Telstra Plan Review
And Comparison

  • Telstra's 4G network advantage is now small
  • Plans now often include content 'extras'
  • Consider alternatives from smaller phone companies
  • Belong Mobile and Boost use the Telstra Mobile Network

Top Telstra Network Plans

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Which competitors should you consider?

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Common questions about Telstra

How will Telstra’s size help me?

Well, if we keep ourselves to the mobile phone plan market (they do a bunch of other stuff like fixed broadband connections under the NBN, for example) they have more than a 50% market share. Half of all the mobiles in Australia are on the Telstra network.

That size of user base is good news and bad news for their customers. Being a phone company is a lot easier when you’re big. You can afford to cover a larger proportion of the country with your network & towers. On the other hand, having such many customers makes Telstra bureaucratic and slow to deal with. Some perceive them as arrogant and slow to consider the needs of their customers. We have the latest survey showing this finding, in the text, below.

What do Telstra’s plans have that the others don’t?

Telstra have a number of plan features which are unique to them.

  • They offer ‘Unlimited’ plans:
    That is, they sell plans which have unlimited data. We explain the subtleties of Telstra’s promises concerning unlimited data in the article below, on this page.
  • Never exceed your allowance:
    Telstra now also offer a plan feature which means you will never exceed your data allowance (‘Peace Of Mind Data’). Again, we explain the ins and outs of that, below.
  • They have a ‘Thanks’ loyalty program:
    A nice-to-have component of some plans, offering cheap cinema tickets and early access to music shows. In our view, these probably aren’t a reason to stay with a phone company but if you were going to go with Telstra anyway, they are worth keeping an eye on.
  • Data sharing:
    They have data sharing facilities (say if you want to have a single large bundle of data which you then share across multiple devices like a phone and a tablet). This sort of service costs. Telstra charges $10 per month for data sharing.
  • Shared phone number:
    If you have one of the new iPhones, you can pay a $5 monthly charge and split the phone number between your Apple Watch.

What is ‘Peace Of Mind’ Data?

Fairness is an issue to Australian consumers, especially when it comes to their phone bills. Our own research shows that 28% of people have been charged $10 or more in the previous month, for exceeding the data allowance they were provided in their plan.

Telstra is taking the lead among Australian phone companies, in helping users manage their data. As well as an exceptional self service app which they provide free to their users, Telstra has also put in place a new plan feature called ‘Peace Of Mind’ data.

Peace of mind data works by limiting (in the industry, it’s called throttling) the mobile data speeds you’re provided when you reach the limit of your plan’s data allocation. Telstra offers this on their postpaid plans.

It’s probably best explained with an example. Imagine your phone plan has 12 GB of data included in it. While you’re using that 12 GB of data each month, you’ll get the maximum / full network speeds offered by Telstra. Typically, on the Telstra network, that will give you 4G download speeds which are about as fast as your home broadband connection.

When you reach your 12GB limit, your access to data doesn’t stop. Nor will you be charged $10 per GB, as was previously the case. Instead, you will continue to get mobile data but it will be provided to you at a reduced speed — thus, it might take a little longer for a map to appear, or the video you download from YouTube might be of a standard definition quality, rather than HD.

For almost any task, throttled data like this is enough to keep you going – although some tasks might take longer than you’re used to. On the plus side, you will always have access to data and you won’t be charged more. That’s Peace Of Mind Data.

What is a ‘Data Bank’?

A data bank is a feature unique to Telstra that’s available on many of their prepaid plans. Data banking means that whatever data you’re given, it remains on your account until you use it or leave the company for another provider. Telstra offers it directly to their prepaid customers, or you can get it through Belong Mobile, which also uses the Telstra Mobile Network.

Typically, with a phone plan, you’re given a data allocation which will last for a month. For example, you might be given a phone plan which has 6GB of 4G data. In the past, that allocation has been provided on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis. That is, if you won’t work your way through the 6GB of data in the month you’ve been granted it, whatever is left at the end of the month is forfeited and replaced with a new allocation, provided on the same terms.

A data bank is different. When you’re given your 6GB for the month, it will stay on your account until you use it. Say, in the first month, you use 4GB of your 6GB allocation. In the next month, you’ll see 8GB at the start of the month. The 6GB from your plan plus 2GB of data from last month.

The data bank facility stays in place for the entirety of your plan. Every bit of data you don’t use will be added to a running total or balance which you can use at any time.

What is Telstra’s ‘HRO’? (Hardware Replacement Option.)

Telstra now offers eligible customers the option to add the cost of hardware to their account and split the payments for it over multiple months.

Say you have a postpaid mobile account with Telstra and are paying off an iPhone, along with the monthly cost of a mobile plan. You might end up with a bill of $90 per month to cover both the network access and monthly cost of the iPhone, broken down over 24 months. If, after 12 months, you then bought a new piece of hardware from Telstra (a new mobile broadband router, which cost $120 for example) the HRO would give you the ability to split the cost of that mobile broadband router over the remaining 12 months of your agreement with Telstra. For the final 12 months of your agreement with Telstra, your monthly repayments would rise from $90 per month to $100.

