Telstra confirms phone plan prices will rise in July

Aussies continue to feel the sting of higher living costs, with Telstra confirming that its postpaid mobile plan prices will rise from July 1 for both new and existing customers.

Current Telstra subscribers will see their bill increase by as much as $4 per month, although the revised plans do include more data and features, and Telstra is now opening up 5G network access to customers on entry-level plans.

While it’s standard for the big three telcos to revise and revamp their mobile plans annually, it’s unusual for a provider to give a public heads-up that price changes are on the way. Considering the current economic climate — with rising grocery costs, increased fuel prices, and mayhem in the wholesale energy market ahead of next month’s default offer changes — this gives Telstra customers a chance to switch their plan ahead of time before being hit with a higher bill.

Telstra phone plans: what’s changing

Telstra’s Upfront postpaid mobile plans will be changing from July 1, 2022. The changes will apply both to customers paying off a new phone on a Telstra device plan, and SIM-only subscribers with a BYO handset. If you have bought a new phone from Telstra on a 12, 24, or 36-month device payment plan, your phone payments won’t be affected; these changes will only apply to your mobile plan, although this will mean your total monthly bill will increase.

Currently, Telstra offers four Upfront plans: Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. From July, the Extra Large plan will be scrapped, and the three remaining plans will be rebranded as Basic, Essential, and Premium options. All three plans will increase in price slightly: Basic and Essential plans will rise by $3 per month (or $36 annually), while the Premium plan will increase by $4 month (or $48 per year).

However, it’s not all bad news. Essential and Premium plans will include a significant bump in monthly full-speed data, with the Essential plan offering 180GB (up from 80GB), and the Premium plan to include a massive 300GB (previously 120GB).

Telstra will also include access to its 5G mobile network on all three plans; currently, only Medium, Large and Extra Large plans offer 5G coverage. Customers on Basic plans will be limited to maximum download speeds of 250Mbps on both 4G and 5G networks from August 2022.

Here’s a quick side-by-side of what’s set to change from July.

Plan Current price & features Changes from July
Telstra Upfront Mobile Plan Small
  • $55 per month
  • 40GB fast data
  • No 5G access
  • Renamed to Basic Plan
  • $58 per month
  • 40GB fast data
  • 5G access (capped at 250Mbps speeds from August)
Telstra Upfront Mobile Plan Medium
  • $65 per month
  • 80GB fast data
  • 5G access
  • Renamed to Essential Plan
  • $68 per month
  • 180GB fast data
  • 5G access
Telstra Upfront Mobile Plan Large
  • $85 per month
  • 120GB fast data
  • 5G access
  • Renamed to Premium Plan
  • $89 per month
  • 300GB fast data
  • 5G access
Telstra Upfront Mobile Plan Extra Large
  • $115 per month
  • 180GB fast data
  • 5G access
  • Plan no longer available from July 1

All three new plans will remain month-to-month, with no lock-in contracts, and will continue to include unlimited standard talk and text to Australian numbers. There’s also no excess data charges for use in Australia: if you exceed your included full-speed data allowance, your ongoing data use will be speed-capped to 1.5Mbps until your billing cycle resets.

It also appears that existing plan extras such as unlimited international SMS, 30 minutes of standard international calls per month, and live data-free AFLW, will continue to be included on all plans. Telstra has also stated that there will be additional Telstra Plus rewards for Essential and Premium plans, and that new bundle plans will go live in August.

Outside of Telstra’s hero Upfront postpaid plans, the telco will also increase its low income and concession card holder plans by $1. However, Telstra will be expanding the eligibility for discounted concession plans to include Pensioner Concession and Veteran Affairs card holders.

Telstra has also stated that it won’t be reviewing its home internet prices at this stage. Potential upcoming NBN wholesale price changes could impact Telstra customers down the line, but for now your plan will remain unaffected.

Why is Telstra increasing mobile plan prices?

According to Telstra, its mobile plan prices are increasing in line with the Consumer Price Index, which is used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to measure the percentage change in the price of goods and services. Going forward, Telstra will review prices annually, but will continue to let customers know in advance before implementing plan changes.

A Telstra spokesperson told Canstar Blue that the company is being upfront about upcoming price changes to help customers plan their budgets long-term.

“Our aim is to give our customers the best mobile experience at a competitive price,” the Telstra spokesperson said.

“Like any business, we have inflation pressures and an annual CPI aligned increase allows us to keep up with the latest economic environment so we can continue to focus on the things that matter, like bringing our customers Australia’s best mobile network.”

