The Cheapest Way To Get Decent 4G Data On A Telstra Phone Plan

The Cheapest Way To Get Decent 4G Data On A Telstra Phone Plan

When we rounded up 4G BYO no-contract plans earlier this week, we noted that there’s a big premium to pay if you want to use the Telstra network relative to other providers. Several readers pointed out a prepaid option you can use which makes Telstra a lot more affordable.

Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

A $50 recharge on Telstra’s Encore Cap prepaid plan gives you $950 of call credit and 800MB of data, and also allows you to spend the $50 recharge value on other inclusions. One of those potential inclusions is the $49 Browse Plus Pack, which gives you 3GB of data. Add that to the 800MB you already have and you score 3.8GB in total.

For $50, that’s much cheaper than Telstra’s XL BYO plan, which offers 3GB of data and unlimited calls and texts for $130. While the Encore Cap plan doesn’t included ‘unlimited’ calls or texts, it does include free calls and texts to Australian numbers between 6pm and 6am. Its $950 of credit translates to 437 2-minute calls, which is 14 a day. Even cutting back to account for paying for texts in daylights hours, that should be enough for most people.

The one downside of this arrangement is you can’t automate it — you have to purchase a new Browse Plus Pack every time you recharge. Nonetheless, if Telstra is the best network option for you and you’re a heavy data user, that’s probably worth the hassle. Thanks marrkdaviid and asdalavisa!


  • This is what I do with my Telstra prepaid. It works well, however I don’t use all of my recharge value on the data pack. I use my recharge value to buy apps from the Marketplace on Windows Phone. Certainly comes in handy. I never have to pay for an app using credit card and since WP marketplace doesn’t have gift cards it’s the perfect solution.

    I am not sure if this also works for Apple/Android app stores.

  • I’ve read that you shouldn’t add a Browse Plus Pack until you have almost used up the 800MB data allowance from the Encore Cap? Otherwise the system will use the 3GB pack first before it gets to the 800MB allowance

    Can someone confirm?

    • It’s true it will use the browser pack first. I do something similar to this (though with a $30 cap) and I found it too much hassle worrying about which data it uses first, and simply recharge and apply a browser pack at the same time. Mainly because when I forget to add the browser pack one time, it chewed through all my credit.

  • Worth noting that voicemail retrieval comes out of that $50 so if you blow $49 on a data pack you can’t retreive voicemail. Also credit lasts 30 days but there’s no way to automate a recharge every 30 days, only on say the 4th of every month which is pretty bloody annoying.

    • MessageBank is only useful if you like listening to the sound of idiots hanging up.

      You can recharge and buy Plus Packs via SMS, which means that you can automate them using an app on your smart phone. There is at least one app on Android that can send an SMS every n days. (and Tasker wasn’t the one I had in mind…)

  • If you can add the browser plus pack via text messages, you could probably automate it with tasker on android.

  • hey guys,

    once your voicemail is setup you can ring your own number and press hash then your voicemail pin to access message bank then it would be a cost of a call and not eat at your credit so you can buy the 3gb of data without a concern 🙂

  • Just went in to join up for this but they have changed it last week and didn’t tell anybody. Essentially the same but you only get 400 mb of data instead of 800 so you end up with 3.4 gb instead of 3.8.

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