The HRO is essentially a credit agreement between you and Telstra which lets you split the cost of accessories, phones, or other pieces of electronic equipment you buy from Telstra over multiple months.

What is 4GX?

4GX is a marketing name for faster network access. 4G is already pretty fast. 4Gx uses clever technical means to roughly double the 4G speeds Telstra’s users get. Telstra have actually done extremely well at rolling out their 4GX coverage.

The technology behind 4GX is FDD – Frequency Division Duplexing if you want to look it up.

Does Telstra let any smaller phone companies use their network ?

Telstra has a number of smaller phone networks reselling components of their network. Boost Mobile, Belong Mobile, Woolworths MobileAldi Mobile, CMobile and others, all have access to at least parts of the Telstra network.

However, the only company selling access to the full Telstra network is Telstra itself.

This is a different approach than Optus and Vodafone take to their network resellers.

 

Why is Telstra setting up Wi-Fi around their payphones? (Telstra ‘Air’)

The use of data on mobile phones is increasing quickly in Australia. That’s especially true in cities, where populations of people are denser. It’s also especially true for Telstra, given the relatively large proportion of their customer base on a 4G plan.

Equipping payphones with Wi-Fi is a way to offload some of that data traffic from the mobile network in densely populated areas. It also allows Telstra to charge non-Telstra customers for using their network. It’s a pretty clever strategy from Telstra to spread out smartphone data usage to their fixed network in this way. It’s popular with their customers.

What is a Telstra ‘Companion Plan’?

For any Telstra customer with an existing mobile service (that’s a mobile plan with some voice minutes, SMS and data), a companion plan offers a way of getting a second SIM at a cheaper price. The second SIM is a ‘Companion Plan’.

At the moment, Telstra charges $35 per month for the Companion Plan they sell, although that pricing changes over time. Also at the moment, the $35 plan comes with 1GB of data allocated to it.

The strength of companion plans comes from the fact that users can share mobile data from other SIMs on the same plan. If, say, you have another, parallel Telstra mobile service – a phone plan with 10GB per month, for example – you could use Telstra’s self service app to reallocate some of that data to the second (Companion) SIM / service.

Companion plans are a good way of managing multiple SIMs within a family.

Telstra Review - Should you go with them?

What's good

  • Australias best coverage
  • Mature 4G coverage across wide area
  • Share your data across multiple devices
  • Now with 'unlimited data' options
  • And new scheme to avoid overage

What's bad

  • Low levels of customer satisfaction
  • Some Telstra SIM Only plans = 12 month contracts
  • Network re-sellers often offer better value

Telstra’s (Postpaid) SIM Only Plans – Is paying so much more for the network worth it?

If you’re looking for prepaid options check out our dedicated Telstra Prepaid page.

  • When it comes to Telstra’s SIM Only deals, we all know that plans from big T cost a little more.
  • The question is, does Telstra’s service – both customer and network – warrant the extra monthly spend?
  • If you love some of the new content offers that Telstra has in place (We have a lot of detail on Telstra’s content, below)
  • Then Telstra might be right for you.
  • In this article, we show you the truth about the coverage offered by the phone networks in Australia.
  • And outline options from competitors – some of which are on the Telstra Mobile Network.
  • With them, you can get a plan on the Telstra Mobile Network without dealing with Telstra themselves.
  • Finally, we also consider Telstra’s Unlimited plan inclusions and explain the details in simple terms.

 

Telstra Won The 2019 WhatPhone Award for Entertainment in a phone plan

Entertainment – built into a phone plan – is increasingly becoming a vital part of phone plans offered by both Optus and Telstra in the battle for supremacy between mobile service providers. When it comes to content streaming (sports, Netflix film, TV shows, audio services like Spotify, etc), Optus and Telstra lead the pack. As an industry leader, Telstra is well off to making big money moves in the entertainment industry, such as securing exclusive access to the AFL and NRL. In late 2018, Telstra also decided to capture a greater proportion of young female users by introducing free gymnastics content streaming.

Telstra won the WhatPhone award for 'Best for Entertainment 2019'

Telstra won the WhatPhone award for ‘Best for Entertainment 2019’

 

Introducing Telstra’s Postpaid SIM Only Plans

Telstra reinvented their plan range again in late 2018. The decision followed a disastrous fall in share price, and the very public discussion with shareholders at the company’s July 2018 AGM regarding available options. Telstra dramatically reduced the number of phone plans available, as part of a strategy called Telstra 2022. Overall, the approach is designed to bring the align the company with the new hyper-competitive environment of Australian phone plans, especially with the knowledge of TPG’s new plan range, which is set to cause serious disruption to every major phone plan provider in Australia – including Telstra.

Andy Penn, CEO, said of his ‘T22 Strategy’ :

The telco sector is certainly not immune to disruption, no business is. Added to that, for companies such as Telstra, which are steeped in legacy and incumbency, how we disrupt ourselves before disruption irrevocably changes us, is our challenge and our opportunity.

“At its core, the T22 strategy is about delivering simpler, more flexible products with a great digital service experience, maximizing the value of our infrastructure assets, simplifying the business and streamlining our cost base for the future.”

