Which telcos are Australian-owned?

Advertisement

There’s an unprecedented level of telco competition out there these days. No longer are you bound by the likes of Optus, Telstra, Vodafone or Amaysim. Now, there are dozens of mobile phone and broadband service providers all vying for your attention, with even more spawned out of the NBN and the success it can bring for start-ups. Various overseas telco companies have also got in on the fun in recent years, whether it’s buying out Aussie brands or launching their own products across the country. So, which telcos are Australian-owned, and does it really matter?

So, which telcos are really Australian-owned?

Here is a list of telcos that are generally considered Australian-owned:

  • Amaysim
  • Aussie Broadband
  • Boost Mobile
  • Dodo
  • Exetel
  • Flip
  • Kogan
  • OVO Mobile
  • Mate
  • Moose Mobile
  • Southern Phone
  • SpinTel
  • Tangerine
  • TeleChoice
  • TPG & iiNet
  • Westnet

What telcos aren’t Australian owned?

Here is a list of telcos that are either foreign-owned or partly Australian-owned:

  • ALDI Mobile – Germany
  • Circles.life – Singapore
  • Foxtel (Partly Australian-owned) – American and Australian
  • Lebara – United Kingdom
  • Lyca Mobile – United Kingdom
  • MyRepublic – Singapore
  • Optus – Singapore
  • Origin (Partly Australian-owned) – ASX listed
  • Telstra (Partly Australian-owned) – ASX listed
  • Vodafone – United Kingdom

NBN plans at a glance

Whether you’re looking for an Aussie NBN provider, or just happy to bag a bargain from anyone, here are some of the best deals on our database right now.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Australian or foreign mobile & internet providers

The table below shows which telcos are Australian-owned and which are foreign-owned.

Company Telco services Ownership 
ALDI Mobile Phone & internet Foreign
Amaysim Phone & internet Australian
Aussie Broadband Phone & internet Australian
Barefoot Telecom Phone & internet Australian
Belong Phone & internet Australian
Boost Mobile Phone Plans Australian
Catch Connect Phone Plans Australian
Circles.life Phone Plans Foreign
Coles Mobile Phone Plans Australian
Dodo Phone & internet Australian
Exetel Phone & internet Australian
Flip Internet Australian
Foxtel Internet Partly Australian-owned
iiNet Phone & internet Australian
Internode Internet Australian
iPrimus Phone & internet Australian
Kogan Mobile Phone plans Australian
Lebara Phone plans Foreign
Lyca Mobile Phone plans Foreign
Mate Phone & internet Australian
Moose Mobile Phone plans Australian
MyRepublic Internet Foreign
Optus Phone & internet Foreign
Origin Phone & internet Partly Australian-owned
OVO Mobile Phone plans Australian
Southern Phone Phone & internet Australian
SpinTel Phone & internet Australian
Tangerine Internet Australian
TeleChoice Phone & internet Australian
Telstra Phone & internet Partly Australian-owned
TPG Phone & internet Australian
Vodafone Phone & internet Foreign
Westnet Internet Australian
Woolworths Mobile Phone plans Australian
Yomojo Phone & internet Australian

Last updated, June 2020.

Mobile phone area sign on Australian outback road

About these Telcos

There’s a story behind every telco – stories of mergers, acquisitions and closures. Below we’ll be diving into each provider and discussing the history of these brands.

ALDI Mobile

ALDI Mobile operates in conjunction with the supermarket of the same namesake. It’s not Australian owned and originally came from Germany. It operates on the Telstra network, and you can pick up ALDI SIM cards at the checkout of ALDI stores across Australia. Offering phone plans as well as data-only options, ALDI Mobile was the 2019 recipient of Canstar Blue’s “Most Satisfied Customers” award for mobile broadband.

Amaysim

Amaysim caused a racket some years ago when it became one of the first MVNOs to drastically up the ante in the world of mobile phone plans. Founded in 2010 by a group of Aussies, Amaysim joined with European MVNO ‘Simyo’. In March 2015, it offered 4G data for the first time, and now enjoys success as one of the most popular MVNOs out there, with a competitive range of prepaid mobile phone and data plans on the Optus 4G Network. In 2016, Amaysim acquired fellow low-cost mobile carrier Vaya, taking its customer base to over a million. Headquartered in Sydney, Amaysim went public in 2015 and now trades on the ASX, so is likely to have shareholders outside of Australia.

