Best carrier for Apple Watch cellular?

I’m upgrading to an Apple Watch (and a new iPhone to run it) and decided to get GPS + cellular. What phone carriers are best for a plan to run both of these? I’m unlikely to use more than 5-10GB per month, as I’m retired and mostly at home on wi-fi, and it’s a 5G phone.

Same here… that is, home most of the time, retired etc. I have always had apple watch and because i am never without my phone, chose wifi only for the watch. Can still take/make calls and send messages via bluetooth to phone or via wifi at home. I can see a benefit only if you need/want to be phoneless when out.

As to which is best, no idea really. The cost/benefit escapes me unless you dont really want to use a phone.


Canstar has information on 5G plans with SIM only:

Telstra, Vodafone/TPG and Optus own the 5G networks in Australia. On sellers, which there are many, use these networks but may have restricted access, such as area of coverage or shaping of maximum speeds.

As 5G signal isn’t as penetrating as previous generations also worth looking at coverage maps:

to ensure there is adequate coverage where you plan to mostly use it. If there isn’t adequate coverage, it is possible that the 4G network will be used instead for connecting to the mobile network.


It sounds like you have broadband internet - NBN at home. Assume you are aware your new phone and Apple Watch can be configured to use your home internet data through the home wifi connection. They will not need any mobile data when connected to the home network.

When you are away from home, as others have suggested the Apple Watch can use the Bluetooth connection direct to your new 5G capable mobile to obtain data, share content and obtain GPS location info. The cheapest option would be to look for a mobile plan only for your new phone and to not incur the added cost of a second plan for your watch.

If your needs are to have the watch connect to the mobile network and to not have your mobile with you there are limited choices for data only plans. The cheapest tend to be long term prepaid sims. Assuming your data usage when not at home remains low, 5-10GB per month when away from home is much greater than my typical use of 1GB maximum away from home each month. Sometimes much less.

Our two householder members with smart watches manage quite well relying on the blue tooth connection to their mobiles away from home. And the internet via wifi at home.

Of note, Apple has been promoting the connectivity of their smart watches using the mobile network. Especially for personal peace of mind. Currently 5G has very limited reach. Outside of the most built up urban areas the 4G networks are the most accessible. Reliability assumes the device you carry has the best of class reception/connection performance. Not assured for any of the smart watches, but more assured with certain models of smart phone.

One two sim solution, but not necessarily the cheapest is to look for a $5 sim add on with shared data for the mobile plan you choose. Telstra (business only), Optus ???, and perhaps others have offered the option for select mobile plans (premium choices). I had one until recently with Optus. $5 once off for the sim and all data used came from my mobile phone plan allowance.


Thanks for the detailed reply. You pretty much confirm what I have discovered. Yes, I have everything (phone and watch and iPad) on wifi at home, hence my low data use. I live in the inner north of Melbourne, so good 5G coverage. I was hoping to be able to walk the dog without taking my phone, and still have good connectivity for emergencies/falls/etc. However it looks pretty expensive to change SIM plans from my bundled Spintel NBN/eSIM to one of the 3 majors just to get the Apple Watch separately connected. I guess I’m on a good deal with Spintel atm. In fact I rarely reach 50% data use on my 5.5GB plan, mostly through using googlemaps to monitor traffic conditions - but happy to upscale a little to account for the Apple watch. The cheapest plan I’ve found is double the price - admittedly for more than double the data but it’s data I don’t need, so even the data rollover provisions aren’t helpful. Perhaps it’s something that could be looked at by … who? … in terms of cost of living and safety (ageing female living alone!)


Yep, I was hoping to walk the dog without the phone … one less thing to carry, but still have connectivity for emergencies. Not sure why the smaller carriers (apart from Telstra, Optus & Vodafone) can’t accommodate some data to the watch. Is it a regulation … or?


ALDImobile do have both mobile plans (that include data) and Data only plans. Fairly cheap and uses the Telstra network for coverage ( it isn’t the full network). Coverage by 5G as well on the plans. Though if only using the SIM for emergencies or incoming contact then the Pay As You Go (PAYG) plans are probably the cheaper options with 365 day expiry, recharges cost $15, $25, or $35 dollars and when you buy the SIM you get $5 credit that comes with 60 day expiry. Once you recharge in the 60 day period it seems that the $5 does not expire (but I could not clarify that yet).


There is a solution, but it is impractical. Get a single SIM for your watch, and use your watch as a personal hotspot Internet connection for your phone.

  1. I am not sure Apple Watch provides this functionality. It is available on phones, but that would require you to have the phone nearby.
  2. A personal hotspot places enormous energy demands on the device running it. Your watch battery may need multiple recharges each day.
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On Apple iPhones you can use the settings to enable using other devices signed into your iCloud account to send and receive calls as long as they are on the WiFi network and they do not need a SIM for this function. While they are all signed in if a call is received on one number the other device will also receive the call if it is not in a call at the same time. You can also send a call as if on the other device with the same ‘in use’ proviso. SMS also count for this contact.

I’m not sure if the watches have this same setting, using hotspotting would not be necessary in this case then. @SueW I believe has an iWatch, and may be able to help answer that question.

.No, they dont. The watch is not intended as a replacement for the phone, only in times of eg walking the dog, going for a swim or a run, and that is all about the fitness aspects of the watch. Apple expects that you would use a phone at other times.

I think @marymac1000 needs a pocket for her phone rather than a cellular watch and a new expensive phone plan to go with it. Its rumoured that the Telstra VMNOs will be getting watch capacity at some time in the future. Not holding my breath.