Telstra Mobile Review – Independent Australian Review

Generally, Telstra charge more for their plans, justifying the extra charge with claims that their network is better than the alternatives. The key question then is whether the additional cost is worth the additional network benefits. This Telstra Mobile Review provides an independent review of :

  • Telstra coverage (including 4G coverage)
  • Telstra’s Customer Service
  • Telstra’s Customer Satisfaction and Telstra’s plans.
  • How to get the best deal on the Telstra network

We tell you the truth about the quality of the Telstra network and offer you an alternative method of getting access to it, without paying the usual high Telstra rates.

If you live in a metro ( city ) area or even out in the suburbs, you have options beyond Telstra. Amaysim, OVO Mobile and Lebara are all much better value than Telstra and provide coverage which is better in many cases.

Quick Summary

There are a few little known facts, below, which might surprise you about the Telstra network and how it compares to it’s competitors. However, as you’d expect, Telstra’s mobile network is better, especially for those who live and or work in Rural areas. Additionally, in building coverage is stronger in metro areas and Telstra’s 4G network covers twice the land area of the other networks.

Getting the best deal on the Telstra network

So, the Telstra network is better than the alternatives for in city building coverage and across the Australian outback. If you need good coverage, Telstra is the answer.

Need a SIM Only Deal On the Telstra Network ?

Telstra Mobile Overview

Never out of the news, Telstra, Australia’s largest telco is worth around $12 billion dollars. Much of that value and most of it’s growth is coming from the Telstra Mobile division Telstra Mobile is the component of the Telstra Company which provides wireless network services (Telstra Mobile Phones and Telstra Mobile Wireless Broadband) to Australian consumers.

Telstra has the best coverage in Australia, judged by almost any criteria. The Telstra Mobile Network covers 99% percent of the Australian Population, suffers fewer dropouts ( when a call from your mobile fails or data doesn’t work when you want it to ) and has more 4G coverage than any other network.

It’s worth considering the investments that the other operators are putting in to their networks

  • In 2012, Telstra spent nearly $4 billion on network improvements, including their 4G rollout. Over 2013 and 2014, they invested more than $1.3bn in network infrastructure alone, spending an equivalent amount on frequency purchases.
  • Optus is spent $2 billion in 2013 / 2014 and has already improved in building coverage using a technology called 3G Plus. ( 3G plus offers better in building coverage with lower frequencies. )
  • Vodafone has spent more than $1 billion and have improved their network dramatically. Independent research shows they now offer the best metro network coverage.

Realising that they’re behind Telstra in both real and perceived Network Coverage and that it’ll cost a lot to catch up, Vodafone and Optus now have a network sharing agreement. In some areas, where Optus has good coverage but Vodafone doesn’t ( or the other way around. ) Both companies will they will share wireless network coverage and improve their performance relative to Telstra. More detail on Australian network coverage. 

Telstra Coverage – Detail on Telstra’s Network Coverage

There are a variety of independent information sources available to determine the quality of Telstra’s Network Coverage relative to Optus, Telstra, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone.

Key Facts on Telstra’s Australian Network Coverage :

Canstar Blue, JD Powers and The AIMIA ( The Australian Interactive Media Industry Association ) have all independently studied the Telstra Mobile Network, against Virgin Mobile, Optus, Vodafone / ‘3’ and found it to be the best performing network. See excerpt below.

Telstra Network Quality Review

Network quality is the defining characteristic of Telstra’s marketing. It’s a constant bone of contention between the networks. The reality is that Telstra’s network is better but their marketing heightens the difference beyond the truth. People perceive difference between the Telstra Mobile Network and it’s next best competitor, Optus to be much bigger than it really is.

There is nothing more personal than a network experience. The days of being convinced about the quality of a network, by reading the information available on the website of the telco are over.

Top Tip : Signing a contract with your telco is a 2 year commitment. Telstra’s plans can be $10 – $20 per month more than Optus, Vodafone’s or Virgin Mobile’s. Why not pick yourself up a prepaid SIM from the telco you’re considering and see what the network coverage is in your area. For example, try one of the Cmobile plans we mention above to see if it works for you. Spend a month with the telco you’re considering and see if the price premium Telstra charge for their coverage is warranted where you are.

Telstra Mobile 4G Review

4G, also known as LTE, is mobile network coverage. 4G offers data speeds comparable with what most people get at home through their fixed broadband connection.

Australia is one of the most advanced mobile phone loving countries in the world. Telstra launched 4G coverage in Australia in September 2011 far ahead of their next best competitor.

Since launch, Telstra Mobile now claim to cover around 85% of the Australian population. They have added more than 2.5 million customers to their 4G mobile network.

Remember though : To benefit from 4G, you’ll need to pick up a 4G capable device. Almost all Australian phones are still 3G, however, so only pay the extra for 4G speeds if you have a phone which requires that and you’ll actually benefit from the faster speeds.

The Australian Telco business has been tough for years. It’s been great for Australians. Phone bills have reduced year on year ( telcos call this declining ARPU – Average Revenue Per User. ) Inclusions have increased. Recently, realizing their price wars had hurt them, the telcos started to reduce the inclusions in their plans. In short, ( generally ) they are offering fewer inclusions for the same headline price.

Top Tip : Most modern Mobile Phones can be attached to your home wireless network and will find it when you get home. Many people play with their phones in front of the TV these days. Using your home network avoids using the telco networks meaning you can keep your Telstra wireless data for when you’re out and about.

Telstra Mobile Customer Service Review

Mobile Network coverage is only half of your experience with the mobile network you choose. If something goes wrong, you’re going to want it fixed quickly. You’ll probably end up interacting with the Customer Care department of your telco. This is where Telstra do not perform at all well according to the same independent sources as studied the Telstra Network.

Again, Canstar Blue and the AIMIA talked to hundreds of ordinary Australians. They determined that Optus’ Customer Service was the best in the industry.

Telstra Plans

Telstra’s opening price point for a ‘small’ plan, with no mobile phone is $50. ( 12 month contract commitment ).

If you want a mobile with it, you’ll have to stump up more. Usually, $10 – $15 per month more to cover the cost of the phone.

These prices are significantly more expensive than the alternatives offered by Optus, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone. Exactly how much they’re different varies by device and changes on a weekly basis. We track the best Telstra Price Plan Deals, and deals from the other Operators on our Product Pages. Check out the ‘Top Phones’ link at the top of this page.

Boost Prepaid $40 offers better value than Telstra’s Prepaid $50

Prepaid month to month

  • Deal 1

  • Per Month


  • Voice

    Unlimited Voice and SMS in Oz

  • Data

    Up to 7.5 GB
    (including 4GB Night Data)


Boost use the Telstra Mobile network !

  • Deal 1

  • Per Month


  • Voice

    Unlimited Voice and SMS in Oz

  • Data

    Up to 7.5 GB
    (including 4GB Night Data)


Boost use the Telstra Mobile network !

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

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.


Telstra Mobile Review – Summing Up

Signing up to a contract with a telco is a commitment worth several hundreds of dollars. It’s not something to be taken lightly. For most people, it’s a compromise. Key facts to consider are :

  • How important is Network Coverage to me  ?
  • Do I need a 3G or 4G speeds?
  • How important is Customer Care and Customer Satisfaction to me ?
  • How much am I prepared to spend per month ?

Consider :

  • Trialing the service you’re considering using a prepaid SIM for a month to see how good coverage is where you need it.




Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.