Telstra vs Optus: Where can you find the best phone plan?

Advertisement

They’re the two giants in the Australian telco landscape – Telstra and Optus. Not only do they offer a suite of broadband plans, they also offer mobile plans. From prepaid to postpaid SIM-Only, to bundled phone plans, Telstra and Optus have you covered. However, which one is better value? They’re the two perennial providers in Australia with wide coverage reaching at least 98 per cent of the population, and chances are you are with them, or a low-cost carrier that uses their vast networks. What might surprise you is that there are some key differences between the two. Let’s review what they offer and see which telco giant offers the best deal for your needs.

Loading...

Telstra vs Optus | Where can you find the best mobile deal?

Telstra and Optus both have a wide variety of mobile phone plans to choose from. Breaking it down into three different categories makes it easier to compare.

  • Prepaid plans
  • SIM-Only postpaid plans (both contract, and no-contract)
  • And bundled plans

Optus tends to be cheaper than Telstra, but what are you compromising on? Telstra may be dearer in price – generally – but you might get some bonuses unavailable anywhere else. Read on to find out how the two really stack up.

Telstra vs Optus | Postpaid SIM-Only Plans from $30 Compared

When it comes to postpaid SIM-Only plans, there are two categories to look out for – postpaid plans without a contract – meaning you can leave when you like – and postpaid SIM-Only plans with a 12 or 24 month contract attached. One is not necessarily better than the other, but it’s all about what you prefer.

12 Month Plans Compared

Telstra and Optus postpaid SIM-only, contracted plans are some of the more competitive plans in each telco’s lineup. Frequently, Optus ups the value in both call and text inclusions, and for data. Plans start at around $30 a month, and straight away Optus offers unlimited calls and texts as well as at least 2GB of data. Telstra is still behind on cost with comparable plans fetching around $10-$30 a month more than what Optus has to offer.

Where Telstra shines, however, is at the upper end of the spectrum where it offers upwards of 30GB for just under $100.Both telcos offer data-free music streaming and Telstra continues to offer Apple Music subscriptions and Telstra Air data, while also offering Foxtel Now packs periodically with some of its plans. You might still find value in Telstra and its network – particularly handy in rural areas or places with spotty reception – but Optus dominates the budget end of the spectrum.

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

$55 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited International minutes to 35 countries

min. cost $660 over 12 month plan period

25GBMax Data**/billing period $55Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$65 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited International minutes to 35 countries

min. cost $780 over 12 month plan period

40GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Data^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • 10GB Extra Data

min. cost $708 over 12 month plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $59Advertised Data^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Large

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • unlimited to 15 countries
  • 20GB Extra Data
  • 12 Months Foxtel Now Subscription

min. cost $948 over 12 month plan period

20GBMax Data**/billing period $79Advertised Data^^/billing period

Month-to-Month Plans Compared

The no-contract segment is a little smaller – probably because Optus and Telstra want you to stick around for a while – but you can still find pretty solid value. The price range varies from about $30 to over $100 per billing period. Again, Optus seems to outdo Telstra a little bit in terms of data and price. However, where Telstra shines is for its extra stuff, including NRL and AFL streaming. Both offer data-free music streaming, but Telstra takes it one step further and throws in a free subscription to Apple Music, plus unlimited Telstra Air data.

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

Large

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited to 15 Countries
  • 20GB Extra Data

min. cost $89 over 1 month plan period

20GBMax Data**/billing period $89Advertised Data^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

XL

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited to All Countries
  • 30GB Extra Data

min. cost $109 over 1 month plan period

30GBMax Data**/billing period $109Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$55 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS

min. cost $55 over 1 month plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $55Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$65 My Plan Plus

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS

min. cost $65 over 1 month plan period

25GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Data^^/billing period

Telstra vs Optus | Phones on a Plan from $40 Compared

We’ve come to the business-end of the market now, where Optus and Telstra are probably two of the strongest providers to offer plans bundled with the latest mobile phones. In this case, comparing plans using the iPhone 8 (64GB) as an example, you’ll find that competition between the two has tightened considerably. Each other ‘lease’ plans and traditional phone plans.

