You might not have really thought about getting a phone plan from the same place you get your groceries, but Woolworths Mobile has made a name for itself thanks to a great range of high value options. In fact, Woolies is the only provider other than Big T that sells phones on the Telstra network, making it a great choice if you want a new device for just a little less.
Of course, you may be wondering whether Woolworths Mobile’s cheaper options can live up to what you get with Telstra. To help, we're going to take a look at how the pair compare.
Telstra vs Woolworths Mobile: Coverage
Woolworths Mobile may be powered by Telstra, but it doesn't have access to the entire Telstra network. Woolworths Mobile uses the Telstra wholesale network for its plans, which reaches 98.8% of the Australian population. Telstra's full network reaches 99.4%.
This might not seem like a huge difference, but it can affect coverage in remote, regional, and rural areas. Here is how the full Telstra network's coverage compares to Woolworths Mobile (Telstra wholesale network).
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.
Phones on a plan
Woolies is one of the few providers outside of Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone that sells phones on a plan. The range is a little smaller than usual however; Woolworths typically only ranges Samsung and OPPO devices. Despite the smaller number of options, plan prices tend to be some of the cheapest around.
If you were after a 256GB Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, Woolies will sell you it for $102 per month with 10GB. Here's a complete look at Woolworth's Mobile’s Galaxy Note 10+ plans:
For comparison, Galaxy Note 10+ prices start at $120.79 per month on a Telstra 24-month term with 15GB.
Here's a look at Telstra's Galaxy Note 10+ plans:
And here are the Samsung devices you can currently get on Woolworths Mobile:
Woolworths Mobile also has a range of OPPO devices, many of which aren't available with other telcos:
While Woolies plans are more affordable, Telstra has far more device options than Woolworths. These include iPhones, Pixels, and Huawei devices. The following are just a few of the phones on offer:
You can check out the full Telstra phone range here.
Both Telstra and Woolworths Mobile device plans can be paid off across the typical 24 months, or over a 36-month term if you’d prefer a lower monthly bill. In both cases, these plans are no-contract on the basis that you can leave at any time, but you'll need to pay out the remaining value of your smartphone.
Woolworths smartphone plans all include data rollover. At the end of each month, unused data gets stored in a "data bank" that can then be used if you go over your regular monthly allowance. You can bank up to 100GB with Woolworths.
On the other hand, Telstra plans also have larger data options than what you'll find on Woolworths Mobile. Woolies maxes allowances out at 60GB, whereas Telstra has plans can be as large as 150GB.
Woolworths hasn't wasted any time since announcing its intention to re-enter the mobile market last month: the new Woolworths Connect plans (using Telstra's older and slower 3G network) go on sale from next Monday. Here's what's on offer and how they compare (hint: you can still do better).
Telstra’s SIM-only plan range is identical to its core range of device plans, you just don’t get a new handset. Every option is pricier than what you’d pay with Woolies, but they do come with the benefit of being contact-free. You can cancel or change your plan whenever you want.
In addition, these plans have no excess data fees. If you go over your allowance, instead of paying extra, your network access speeds are capped to 1.5Mbps.
Here are Telstra's current SIM-only plans:
You can't get quite as much data on a Woolworths Mobile SIM-only plan, but they’re much cheaper across the board. Plans start at $20 per month for 5GB. You do have to commit to a 12-month contract, however. As with Woolworths' handset plans, the telco's SIM-only plans let you bank up to 100GB of data.
Here are Woolworth Mobile's current SIM-only plans:
We don't have truly unlimited data mobile plans in Australia, but we've got a few options that come close. One of these is Telstra's 'Peace of Mind' data, a plan feature that’s now available across almost the entire Telstra mobile range. In the process, it has effectively killed the concept of excess data fees.
Woolworths Mobile doesn't include international roaming on any of its plans. If you're hoping to use your phone overseas, you'll need to grab a local SIM when you arrive at your destination or hope for the best when it comes to mooching off free WiFi.
Telstra postpaid plans include $10 per day roaming. Your $10 gets you 200MB of daily data and unlimited talk and text in more than 70 countries. If you're travelling to New Zealand, you'll only pay $5 per day.
If you go over your 200MB of daily data, you’ll pay a further $10 and get an extra 500MB of roaming data. This data has a 31-day expiry and can be used on subsequent days whenever you go over your initial 200MB.
Telstra vs Woolworths Mobile: Freebies
Telstra plans are pricier, but they tend to come with a bunch of bonuses. To start, every Telstra customer gets the following with their plan or recharge:
- Data-free music streaming through Apple Music
- Free access to Telstra Air Wi-Fi hotspots in Australia
- Free access to Fon public Wi-Fi hotposts when overseas
If you’re spending at least $30 per month on your plan or recharge, you’ll get AFL, AFLW, NRL, My Football, and Netball Live Passes for live data-free sport streaming.
You'll also get access to the Telstra Plus perks program, which earns you points for every dollar you spend with Big T and gets you a few other bonuses. These include:
- $12.50 movie tickets for Event and BCC cinemas, excluding sessions after 5pm on a Saturday, public holidays, and special events
- Free popcorn and drink large combo upgrade when you book a movie ticket through Telstra
- Presale tickets for select concerts and events
- Discounted tickets for select sporting events
Woolies doesn't offer the same kind of perks you’d get on a Telstra plan, but it has a couple of unique offers available.
For example, you'll get a 10GB "holiday data" bonus added to your account every three months. Much like your regular data, this can be banked and saved for later. A maximum of four bonuses can be accumulated at one time.
If you’re a new customer, you’ll get a free 12-month subscription to Family Zone Protect, which allows you to filter adult content, restrict the use of social media, and manage screen time on another device.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website.