Did you know that there is more to the mobile phone plan world than just the ‘Big Three’ – Telstra, Vodafone and Optus? There are, in fact, more than 30 mobile virtual network operators (or MVNOs) that all piggyback off the network infrastructure of the big boys. The end result is you having a lot more choice and the ability to bag a bargain, especially if you’re looking for a SIM only plan. So, what companies piggyback off of the Telstra network and which offer the best value? Compare your options here.
As the largest network in Australia, it is little wonder a lot of MVNOs want to get on board the Telstra train. The telco giant claims to have the most expansive network in the country, and given its superior reception in rural areas, we’re inclined to believe it. Despite some high-profile outages in recent times, Telstra serves several million Aussie customers on “the network without equal”. However, there are several third-party providers which also utilise Telstra’s network to provide their own mobile phone plans – in many cases, providing similar or better value.
If you’ve been thinking of switching services but love the coverage you’re getting on the Telstra network (or have no choice but to stay with Telstra because you live in a remote area), here is our comparison of the best MVNOs on the Telstra network and their SIM only plans, to help you make up your mind.
The Telstra Network: Prepaid or Postpaid?
There are a few operators on the Telstra network, so it helps to break them down into prepaid and postpaid service providers. Deciding which type of mobile plan you want is the first step to finding an improved deal. If you’re having trouble deciphering which way to go, then this article may help.
Prepaid plans on the Telstra Network
A provider unashamedly marketing towards younger demographics, Boost Mobile has ‘matured’ a little since the early 2000s into a telco providing great value. Chances are you’ve heard of Boost, as it is one of the oldest and most established MVNOs in Australia. Originally, Boost was on the Optus network but ported its customers over to Telstra in 2013.
Boost Mobile offers four basic prepaid plans that are simple, and provide great value. The first plan off the rank is one that’s $10 over 7 days. With this plan you get 1GB of standard data, plus unlimited calls and texts. However, if you’re looking for something a little more ‘long term’ then consider Boost’s 28 day plans.
The cheapest 28 day plan comes in at $30 and with it you’ll get unlimited calls and texts with 3GB data for your troubles. A great initiative that Boost Mobile has introduced is to include extra data on all plans over weekends. With the $30 plan you could in fact get up to 7GB over a standard billing period, which is supreme value. If you’re out and about on the weekend, then this is a great value proposition.
The next step up is a fairly significant one. For $40 you’ll get 5GB of data, and with the weekend bonus, that expands up to 9GB. You also receive unlimited calls and texts, as well as unlimited international calls to 10 countries. The next step up will cost $50 and with this one you get 7GB of standard data, plus the weekend bonus stretches that up to 11GB. You also get the standard unlimited calls and texts, as well as unlimited international calls to 10 countries.
Boost Mobile also includes a couple of other finishing touches to its plans – 1300 numbers are included in the standard calls, and data is billed to the kilobyte, which ensures accurate data charging and bigger browsing potential. Considering these features aren’t regularly found with other operators, this provides the cherry on top. Boost also gives you the opportunity to pair these plans with some entry-mid level smartphones for maximum convenience. Boost really has all bases covered.
The German grocery giant has perhaps unsurprisingly developed a suite of prepaid mobile plans. Overall, ALDI Mobile offers a comprehensive seven plan options – five Value Packs and two of the pay as you go (PAYG) variety. First up are the Value Packs which come named with German astuteness in mind – Small, Medium, Large, XL and XXL. Let’s take a glance at them here:
Per 30 Days
|Small||$25 included calls, unlimited texts, 500MB data||$15|
|Medium||$75 included calls, unlimited texts, 1.5GB data||$20|
|Large||Unlimited calls and texts, 2.25GB data plus rollover, 100 minutes international calls||$25|
|XL||Unlimited calls and texts, 6GB data plus rollover, 200 minutes international calls||$35|
|XXL||Unlimited calls and texts, 8GB data plus rollover, 300 minutes international calls||$45|
Source: ALDI Mobile website
These plans certainly offer great value for money, especially as you move up into the plans over $25 per recharge. The Small and Medium plans are great for the user who only needs to make an occasional call, and prefers texting or using messaging apps instead. The Large, XL and XXL plans offer even greater value, with healthy data inclusions that are strengthened by data rollover. Don’t use all your data in one month? Not to worry, it’ll be there for you next month. The international call inclusions are also handy, especially if you have loved ones overseas. Our pick would be the XL plan as it offers over 5GB for under $40, which is supreme value.
ALDI’s PAYG plans are on a 365 day expiry, which are great for people who use their phone rarely, or perhaps those people still driving around with a car phone – remember those?! The PAYG plans come in $15 and $30 iterations. Calls are billed at 12c per minute, text messages start at the same price, and data is yours at 5c per megabyte. These are competitive rates, and data is billed by the kilobyte. Overall these humble plans offer some good value.
Another grocery giant has moved into the mobile market! In the prepaid sector, Woolworths Mobile offers three prepaid plans – $15, $30 and $45 over 30 days. Woolworth’s fleeting presence in the prepaid sector does not discount old Woolies from presenting great value.
The $15 plan is a great entry-level plan for the lighter mobile phone user. You’ll get $250 of value plus 400MB of data. The $30 plan is a serious step up in value, however. With this plan you get unlimited calls and texts, as well as 2GB of data and $100 worth of international calls. The $45 plan presents even greater value – you get unlimited calls and texts, 6GB data as well as $200 worth of international calls. With these plans, keep an eye out for regular data bonuses and the like that Woolworths offers.
The three plans also have some ‘fresh’ bonuses. If you have a Rewards card – let’s face it, most people would have one lurking somewhere (it’s orange) – you get a further 10 per cent off your recharge. If you recharge before the expiry then your data also rolls over, up to 15GB.