Andy Penn CEO

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leaving-legacy-behind-andrew-penn/

Telstra offers a broad (sometimes so broad that they become bewildering) array of options, extras, and inclusions in their postpaid plan range. These include content inclusions attached to their phone plans, contract agreements (in which the user is provided a phone with their Telstra service and pays for it over 24 months – something we generally advise against these days.) We explain each of these, below.

Telstra are not always easy to love. Their huge size means they’re great for big business and government contracts but can be hard for individuals to manage.

Telstra are not always easy to love. Their huge size means they’re great for big business and government contracts but can be difficult for individual customers to deal with. A quick tour of their website or customer service organization will serve as a quick reminder of how frustrating it can be for the individual customer to work with them. At some stage, almost all of us have had to. They are so big, they’ve become unwieldy.

Here are a couple of ‘insider’ facts that are likely to help you in weighing the pros and cons of Telstra’s SIM Only offerings:

  • Telstra’s 4G network may not be as good as you think it is:
    First of all, Telstra’s network coverage advantage is not nearly as substantial (in terms of population coverage or availability of 4G signal) as most people think it is.
  • Their 3G network, however, is much bigger:
    When you’re outside 4G coverage, however, you will be under Telstra’s 3G coverage – here, they really are a cut above the rest. Telstra covers approximately twice as much of Australia, in terms of square Kilometers, as their nearest rival Optus. 3G is older technology now, and download speeds are notably slower (in a recent survey, typical download speeds for the 3G network were approximately 6 Mbps for Telstra, compared to around 40 Mbps on their 4G network). However, having some internet is often far preferable to having none, even if the access you have is slow.
  • You can get cheaper deals on the Telstra Mobile Network :
    Third, there are a number of phone companies that resell the Telstra Mobile Network (now with 4G.) They typically have better deals than Telstra itself. We show you which of these options are our preferred Telstra Mobile Network resellers, below.

Let’s start by looking at the basics of Telstra’s inclusion structure. Then we can consider their content offerings and the all-important network question.

 

Telstra’s 2 Different Types Of SIM Only Plans:

We usually recommend the month-to-month variants of these plans for a simple reason; Data pricing falls so frequently that, in a few months, you are almost always likely to be able to get more data, however much you spend.

Prepaid Plans

Following their late 2018 refresh, the only way to get a month-to-month plan from Telstra is if you take one of their prepaid plans.

We have a dedicated section for Telstra’s prepaid plans.

 

12-month SIM Only / BYO Plans

Almost uniquely in the Australian market, Telstra’s BYO deals offer you the option of a 12-month SIM Only contract.

  • Pricing for their 12-month SIM Only plan range starts at $39 per month.
  • Voice inclusions on this part of their offering are not all unlimited, which is also surprising.
  • There is not a single other phone company in Australia which charges this much for a phone plan and doesn’t include unlimited voice and SMS.
  • These plans have 5 options, including an online exclusive.

Contract SIM Only plans (including their 12-month variants) can be useful if you don’t switch phones often. And, obviously, the inclusions Telstra gives are slightly better than the month-to-month alternatives. Telstra usually bumps up the data allowances in 12-month contracts to entice you in – they want to know you’ll be around for a while. The thing to be aware of when you’re comparing is that, when you’re in a contract, the amount of data Telstra offers you at a price point won’t increase over time. When you’re on a month-to-month agreement, you are likely to find that it will.

 

Feature comparison between Telstra and their major competitors

Best SIM Only Plans March 2019

Telstra Mobile – Best For Coverage

Telstra Australia

Prepaid + Postpaid | Month to month and contract

Telstra are unrivalled in Australia for coverage, with a 3G signal that covers roughly twice the landmass of any other phone company except Boost Mobile.

  • Unique coverage footprint:
    Access to 2.5m square Km
    of the Australian landmass.
  • Unique video content:
    Only Telstra provides data free streaming of the AFL, NRL and Australian Gymnastics in their plans.
  • Fair data:
    Telstra now offer ‘Data Banking’ on some of their plans and provide Unlimited data options.

Telstra’s Plan Range :

All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. You can learn more about this company in our Telstra Mobile review.

CHECK TELSTRA MOBILE  PLANS

 

Belong Mobile | Fairest For Data

Postpaid | Month to Month agreement | On The Telstra Mobile Network 3G+4G

Belong sell access to the Telstra Mobile Network. They have a simple to understand plan structure with options on data, national ($5 extra) and international calls ($5 extra.) Belong also offer the fairest treatment of data that any phone company in Australia have. a ‘data vault’ feature. Whatever data you buy, is yours, forever. It just keeps rolling over until you use it or leave them.

With Belong, you’ll get:

  • Data Vault:
    All Belong’s Mobile plans come with ‘data vault’. When you buy your data, it just keeps rolling over until you decide to use it or leave them!
  • $5 International Calls:
    And if you want to make Unlimited International Calls (to 10 selected destinations – or to 23 selected countries’ landlines) just add $5.