Aussie Broadband

Aussie Broadband is an Australian-owned internet service and mobile plan provider, operating out of Victoria since 2003. It’s the parent company to Wideband Networks and Westvic Broadband and operates on a much broader scale than both of these businesses. It’s one of the newer internet providers that has proven its worth through the rolling out of the NBN. Aussie Broadband has a solid rep for great customer service, and in 2019 it received Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers award for NBN Providers.

Barefoot Telecom

Barefoot Telecom is an NBN provider that rose as a champion as start-ups were spawned around the rolling out of the NBN. It was founded in 2009 and provides ADSL and NBN services, along with SIM-only mobile plans.

Belong

Belong is a broadband and mobile company that’s owned entirely by Telstra and was founded in 2013. Acting as a specialist provider of Telstra services with different options on offer – like more affordable plans, with the trade-off of not having the same entertainment provisions – Belong offers some terrific value, especially for NBN customers.

Boost

Boost is an Australian-owned prepaid mobile provider operated by Telstra. Boost began in 2000, with a focus on young Australians and getting them connected. Much like Belong, Boost is a no-nonsense mobile provider, but still offers large data inclusions and extras such as international calls and data-free music streaming.

Catch Connect

Catch Connect is a mobile service provider and Australian owned service, operating on the Optus network. Its parent company, Catch.com.au, is an online retailer offering daily deals across a wide range of categories and brands. Catch started offering prepaid mobile phone plans in 2018.

Circles.Life

As of 2019, Circles.Life is quite a new telco in Australia, operating on the Optus network and coming from Singapore, being foreign-owned. Circles.Life has a unique plan structure – a single unlimited talk and text plan with optional data add-ons – and frequently runs limited-time promotions and deals.

Coles Mobile

Coles Mobile is a mobile provider operating in conjunction with the supermarket of the same namesake. It’s Australian-owned and operates through the Optus network, offering some great value you can pick up at the checkout.

Dodo

Dodo is a name that would be familiar to many Australians. Around for over 15 years now, Dodo has always been an internet service provider (ISP) but now offers a great range of cheap mobile phone plans, operating off the Optus network. In 2013, Dodo was acquired by M2 Group, an Australian-owned conglomerate focusing on telecommunications. You’ll find that a lot of companies are owned by this group, including iPrimus. In 2016, the M2 group changed its name to Vocus Communications.

Exetel

Founded in the early 1990s, originally as a consulting company, Exetel expanded to provide broadband services in 2004. It is now one of the biggest names in the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) and also has a range of very competitive mobile phone plans operating on the Optus 4G Network. A privately-owned company, Exetel’s headquarters is in Sydney. According to its website, Exetel donates a portion of its profits to wildlife conservation projects, namely for endangered Australian species.

Flip

Flip is an Australian internet provider that emerged during the NBN rollout, founded in 2015. As of 2020, it offers some of the best value NBN 12 and NBN 25 plans, and also some mobile plans. It’s award winning from websites across the telco industry, and has a lot to offer somebody looking for some great value without all the bells and whistles of entertainment packages. That being said, Flip also offers ‘Flip IPTV’ which delivers more than 100 TV channels from countries across the world.

Foxtel

Foxtel was founded in 1995 and is a known name in Australia, but it isn’t entirely Australian-owned, considering its half ownership between Telstra and News Corp. This famous TV provider collaboration between Telstra and Foxtel offers NBN plans coupled to entertainment bundles, similar to Telstra’s offering.

iiNet

Founded in the early 1990s out of a Perth garage, iiNet has expanded to become one of the largest ISPs in Australia. Throughout the years, it has acquired some smaller ISPs – namely Westnet and Internode – but in September 2015, iiNet was itself purchased by TPG in a big-money merger worth an estimated $1.5 billion. iiNet has a range of good-value broadband plans, on which it has built its reputation, but it also provides a modest offering of competitive mobile phone plans on the Optus 4G Network.

Internode

Internode is one of the few true ‘Aussie battler’ start-up success stories. The company was founded by Simon Hackett in 1991 in Adelaide, then a Computer Science graduate. He built a name for himself by being one of the first in the ‘Internet of things’ timeline. With a mate, he was one of the first in the world to connect an appliance to the internet – a Sunbeam toaster. Since then Internode has been acquired by iiNet – in 2011 for over $100 million. This makes Internode effectively a subsidiary of TPG. Today, it’s a popular provider of all things internet, including NBN, ADSL, business internet, web hosting and VOIP services. The company is still based in Adelaide.

iPrimus

iPrimus is an Australian-owned business and first started selling telecom services in Australia to residents in 1997, originally providing business solutions in 1993. Since then it has garnered success as a smaller ISP and mobile provider through the Optus network. It is now owned by the Vocus Communications group.

