Using your mobile phone and internet access
While in Wollongong it is important to be able to communicate with those here and back home. You have the choice to continue using your existing phone or purchase a plan while here.
Using your existing phone in Australia
You will be able to use your phone in Australia if your provider has an ‘International Roaming Agreement’ with a network in Australia. This is common in international travel SIM cards which cover a variety of countries. You will be charged to make and receive calls in your home currency. It is important that you check all the fees and charges associated with international usage.
You should also check that the technology and handset that you currently use are supported by mobile phone networks in Australia. The most common type of mobile phone technologies is GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications). The majority of phones in Australia are connected to GSM networks which operate on 900MHz and 1800MHz frequencies. Your home network provider will be able to advise you whether your phone is compatible with networks in Australia.
Purchasing a mobile phone in Australia
A cheaper alternative than international roaming may be using a local Australian network. This will require your phone to be unlocked and not attached to a certain network back home
A common practice for international students is the purchase of a ‘Pre-paid’ phone starter pack. These are available from the UniShop on campus, as well as many other locations including supermarkets and newsagents. These include a SIM card and a specific amount of calling credits. You can then purchase additional calling credits as needed. Pre-paid services are popular with students as there are no bills, contracts or minimum monthly commitments.
An alternative option is a fixed-term contract where a set monthly fee is paid over a specified period of time (usually between 12 and 36 months) in return for a certain number of phone calls and access to services like voicemail. It is important that you get a contract that suits your needs and length of stay and that you are aware of any early exit fees.
There are three main telecommunications operators in Australia, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone with smaller companies all hosted by one of these networks. It is recommended that you check the coverage area of the company you choose. If you are planning to travel to remote areas or interstate your coverage may be limited.
For information on different mobiles available, visit:
- Telstra www.telstra.com
- Optus www.optus.com.au
- Vodafone www.vodafone.com.au
- Virgin www.virginmobile.com.au
The University of Wollongong provides on-campus wireless internet and all students living in the UOW residences have access to quota free internet, all rooms will have wifi access. The City of Wollongong does not provide free internet within the city but some mobile companies provide hotspots where internet can be purchased. Many cafés and restaurants within Wollongong provide wifi access for customers.