Belong Plans For Your Mobile

  • Belong Mobile $10Advertisement = Unlimited international calls to 33 countries for $5 per month + 1GB of data.
  • Belong Mobile $15Advertisement = Unlimited calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited international calls & text to 36 selected countries + 1GB of data.
  • Belong Mobile $25Advertisement = Unlimited international calls to 33 countries for $5 per month + 5GB of data.
  • Belong Mobile $30Advertisement = Unlimited calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited international calls & text to 36 selected countries + 5GB of data.
  • Belong Mobile $40Advertisement = Unlimited calls and SMS in Oz + 15GB of data.

All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. You can learn more about this company in our Belong Mobile review.

CHECK BELONG MOBILE SIM PLANS

 

Boost Mobile | Best Prepaid Data Rates On The Full Telstra Network

boost mobile logo

Prepaid | 28 day expiry | On The Telstra Mobile Network 3G+4G

Boost Mobile are a reliable brand. They are the only phone company other than Telstra to resell the full Telstra ‘Retail’ Network. With Boost you’ll get:

  • The full Telstra Mobile Network
    Other phone companies resell part of the Telstra Mobile Network. Only Boost and Telstra plans allow you access the whole thing.
  • Free streamed audio:
    Data free streaming of Apple Music (requires subscription) on top of the data included in your plan.
  • A range that includes 7 day and 28 day plans: 
    Boost offer a selection of plans including 7 and 28 day variants.
  • Recharge options from $10 to $50:
    Boost have a total of 5 recharge options for their prepaid plans, ranging between $10 and $50.

Boost Mobile Plans For Your Mobile

  • Boost $20 PrepaidAdvertisement = Unlimited calls & SMS in Oz + 5GB data.
  • Boost $30 PrepaidAdvertisement = Unlimited calls & SMS in Oz +35GB (includes 15GB bonus data on first 5 recharges) data. 
  • Boost $40 PrepaidAdvertisement = Unlimited calls & SMS in Oz + 45GB  (includes 15GB bonus data on first 5 recharges) data.
  • Boost $50 PrepaidAdvertisement = Unlimited calls & SMS in Oz + 55GB  (includes 15GB bonus data on first 5 recharges) data.
  • Boost $70 PrepaidAdvertisement = Unlimited calls & SMS in Oz + 80GB  (includes 15GB bonus data on first 5 recharges) data.

All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. You can learn more about this company in our Boost Mobile review.

CHECK  BOOST MOBILE PLANS

 

Southern Phone

Postpaid | Month to month + 12 month contracts | Telstra Mobile Network 3G and 4G

Southern Phone are a well known, full service phone company brand based in New South Wales with some great .

With Southern Phone you’ll get :

  • A choice of month to month or 12 month agreements:
    Unusually, Southern Phone offer access to their plans as either 12 month contracts or, month to month agreements.
  • A choice of the Telstra Mobile 3G + 4G or Optus 3G + 4G Plus network:
    Southern Phone are one of the few Australian telcos who offer their customers a choice of the Optus or Telstra Mobile network.
  • Best for bundles:
    Picking up a SIM Only plan as well as a fixed broadband connection will get you a discount.

Southern Phone Month to Month Phone Plans (All Orange Plans on the Telstra Mobile Network)

You can find out more about this company in our dedicated Southern phone review.

CHECK SOUTHERN PHONE SIM PLANS

Winner ! Prepaid plans with included streamed audio.

optus-logo

Optus are a reliable brand with great coverage , great value and some unique Optus value you won’t find elsewhere.

My Daily Plus :
Unique in Australia, $2 days offers huge data : 
Unlimited minutes to standard Australian mobile & landlines. Calls are charged per min. They also include unlimited STD national SMS & MMSs. With this plan, you are only charged for the days you connect your phone to the network !

  • $2 per day = Unlimited standard national talk and text  + 500MB A DAY. Charged per KB. Auto bump up with an extra 524MB data for an extra $2. Maximum of $4/1GB for the day. All for use in Australia. Fair Go Policy applies.
  • Optus SIM Starter Kit $10.00 = Unlimited calls and SMS/MMS in Oz +  5GB
  • Optus SIM Starter Kit $180.00 = Unlimited calls and SMS/MMS in Oz +  60GB

Epic Data plans:

Epic Value plans:

See our full Optus prepaid review,  check out Optus’ recharge options, or see all prepaid plans.

CHECK OPTUS PREPAID PLANS

 

Strong, Simple Plans & A Well Known Brand

Amaysim | Prepaid Plans | Optus Mobile Network 3G+4G

Amaysim are the 4th biggest phone company in Australia with over 1m customers. They consistently have one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry and have prepaid (28 day expiry) plan range – just select the option you want in their checkout. With Amaysim, you’ll get:

  • Strong plan range:
    Amaysim have a range starting at $10 per month and rising to $50 per month. Data inclusions are up there with the best available and, with Amaysim, things are nice and simple. You’re just buying voice calls, SMS and data. There are no optional extras.
  • New International Inclusions:
    Any plan you buy, starting at $30 per month will now include free International Calls to 12 destinations.
  • Great Customer Experience:
    Amaysim are consistently one of the best performing†phone companies when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Amaysim’s plan range:

You can find out more about this company in our Amaysim review.

