Boost Mobile vs Telstra: Phone plans compared


There’s probably never been a better time to hop into a new phone plan. As usual, Telstra remains king for a lot of consumers and offers a full complement of phone plans. Boost Mobile, on the other hand, specialises in cheap and cheerful prepaid phone plans. So let’s see how the two stack up and which one is right for you.

Telstra is the largest telco in Australia and also claims to have the widest-reaching network. It has a full suite of plans, including phones on a planprepaid plans and SIM-only postpaid plans. Meanwhile Boost Mobile is one of the oldest Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), operating with a concise bunch of SIM-only prepaid plans.

After a 13-year flirtation on the Optus network, Boost now operates on the Telstra network. In fact, Boost is unique among MVNOs in that it’s the only one to use the full Telstra network. Others use only parts of it and may not offer the same level of coverage, especially in rural regions. However, where Boost differs is that it does not use Telstra’s full ‘4GX’ speed capacity, and has a speed cap on the 4G network – 100Mbps. You still get the same coverage, though, so let’s see how the two compare when it compares down to their phone plans.

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Telstra vs Boost Mobile | Prepaid Phone Plans Compared

Boost Mobile specialises in prepaid plans, so it’s only fair to compare it to Telstra’s prepaid plan range. Both can be purchased and recharged in shops like Woolworths and Coles, and are also available online. Boost has a succinct five plans starting from $10 – all with unlimited calls and texts – while Telstra’s range is much larger with over 10 plans, and some are long-expiry, with 60-day+ recharge times.

Plans $20 and Under Compared

As you can see, short-expiry phone plans dominate this segment, with both telcos offering competitive options over a short 7 day period. Both plans look exactly the same, but Telstra ramps it up a notch with bonus data and unlimited Telstra Air Data. While Boost does offer things like data-free music streaming from time to time, Telstra dominates with longstanding bonuses and other perks.

  • Both plans equate to unlimited calls and texts, and 2.8GB for $28 over 28 days, but customers will need to consider Telstra’s bonus data too
  • Boost does come in with a 2.5GB plan for $20 that is hard to beat.

Telstra’s uncapped 4GX network may work better here if you’re after a short-term prepaid solution, but otherwise both telcos are pretty neck and neck in terms of calls, texts and data.

Plans $30 and Under Compared

This is where the picture gets a little clearer. If you just want straight data and unlimited calls and texts on a SIM-only plan, you can’t really go wrong with Boost. However, for what Telstra lacks in credit and data, it makes up for with bonuses. Telstra has bonuses like Telstra Air Data and so on, yet both come with 28 day expiries.

  • For all recharges $30 and over you also get bonus NRL or AFL Game Pass, plus discounted game tickets. This also extends to Australian Netball. Game Pass also data-free on these plans

With Telstra you also get bonus data, up to 7.5GB in some circumstances. However, it’s hard to ignore Boost Mobile with its straightforward plan with 5GB on board.

Plans $40 and Under Compared

Both plans are comparable on price and data allowed, but what about the extra stuff? Both telcos on paper offer exactly the same plan, but it’s the extra perks that may win certain people over.

  • Boost Mobile comes in with good data for the dollars, plus unlimited calls & texts to 10 countries plus data-free music streaming on Apple Music – similar to Telstra
  • Telstra offers 200GB cloud storage, Telstra Air Data and data-free NRL/AFL/Netball streaming

Both telcos are remarkably similar here, but a slight edge may be given to Telstra for making full use of the Telstra 4GX network and having a few extra perks.

Plans $50 and Under Compared

At the pricier end of the spectrum, Boost Mobile once again ramps up the value with 20GB of data as standard for $50. International calls – as with the $40 plan as well – seriously boosts the value, and includes calls to China, South Korea, USA, Canada, UK and New Zealand, among others. Away from calls and data, however, and Telstra takes stride. Once again you get the Game Pass offer, Telstra Air, and so on. It’s quickly emerging that Boost Mobile is probably better for straightforward calls, texts and data, while Telstra could be a better option for perks and entertainment.

Long Expiry and Other Prepaid Plans

Telstra dominates here as Boost Mobile has no long-expiry plans. Starting at $20, Telstra offers two plan categories here – ‘Long Life’ and ‘Simplicity’. All are SIM-only, so you can supply your own phone, and values go up to $100. Expiry periods range from 30 days up to a whole year, so if you have a second ‘emergency’ phone or don’t use your phone that much, these plans may be for you.

  • Simplicity plans boast 15c per minute calls, as well as 12c texts, which is cheaper than usual – around 99c a minute for calls and 25c for texts

Here is a snapshot of Telstra’s other prepaid plans below, keeping in mind the price range is from $20 to $100.

Prepaid Phones on Offer

As mentioned earlier, a lot of Telstra’s prepaid plans come bundled with cheap smartphones. In this case, the Samsung Galaxy J1 and J3 models seem to be most popular. Instead of being bundled as a repayment, you’ll have to front up for the cost, but these phones are fairly cheap – under $200. Boost, however, comes to the game with its own simple smartphones – the Alcatel ‘Dex’ and the Boost ‘Zume’.

The phones cost $99 and $69 respectively, and represent solid yet basic smartphone options. While you can’t get the latest and greatest phones through these prepaid plans, you can get what would be good for a second or low-cost phone – perhaps for a young one or an elderly person?

Telstra Postpaid Plans

Boost only offers prepaid plans, so it’s a bit unfair to compare it to the Telstra postpaid juggernaut. Telstra has a large range of postpaid plans to choose from. From phone bundles, to SIM-only ones – no-contract and contracted included.

Phones on a Plan

This is where Telstra simply reigns supreme, and where you can get the hottest smartphones out there, like the Galaxy S8 and the new iPhone 8. Expect things like Game Passes to come as standard, while also getting bonuses such as Netflix and Stan subscriptions from time to time. Apple Music subscriptions are also commonly included. These plans do tend to get pretty pricy though, with some costing close to $200 a month!

SIM-Only Plans

Telstra also has a range of SIM-only plans, either on a no contract, 12 or 24 month contract basis. As you would by now expect, you stand to get some extra data and other perks if you’re willing to commit. The minimum you can expect to spend here is about $35 a month, however perhaps the best ‘bang for buck’ is found in the $40-$50 range with Telstra’s ‘MX’ plan. As usual, expect bonuses like Apple Music and Game Pass subscriptions to be included as bonuses from time to time.

Should I go with Telstra or Boost Mobile?

Boost Mobile is the only MVNO to use the full Telstra network so it’s interesting to see how it stacks up against its bigger rival. If you want a simple prepaid plan with a fair amount of data, Boost’s four options present a compelling case. However, where Telstra shines is its inclusions of things like Telstra Air Data, data-streaming of Apple Music, AFL and NRL coverage, and various other bonuses. These are potential ways that Telstra makes up for its relative lacklustre call, text and data inclusions, where Boost tends to outshine.

If you’re up for a postpaid plan then it’s no contest – Telstra wins out as Boost doesn’t offer anything of the sort. However, the fact is that if you don’t want to be tied in to a lengthy contract and just want a SIM-only deal, it’s hard to go past Boost in this race. Though, if extra stuff like Apple Music and AFL or NRL Game Passes is what you’re after, Telstra is the go-to provider here. In any case, both providers offer something for everyone. It’s just a case of assessing your own needs. It also can’t hurt to compare the two to a range of different providers, either at the top of the page on our SIM-only comparison tool, or via our customer satisfaction ratings below.

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