For a while, it seemed like Telstra plans were moving in the right direction. Prices were creeping down, and the value creeping up. But recently Telstra shifted direction again, and we're back to looking for cheaper alternatives.
The plans that remain are packed with 'stuff', but these are pretty expensive. All BYO Phone plans have a 12-month contract and prices start from $49 per month. Pre-paid plans are a bit cheaper, but are comparably low value.
If you own your own phone, and you want Telstra coverage on the cheap, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Telstra network plans (with 10GB or more)
There's a bunch of service providers selling plans on the Telstra network these days; some well-known brands, some smaller challengers. The plans above are a mix of no-contract, 12-month contract and prepaid plans, and these fill in the gaps that Telstra leaves open by not offering cheaper plans.
Pennytel has a good deal going, offering the first six months service for 25% off. The price remains competitive after the discount runs its course, but the plan has no contract terms, so you can consider another move after the 3-months is up.
Belong and Boost are good options if you have people to call overseas as both include unlimited calls to a select overseas numbers (Belong to 36 countries, Boost to 15 countries.) Both also have a data-rollover function built into plans, which is handy.
In comparison, Telstra's own plans tend to offer more, but cost too much. Its prepaid plans are about $10 - $20 more than most of the competition, for the amount of data you get. With that said Telstra is offering bonus data for a limited time on the above and which does make them more attractive.
The 12-month BYO Phone plans are solid offers if you can stomach the cost. Each offers a ton of data, and the two more expensive plans include 'peace of mind data' (no excess data charges.) It just seems odd to pay $89 per month and not to get a new smartphone bundled into the deal.
Optus network plans (with 10GB or more)
I think it's worth pointing out that even if you choose one of the cheaper Telstra network alternatives you are still paying a price premium. If you're looking to save money, you'd be wise to test out the Optus (or Vodafone) network and see how it compares to Telstra coverage in your area.
Joe Hanlon is Publisher at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website. He’s been writing about phones and plans for far too long.