs screening
At Terminal 3 International Arrivals, there may be an additional shop (Link) that sells prepaid SIM cards, but I’ve never been able to verify this. I haven’t been able to find anywhere to buy a prepaid SIM card when arriving at one of Perth’s domestic terminals.
Overall, I find Optus (starting at $10)1 to be the best option for SIM cards at Perth Airport. Optus typically offers coverage everywhere I travel, which usually places them above Vodafone on my list of preferences. If I know I’m going to travel extensively in rural Australia, I like to find a Telstra SIM card2 instead.
Which SIM cards are available at Perth Airport?
From the SIM cards available at Perth Airport, I looked at which brands and plans are good for coverage, data, and making phone calls (locally and back home).
Great for coverage: Optus, from $10 AUD
Out of the options at Perth airport, the best SIM card I’ve found for coverage is the Optus Prepaid Epic SIM. A rival provider, Telstra, usually offers better coverage in my experience however I’ve never been able to find somewhere to buy Telstra SIM cards at Perth airport.
Coverage is important in Australia if you plan on travelling outside the major cities and towns. If you’re trip is limited to Perth, any of the major mobile phone networks (provided by Telstra, Optus, or Vodafone) will work. For other common visitor destinations:
- Margaret River, coverage is good along the coast and the highway that connects Margaret River to Perth. Further inland though, coverage is limited to towns only.
- Swan River, all carriers should work here.
- Rockingham, all carriers should work here as well.
I like to use either Telstra or Optus if I’m travelling significantly outside the larger cities and towns:
- Telstra provides the most coverage in the countryside: it covers highways, smaller towns, and many remote areas.
- Optus is the covers most highways and some of the smaller towns. Optus is typically cheaper than Telstra.
Smaller SIM card brands will use the bigger networks to offer coverage. I’ve found the better deals on these smaller SIM card brands are only available once you leave the airport.
If travelling into Australia’s vast outback cell phone coverage can be hard to find. For example, driving to see Monkey Mia, most of the 4 hour drive from Northampton to Monkey Mia does not have any mobile phone coverage.
Great for data: Optus, from $30 AUD
For visitors staying up to 90 days in Australia, I’ve found Optus to offer the best deal on data. The $30 (AUD) Optus Prepaid Epic Data SIM card includes up to 35GB of data for each 28 day period as a bonus for the first three 28-day periods - so roughly 3 months. After that it drops down to 10GB/28-days, though this isn’t a concern for most short term travellers.
Great for calls: Vodafone, $20 or $40 depending on current deals
For calls back home, Vodafone includes generous minutes with its prepaid SIM card to dozens of countries. The price for this SIM card seems to be inconsistent, either it’s $20 or $40 AUD3. I feel it’s a good deal at either price point if you are interested in making phone calls back home.
The Vodafone prepaid SIM includes:
- 500 minutes of calls to: Singapore, Malaysia, China and territories, Japan South Korea, UK, US and territories, and many more
- 100 minutes of calls to: Most of South America, Most of Europe, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and also many more
For local calls in Australia, both Telstra and Vodafone offer unlimited local calls to standard Australian phone numbers. Optus offers 100 minutes of local calls, which is enough for most people.
Is it better to buy a SIM card in Perth city or at the airport?
I like to buy the SIM card at the airport, and I usually buy one from Optus. If I’m in a rush, I’ll buy a SIM card in the city at a convenience store or at a petrol station nearby.
Depending on how long I’m staying, I’ll pick the shop (Optus or Vodafone) with the shorter queue and buy a SIM card there.
If I’m heading to the outback (national parks, or roads that not many people use), I’ll try to buy a Telstra SIM card - these are only available outside the airport.
Which SIM cards are better value if bought in the city?
