Telstra Revamps Postpaid Plans Again

Telstra new plans

Telstra introduces upfront postpaid plans

Telstra are scrapping current SIM only postpaid plans, replacing them with a new upfront postpaid plan lineup instead. In the coming months, Telstra customers on current postpaid plans will have to move to the new upfront postpaid plans, or switch telcos.

The upfront postpaid plans come with some great benefits, and the new inclusions aren’t bad either. We’ll tell you all about it in this article.

Month-to-month plans vs Telstra’s upfront plans

Less than 2 years ago, Telstra revamped their postpaid plans, scrapping contracts and replacing them with month-to-month plans. That revamp came with a lot of benefits – it allowed customers bring their own phones and plug in a Telstra SIM, and simplified Telstra’s offers significantly.

Fast forward to 2021, and Telstra are revamping their postpaid lineup once again. This time, Telstra will replace those plans with upfront postpaid plans.

Upfront postpaid plans are also SIM only, so you can still bring your own phone.

Here’s a look at how the new upfront postpaid plans differ from Telstra’s current month-to-month plans:

  • Pricing
    Telstra’s new upfront postpaid plans cost the same as current month-to-month plans, and include the same amount of data at each price point. And like current plans, the upfront plans don’t have any excess data charges – when you exhaust your plan data, your download speeds will be throttled to 1.5mbps until your next billing cycle.
  • 5G
    Telstra’s current postpaid plans only grant access to the Medium, Large, and Extra Large plans, leaving customers on Small Plans without 5G access. On the new upfront postpaid plans, however, Small Plans will have access to 5G until February 16 of this year. That’s a very short amount of time, but it’ll give you enough time to test out Telstra’s 5G network and decide if it’s worth the extra money to upgrade to a 5G plan.
  • Data share
    Telstra got rid of data sharing across plans the last time they revamped their postpaid plans. However, this latest revamp to upfront postpaid plans brings back data sharing. You can share data with up to 10 plans on the same account.
  • International inclusions
    Current Telstra postpaid plans don’t come with International inclusions – you have to pay extra for those. But the new upfront postpaid plans come with unlimited SMS and MMS to any international number, and 30 minutes of International voice. A $10 add on is available if you need more than 30 minutes.
  • Billing
    Normal postpaid plans send you a bill after you’ve used up your plan inclusions, and you typically have 2 weeks to pay. Upfront postpaid plans, on the other hand, don’t come with bills. Instead, they are like prepaid plans – you have to pay upfront to activate your service, and then your credit/debit card or bank account will automatically be charged on the same date every month with AutoPay. But unlike prepaid plans, you can’t decide not to recharge unless you do so after the charge, and before your new billing cycle begins. Perhaps this might be the worst part of Telstra’s latest revamp, essentially forcing customers to commit to direct debit. Telstra will give you a digital tax invoice once your card has been debited.
  • No credit checks
    Normal postpaid plans require some form of credit checks, because you pay for the plan after using the inclusions. However, upfront postpaid plans are paid for automatically by debiting your card, so no credit checks are required.
  • Some things you have to wait for
    Because Telstra is still rolling out upfront plans, there are a few things that will take a while to work. For instance, there will be no international roaming for now. Also, there will be no smartwatch support and eSIM plans. These features will appear some time in the near future.
  • Some things are gone for good
    While roaming, smartwatch and eSIM support will eventually work on upfront plans, there are some features that Telstra has gotten rid of. These include Telstra Air, Mobile Protect, Voice to Text, and Caller Tones.

Telstra postpaid plans vs new Telstra upfront postpaid plan

Current Telstra postpaid plans vs new Telstra upfront postpaid plans. src

The new upfront plans are already live for new customers, and current customers will be switched over in the coming weeks/months. And if you don’t want an upfront postpaid plan, you can easily switch to another telco.

Signing up for the new upfront plans is very easy, compared to current plans. The current process can take up to 2 hours on a Saturday morning if you want to get a phone on a postpaid contract (I know, I’ve done it). The new upfront plans, on the other hand, won’t require a credit check, making them much faster to sign up for.

Why the change to upfront postpaid plans?

The postpaid market has become very competitive over the years, mostly due to the outright handset market, where you can pay upfront for your device and add any SIM of your choice.

Yes, Telstra’s current postpaid plans are SIM only, so you can bring your own phone. They are also no lock-in plans, so you can leave whenever you want. However, with so many other companies like JB Hi Fi, Harvey Normans, and even phone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung selling handsets outright direct-to-consumer, there’s no telling which telco SIM that consumer will choose.

In fact, retailers like JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman try to steer customers toward the telco that gives the most commission when a device is purchased outright, rather than the telco with the best phone plans. This makes the market even more competitive for brands like Telstra.

In fact, in the first half of last year, almost 65 percent of all Telstra’s new postpaid customers came from Belong, its MVNO. This shows the difficulty the telco has had in the postpaid market, mostly due to how competitive the device outright payment market has become with all major telcos offering SIM only plans.

Bottom Line

Will Telstra’s new upfront postpaid lineup solve their subscription woes? That’s yet to be determined. After all, the telco revamped their postpaid plans less than two years ago, and now has to do it all over again.

But in the coming months, Telstra plan to reassure consumers that their upfront postpaid plans are competitive. For instance, we expect to see price match offers at some point, in an effort to lure customers in.

At the same time, being competitive and giving price match offers doesn’t mean Telstra will take a loss. With their upfront postpaid plans, customers will likely forget about their subscriptions because they are automatic and there are no bills. This is much like your Netflix subscription, where you just keep streaming without ever stopping to think about the cost, because you don’t have to actually check the bill and pay it manually. With such a set up, your likelihood of remaining a Telstra customer for the long term increases.


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.