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Telstra Mobile Phone Plans Review

Telstra operates Australia’s largest mobile network, covering no less than 2.4 million square kilometres of our vast, brown land. A household name for decades, Telstra is probably the first brand that comes to mind when you think of mobile plans, and with good reason: according to the company, there are over 17 million mobile services activated on its plans throughout Australia.

While Telstra is known for its extensive coverage, particularly in regional areas, it’s not the most affordable provider out there. However, the telco does throw in some great extras with selected plans, so if you’re after a mobile service with all the bells and whistles, awesome data speeds, and a reliable network — occasional outages notwithstanding — you may find the extra cost worth it. If you want to find out more about Telstra’s phone plans read on a for a breakdown of mobile, postpaid and prepaid plans, including extras, network coverage, and more.

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Telstra phone plans: a guide

Man Holding Smartphone On Telstra Phone Plan

Telstra has a wide range of phone plans to suit a variety of phone plan needs. The telco has worked on simplifying its suite of phone plans to ensure there is enough selection for a range of different phone users, but without being too complicated. These plans can be split into two main offerings:

  • Postpaid plans, which are available as SIM-only or can be paired with a phone payment plan
  • SIM-only prepaid (available on short and long-term expiry periods)

The amount of detail and options on these plans will differ from plan to plan. For example, Telstra’s prepaid plans are available across different expiry periods with seven, 28, 35 and even 42-day expiry periods (not to mention the long expiry periods of six-12 months).

In comparison, Telstra offers just four postpaid plans, all of which are month-to-month and contract-free; customers can bring their own device and go SIM-only, or combine their plan with a new smartphone from Telstra.

If you are on the lookout for a new phone, Telstra offers a range of devices available to buy over 24 or 36-month payment periods, including the latest Apple iPhones, Samsung Galaxy S10 series, the Google Pixel 3, and the Huawei P30 Pro.

Telstra has also been at the forefront of developing an Australian 5G network, and has partnered with several manufacturers, including Samsung, to launch new 5G phones in 2019. If you’re excited to experience 5G technology for yourself, you can now pick up Australia’s first 5G devices on plans exclusively from Telstra — the HTC 5G Hub for home broadband, and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinQ, and OPPO Reno 5G for mobile.

What are the best Telstra phone plans?

Choosing the best Telstra option for you depends on what you’re looking for in a phone plan. If you’re looking to cut down on your mobile expenses, Telstra might not be the telco for you; but if you’re looking for a plan with lots of included extras, Telstra certainly does pack value into its phone plans.

If you’re considering a Telstra phone plan, the following table is a snapshot of the SIM-only postpaid phone plans currently on offer, all of which are available on a month-to-month basis. All of these plans are also available to pair with a Telstra smartphone – more information on how this works can be found further down the page.

Let’s take a look at the four postpaid month-to-month phone plans available from Telstra as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wide range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

What does Telstra offer?

Not only does Telstra offer a wide range of plans and new handsets, but Telstra also gives its customers a long list of extras, from international call inclusions to entertainment extras — Telstra does offer a lot of perks for your money.

If you’re interested in what extras Telstra has to offer, here’s a table with some of the inclusions and options on Telstra plans:

Postpaid plans Prepaid Max plans
Entertainment bonuses
Data-free video streaming
Data-free music streaming
International calls/texts
International roaming
Set-up fees
Data overage fees

Telstra network and coverage

Telstra loves to talk up its mobile coverage, which is the largest in Australia. The company itself states that its mobile networks cover over 99% of the Australian population.

Currently, the telco operates 3G and 4G networks, including its extra-fast 4GX service on its 700MHz spectrum. Combined with a compatible mobile device, 4GX can supply speeds up to six times as fast as Telstra’s original 4G, and is currently available in more than 1600 towns and cities (and counting).

As for next-gen technology, 2018 saw the launch of the telco’s 5G mobile network, which went live in 2019. You can already pick up 5G devices on plans from Telstra, but with only a small number of active 5G sites in the country, you might need to wait a bit longer to access the telco’s new 1Gbps network.

Currently, 5G access is available free to all postpaid customers for the next 12 months. From 20 June, 2020 onwards, selected plans may require a $15 per month fee to continue to use Telstra’s 5G network.

Telstra is also working to deliver reliable and extended coverage to customers in regional areas: rolling out mobile base stations in ‘black spot’ areas, offering coverage extension devices and satellite mobile options, and recommending ‘Blue Tick’ certified phones ideal for use in rural areas.

Below is a screenshot of Telstra’s current 4G and 3G coverage (in green and orange). More detailed coverage information can be found at Telstra.com.
Telstra Coverage Map

Telstra: plan features and bonuses

All of Telstra’s plans come with the standard national talk and text, plus data use within Australia. But sign up for selected plans, and you’ll also get access to a bunch of awesome bonuses and extras, thanks to Telstra’s many entertainment partnerships. Many of these entertainment extras are standard to the majority of Telstra’s plans, so whether you’re looking for a new phone, a SIM-only postpaid or prepaid plan, many of Telstra’s deals include these extras.

  • Data-free live sport: Customers can stream live matches from the AFL, AFLW, NRL, Hyundai A-League and Australian Netball data-free on their devices, including the NRL Grand Final and State of Origin.
  • Apple Music: Telstra offers data-free streaming of Apple Music streaming on many of it’s plans, but you will need your own subscription to access Apple Music.
  • Telstra Air: Telstra customers have access to more than one million free Telstra Air WiFi hotspots within Australia, and 19 million free Fon Spots when travelling overseas.
  • International calls and texts: Unlimited standard calls to 20 destinations are available on Telstra’s Prepaid Max plans, but postpaid customers will need to purchase an International Call Pack to access this feature. This add-on is available for $10 per month, and includes unlimited standard calls and texts to 20 popular countries. Countries outside the included 20 can be called or messaged on a pay-as-you-go basis.
  • International roaming: Telstra offers International Day Passes in more than 70 eligible countries, for $5 per day in New Zealand and $10 daily in all other destinations. This pass gives you unlimited talk and text, plus 200MB of data per day, when activated outside Australia. You’ll pay $5 or $10 for each day you use the service when travelling. Some plans include international roaming allowances.