CHECK AMAYSIM PLANS

 

Vaya Mobile | Winner of The Best Value Plans 2018 Award

Postpaid | Month to month agreement | On the Optus 3G + 4G Network

Vaya offer a range of affordable postpaid plans on the Optus Network. They were recently bought by Amaysim and have cleaned up their image since they were acquired. Customer service complaints are down and they now offer a price match guarantee ñ a unique feature in the Australian market.

With Vaya, you will get:

  • Access to the full Optus 3G and 4G network:
    Optus’ 4G network now rivals Telstra for speed and coverage. With Vaya, you can get access to the same thing.
  • Unique ‘Price match Guarantee’:
    Uniquely, Vaya will match any other price plan you can
  • The WhatPhone 2018 Best Value Plans Award:
    How could we not give Vaya the best value plans award when they will offer to match any other plan on the market?
  • Nothing you don’t need:
    Vaya plans don’t have entertainment options, data rollover, data

Vaya month to month plans

All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. You can learn more about this company in our Vaya Mobile review.

CHECK†VAYA†SIM PLANS

 

Southern Phone

Postpaid | Month to month + 12 month contracts | Optus 3G and 4G Plus

Southern Phone are a well known, full service phone company brand based in New South Wales with some great .

With Southern Phone you’ll get :

  • A choice of month to month or 12 month agreements:
    Unusually, Southern Phone offer access to their plans as either 12 month contracts or, month to month agreements.
  • A choice of the Telstra Mobile 3G + 4G or Optus 3G + 4G Plus network:
    Southern Phone are one of the few Australian telcos who offer their customers a choice of the Optus or Telstra Mobile network.
  • Best for bundles:
    Picking up a SIM Only plan as well as a fixed broadband connection will get you a discount.

Southern Phone Month to Month Phone Plans (All Green Plans on the Optus 3G+4G Plus Network.) 

Southern Phone 12 Months Phone Plans (All Green Plans on the Optus 3G+4G Plus Network.) 

You can find out more about this company in our dedicated Southern phone review.

CHECK SOUTHERN PHONE SIM PLANS

 

Yomojo plans

Yomojo Logo

Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Optus 4G Plus Network 

Yomojo are unique in the Australian market. They offer you an unbelievable range of plans. Yomojo’s plans are completely configurable through their website. They also have some pre-configured unlimited plans for those who want a more standardised plan.

  • Prepay Plans :
    Yomojo recently revised their plan range and now offer prepaid plans only.
  • Use the full Optus 4G Plus network :
    Yomojo use the full Optus 4G network. You’ll get the latest 4G speeds in 4G coverage areas in all the same places as customers who go to Optus direct.

Yomojo plans for your mobile

You can learn more about them and their unique content in our Yomojo review.

CHECK  YOMOJO PLANS

 

OVO Mobile – Free Video & Radio Content

Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Optus 3G and 4G Network 

OVO’s offer a totally new way of looking at a phone company – they’re one of our best selling partners. Their plans are, pretty much on a par for data inclusions with the best in the industry. In addition to talk time, SMS and data, OVO’s plans include exclusive access to exclusive video content. All of OVO’s plans come with ‘OVO Play’ an app which lets you watch their free content on your plan. With OVO, you’ll get:

  • Free Video Content – Motorsport, Sailing, Gymnastics & Water Polo :
    OVO offer a growing list of free video and audio content. Motorsport fans might like the 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series, Australian GT, Formula Drift and other petrol head live streaming. OVO Play also includes other sports like sailing and gymnastics. The price of the content is included in the monthly line rental charge you pay OVO for your prepaid plan. So, importantly: You won’t see your data balance decline while you’re watching them, the streamed content is free.
  • Free Streamed Audio:
    OVO’s plans also offer FREE radio streaming, also included in your plan offers access to the Tripple M network and other selected stations.
  • OVO for Kids:
    OVO’s plans come with the offer of free access to Parental Lock software. Buy your child the $9.95 plan from OVO and you’ll be able to monitor what they access on their phone and set times for it to turn off and turn on it’s own connection to the internet.

OVO Plans for your mobile

Picking an OVO plan is simple. All of OVO’s plans include Unlimited talk and SMS in Australia to Australian numbers plus superfast 4G data.

You can learn more about them and their unique content in our OVO review.

