Being a parent with young kids, I wanted to be able to contact them when necessary, but not want to give them a smartphone until they are old enough.
My eldest has been using a Moochie smart watch for the past couple of years - basically an Android based device that uses a custom app, that allows phone calls, video calls, messaging and tracking, that uses the Vodafone network. It works, but the hardware is flimsy (had to be replaced once), battery life is not great, and the software not reliable (may be due to the Vodafone network). Cost me $15/month.
I found out that Apple has recently expanded Family Sharing to Apple Watches, that allow parents to set up an Apple Watch to have its own phone number, without the need for another iPhone. This sounded quite attractive. The downside in Australia is that none of the providers like Telstra or Optus support this function. There is only 1 carrier that allows it here - Truphone, which uses the Vodafone network (again).
I decided this was the way to go - so I did some research, and initially bought a new Apple Watch SE cellular. After more research, I realised the Apple Watch SE is basically a downgraded Apple Watch Series 5 (same processor, but without always on screen or ECG, although it does have other newer sensors). So I returned the SE, and got a refurbished Series 5 cellular for the same price from the Apple Store.
Setting it up was easy. You choose to add an Apple Watch to your iPhone, but select the Family Members option. You pair it as per usual. Update the WatchOS.
You then go to the Truphone website and sign up for an account and choose the country as Australia. Sign up to their $10/month plan. Find the Watch EID in your Watch app settings, and copy and paste it (it’s very long). Enter your credit card details (although it said Amex is accepted, mine didn’t work, had to use Mastercard). And then you wait a few minutes for the plan to activate. Your phone should get a text message, but what I did was go back to the Watch App, to Mobile, and activate the plan. This step took less than 10 minutes.
The Apple Watch is then up and running with its own phone number!
The great thing about this setup is that Family Screen Time works, and you can also set School Time so that the Apple Watch goes to sleep mode during school hours. You can manage the contacts on the phone, and track it as well.
Anyway, the eldest kid now has the Apple Watch, my second child has the Moochie for now. Just sharing my experience with this here.