Telstra & Optus Lease Plans

A phenomenon to hit Australian shores recently is ‘lease’ phone plans. What leasing a phone means is that you are basically renting it – like renting a home, it’s not technically yours. This means you’ll have to hand it back at the end of your term or upgrade after a year for a nominal fee. You’ll also be subject to penalties if it’s returned damaged or with the screen cracked. What you get in return for this is usually discounted phone plans and big data bonuses, but is that enough to sway you and be subject to these conditions?

Telstra and Optus are the only providers currently to offer ‘lease’ plans and customers can stand to save a bundle. The cheapest iPhone 8 plan here is by Optus, which costs under $70. Telstra’s closest offering is just under $80. Optus includes data-free music streaming while Telstra is pretty light on features at this price, but does include the standard NRL & AFL streaming plus Foxtel Now on some plans. At higher prices, Telstra ups the ante, and so does Optus.

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

$99 Go Mobile Swap Lease

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited to 15 Countries

min. cost $2376 over 24 month plan period

30GBMax Data**/billing period $79Advertised Data^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

$129 Go Mobile Swap Lease

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited to 15 Countries

min. cost $3096 over 24 month plan period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $129Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$105 My Plan Flex

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited to 35 Countries

min. cost $2520 over 24 month plan period

40GBMax Data**/billing period $105Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

$125 My Plan Flex

  • Unlimited National Calls & SMS
  • Unlimited to 35 Countries

min. cost $3000 over 24 month plan period

100GBMax Data**/billing period $125Advertised Data^^/billing period

Telstra vs Optus | Prepaid Plans from $1 Compared

Australia’s two biggest telcos have – not surprisingly – a large range of prepaid phone plans to choose from, ranging from around $1 all the way up to around $100 per billing period. Prepaid is an easy and fuss-free way to get mobile credit, so let’s see what’s on offer.

  • Both provide long expiry prepaid plans and standard 28-day plans with nominal amounts of data for use

Optus seems to have the advantage here, generally offering more data and unlimited calls and texts for the same amount of money. However, Telstra’s plans do include 1c texts to other Telstra customers, as well as bonus text and call offers. Seeing that Telstra is Australia’s largest network with a huge customer base, chances are you could get by with these bonuses that Optus often does not have. In this prepaid sector, both telcos are fairly identical in what they have to offer. However, Optus offers data-free music streaming on a lot of plans, while Telstra offers data-free NRL or AFL Game Pass streaming. Depending on your tastes, one telco may stick out more than the other.

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

Epic Data $50

  • Unlimited national calls & SMS
  • 25GB data, plus 10GB to stream
  • $15 extra credit

min. cost $50 over 28 days

25GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

Epic Data $60

  • Unlimited national calls & SMS
  • 40GB data, plus 10GB to stream
  • $20 extra credit

min. cost $60 over 28 days

40GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Data^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Prepaid Extra $50

  • Unlimited National calls & SMS
  • Unlimited calls to 10 countries,
  • $15 extra credit

min. cost $50 over 28 days

7.5GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Prepaid Extra $60

  • Unlimited National calls & SMS
  • Unlimited calls to 10 countries,
  • $20 extra credit

min. cost $60 over 28 days

10GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Data^^/billing period

Optus or Telstra | Where should you go?

Optus and Telstra are both giants of the telco industry and offer the biggest range of plans, likely to suit most budgets. They also have the biggest customer bases, so millions of people can’t be wrong, right? This comparison suggests that Optus has a slight edge over Telstra in terms of basic data, call and text inclusions, but there’s more to it than that. Telstra does have the most expansive network, so people in rural areas may find that Telstra is the one to go with. Similarly, both have great entertainment packs to consider, especially when it comes to their bundled handset plans. If you’re looking for a prepaid or no lock-in contract postpaid plan, Optus is hard to beat. But if you’re signing up to a new handset plan, you may find Telstra has more or what you’re looking for.

Compare iPhone X Plans

Share this article

Enjoyed reading this article?

Sign up for the latest phone and internet news.

By subscribing you agree to the Canstar Privacy Policy.

Thanks for signing up!

Good things are coming your way.

Advertisement