CHECK  OVO MOBILE SIM PLANS

 

Quick Summary of main inclusions

 

Plan FeatureTelstraOptusVodafone
Automatically add extra data when your monthly allowance is finished.YesYesYes
Share data over multiple devicesYes. No set up or ongoing fee these days.Yes. No set up or ongoing fee these days.Yes. No set up or ongoing fee these days.
Overseas Roaming At Daily ChargeYes. 'Travel Pass' is available if bought up front in multi-day pack. Small daily data allowance around 75MB.Yes. Optus 'Travel Pack' zoned system, typically $10 a day auto enabled. Gives you 50 MB of data.Yes. Vodafone's scheme covers a broader range of countries at a lower daily fee of $5 per day. It too is auto activated.
Simple 'Yes' InsuranceTelstra's 'Premium Care Insurance' very similar to Optus'.Yes. $14 per month. Reasonable terms.Vodafone's scheme is similar to Optus'. 2 options - $10 / $15 per month.
Good Self Service AppYesYesYes
Free Video Content Access (SVOD)No
EPL charged extra unless very high spend plans. Data is zero rated.Free Stan subscription on some plans. Note - user pays for data used to watch the show.
Free Music Content AccessYes. Free Apple Music. Includes subscription to Apple Music. Data is zero rated.Yes. Multiple music services with data free through app.Free Spotify access. Note - cost of data is passed on to use. (Is NOT zero rated.)
Free First Month's Data25GB free of charge to users in the first monthNo.Data workout' us unmetered (uncharged) usage for the first 2 months.
Network GuaranteeNot marketed but does exist.Yes.Yes.
New Phone FeelingYes. Pay $180 per to upgrade upgrade your phone after 12 months.No.No.
Free WiFi when out and aboutYes. Telstra 'Air' free wifi at 650k locations in Oz.No.No.
Loyalty Rewards SchemeTelstra Thanks! Cheap movie tickets. First refusal of event tickets.Cheap movie tickets. First refusal of event tickets. Air BnB tie in.No
Adult content filter protection?SchemeTelstra Mobile Protect. Set up through My Account.NoneNone
Voice over WiFi app ?Yes. App requires Telstra home phone rental. Minutes charged against home phone bill.Yes. Best of the lot.No.

 

Telstra’s ‘Kiss goodbye to extra data charges’ is an innovative approach to keeping customers happy.

At the moment, Telstra is the only phone company that offers ‘throttled’ data, slowed to 1.5mbps, designed to remove the fear of bill shock from data overspends. Source: Telstra

  • Automatic addition of extra data. Either $10/GB or ‘Goodbye extra data charges’: 
    As we’ve said, Telstra has recently updated its plan range to offer an option of ‘goodbye extra data charges’. It’s an option. By default, the standard $10/GB data charging for overage will still apply.
  • Shared Data over multiple devices ( a.k.a. ‘Family Plans’ ): 
    The average Australian home has 7 wireless devices, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. If you want to share your data allocation across more than one device, Telstra will let you. As usual, when you exceed your allowance, even when it’s a shared allowance, you will be charged $10 and have a GB added.
  • They now have ‘Peace Of Mind’ (‘unlimited’) data plans:
    In 2018, Optus launched a plan with unlimited data included for a short time. Telstra and Vodafone followed suit shortly after. The regulator didn’t like the messaging of the unlimited plans that were released because they were not, in fact, unlimited. After the core data inclusion was used in these ‘Unlimited’ plans, bandwidth was slowed to 1.5 Mbps. To avoid a lawsuit, the telcos withdrew those unlimited plans from the market. Now, on most of Telstra’s SIM Only plans, you won’t be charged for extra data once you reach the limit of your monthly data inclusions – you’ll always have access to data (when you’re in coverage). However, the download speeds you’ll get are capped at that 1.5 Mbps limit. Telstra calls that ‘peace of mind’ data.
  • Overseas roaming: 
    In principal, Telstra will charge you either $5 per day (if you want to roam to NZ) or $10 per day every day (depending on where else in the world you go) you’re overseas, and give you unlimited SMS and talk back to Australia for that price. The key difference here, between Telstra’s offering and Vodafone’s (apart from the pricing, where Vodafone usually wins) is data. Telstra only gives you 100 MB of data for each day while you’re overseas; Vodafone allows you to use your full allocation just as if you were at home. On the plus side, for Telstra customers, the company has a huge range of international ‘hot spots’ which their customers can access while traveling. Getting online this way is free and won’t count against your 100 MB daily allowance.
  • Great ’24×7′ Self Service App: 
    Telstra’s 24×7 app for Self Service and Account Management is extremely good. So are the alternatives from Vodafone and Australia’s other major alternatives. You can manage your SIM Only agreement just fine from this Self Service app, as well as use the app for any type of contract plan from Telstra. We always advise people to take advantage of these apps — they help you manage your data and get the most out of your service for free, without having to wait on hold all the time.
  • Telstra has impressive sports content inclusions:
    Notable among Telstra’s inclusions is their sports and entertainment content options. You can only get some of these content value adds with Telstra. And, if they appeal to you, they alone could be enough to get you across the line on taking a Telstra SIM. Telstra’s content includes Apple Music access (provided free of charge for the first 6 months). They also have the rights to the AFL and NRL, as well as some other niche sports. Content is of increasing importance in phone plans, with around 70% of Australians saying it is a key criterion they use to compare plans. This point is so important — we have expanded on it below.
  • Free WiFi / Telstra ‘Air’: 
    Telstra’s size gives them some unique capabilities, such as turning on free WiFi in the town center of every conurbation in the country if they want to. Telstra is the only phone company offering free WiFi to their customers through their own phone booths at the moment. They have around 1 million phone booths and other access points across Australia, which offer free WiFi access for their customers. With data being the most important part of people’s plans, this is an important facility. Just be aware that Telstra may sell information about you – your shopping habits and where you’ve been – to third parties if you use it.
  • Loyalty Rewards: 
    Telstra’s Loyalty scheme is called “Telstra Thanks”. If you stay with them long enough, you’ll get some cinema tickets, subsidized concert tickets, or first pick on a list of events. It’s a nice-to-have scheme, at best, and should not (in our view) influence your decision as to which network to go with. These rewards are to trick the rational bit of your brain – in reality, they are worth little (in our view!).
  • Companion plans:
    Telstra allows their customers to make use of the shared data facility they have by adding a second, cheaper SIM to the same account. (Usually, an account is the entity that gets billed for one or more services – you might have your own account, for example, or one for your family). Telstra’s Companion Plan is $39 per month and includes unlimited voice and SMS, plus 1 GB of mobile data. Using their data sharing facility, however, you can pass some of the data you have on one of your other SIMs across to the companion SIM.
  • HRO – Hardware Replacement Option:
    Telstra also offers a facility under which their customers can split the cost of any hardware they buy, over the term of the contract they hold with Telstra. In simple terms, that means they give you the hardware and you pay it back in small chunks each month you’ve got a SIM on the Telstra Mobile Network. There’s no magic way to avoid paying, however, as you can imagine. If you decide you want to leave Telstra, you will have to pay for any outstanding amounts on your bill.

