Telstra's New Mobile Contract Plans: Everything You Need To Know

From next month, Telstra will be changing its contract plans. Bottom line: there are some minor improvements, but you can still do much better with a prepaid plan. Here is what the new consumer plans offer (and where they fall short).

Phones picture from Shutterstock

The most obvious good news across all the new plans is that the rates for excess data have been reduced from 10 cents per MB to 3 cents per MB. Telstra also caps the amount you can be charged for excess domestic data at $500. (Roaming data remains much more expensive at $3 per MB, and we can't recommend that option to anyone.) Telstra also caps the amount you can be charged for domestic calls at $130 (its call rate charges haven't changed with the new plans).

Another across-the-board improvement: Telstra is dropping its ridiculous $10 a month charge for being allowed to share your data allowance across multiple phones. The new plans include data sharing as a free option (though you'll still have to pay for additional SIMs).

There are two new groups of plans on offer from 4 March. The Handset plans include a phone, and are only available on a 24-month contract. For all but the very cheapest phone models, you'll generally pay an additional handset charge. The Mobile Accelerate plans can be the BYO option on a month-to-month deal, and are also available in 12 or 24 month contract versions. (We'll touch on why you might choose to do that a little later.)

Across both plans, Telstra offers unlimited calls between 7pm and 7am on weekdays and all day on weekends — but not on the very cheapest options. We've listed this under 'Free calls' in the table below. Here are the details, including the minimum cost over the life of the contract and the number of 2-minute calls you can make. SMS is unlimited on all plans except the $30 Mobile Accelerate, which charges 25 cents per message.

Plan Cost Contract Min total Call credit Data Call/60 secs Flagfall # 2-min calls Free calls
Handset $55.00 24 $1,320.00 $550.00 500MB $0.99 $0.40 231 No
Handset $70.00 24 $1,680.00 $700.00 1500MB $0.99 $0.40 294 No
Handset $95.00 24 $2,280.00 $950.00 2500MB $0.99 $0.40 399 Yes
Handset $130.00 24 $3,120.00 Unlimited 3000MB $0.99 $0.40 - n/a
Mobile Accelerate $30.00 1 $30.00 $300.00 200MB $0.99 $0.40 126 No
Mobile Accelerate $45.00 1 $45.00 $550.00 500MB $0.99 $0.40 231 No
Mobile Accelerate $55.00 1 $55.00 $700.00 1500MB $0.99 $0.40 294 No
Mobile Accelerate $70.00 1 $70.00 $950.00 2500MB $0.99 $0.40 399 Yes
Mobile Accelerate $95.00 1 $95.00 Unlimited 3000MB $0.99 $0.40 - n/a

How does this compare to Telstra's current offerings? Right now, you have four basic choices for plans that include a phone (which would compare to the Handset plans listed above):

  • $60 a month with 1GB of data and $600 of credit
  • $80 a month with 1.5GB of data and $800 of credit
  • $100 a month with 2GB of data and $900 of credit
  • $130 a month with 3GB of data

In other words: the cheapest plan is a little less but has half the data it used to and lower call credits, the interim plans are a little cheaper but include less call credit, and the top-priced plans are unchanged. So on the whole those deals are worse.

The Mobile Accelerate plans include an unusual option if you sign up for a 24-month contract. If you pay an additional $10 a month, after 12 months you can trade in your existing handset for a new model. If you do that, you'll go onto a new 24-month contract — and you have to return your existing handset in "good working order". Given the way many phone models hold their value, we strongly suspect that keeping your $120 and selling the phone yourself would provide a better return. (If your phone is damaged, that $10 a month goes right down the drain.)

That's especially the case when you consider that you can do better on a prepaid plan with Telstra anyway. As we've explained in detail before, for $50 a month you can score 3.8GB of data and not be tied to a contract at all. That $45 a month you're saving (compared to the Mobile Accelerate plan with 3GB of data) would go a long way towards paying for your new handset, and keeping you contract-free.