Individual products

Telstra SIM-Only postpaid plans

If you’re looking for a SIM-only phone plan for a smartphone you already own, Telstra has you covered — and with no lock-in contracts, you’re free to switch between plans or cancel without penalty. The telco has simplified SIM-only with four plan options, each including unlimited standard national talk and text, unlimited speed-capped gigabytes, and generous fast data amounts.

Plan start at $50 per month, and all options are free from excess data use charges. This means that once you’ve exceeded your full-speed data allowance, you’ll receive unlimited speed-capped data for the rest of your billing cycle. This data is capped at 1.5Mbps – fast enough for most web browsing and general social media, but not recommended for HD video streaming or bandwidth-intensive activity.

If you do use up your fast data, and find 1.5Mbps speeds a struggle, you can upgrade to a higher plan tier at any time (and back down again the following month). Plan switches are free and available once per month, both for SIM-only customers and individuals paying off a Telstra smartphone.

Telstra smartphone plans

All of the above SIM-only plans are also available to pair with your choice of smartphone, on either a 24-month or 36-month payment term. Telstra separates phone purchase plans from its actual mobile service, so you’ll no longer be locked into a single mobile plan for the duration of your phone payment period.

Previously, buying a smartphone required picking a Telstra plan, signing up for a 24-month contract, and being stuck with the same data and plan inclusions for the next two years. Now, mobile plans are month-to-month only, and you’ll instead sign a contract solely for your device repayments – either 24 months or 36 months. Monthly phone repayments will remain the same – and you’ll pay the same total amount for your phone over both repayment options – but you’ll be free to switch between Telstra’s four postpaid plans on a monthly basis.

If you decide to cancel your Telstra service, you’ll simply need to pay the remaining balance on your smartphone, settle your final Telstra bill, then take your device and go. There are no further early termination fees or catches, and your phone is yours forever once you’ve made the final payment.

The following table shows all published Telstra 24-month 64GB Apple iPhone 11 Pro plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wide range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Telstra prepaid phone plans

If you’re after a fuss-free, no-frills plan with maximum flexibility, then a prepaid plan could be right for you. Telstra has an impressive range of prepaid plans, over two categories:

  • Prepaid Max: Generally, these plans offer the best included value over a range of expiry periods.
  • Long-Life Plus: Plans with expiry periods longer than 30 days with PAYG rates.

Prepaid Max

These are Telstra’s standout prepaid plans, featuring unlimited texts and calls and generous amounts of data. Plans even come with unlimited international calls to 20 popular countries, plus an included amount of Extra Credit for roaming and additional overseas calling. If you’re after a cheap-ish, no-fuss plan on Australia’s largest network, these could be worth considering. Some of these plans may only be offered as recharges, so you might need to purchase a $2 SIM Starter Kit then top up with your preferred plan.

Long Life Plus

These recharge packs are just traditional prepaid: a choice of five recharge amounts, each of which gives you that exact dollar value to use on calls, texts and data. The more expensive the recharge, the longer your credit lasts, up to a maximum of 365 days for the $100 recharge – and with calls costing just 30c/min, texts 30c and data 10c a megabyte, it could be a good option for light phone users if you’re able to ration your credit.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Long Life Plus $20

  • Data 10c per MB
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network

min. cost $20 over 45 day expiry

N/AMax Data**/billing period $20Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Long Life Plus $30

  • Data 10c per MB
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network

min. cost $30 over 186 day expiry

N/AMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Long Life Plus $50

  • Data 10c per MB
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network

min. cost $50 over 186 day expiry

N/AMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Long Life Plus $70

  • Data 10c per MB
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network

min. cost $70 over 365 day expiry

N/AMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Long Life Plus $100

  • Data 10c per MB
  • Data-free music and sports streaming
  • Access the free Telstra Air WiFi network

min. cost $100 over 365 day expiry

N/AMax Data**/billing period $100Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Getting support from Telstra

Need some help with your Telstra plan or service? The telco offers plenty of contact and support options, including:

How does Telstra compare?

If you’re interested in Telstra, but want to take a lot at your other options, the following smaller carriers also offer plans on parts of Telstra’s 4G and 3G networks:

Is Telstra a good deal?

If you’re looking for the absolute cheapest plans on offer, Telstra isn’t for you. The company markets itself on being the premium Australian telco and usually prices reflect that; however, if feature-packed plans, regional coverage, and super-fast data is important to you, Telstra should tick your boxes.

Considering some of the extras that Telstra includes on its plans – such as data-free streaming of Apple Music and live sport – it’s a great option for anyone who prioritises entertainment, both on-the-go and at home. The telco is also the only Australian provider to offer zero data overage fees on all postpaid plans, thanks to its unlimited 1.5Mbps data inclusions.

Finally, gadget lovers will appreciate the range of handsets on offer at Telstra, and the option to pay off devices over either a 24-month or 36-month period.. Plans may be on the pricey side, but Telstra continues to offer plenty of incentives for customers who like more of the extras on their phone plans.

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What do customers think about Telstra mobile plans?

In 2019, Australians gave Telstra 3 out of 5 stars for Overall Customer Satisfaction in handset phone plans.

Telstra Handset Phone Plans

Canstar Blue
Rating:
Award: Overall Satisfaction
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