Telstra also stressed that the lack of lock-in contracts means customers are free to change plans as needed, to better suit their usage and budget.

How Telstra plans compare to Optus and Vodafone

Telstra is already the priciest mobile provider among the big three telcos, and July’s price changes look set to widen the gap. However, it’s important to note that both Optus and Vodafone also historically review their plans every 12 months or so, although both companies have advised Canstar Blue they have no plans to update pricing at this time.

From July, Telstra’s cheapest postpaid SIM plan will be its Basic option, which is priced at $58 per month for 40GB of fast data. This is $13 per month more than Optus’ entry-level Small Choice Plus plan, which costs $45, but includes half the data at 20GB per month. Optus’ plan features 5G network access, and like Telstra, includes unlimited speed-capped 1.5Mbps data to use once your full-speed gigabytes are exceeded — however, no international talk and text is included.

Vodafone’s cheapest postpaid SIM is its $40 SIM Only Lite plan, which includes 10GB of fast data per month as standard, plus unlimited data use capped at speeds of 2Mbps and unlimited international SMS. It’s the most affordable postpaid option of the three major providers, but features the smallest amount of monthly fast data; but depending on when customers sign up, you can score significant bonuses. Right now, Vodafone is throwing in an extra 70GB of fast data each month for new customers who move to a Lite plan before June 30, 2022. That’s a total of 80GB each month for $40, for as long as you stay connected.

To give you an idea of how all the current postpaid plans from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone compare, browse through the below table. Note that the Telstra plans show current prices and will not reflect the upcoming changes until July 1.

The following table shows selected published Optus SIM-only postpaid plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows selected published Telstra SIM-only postpaid plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows selected published Vodafone SIM-only postpaid plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Should you switch plans?

Existing Telstra customers may be well aware that the provider is far from the cheapest on the market, but are happy to spend extra for the telco’s wide-reaching regional coverage, alongside plan extras such as generous data and entertainment bonuses. It’s unlikely anyone would confuse Telstra for a budget telco, and its dominant mobile market share in Australia shows that there’s a loyal customer base even with cheaper options available.

For serious data users, the increase in full-speed gigabytes on Essential and Premium plans could be welcome news. Telstra has said that data use among customers increased by 40% year-on-year in 2021, with the trend continuing into 2022. Under the new plans, you’ll pay about $0.38 per 1GB of data on the Essential plan, and $0.30 per 1GB on Premium; compare this to the Medium plan, which breaks down to $0.80 per 1GB, and Large, which prices data at about $0.70 per 1GB.

If you have chosen Telstra for network reasons, even switching to a Telstra MVNO (that’s a smaller provider using the Telstra network) won’t necessarily get you the same coverage. Brands such as Woolworths Mobile, ALDI Mobile, Belong and Lycamobile provide coverage on parts of Telstra’s 4G and 3G networks, but not all of it, so customers in rural areas may not get the full Telstra experience.

The exception to this is Boost Mobile, a prepaid SIM-only MVNO which has access to the full Telstra 3G and 4G network. Switching to a Boost Mobile plan can undoubtedly save you money if you’re happy to go prepaid; right now, the telco charges $30 for a 20GB recharge, $40 for 30GB, and $50 for 40GB.

Boost Mobile could also be a solution for customers who don’t need 40GB or more of data each month, as recharges begin at $20 for 5GB. However, despite offering Telstra 3G and 4G coverage, Boost Mobile doesn’t yet provide 5G access on every plan, and that could be a deal-breaker if you have a 5G-ready phone and want to take advantage of the faster available speeds.

Telstra confirmed in May that it will begin selling wholesale 5G access to MVNOs, and Boost Mobile has very quietly added 5G service to its most expensive $70 plan. This plan includes 65GB of data per recharge, alongside extras like unlimited international calls to 20 countries.

Unfortunately, Boost Mobile’s cheaper plans are still limited to 4G-only. But for current Telstra customers looking to cut down on mobile costs, Boost Mobile could be worth considering if you don’t want to sacrifice 4G and 3G coverage.

If you’re with Telstra now, you have around a month to decide if you want to swap to a different Telstra plan, or cancel your service altogether. If you’re currently paying off a new phone on a Telstra plan, be aware that you’ll need to pay out the remaining device balance if you decide to cancel your Telstra mobile service.

Compare SIM-only phone plans

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Try using our mobile phone plan comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data each month, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. If you want to compare a larger range of offers from other providers, use our phone plan comparison tool. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

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