If you had to pick a single word to describe Telstra, it would probably be “expensive”. Big T might often be considered Australia’s best mobile network, but that privilege costs you a pretty penny.
There are, however, plenty of smaller telcos powered by the Telstra network; some who you’ll be familiar with, some who you won’t. These providers tend to offer the same basic service as Telstra, but often at a cheaper price.
So if you’re keen to get Telstra network access without breaking the bank, here are some of our favourite Telstra-powered SIM-only plans that you can get right now from providers that aren’t Telstra.
Belong – Telstra’s budget brand – is one of your best options for a Telstra-powered SIM-only plan. $40 per month gets you 40GB, as well as unlimited international talk and text to around 30 selected countries. For comparison, $50 per month only gets you 30GB on Telstra proper, and you need to pay an extra $10 per month to add international inclusions.
Belong plans also include data rollover, which lets you stockpile any used data for a later. If you manage to build up a decent stash – say, you end up only using 20GB per month – you can always drop down to Belong’s $10 plan to save yourself some money while your work through your data bank. Belong lets you change plan once per month.
If all you need is a cheap plan, Boost is a good choice when it comes to the lower end of the pricing spectrum. $20 gets you 5GB on a 28-day recharge. This plan also gets you unlimited international talk and text to 20 selected destinations, and 100 standard minutes to another 35 destinations.
Notably, Boost is the one Telstra-powered provider (other than Big T itself) with access to the entire Telstra 4G network. While other Telstra MVNOs get access to most of what Telstra has to offer, they miss out on access to a few rural and regional towers.
Boost now also offers long-term expiry plans. For example, you can pay $300 upfront to get yourself a 240GB data allowance that will last you an entire year. That works out to be equivalent to $25 per month for 20GB per month, which is a solid deal if you can stomach dropping $300 on your phone plan in one go.
Woolworths probably isn’t who comes to mind when you’re thinking about phone plans, but the fresh food people also sling solid value plans powered by the Telstra network. Right now, $40 per month will get you 40GB, provided you sign up before July 5. This plan requires committing to a 12-month contract, but you get some nifty perks, such as a bonus 10GB every three months. Woolies’ postpaid plans have data banking, so you’re able to keep any unused data for a later date.
ALDI is another unexpected name in the phone game, offering 18GB on a 30-day prepaid recharge for $25 (and $5 upfront). In addition to a generous data allowance, the plan also includes unlimited calls to 15 select countries.
Lastly, new-comer Pennytel will cut 25% off your bill if you sign-up to its 20GB plan before May 24, which brings down the price from $29.99 per month to $22.49 per month. This discount will only last for your first three months, but the plan is contract-free so you’re free to leave at any time.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.