Kogan Mobile

Chances are you’ve probably heard of Kogan. It is one of Australia’s largest online department stores, specialising in consumer electronics and more recently groceries. But what you might not realise is that Kogan has a range of cheap mobile phone plans on the Vodafone network. Owned by entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan, Kogan Mobile has ruffled a few feathers in both the retail and telco sectors. It has taken over the online operations of Dick Smith and has gone public on the ASX. Kogan has also expanded into several different countries, but remains headquartered in Melbourne.

Lebara

Lebara is a worldwide, budget-focused MVNO. In Australia, it runs off the Vodafone 4G network, but it operates in seven other countries. The idea for Lebara – a telco targeting the college-age demographic – was born in Norway, and today its headquarters are based in London. As you might suspect, Lebara’s phone plans offer great international calling and text rates, making them a great option for expats and exchange students.

Lyca Mobile

Lyca Mobile is a phone provider that was founded in the United Kingdom and is therefore foreign owned. It services countries all over the world and found its way into the Australian mobile market through Telstra’s network, coming to Australia in 2010, and today using Telstra’s 4G coverage. It could be a great provider to go with if you do lots of international calling.

Mate

Mate is an Australian-owned internet provider, founded during the NBN boom. It has been operating since 2015 and offers some tremendous value internet and mobile plans, using the Telstra mobile network. It’s owned by the same people as those behind Barefoot.

Moose Mobile

Moose Mobile is an Australian-owned business founded in 2016, operating on the Optus 4G network, and is an independent telco based in Brisbane. Moose provides some great value no-contract and 12-month mobile plans, as well as mobile broadband.

MyRepublic

MyRepublic came to Australia in 2016 from a Singapore-based company, seeking to capitalise on Australia’s NBN market. It bills itself as being an NBN provider dedicated to gamers and serious downloaders, and has plans catering to what gamers would want, featuring things like custom routing.

Optus

Optus is one of the few full-service telcos, delivering fixed line broadband and phone plans. Born out of the government-owned ‘Aussat’ before privatisation, Optus can trace its roots back to 1981, but it wasn’t until the 90s that Optus really came into its own. In 2001, Optus was wholly acquired by Singtel, the Singapore-based telco company. Optus’ headquarters is still in Sydney, but ownership by Singtel means that at least some of its profits are now going offshore. But that doesn’t mean you should give Optus the cold shoulder – it frequently outplays Telstra in the value stakes with its broadband and mobile phone plans.

Origin

Origin NBN is an expansion from Origin Energy, the integrated energy company servicing Australia since 2000. It’s partially Australian-owned as it has shareholders from around the globe, and offers electricity, broadband and gas.

OVO Mobile

A relatively new telco player, OVO Mobile has taken it up a notch in terms of included mobile value. In addition to big-data phone plans, it also offers unmetered and unlimited streaming of the V8 Supercars, Gymnastics Australia and the Audi Sport Customer Racing. So, if you’re into motorsport or gymnastics, OVO may be up your alley. Based in Sydney, OVO is one of the many MVNOs operating on the Optus 4G Network.

Southern Phone

Founded in 2002, Southern Phone is an Australian-owned business that offers phone and internet plans. It’s based in New South Wales and was formed to service regional communities across the state, using the Optus 4G network. In late 2019, Southern Phone was acquired by energy giant AGL, an ASX listed company with shareholders around the world.

SpinTel

SpinTel is rather patriotic about its heritage – its mascot is a koala! The telco has been around since 1996, and has won a litany of awards in its 20-year tenure. It has a range of mobile phone plans, as well as NBN plans. In fact, its NBN plans are often some of the cheapest going around. SpinTel apparently prides itself on customer service and its headquarters is in Sydney. From humble beginnings, SpinTel has grown into a ‘true blue’ telco.

Tangerine

Tangerine is an independent and small internet provider that has certainly risen above the rest of the pack of NBN sellers formed from the rollout of the new high-speed network. It was formed in 2013 as an Australian business, supported by Vocus infrastructure. It operates out of Melbourne.