 

Cons Of Telstra

  • Telstra’s network is not as good as you think : 
    You can get almost exactly the same population coverage and 4G signal availability from Optus or a network reseller and pay far less than if you take a SIM Only deal from Telstra. You cannot have missed the coverage of the consistent network outages that Telstra suffered during the early part of 2016. Those networks crippled the Telstra customer base – they were literally without coverage for long periods of time. They also brought to light the fact that an increasing proportion of Australians now know — Telstra’s network advantage is not what it once was. Starting with 3G coverage, Telstra’s major competitor covers 98.50% of the population. Telstra covers 99% of the population. Not much of a gap there, is there? Trying to make this real for you: Across Australia, less than one percent of people will benefit from having Telstra’s network! Have a think about that. In real terms, the availability of a 4G signal is almost always the same regardless of whether you’re on the Telstra or the alternative network. There is virtually no difference in the quality of coverage these companies offer when it comes to being able to practically present you with a 4G signal, according to the latest statistics in the market. The truth is, this information has been around for some time now. Two years ago, JD Powers offered a similarly slim margin to Telstra. The problem is that Telstra has spent such a long time convincing us that its network was superior that we have started to believe it. The key point here is that you can get almost exactly the same population coverage and 4G signal availability from Optus or a network reseller and pay far less. 

4G coverage levels offered by the major Australian telcos are all about the same.

Telstra’s SIM Only plans offer you access to their network. Again, you may be surprised to see how similar the 4G population coverage profiles of the major networks are.

 

The key change Telstra has made to its plans recently – ‘Goodbye extra data charges’:

Since 2013, users who exceed their data allowance on their postpaid plans from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and some other smaller phone companies, faced a simple equation when it came to their data usage. Once they reached their limit, they were charged at a rate of $10 per GB. $10/GB was certainly preferable to what was in place before that charge — when so called ‘out of bundle’ data fees could be $100 per GB or more, even for data used in Australia. When customers used data overseas, the bill could run up to thousands of dollars.

As an alternative, and to reflect the recent addition of phone plans with unlimited data in them, Telstra is offering a service called ‘Throttling’, marketed under the headline ‘Goodbye extra data charges’.  Throttling (the way Telstra avoids extra data charges) is where phone companies slow the data speeds that your phone receives from their network. With Telstra’s postpaid plans range, customers are provided the ability to take a plan with throttled speeds of 1.5 Mbps. This makes the plan effectively an unlimited data plan.

To take advantage of the new facility, existing users will have to call Telstra customer care to move across to the new plan range. At the point of sale, new customers will be asked whether they want $10/GB or throttling. The default is that nothing will happen, you’ll stay where you are and get charged $10/GB.

 

How will Telstra’s New ‘Throttling Feature’ affect customers?

Most people are not going to notice that their speeds have been reduced to the 1.5 Mbps ‘throttled speed’ Telstra. 1.5mbps is actually 4 times faster than they receive when they’re on Telstra’s 3G network. A typical user can stream videos, stream music – essentially do anything they want to – with access to a data speed of 1.5mbps.

Telstra’s plan release has prompted a response from Vodafone which includes the same overage charging methodology.

Overall, Telstra’s willingness to implement this sort of feature is a good thing. It could be seen as a move to fairer data charging.

 

Top tier Telstra Postpaid customers will also get access to Telstra’s Foxtel package

Telstra also offers customers on their $120 a month plan a free subscription to Foxtel Now pack and 2GB of International Roaming. This sort of spend user will get access to Foxtel as part of their phone plan.

The number of customers prepared to spend this much on a phone plan amount to a very, very small proportion of the population. Almost anyone’s mobile phone requirements can now be met with a <$30 SIM.

