Over the past month, Telstra has embarked on a business blitzkrieg, demolishing thousands of legacy plans as it seeks to consolidate its core offerings. While much has been written about Telstra's new mobile plans, the same strategy has been employed across broadband and the NBN. So which plan offers the best bang for buck? Let's take a look.
Back in June, Telstra boldly reduced its home internet offerings to just three options - a $75 plan with 200GB data, an unlimited plan for $90 a month and a $99 plan that comes bundled with Telstra TV. If you're an existing Telstra customer, you can expect to be rolled over to the closest equivalent plan in the coming months. (On the plus side, you'll also be given the option to break free of your contract without incurring any cancellation fees.)
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.
In addition to vastly reducing the number of available plans, Telstra has abolished fixed contracts on all but the priciest plan. This is a huge win for consumers as it means you're free to switch providers as soon as a better deal comes along. If you decide to switch providers, all you'll owe Telstra is the remainder of that month's billing cycle - exactly as it should be.
Curiously, Telstra's plan pricing and inclusions remain the same whether you're on an NBN or ADSL broadband plan. In other words, areas that have yet to be connected to the NBN are currently charged the same amount. The good news is that you won't be charged anything extra when the NBN rollout reaches you - you'll just start getting faster speeds. (Hopefully.)
As mentioned, pricing starts at $75 per month which is pretty decent for a contract-free NBN Plan from Telstra. There's also a $99 connection charge on all plans, but this is currently being waived when you sign up online.
All plans come bundled with a second-gen Telstra Smart Modem and a phone line with unlimited calls to Australian mobiles, standard local and national numbers. You can also score discounted international calls to select countries.
So which plan should you plump for? Here's what you get with each option. (Click on our interactive table to buy or learn more.)
As you can see, the $75 Core plan only comes with 200GB data. If you exceed your monthly data allowance, your broadband speed will slow to 256Kbps until the next month. It's also the slowest NBN tier with typical minimum evening speeds of 20Mbps. As such, it's difficult to recommend for gamers, prolific downloaders and households with lots of connected devices.
As its name suggests, the $90 Unlimited plan comes with unlimited data - although the usual fair use policy applies. (In short, Telstra reserves the right to throttle connections that use "unreasonable" amounts of data.) This is a pretty good price but you're only getting NBN 50 speeds - which Telstra rates at 40Mbps in the evening.
The $99 Unlimited Internet + Telstra TV Bundle is basically the same plan as above, but on a 24-monty contract with Telstra TV. This is a central hub for live TV, free to air catch-up apps and streaming services. It lets you access Foxtel Now, Netflix, Stan and BigPond Movies from one place, although you naturally have to pay for these separately.
The above plan currently includes $125 of Telstra Box Office credit to spend on movie downloads. If you own a PlayStation 4, Xbox One or smart TV, the majority of these apps are already at your fingertips, however. And you'll be locked into the plan for two years.
For our money, the $90 Unlimited plan is the best option here. Unless you just want basic internet and standard Netflix in which case the $75 Core Plan should get the job done.
Speed freaks may also want to upgrade this plan to the highest available speed (assuming you live in a compatible suburb.) To get Telstra's premium NBN tier, simply sign up to the aforementioned plan and request that your house be line-tested. If your connection is suitable, Telstra will put you on an NBN 100 plan for $120 a month.
Alternatively, there are plenty of NBN 100 options available from rival telcos that won't charge a $30 premium. Click here to see some of the best available plans from Vodafone, Exetel, MyRepublic and more.
With the NBN rollout now well progressed, with over 70% of the nation's households and businesses able to choose a retail service provider (RSP) and connect to the NBN, many of us are shopping around for the best deals. RSPs are constantly trying to expand their footprint and add customers so there are lots of deals around. Here are some of the best options I've been able to track down.