Telstra’s new mobile plans ditch bills for upfront payments

Telstra is making moves to scrap traditional postpaid phone bills, launching a new set of ‘upfront’ mobile plans that require customers to pay in advance – just don’t call them prepaid.

The telco has quietly unveiled a new auto-pay alternative to its existing suite of SIM-only mobile plans, called Telstra Upfront Mobile Plans.

Upfront plans include the same prices and data inclusions as the company’s existing SIM-only plans, but the difference being that you’ll need to prepay each month via direct debit.

This involves setting up automatic monthly payments from your nominated bank account, credit card or debit card via AutoPay. Once your account is active, your first month’s payment will be charged to your account, with further payments being debited automatically on the same date each month. You’ll receive a digital receipt for each successful payment, which can be accessed via the MyTelstra app.

Below are the four Telstra mobile plans currently compatible with automatic/upfront payments.

The following table shows a selection of postpaid Telstra plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. If you want see a wider range of plans from other providers, we encourage you to use our mobile plan comparison tool to weigh up different offers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Currently, Telstra is limiting new Upfront plans to SIM-only/bring-your-own-phone customers, but it seems the telco is aiming to eventually replace all postpaid mobile options with AutoPay rather than end-of-month billing.

Existing customers on standard Telstra postpaid plans will be transitioned to the new Upfront model in the coming months, though if you’re pairing your plan with a new smartphone on a Telstra device payment, you may still be billed separately for your phone.

If you’re interested in comparing the new Upfront range with Telstra’s traditional postpaid mobile plans, you’ll find the older SIM-only plans in the table below.

The following table shows a selection of postpaid Telstra plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. If you want see a wider range of plans from other providers, we encourage you to use our mobile plan comparison tool to weigh up different offers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

What do Telstra Upfront plans include?

The new Upfront plans feature the same unlimited national talk and text, unlimited 1.5Mbps speed-capped data, and monthly full-speed data allowances as Telstra’s old postpaid plans (plus 5G access on selected price tiers), but there are several new inclusions. All four Upfront plans include 30 minutes per month of standard calls from Australia to overseas numbers, unlimited standard international SMS and MMS, and the option to share your data across up to ten Upfront plans on a single account – all features you won’t find on standard Telstra mobile plans.

However, several perks available to existing Telstra postpaid customers aren’t yet offered on Upfront plans. These include pay-as-you-go international calls, calls and texts to premium numbers, phone trade-in, access to Telstra Air hotspots, and the use of eSIM.

Cutting access to extras such as pay-as-you-go calls or premium numbers makes sense due to the prepaid nature of Telstra’s Upfront plans. But excluding well-received features like eSIM and Telstra hotspot use is likely to be disappointing for new and existing customers who want to take advantage of easy WiFi access when out-and-about, or prefer to have the option of swapping between phones or numbers without the need for a physical SIM card.

Telstra Upfront mobile plans: good or bad?

While subscription-based payments are fast becoming the norm for many service providers (including new telcos Felix Mobile and GoMo), not all customers will appreciate the change. Telstra intends to gradually move all current postpaid mobile users to its new Upfront plans, and will also cease to offer its existing postpaid options to new customers from April onwards.

Pre-paying for your mobile service can be a great option for customers who prefer to know their expenses in advance without the risk of ‘bill shock’ due to unexpected charges. It’s also ideal if you tend to forget to pay bills on time, as the ‘set and forget’ nature of AutoPay means your account or card is debited automatically and on the same day each month.

However, customers who prefer a paper or electronic bill, or who struggle with the rigid nature of automated direct debits, might find the new Upfront plans restrictive. Setting a recurring AutoPay debit could lead to problems for customers who rely on the flexibility of Telstra’s existing 14-day bill payment window, such as casual workers and individuals with irregular or varying incomes.

While a move to AutoPay will help customers avoid being charged late payment fees by Telstra, it does leave Upfront plan users open to potential overdraw or dishonour fees from their bank or credit union if there are insufficient funds available in their account on their plan’s direct debit date.

Overall, it’s up to Telstra customers to decide which payment type works for them, and to weigh up what’s more important in a plan – convenience or flexibility. If you’re looking for a new SIM-only phone plan, we’ve compiled some options to get you started below.

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, 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.

Share this article

Advertisement
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]
[a-zA-Zbs]