Telstra and TPG are Australia's largest internet providers, but they're almost polar opposites. TPG built its reputation as a budget broadband provider. Telstra is anything but cheap. This is reflected in their NBN plans.
TPG's plans are fairly barebones, while Telstra has packed in value-adds and extras. However, at the end of the day, the core product is the same. If you're tossing up between the two, here's a look at how Telstra and TPG NBN plans compare.
|NBN 100||NBN 50||NBN 25||NBN 12|
Based on these alone, Telstra is the better choice if you're after a fast NBN 100 plan, while TPG is a better choice for NBN 50.
However, that's not the whole story. Telstra also reports real world evening speeds, based on the performance of 90% of its NBN customers. In October, Telstra said customers on its NBN 100 plans were getting average peak hour download speeds of 89.46Mbps and NBN 50 customers were getting 44.65Mbps. These numbers exclude fixed wireless customers, and FTTN, FTTB, and FTTC customers with a limited line speed.
These put Telstra ahead of TPG in terms of both NBN 50 and NBN 100 evening speeds. The difference between NBN 50 plans is much of a muchness - less than a megabit per second. But if you're looking at NBN 100 plans, the data suggests Telstra is about 10Mbps faster than TPG during the busiest internet hours of the day.
Contracts and Setup Fees
Telstra NBN plans are all sold on a no-contract basis, and for a limited time Telstra is waiving the $99 connection fee if you order a plan online. The plans also come with Telstra's second generation Smart Modem, valued at $216. However, you'll have to pay out the pro-rated value of your modem if you cancel your plan within your first 24 months with the plan.
TPG NBN plans are available on an 18-month contract or on a contract-free basis. If you'd prefer to go no-contract, you'll pay a $99.99 setup fee. No matter which option you choose, you'll also pay a $10 modem delivery fee and $20 phone call prepayment.
NBN 50 plans
When it comes to NBN 50 plans, TPG is about $20 per month cheaper than Telstra. You'll pay $69.99 per month for an unlimited data NBN 50 plan on TPG, or $90 per month for an unlimited data NBN 50 plan with Telstra. New Telstra customers can currently get their first month free.
NBN 100 plans
It's a similar story with NBN 100 plans. Telstra's NBN 100 plan is about $30 more expensive than TPG's. You're looking at $120 per month for an unlimited data NBN 100 plan with Telstra, or $89.99 per month with TPG. Again, new Telstra customers can currently get their first month free.
It is however worth noting that Telstra will only sell you an NBN 100 plan if you're on an FTTP or HFC connection. If you're on FTTB, FTTN, or FTTC, you'll need to purchase an NBN 50 plan first. After you're connected, you can upgrade to an NBN 100 plan if your physical connection is fast enough. This costs an extra $30 per month.
While Telstra's NBN plans are pricier than what's on offer at TPG, they include a few perks that could make them worthwhile. Firstly, all Telstra NBN plans include a modem with 4G backup. If the NBN goes down, your Telstra modem will tap into Telstra's 4G network to keep you online. Speeds are limited to 6Mbps, however. You also get access to the Telstra Air public Wi-Fi network.
Telstra NBN customers can also sign up for the Telstra Plus perks program. In addition to discounted movie tickets and presale tickets for select events, Telstra Plus sees you earning points based on your monthly spend. Once you accumulate enough, these can be redeemed for a shiny new gadget, or a discount on a pricier device.
And for an extra $9 per month, you can add a Telstra TV 3 set-top box to your plan. If you leave early, you'll pay out the pro-rated value of the Telstra TV.
By comparison, TPG's NBN plans are a much more no-frills affair.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website.