Telstra or TPG: Who Has the Best NBN Plans?

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NBN plans, Telstra, TPG
Image: Getty

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 somewhat barebones, while Telstra plans get you extras and perks. However, at the end of the day, you’re still shopping for an internet connection. If you’re tossing up between the two, here’s a look at how Telstra and TPG plans compare.

Typical evening speeds

Typical evening speeds are one of the biggest differences between NBN providers, serving as an indicator of what kind of performance you can expect during the busiest parts of the day. Here are the speeds Telstra and TPG report across each speed tier they offer.

NBN 100 NBN 50 NBN 25 NBN 12
Telstra 88Mbps 44Mbps 20Mbps
TPG 80.1Mbps 46Mbps 11.2Mbps

Based on these figures, Telstra is the better choice if you’re after a fast NBN 100 plan, while TPG is a better choice for NBN 50.

However, Telstra also reports real-world evening speeds, based on the performance of 90% of its NBN customers. Telstra’s latest real-world figures come from May, where it says customers on its NBN 100 plans were getting average peak hour speed of 93.23Mbps and NBN 50 customers were getting 46.78Mbps.

These numbers exclude fixed wireless customers, and FTTN, FTTB, and FTTC customers with a limited line speed. It Is worth remembering that past performance isn’t an indicator of future speeds, but Telstra’s reported speeds have been sitting within a megabit per second of each other across the last six months.

When you look at Telstra’s real-world speeds, Big T is about 13Mbps faster than TPG during the busiest hours of the day. That’s pretty significant. However, the difference between NBN 50 plans is much of a muchness. In the best-case scenario, you’re getting less than a megabit per second extra on Telstra compared to TPG during the busiest internet hours of the day.

Contracts and setup fees

Telstra NBN plans are sold on a no-contract basis, and Telstra will waive the $99 setup fee if you sign-up online. Telstra NBN plans also include a second-generation Smart Modem, which facilitates 4G backup just in case your internet carks it. These are valued at $216. However, if you leave within your first 24 months, you’ll need to pay out the pro-rated value of your modem. This is valued at $9 per month for each month remaining in your 24-month term.

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 you pick, you’ll also need to 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.

NBN 100 plans

It’s the same story when it comes to NBN 100 plans. You’ll pay $20 more per month on Telstra than on TPG. You’re looking at $110 per month for an unlimited NBN 100 plan with Telstra, or $89.99 per month on TPG.

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, Telstra you’re limited to NBN 50 plans. TPG on the other hand makes NBN 100 plans available to all fixed line NBN customers.

Extras

Telstra’s NBN plans may be a bit pricier than TPG’s, but they include a few perks that could make them tempting. As aforementioned, Telstra NBN plans include a modem that supports 4G backup. If your NBN goes down, the modem will tap into Telstra’s 4G network to get you back online instantly. 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 to the free 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.

Customers who nab an NBN 50 plan before September 30 will get 20,000 bonus Telstra Points, and customers who grab an NBN 100 plan will get 40,000. A Google Nest Mini is valued at 10,000 Telstra Points, for example, while a pair of entry-level AirPods will set you back 70,000.

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.

Lastly, Telstra is also offering NBN customers three months of free access to the standard tier of Binge (valued at $14 per month). You can get a further three months by signing up to Telstra Plus.

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.

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