Telstra Internet Plans Review
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 exciting 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
Telstra has a large range of broadband plans – more than 30 in fact! They’re broken down into five categories – three fixed line in ADSL, Cable and NBN, plus two mobile varieties – home wireless and postpaid mobile.
All fixed broadband plans are available from $70 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, then you can choose from three different maximum speed tiers – 25Mbps, 50Mbps or a ‘superfast’ 100Mbps. The latter two cost around $20 and $30 extra per month respectively, and are perfect if your household does a lot of media streaming, gaming or data-heavy work.
- Telstra had to compensate many NBN customers in November 2017 for its NBN speeds not living up to expectations.
- Telstra has made moves to be more realistic about its NBN speeds, which will be explained later.
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 NBN Plans
Telstra has quite a few fixed line NBN plans up its sleeve, with a variety of data options, contract lengths and call packs available. Prices start at $70 a month for which you receive a relatively modest 100GB data; 1000GB data can be had for just $10 more per month.
- Speed tier jumps can be had for an additional $20 a month for NBN Tier 3, and an extra $30 for NBN Tier 4.
- Note that Telstra advertises its ‘evening speeds’ over the maximum speeds available; Tier 2 is reduced to 15Mbps, Tier 3 is reduced to 30Mbps and Tier 4 is reduced to 60Mbps in peak times. Note that these are a guide only.
- Telstra is one of the first providers to do this – to be realistic about ‘evening speeds’, so while the numbers look less impressive, many customers may appreciate the honesty.
Two contract lengths are available – 24 months or month-to-month ‘Casual’ plans. Note that not all plans are available month-to-month. Set-up fees start at $99 upfront, but Telstra does give bonuses from time to time such as Telstra Air Data and Foxtel Now packages. Many more expensive plans include unlimited local/national/mobile calls as standard; otherwise they can usually be bundled in for about $10 per month extra.
Telstra ADSL2+ & Cable Plans
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
- Speed boosts are available on Cable HFC plans from 30Mbps max speeds to 100Mbps max speeds for about $20 extra per month.
The hefty set-up fees can be 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 3000GB 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 three data points – 20GB, 40GB and 80GB costing between $45 and $150 a month.
- 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.
While expensive compared to Telstra’s other plans, these represent the ultimate in flexibility and allow you to simply ‘plug and play’ their internet needs without the need of dealing with wires or installation. 4GX speeds up to 100Mbps are possible, but first consider if a home wireless plan is right for you.
Telstra Mobile Broadband Plans
Telstra offers three 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 unlimited 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.
- Data allowances available are 1GB, 10GB and 20GB. This is similar to home wireless plans, but with the added bonus of being even more portable and easy to set-up.
These mobile broadband plans are ideal for work on the train, as a stop-gap solution before NBN arrives or just as mobile data plan for your tablet.
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.
- 3GB for $30
- 10GB for $50
- 25GB for $90
- 25GB for $150
All but the dearest plan come with a 28 day expiry; the 25GB plan lasts 365 days. 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. Data also rolls over to the next month so it doesn’t go to waste.
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 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 or 15Mbps ‘evening speeds’ from $70 a month
- Tier 3 – 50Mbps downloads or 30Mbps ‘evening speeds’ for an extra $20 a month
- Tier 4 – 100Mbps downloads or 60Mbps ‘evening speeds’ for an extra $30 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.
NBN 25 Plans Compared
These are the base NBN plans Telstra offers, and they start at $70 a month for 100GB of data. Overall Telstra is one of the most expensive services around, with providers like Exetel, Internode and Mate Communicate 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.
NBN 50 Plans Compared
- Unlimited data from $119 a month
Telstra again is outplayed by some smaller providers like Teleron, SpinTel and Tangerine Telecom 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 3 plans is $90 per month for 100GB data. Tier 3 speeds are capable of multiple streams at once, or online gaming requiring little lag time.
NBN 100 Plans Compared
- Unlimited data from $129 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 ADSL2+ Plans Compared
With a smattering of plans ranging from 100GB of data all the way up to unlimited, 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. Optus offers a cheaper price, but you’ll have to consider the entertainment perks and if they are worth it. 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 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 about $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 might 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.
What do customers think about Telstra ADSL/Broadband plans
In 2017, Australian customers gave Telstra 3 out of 5 stars for Overall Customer Satisfaction for ADSL/Broadband plans.