Comments

    Alright, so they're not as bad as they appeared to be on Gizmodo last night.... but they're still not brilliant.... my old $49 BYO cap has 1.5gb of data and $550 (I think) of calls and it has FAR cheaper call rates than the current/new plans. I believe it would still be crazy for someone like myself to 'upgrade' to one of their new plans.
    The one real upshot I can see is the new data 'cap' which allows about 16gb overtravel which, frankly, if you can manage that without realising.... you deserve some bill shock.
    Would love to check out those pre-paid gaffs that others are using, 3.8gb for $50pm, but I am just super paranoid that Telstra would kill that without a moment's notice.

      Stay on that for as long as you can. The $49 BYO is grandfathered for the plans they introduced about 18 months ago, you'll never get a deal as good through Telstra as that BYO.

      I jumped off my 59 cap onto the $50 prepaid with added 3GB of data pack (total 3.8GB). Did that two months ago and now I'm laughing.

      Definitely wouldn't be surprised if they kill it off as more and more people find out about that option and start using it.

      I was on the old $59 cap which had the $550 of calls and 1.5GB of data (extra $10 for me as mine was bundled with a phone), and recently switched over to their Boost offering ($40 for 30 days of unlimited calls & texts, and 3GB of data). Many other people switched over too and now they've cut it from 3GB to 2GB. Still cheaper for more than I used to get but it's a bit of a dick move.

      I'm considering getting off Boost and using that $50 prepaid option but I know a month later they'll cut that too and I'd have to go back onto Boost for the best value again. It took them over 2 weeks to finally switch my number to Boost, I don't want to go through that again.

    I'm on the old $60 plan that was introduced before the current Everyday Connect plans. I get 1.5GB of data rather than 1GB. I'm off contract now obviously and upgraded to a Nexus 5 (outright) late last year.

    Looking at the plans from Gizmodo last night I was disappointed as it looked like the new $70 plan would give 1.5GB of data, meaning I'd be better off sticking to my current plan.

    However, looking at this, that was only for the mobile phone plans. The Mobile Accelerate options which are the BYO plans look better though...I can either get 1.5GB for 5 bucks less than what I'm currently paying, or I can get 2.5GB for 10 bucks more. Those are looking much more enticing. I don't need a new phone obviously as I have not long just bought one, so I may be tempted to switch plans.

      Go prepaid $50. Then add a $49 data pack. You won't be disappointed.

        $99? No way. Not in my budget.

        I also don't like the idea of prepaid, as those can be chopped and changed. At least if you're on a plan they can't force you off it even if they introduce new ones.

          It's a little confusing, but you get the $49 data pack for nothing. See the Telstra section here for a better explanation http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/12/planhacker-the-best-no-contract-phone-deal-for-each-australian-mobile-phone-network/

          I do agree with you about prepaid. Every time I consider switching to one of these offers to get more data (I don't call much) the data is reduced after a while. I don't want the hassle of switching carriers every few months when the offer is changed.

    Handset values are variable though. I'm betting you're not going to get an iPhone 5S on the $70 plan without paying extra for the "premium" handset. You might only get a 5C or an old Nokia. :/

      I doubt you'd even get a 5C without an extra payment.

      I would still prefer to buy my phones outright as at the end, I can sell them if I want or keep them as a backup device. That way you are (generally) assured a cleaner phone with less bloat and less need to tinker with it to get it nice..... Also, I believe that flashing custom FW to contracted phones can sometimes void warranties/break contracts as the phone is not strictly "yours" until you have paid it off completely....

        Yeah. I called Telstra and they have no information yet on what phones will be available without extra charge under the handset plan, but it's a safe bet they 5S won't be one of them. I'm nearly at the end of my contract so I can renew without penalty now if I want, which I might do this weekend since I can stay on a cheaper plan and only pay $76/month with the phone included. Granted it's only 1gb of data but I guess that will just have to suffice until I feel like it's worth $15/month to add one measly extra gig. :/

    They currently have a 1 year contract option which is better then having to return your (hopefully undamaged) phone after a year.

    You stated in the article: Another across-the-board improvement: Telstra is dropping its ridiculous $10 a month charge for being allowed to share your data allowance across multiple phones. The new plans include data sharing as a free option (though you’ll still have to pay for additional SIMs).

    I can't find anything about this on the Telstra website, it still lists $10/mth charge for sharing data... I'd love to share my data between my future iPhone 6 and my current iPad Mini...

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