Telstra's New Phone Plans: One Month Later

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Last month, Telstra refreshed its entire range of phone plans and made some sweeping changes. Excess data charges are gone. Lock-in contracts are out the door. A gazillion plans have been axed.

Now that the dust has has a chance to settle, let's take a look at how the new plans stack up to the competition.

Telstra Just Nuked All Mobile Plans [Updated]

Telstra has vastly simplified its mobile business, with all existing plans replaced by four contract-free options. That's right: all 12- and 24-month contract plans are set to be axed, along with smartphone leases. Here's how much the new plans cost, the inclusions you get and what happens to your existing plan.

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There are now only four core Telstra phone plans to pick from, whether you're just after a SIM card or a new handset too. It's almost like the telco is a completely new company!

Of course, newer doesn't always mean better. There are definitely plusses to Telstra's new plans, but how do they stack up to what's on offer from Optus and Vodafone?

Before we start, here's the new core range of Telstra postpaid plans:

No contract SIM-only plans

Telstra's new plans easily come out on top when compared to other contract-free options. If you're after a no-commitment plan, $45 per month on Optus and Vodafone gets you 3GB and 5GB per month respectively. For $5 more per month, you'll get 15GB on Telstra. And as with all of Telstra's new postpaid plans, it's free from excess data charges. If you burn through your allowance, you'll be able to keep using your service, albeit capped at speeds of 1.5Mbps.

The differences between these contract-free plans become even more noticeable when you look at data higher tiers. $60 per month gets you 60GB on Telstra, while $65 per month only gets 25GB on Optus.

SIM-only plans with a contract

The story is a little different when you compare Telstra's new plan range to the SIM-only plans Optus and Vodafone offer on a 12-month contract. In exchange for giving a year of your life to Optus or Vodafone, you'll get a lot more data. For example, both Optus and Vodafone will give you 40GB for $40 per month. Telstra, on the other hand, has you spending $50 for 15GB. Of course, Telstra no longer requires you to make a commitment for more than a month.

Telstra's new plan range is also comparatively no frills. While you get access to some Telstra perks, like data-free Apple Music, live passes for select sports, and Telstra Air access, features that were previously standard are now bolt-ons that cost extra. Adding international calls to a Telstra plan is now $10 more per month, whereas both the Optus and Vodafone $40 plans include international minutes out of the box.

Plans with a phone

One of the key parts of Telstra's plan refresh is the move to contract-free plans, even when you're buying a new smartphone. If you want to grab a new handset from Telstra, you simply pick one of the four core plans and then add on your device. You'll then pay your device off over 24 or 36 monthly interest-free instalments, roughly based on its retail price. If you want to leave Telstra early, you can do so by paying out the remaining value of your phone.

This is similar to the system Vodafone introduced a couple of years ago.

Here's a look how Telstra's new plans compare to Optus and Vodafone when paired with an iPhone XS, Galaxy S10, and Huawei P30 Pro across a 24-month contract or 24-month repayment plan.

Best iPhone XS plans

Best Samsung Galaxy S10

Huawei P30 Pro

Unsurprisingly, Optus tends to offer the best bang for buck across the board, although its plans are almost beat out by Vodafone when it comes to the iPhone XS. You'll pay $112.50 per month for a 64GB iPhone XS with 50GB of data on Vodafone, or $117 per month on Optus. These are followed by Telstra’s $118 per month plan with 15GB.

When comparing Telstra and Vodafone, the latter typically offers more data for less, but there are still a few instances in which Telstra could be the more attractive option. For example, if you were tossing up between Vodafone and Telstra for the P30 Pro, you can pay $111 per month for a 60GB plan on Telstra, or $104.12 (after you apply the loyalty discount) for a 50GB plan on Vodafone. If you know you'll use those extra 10GB, Telstra certainly isn't a bad choice.

This is similarly true when it comes to the Galaxy S10. You can get the 128GB Galaxy S10 and 15GB of data for $95 per month on Telstra, or the phone and 50GB of data for $99.70 per month (after you apply the loyalty discount) on Vodafone. While paying $5 more per month gets you a lot of extra data on Vodafone, that's not much good if you know you're never going to use that much data.

Telstra vs the rest

There's far more to the world of telco than just Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone, so the above table compares Telstra's 60GB SIM-only plan to some of the more popular MVNOs on the market. The best deals here - such as Moose Mobile's $39 plan with 50GB - all require you to commit to a year-long contract. If you're cool with that and have no particular attachment to Big T as a brand, these plans are a better buy in terms of data-for-dollar. Otherwise, Telstra's 60GB really doesn't shake out too bad if you're after a contract-free option.

Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website.


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