There’s probably never been a better time to hop into a new phone plan. As usual, Telstra remains king for a lot of Aussie consumers, and offers a full complement of phone plans with extras like free music and sports streaming. Boost Mobile, on the other hand, specialises in cheap, gigabyte-packed prepaid phone plans, with data-free music streaming and generous international call inclusions. So let’s see how the two stack up, and find which provider is right for you.
Telstra vs. Boost Mobile: selected plans compared
The table below shows a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database around the $30, $40 and $50 price points, listed in order of advertised standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.
Telstra vs Boost Mobile: Networks
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 plan, prepaid plans and SIM-only postpaid plans. Meanwhile, Boost Mobile is one of the oldest mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), operating with a comparatively concise bunch of SIM-only prepaid plans over varying expiry lengths.
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. So although you’ll still receive the same level of coverage on Boost as you would on a Telstra plan, your speeds won’t be quite as fast.
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 online, and in a range of retail stores.
Boost has a large range of plans starting from $10 for 7 days and up to $300 for 12-months, all with unlimited calls and texts. In comparison, Telstra’s range is slightly larger, with plan expiries ranging from 7 days to a full 12 months.
To keep things simple, we’ve compared Boost Mobile’s 7- and 28-day plans plans alongside Telstra’s Prepaid Max Plans, all of which offer standard unlimited talk and text.
Telstra Mobile Phone Plans
Telstra’s standard suite of prepaid plans are called Prepaid Max, with prices beginning at $10 over 7 days (up to $300 with 12 months’ expiry). All plans include unlimited standard national calls and SMS, plus unlimited international calls and SMS to 20 countries (including Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States). Most plans also come with some form of ‘Extra Credit’ – this can be used for international calls and texts, roaming and premium SMS (say, to 1900 numbers).
Beyond that, Telstra comes with some juicy extra stuff:
- Free and data free streaming of the AFL, AFLW, NRL and Netball through their respective apps.
- Data-free music streaming with Apple Music.
- Free WiFi data with Telstra Air hotspots.
Telstra’s Prepaid Max plans also allow customers to ‘bank’ up to 200GB of unused data. This means that if you recharge $10 or more before your current expiry, any data you haven’t used will roll over, and be stored away for future use. You can access banked data so long as you have an active recharge; unlike Boost Mobile’s data rollover, it doesn’t expire after the following 28 days.
The following table shows all of Telstra’s prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of advertised standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.
Boost Mobile Phone Plans
Boost Mobile offers five main prepaid plans with a 28-day expiry, starting at $20 for 5GB of data. A $10 plan is also available, but this low-cost option has an expiry period of just 7 days. While the 7 day plan might be useful to test out Boost before committing, 28-day plans tend to offer more value – so if you’re happy with the network, you might prefer to jump to a larger plan.
All five 28-day plans include data rollover, meaning you can roll over any unused data to the next recharge (provided you recharge before your plan’s expiry). If you’re the type of person who uses your phone sporadically – 1GB one month, 5GB the next – this could be the perfect solution for you, but keep in mind rolled-over data expires after 28 days.
Boost Mobile also offers international call inclusions on all plans, as outlined below:
- $10, $20 and $30 plans include unlimited calls and SMS to 20 countries, plus 100 standard minutes and SMS to 35 countries, and 100 standard MMS to all 55 destinations.
- $40 and $50 plans include unlimited calls and SMS to 25 countries, plus 200 standard minutes and SMS to 35 countries, and 200 standard MMS to all 55 destinations.
- The $70 plan includes unlimited calls and SMS to 30 countries, plus 300 standard minutes and SMS to 35 countries, and 300 standard MMS to all 55 destinations.
Customers can also stream Apple Music data-free on all plans. This is a super handy inclusion, but keep in mind you’ll still have to pay for the subscription yourself.
The following table shows all of Boost Mobile’s prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of advertised standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.
Telstra vs Boost: The Final Word
If you’re after more than just a prepaid plan, Telstra is your best option here. Telstra, as Australia’s largest telco, understandably has a great mass of phone plans. From plans with handsets bundled in, to prepaid SIM-only deals and more, Telstra caters to almost every type of phone owner.
In the prepaid world, the competition is pretty tight. It tends to go down to the wire, and may work out to three things — price, data and features. For the price, and on the surface, Telstra offers less data for the price than Boost. Plus, Boost does have some very generous international call inclusions across all plans. However, Telstra offers more in the way of extra features — most notably, data-free subscriptions to NRL and AFL streaming apps. These alone are worth about $100 each year, and could be the deciding factor if you’re a sports fan.
Both providers offer data-free Apple Music, but Telstra’s network of free WiFi hotspots gives it an edge for frequent travellers. All in all, we’re calling this one a tie, as your best-fitting plan depends on what you’re after: either way, you’ll get plenty of value for money, and reliable Australia-wide coverage.