LycaMobile is a little different from other MVNOs in that it focuses heavily on international calling inclusions. Beyond that, however, it still offers plans that are solid value in their own right. LycaMobile has five plans with 28 day billing periods. All have unlimited calls and texts, and while some are priced the same, the inclusions are different.
- $24.90 gets you 2GB data
- $29.90 gets you 3GB of data plus unlimited calls to 10 countries OR 5GB of data and no international inclusions
- $44.90 gets you 7GB of data, plus unlimited calls to 40 countries. You’ll also get 300 minutes to other countries such as Bangladesh, Croatia and Japan, OR you can opt for 100 minutes to interesting Middle Eastern countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria.
It’s evident from these plans that if you’re an expat, LycaMobile could be for you. It offers solid value, especially to popular countries such as the UK and USA, and if you’re a newcomer to Australia then welcome – LycaMobile could be the carrier for you, as it offers calls home to countries that many other providers simply don’t have a connection to.
This prepaid list wouldn’t be complete without Telstra itself. The telco giant has come up stumps in the prepaid category, and offers a whopping 18 plans. Frankly, many of them are so close in inclusions that they barely warrant a mention. Overall, you can expect PAYG plans with a variety of billing periods, anywhere from 28 days to a full year. With these types of plans, what you see is what you get – $20 usually gets you $20 included value, for example, but there is better value to be had in some of their plans with over 1GB of data included.
We start off at $30 per month. Here, this will get you 1.5GB of data, with $700 of value included. This plan has a 28-day expiry, and you can expect a standard two minute call to cost $2.17. Also included is $5 ‘Plus Credit’ for international calls and texts at standard rates. Another bonus is that your data can roll over, and yet another plus is that you get unlimited live AFL or NRL games using their respective streaming apps, of which Telstra has a huge share of.
For $40, you step up to unlimited calls and texts, as well as 3GB of data. For $50, you get the same plus an extra gigabyte for your tenner extra. All of these plans come with free and unlimited Telstra Air data, which lets you use Wi-Fi instead of your own data across a wide range of locations, as well as a 200GB cloud subscription. If you’re on the move, then these plans may be for you.
Postpaid plans on the Telstra network
A service provider which offers both SIM only and new handset phone plans, TeleChoice differs from its competitors in a number of ways. Unlike most MVNOs, TeleChoice maintains more than 30 brick and mortar stores nationwide, and sells plans on not just monthly but 12 or 24 month contracts, providing long-term benefits which most other providers don’t offer. TeleChoice offers four different plans, each of which is available on a short, medium or long-term deal, with prices ranging from just $18 to $48 per month.
If you sign up to a 12 or 24 month plan, you can expect a buck to be knocked off your plan per month, or extra data inclusions – or both. TeleChoice are really pining hard for your commitment here.
Do you C what I C? I C some cheap mobile plans from C Mobile on the horizon. C Mobile is a different in that it operates on both Telstra and Vodafone networks, but Shh, this article is about Telstra operators. Overall, C Mobile offers a comprehensive six mobile plans.
Starting at just $14.90 per month, C Mobile’s focus is cheap, no-fuss plans. For this price you’ll get $15 value, plus 150MB data, which is great for the light user. A standard call is billed at 15c per minute with no flagfall, texts cost 15c each, and excess data is 5c per megabyte billed in 10 kilobyte units. This type of deal then moves up the ranks, topping out at $59.90, where you’ll get 3GB data and $90 value. It’s obvious that the more you spend, the better value you get.
The fresh food people are back at it again with mobile plans including a handset. This time they’ve gone postpaid, of which they have three plans – Small, Medium and Large.
On the Small plan, which costs $35 a month, you’ll get unlimited calls and texts with 1GB of data. For $50, Woolworths has bumped up the value with its Medium plan. Here you’ll get unlimited calls and texts, 4GB data, as well as $5 for international calls. Meanwhile $70 will get you 8GB of data, unlimited calls and texts, and $10 allowance for international call. Ever thought you could head to Woolies for some bread and milk and walk out with a new phone plan? What a time to be alive!
All of these plans are on a lengthy 24-month contract. You also get the choice of eight phones to bundle with the plan. A Large plan bundled with a 32GB Samsung Galaxy S7 will cost you a tidy $80 per month, for example. Woolworths have all bases covered with these plans and handset offers.
A review of postpaid Telstra-network plans wouldn’t be complete without a few words about the old lady herself. Again, Telstra has a comprehensive suite of postpaid plans, totaling 15 – 12 on a 12 or 24 month contract, and three without a contract. The contract plans start at $35 a month, and this gets you $300 value with 500MB of data. This goes all the way up to a $135 plan, which gives you unlimited calls and texts, as well as 30GB of data. All of these plans have the option to be bundled with a choice of 31 phones, or you can BYO phone. Long story short, if it’s big data with big inclusions you want, Telstra is pretty much unmissable.
As for their no-contract plans, Telstra offer three for maximum flexibility. Starting at $35 you get $300 value, with 500MB of data. Stepping up to $50 ramps up the value, with $1,000 included, as well as 5GB data. $70 a month will get you unlimited calls and texts, as well as 10GB data. Think of these no-contract plans as cherry-picks of the full suite of postpaid plans.
What Telstra provider should I choose?
Choosing a plan from this large range of providers can seem confusing. In the end it’s all based off what your call, text and data needs are. With more than 60 plans over seven providers, chances are there’s a plan on the Telstra network out there for you.
Telstra may be Australia’s dominant telco provider, but it is by no means the only option if you’re after a great-value plan on the Telstra network. From our comparison, it’s clear to see there is great value to be had from the likes of Boost Mobile and TeleChoice in particular. But all of these providers have their own character and unique selling points, so it pays to shop around.