Review of Telstra internet plans
Telstra is the single biggest provider of internet services in Australia, but does that mean you’re getting the best value for money? The telco giant offers home broadband using a combination of ADSL and Cable connections, as well as NBN fibre connections, depending on the location of your home and personal requirements.
With several plan tiers available, all of which can be purchased as broadband-only or bundled with a home phone and one of several Foxtel TV packages, with some plans automatically available with Telstra TV included, Telstra has an internet solution for just about every household demographic. But how do its prices and features compare to its rivals? Read our review of Telstra internet plans and find out.
Telstra Internet Plans
|Connection Type||Data From||Price From Per Month|
500GB – 4000GB
|$80 – $140|
|Cable||$80 – $140|
|NBN Fibre||$90 – $155|
|Home Wireless||40GB – 80GB||$100 – $150|
Source: Telstra website
Telstra has a large range of broadband plans – over 30 in fact! It’s broken down by:
- 9 ADSL2+ Plans
- 9 Cable Plans
- 9 NBN Plans
- 4 mobile home wireless broadband plans
All fixed broadband plans are available from $80 a month, but many are over $100 a month. So, what are you getting for your money?
- Maximum download speeds for ADSL2+ are around 20Mbps
- Cable increases this to 30Mbps
If you live in an eligible area and choose an NBN connection, you can choose from three different maximum speed tiers – 25Mbps, 50Mbps or a ‘superfast’ 100Mbps. The latter two cost $10 and $15 extra per month respectively, and are perfect if your household does a lot of media streaming, gaming or data-heavy work.
All of Telstra’s plans come with several perks – these include three internet top-ups per year if you go over your data allowance, access to the nationwide Telstra Air Wi-Fi network, support for future NBN installation, and the option of the Telstra Broadband Protect service. Let’s dive in with more detail to see how far your money goes.
Telstra Internet Plans and Bundles
Perhaps one of the most impressive things about Telstra is that across all of its types of plans, you are not compromising on price or inclusions. That is to say, you can expect the same or similar value from ADSL2+ plans as you can with its NBN and cable broadband. A lot of plans are on a 24 month contract, which seem to be the best value but you’ll have to be committed to sticking it out for two years. There are a handful of non-contract plans that can be handy. While a monthly plan seems like a no-brainer, each one does come with pretty steep up-front costs:
- Set-up fees ranging from about $90 all the way up to nearly $400
- A lot of plans have modem and postage costs
This is a bit of a slap in the face, and naturally you can expect to pay a higher upfront fee by opting for the non-contract route. You also won’t get unlimited data – just massive 4000GB for the dearest plans, but we suspect that’s plenty of data for most people anyway. Also keep an eye out for entertainment bundles such as:
- Telstra TV for your one-stop streaming destination
- Foxtel for premium entertainment and sports channels. Foxtel Entertainment bundles come as standard on plans $120 or over
Take a look at some of the plans below:
Telstra Home Wireless Plans
Home wireless broadband plans are a burgeoning trend with the average cost of 4G data decreasing over time and the need for flexibility increasing.
- Telstra offers two plans – 80GB or 40GB, either $150 or $100 a month respectively
- You get a choice of either a 12 or 24 month contract, with the 24 month option including a wireless router to plug your SIM card into
Telstra Mobile Broadband Plans
|Contract Length||Price Per Month||Data|
|Postpaid 24 Months (with choice of device)||$15||1GB|
|Postpaid 12 Months (BYO Device)||$15||1GB|
Source: Telstra website
Telstra offers four different data plans on your choice of a monthly, 12 month or 24 month term. The longest of these includes your choice of portable Wi-Fi modem with no extra cost. In addition to your mobile data, you will also get 10GB of data on the Telstra Air Wi-Fi network, which includes thousands of hotspots around the country.
- With the 24 month plans you have the option of bundling in a high-speed device – an extra $24 a month for the NETGEAR Nighthawk mobile hotspot, which is apparently the world’s fastest mobile hotspot, or for $15 extra month you get a Telstra 4GX dongle.
Prepaid mobile broadband plans
Telstra’s prepaid mobile broadband lets you buy one of several devices and recharge it with your choice of several ‘Data Passes’. Depending on what device you have, you can buy an empty $2 SIM, or a range of wireless modems.
Prepaid mobile broadband customers also get a couple of perks, including unlimited access to Telstra Air and 200GB of Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage. While the inclusions seem rather lean, these could be great for the household tablet that sees little internet use, or a tablet for the kids for the occasional app downloading. Once you finish your included data, you can choose from the following Data Passes:
|Weekly Pass (7 days)||$20||3GB|
|Monthly Pass (30 days)||$30||3GB|
|3 Month Pass (90 days)||$60||6GB|
|6 Month Pass (185 days)||$90||10GB|
|Annual Pass (365 days)||$150||20GB|
How does Telstra compare to other internet providers?