For better value data: Coles Mobile for $20 AUD
Coles, a large supermarket chain in Australia, offers a $20 AUD plan that includes 28GB of data4. It is valid for 35 days. Coles has a large number of shops that you can buy this SIM card from. Network coverage is the same as Optus. Unlimited local calls are available though the rates aren’t as good as Vodafone.
For calls: Stick with Vodafone
For international calls, it’s hard to beat the Vodafone prepaid deal with 500 minutes to most of the world’s population.
For local calls, Coles has a 10 day $10 AUD SIM card that includes unlimited local calls.
For longer expiry: Any
All of the SIM cards mentioned here, available in Perth, and Australia in general, can be topped up and have their validity extended.
Do I need ID to buy a SIM card at Perth Airport?
Identification is required to buy a SIM card at Perth Airport and anywhere else in Australia. A passport is sufficient, and the address you’re staying at will also need to be supplied. An activation process may be required for the SIM. The shop that sells the SIM card can do it, or you can do it on your phone once the SIM is inserted - different SIM cards support different activation methods, it’s easy but if you’re not sure ask when buying.
Recording identification is done either when you buy the SIM card, or when you activate. If you’re not sure about the process, buy from a shop where they can help you activate the SIM card.
Is Wi-Fi available at Perth Airport?
Yes, Wi-Fi is available at Perth Airport. Select the network
Perth Airport Free WiFi and register to get access. I’ve never heard of there being limit on how much Wi-Fi can be used.
How to get from the airport to the city, while connected
Terminals 1 & 2 are served by bus route 380, it does not have Wi-Fi. The journey takes 20-30 minutes depending on the destination. Bus stops in the central business area of Perth will have convenience stores nearby that sell SIM cards, for example the 7-Eleven on the corner of Hay Street Mall and Barrack Street.
Terminals 3 & 4 are served by bus route 40, it also does not have Wi-Fi. This bus also takes 20-30 minutes to get to Perth city centre. Generally it follows the same route as the 380 route, with the same convenience stores available along the way.
Uber, ride-share, and using the airport Wi-Fi to book
Uber is available at Perth airport. It may be possible to book an Uber using the free Wi-Fi, though I find this unreliable as the Uber pick up locations are a short walk from the terminal buildings. Losing the Wi-Fi signal may make communicating with the driver more difficult.
Ola is also available at Perth airport.
There is a $3 AUD airport fee added to ride-share pick-ups.
Taxis in Perth do not have free Wi-Fi. The convenience of going straight to my destination means that I often prefer to jump straight in a taxi rather than line up for a SIM card at the airport - especially if work is paying for the taxi ride.
Can I roam with my Australian SIM card to another country
Indonesia and Malaysia
Roaming a prepaid Australian SIM card into Indonesia or Malaysia is expensive.
Telstra offers a very expensive $29 AUD for 100MB of data.
Vodafone is slightly cheaper at $25 AUD for a mix of data or calls (up to 200MB data), but it only lasts 3 days. A 7 day option is available for $35 AUD.
I don’t like the idea of taking an Australian SIM card to Indonesia, especially when there are so many local options available.
From Perth, Indonesia is accessible directly via Bali and Jakarta and Malaysia is accessible via Kuala Lumpur.
For short trips of up to 5 days, the Optus prepaid 10GB data roaming plan is $20. Optus prepaid roaming also works in Hong Kong, New Zealand, UK, and USA.
Optus offers 5 days of 10GB data roaming with its prepaid sim cards for an extra $20. This is only worth it for trips to New Zealand of 5 days or less. For trips longer than 5 days, local SIM cards can be bought at most airports that have flights from Australia and further abroad.
Prepaid roaming credit can be added on the Optus recharge website or in an Optus shop.
Perth is connected to Auckland by a 6 hour flight.
[Telstra prepaid plans](https://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/prepaid-mobiles/↩
Written by Chris who travels frequently for work and understands what it can be like to arrive somewhere new and unfamiliar.
I wrote Landing Last Minute to help the hurried traveler get necessary information about any destination.