 

Telstra’s content offerings are unique and impressive

Are you a mad footy fan ? Do you love the AFL ? Would you watch these sports on your phone ? If you do value these things, Telstra (and the premium they charge) might be right for you

Content is the big thing in phone agreements this year. As you would expect, Telstra has been dishing it out in a bid to keep existing ustomers and win new ones. If you take a postpaid or SIM Only plan from Telstra, you’ll get some unique content.

  • All Telstra customers get AFL and NRL ‘Season Passes’:
    Whether you are a Telstra prepaid or a Telstra SIM Only customer, you will be given one free season pass to either the AFL or NRL season as part of your plan. If you want both sports codes on your phone, you can have them but you’ll have to pay for one. Access to the video content (of every game!) is through an app you can download from Telstra. The data you use to watch the games, even if it’s over the Telstra cellular network, is free of charge. In the industry, this is called ‘zero rating’ content and it is liable to save you some money. More generally, this facility is known as Streaming Video On Demand, SVOD and you’re liable to be seeing a lot more of it soon in phone deals from everyone.
  • All Telstra’s customers get free streamed audio:
    Streamed audio is the facility to listen to music, on your phone, which is provided through the mobile network you’re attached to. Telstra’s variant is Apple Music (Telstra even throws in a free subscription to that service) and you’ll get this streamed option as part of any SIM Only or prepaid plan from the company. Generally, in our view, Optus’ equivalent facility, which offers unmetered access to Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Google Play, seems like a better bet than Telstra’s offer – purely because it appears to service so many more people / accounts. But it’s great both companies have a scheme in place.

‘Telstra’s SIM Only plans include content. For some, it’s invaluable, for others, an unnecessary extra.”

Content or ‘entertainment’ is something that people are still getting used to in their phone plans. Its so new that they’re still really weighing up the value. So that’s the fundamental question you need to ask yourself when you are considering Telstra. Are you a mad footy fan ? Do you love the AFL ? Is streamed audio of value to you ? Would you watch these games on your phone ? If you do value these things, Telstra (and the premium they charge for the access to their deals) might be right for you.

 

Mid 2018 independent review of Telstra’s customer service by ACCAN

Telstra’s terrible results in the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network review of around 1500 telecommunications service users, conducted in July 2018 confirmed what many Telstra customers knew. In the period studied – early 2018 – around half (51%) of people had called their phone company with at least one query. Those who called Telstra fared much worse than those who called other phone companies with similar queries.

  • 2.6 calls to the call center on average, to get a resolution : Customers who called a call center took, on average, 2.6 contacts to have their issue resolved. That rose to 3 contacts for Telstra customers.
  • 13-day average time to resolution : Telstra was the highest time to resolution of the phone companies studied with a more than 15 day resolution time.
  • 1.2-hour wait time on average to get through : Telstra’s had the highest wait time of all telcos studied.
  • 43% of Telstra users had a good experience, compared to 61% for Vodafone customers and 42% for Optus.

 

Alternatives – companies which lease their network from Telstra

Prices are also pretty eye watering and you will pay top dollar for a phone plan if you go direct to the big T.

Did you know that there are only three mobile providers in Australia that actually own and run their own mobile network? Telstra’s prices are the highest of the lot. These days, you have more options. There is a plethora of other phone agreement providers (in the industry, they’re known as MVNOs) or network resellers. They that sell mobile deals using the Telstra Mobile network. What’s great about this? Lots of choice and competition brings the cost to you, the consumer, down.

Telstra Network or MVNO

You can get a Telstra SIM Only plan either directly from Telstra or by going to one of their resellers.

If you are one of the 1% of people who live outside the coverage footprint Telstra’s main rivals offer, you have little option but to buy a Telstra SIM. Our suggestion for those people is that you go ahead and get one. If you’re not in that 1%, and you’re prepared to look rationally at alternatives, you will find many credible options available to you. We think the alternatives on this page will service the vast majority of customers well.

 

Summing up Telstra’s SIM Only

Adding things like the NRL / AFL in to their phone plans is now the only way to justify the, frankly, horrifyingly expensive postpaid SIM Only plans that Telstra has in market.

Telstra’s plan range might become even more confusing if it’s cut to 22, in line with Penn’s new strategy. What Telstra has in the market already is bewildering for most people looking for a phone plan, and doing that may not address the main problems. Telstra’s biggest problem is not the complexity of its range; it’s the combination of bad customer experience – mostly in the areas of service and support, as studied by ACCAN – and the price premium they want to charge for access to their network.

Optus has a large number of credible and fast growing brands in it’s stable. Moose Mobile, Spintel and Vaya, all offer postpaid deals on the Optus networks. OVO mobile, Amaysim, and Yomojo all offer prepaid plans on the Optus network. While Telstra matches Optus on price, Optus steals everything below – in one form or another.

However, all that being said, there really is no alternative to Telstra’s 3G coverage footprint. If you live in rural Australia, you simply have to consider Telstra or one of its resellers Boost / Belong.

 

Sources :

 

The 2019 WhatPhone Awards[See Winners ]