Telstra – as highlighted – has a wide range of plans over a course of broadband platforms, and overall the biggest telco in Australia is priced higher than a lot of the competition, but you do get extra perks that may make it worthwhile, like:
- Entertainment bundles with Foxtel and Telstra TV
- Telstra Air
- Cloud services
Plus of course you get access to the most comprehensive network in Australia, which may or may not be a big dig for some. Let’s dig in and see how the ‘network without equal’ compares to the competition:
Telstra ADSL2+ Plans Compared
With a smattering of plans ranging from 500GB of data all the way up to 4000GB, Telstra competes well across a range of price points with a bunch of different providers. However, as you can see below, if it’s pure broadband you want then there are other service providers such as AusBBS and iiNet that offer unlimited data for much cheaper prices. Optus – Telstra’s main rival – is also cheaper in a lot of cases. However, Telstra has a lot of plans that include entertainment bundles, which may boost the value on offer. Overall, for ADSL2+, you’ll have to consider:
- Overall cost including modems, set-up fees etc
- Entertainment bundles and extra perks
- Home phone line costs as well as calls
ADSL2+ plans have the potential to add up quickly, and Telstra is placed at the higher end of the scale.
Telstra Cable Plans Compared
In terms of cable broadband, Telstra’s only competition in Australia is Optus. Fewer homes have access to the cable networks, and it’s evident that Optus beats out its rival as far as cost is concerned. Telstra, as we’ve established, does not have unlimited data broadband plans, but relies on 4000GB as its highest data offering, which is still a massive amount – an amount most people are never likely to reach. Optus frequently offers more data for a cheaper price. Its plans lose out to Optus in terms of data allowances, with the latter offering several unlimited plans, but Telstra has the killer addition of Foxtel and free video streaming subscriptions at some price points.
- Optus offers ‘Yes’ TV by Fetch with entertainment packs and Optus Sports and rights to the English Premier League
- Telstra offers Telstra TV with subscriptions to Stan and Netflix sometimes offered as bonuses, with included subscriptions to Foxtel in some plans
However, keep in mind that, with cable connections, you may not have the option of switching service providers. If you have Telstra cable in your area, this is likely your only option.
Telstra NBN Plans Compared
NBN plans are varied in value and it’s important to assess the speed in which they are delivered. Telstra NBN operates on three speed tiers:
- Tier 2 – 25Mbps downloads from $80 a month
- Tier 3 – 50Mbps downloads for an extra $10 a month
- Tier 4 – 100Mbps downloads for an extra $15 a month
So, it’s important to note that whatever price you see, it’s important to add on those extra figures to the monthly cost to determine how Telstra compares with its competition.
Tier 2 Plans:
These are the base NBN plans Telstra offers, and they start at $75 a month for 100GB of data. Overall Telstra is one of the most expensive services around, with providers like Exetel, Internode and Infinity Broadband offering the same amount of data for cheaper. The same is the case as you add on more data – Telstra frequently falls behind smaller telcos in the price wars. However, it’s promising to see the entry level speed with Telstra is 25/5, instead of the usual 12/1, which is not even considered superfast speed.
Tier 3 Plans:
- Minimum spend $90 a month
Telstra again is outplayed by smaller providers like Teleron, SpinTel and AusBBS who come to the game here with the same or more data for less. Keep in mind that the minimum you’ll pay with Telstra Tier 4 plans is $90 per month for 500GB data. Tier 3 speeds are capable of multiple streams at once, or online gaming requiring little lag time.
Tier 4 Plans:
- Minimum spend $95 a month
Tier 4 plans reveal much the same story as all other speed tiers. Telstra frequently falls behind the little guys in terms of price. With at least 100GB data, small providers Exetel and Teleron once again lead the charge. However, newcomer MyRepublic has blown the competition wide open with top speeds, and unlimited data, for less than $60 a month. Consider it a broadband ‘disrupter’ and you can read more about MyRepublic vs Telstra here.
Telstra Home Wireless Plans Compared
Home wireless broadband is great as you can just plug in your wireless router and boom – internet connection! There are a few providers operating in this sphere, with Telstra primarily competing with Optus, as well as Vividwireless. The latter stands out for offering unlimited data for less than $90 a month, which the big boys struggle to compete with. If you’re sick of everyone else in the house gobbling up all the data or slowing down your internet then these plans can be a convenient and relatively speedy way to get quick access to internet.
Mobile Broadband Plans Compared
Mobile broadband is a competitive area for Telstra, with a lot of its plans fairly on-par with smaller providers. However, it can be worth keeping an eye out for newcomers to telco land. Here, Exetel and Vodafone come into the picture with some enticing plans, while Jeenee Mobile and Dodo also provide pretty stock-standard mobile broadband plans. However, one of the main benefits of Telstra is that you can just walk into a store and buy one without purchasing online. Also keep in mind that many mobile dongles are brand-specific and may only accept a certain carrier; this is where these smaller providers lose out. Of course, going with Telstra also means free access to Telstra Air for when you run out of data.
Is Telstra broadband worth the money?
Telstra is generally one of the most expensive internet service providers. However, the tradeoff is that with Telstra you’ll get things like:
- Comprehensive 24/7 customer service and physical stores
- Usually reliable and comprehensive network coverage
- Entertainment packs including Telstra TV and Foxtel on more expensive plans
- Other value-add perks like Telstra Air connectivity
If you’re willing to pay more to go ‘premium’, Telstra is still a very strong choice when you’re shopping for a new internet plan and the extra goodies that provide padding to its plans may be worth the money. If not, it can’t hurt to compare a range of different broadband providers to get the best bang for buck.