TeleChoice

TeleChoice is one of the oldest MVNOs in this list, founded in 1995. Originally founded as a dealership, TeleChoice expanded to offer its own plans. Now it gets the best of both worlds, with a handful of ‘brick and mortar’ stores across Australia, as well as a range of great value postpaid mobile plans on Telstra’s networks. TeleChoice encourages you to commit to a longer-term contract by offering more data and inclusions for the same price or cheaper. Distinctly Aussie, TeleChoice is headquartered in Melbourne.

Telstra

Originating at Federation in 1901 as a government department, Telstra was born out of the need for a centralised telecommunications company. It was a wholly government-owned company until the 1990s but was fully privatised back in 2006. Since then, Telstra has rapidly expanded to offer a comprehensive suite of broadband and mobile phone plans including prepaid and postpaid deals. While it doesn’t always enjoy the best reputation, you can’t help but give credit to Telstra for playing a huge part in the telco landscape of Australia. Unlike many of its competitors, Telstra is its own entity, headquartered in Melbourne. It’s also publicly listed, trading on the ASX. This means it could have shareholders from all over the world.

TPG

As one of the largest telcos in Australia, TPG certainly has its fingers in all kinds of pies. In recent years, it has shot to prominence, culminating in the acquisition of iiNet in 2015. TPG – or Total Peripherals Group – as it is almost never referred to, is headquartered in Sydney. It offers competitive mobile phone plans as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) on the Vodafone network. It also, of course, provides a comprehensive range of broadband plans, including some of the cheapest NBN contracts around. While generally considered an Australian brand, TPG is listed on the ASX and therefore could have shareholders from other countries.

Vaya

In January 2016, Vaya was bought out by Amaysim for around $70m. Piggybacking off the Optus network, Vaya is popular for its cheap plans, and also its ‘price match guarantee’ – meaning Vaya will beat any other provider should you find a cheaper comparable plan. Its bigger brother Amaysim should help with the customer service issues, and keeps the low-cost telco in Aussie hands.

Vodafone

As a whole, Vodafone is one of the largest telecommunications companies on the planet, operating in no less than 26 different countries. The Vodafone Group was founded in 1991, and quickly rose to becoming a huge British multinational with headquarters in London. Back to Australia, and Vodafone is one of the three main telcos with its own network. It has a range of phone plans, from prepaid, month to month and handset plans. Its Australian venture combined with its worldwide endeavours makes it one of the top companies listed on the FTSE 100, and Vodafone is also listed on the NASDAQ. In recent years Vodafone has also moved into the broadband space, and now sells NBN plans at competitive price points.

Westnet

As the name suggests, Westnet is an Aussie-owned ISP based out of Perth. Its headquarters are in Geraldton, and it provides various broadband plans across Australia. The company was founded in 1994, born out of a need for Western Australians to access better internet. In 2008, Westnet was acquired by iiNet – just one of many companies – and iiNet was then bought out by TPG, making Westnet effectively a subsidiary of TPG. However, Westnet is still a separate entity providing internet services Australia-wide.

Woolworths Mobile

Woolworths Mobile is an Australian-owned mobile provider and ‘supermarket telco’ operating on the Telstra network. Unlike its direct competition of ALDI Mobile and Coles Mobile, it offers phone plans rather than just SIM plans, including new-release phones from Samsung and OPPO, and provides postpaid and prepaid mobile options.

Yomojo

Yomojo is an Australian-owned business operating on the Optus network. It offers family bundles, mobile plans and broadband plans, and has received awards from all across the telco industry.

Loading...

Does it matter if your telco is foreign-owned?

Like with many other products and services in Australia, buying Australian-made or owned is a popular choice for many consumers. Whether it’s for the perceived increase in quality, or for ethical purposes, Australian-made or owned products and services are frequently sought out. Unfortunately, there’s no green kangaroo label to ensure you’re buying Australian, and even if your provider is locally-owned, it could still utilise overseas call centres. As you can see from the details above, the ownership of big companies can be quite complicated, especially if they are publicly listed.

With a little digging, you can find out which telcos remain in Australia. However, what exactly is the benefit of buying Australian? For one, it helps keep a sector of the public employed, and you do help keep company profits within the country, thereby benefiting the country overall. However, limiting your choice to Aussie companies may mean you miss out on a better deal, and just because your telco is Aussie-owned, doesn’t always mean you’ll get better service.

Unless your heart is burning for Aussie-owned telcos, you may be able to find better value elsewhere, or achieve a better overall experience. ‘Australian-owned’ in the telco world doesn’t necessarily equate to better’, but it may be a deciding factor for many people. And that’s fair dinkum.

The best NBN providers you’ve never heard of

Share this article

Advertisement