Telstra and Optus are two of Australia’s largest internet providers, but they both sit toward the more premium end of the pricing scale. Spending extra can net you perks like more reliable peak hour speeds, but if you’re going to drop top dollar on your internet plan, who should you pick?
Both Telstra and Optus increased their reported evening speeds lately, making them some of the fastest providers around.
|NBN 1000||NBN 250||NBN 100||NBN 50||NBN 25|
Telstra is ostensibly reporting congestion-free evening speeds when it comes to NBN 100, NBN 50, and NBN 25 speed tiers – it says you can expect to get the speed tier’s maximum potential no matter what time of day.
Optus’ plans are also faster than they used to be, but a tad slower than what Telstra is advertising. 90Mbps is still excellent for an NBN 100 plan, however, and makes Optus the second fastest major provider (alongside Superloop and SpinTel, who both also report 90Mbps).
Telstra and Optus have both also started offering NBN 1000 and NBN 250 plans. The pair report identical evening speeds on both tiers, which at this stage, are fairly standard for the entire telco industry.
Contracts and Setup Fees
Both Telstra and Optus plans are sold on a no-contract basis but attract setup fees.
While Telstra typically charges new customers a $99 connection fee, it’s currently waiving if you sign-up online. Optus plans also have a $99 start-up fee.
Telstra plans all include a second-generation Smart Modem, valued at $216. However, you’ll have to pay out the prorated value of your modem if you cancel your plan within your first 24 months with Telstra. This is equivalent to $9 per month left in your term. So, if you left halfway through your term, you’d be looking at an exit fee of $108.
Optus does similar with its Ultra WiFi Modem. The modem is valued at $252, and you’ll need to pay out a prorated amount if you leave within your first three years. This is equivalent to $7 per month left in your term. If you left halfway through, you’re looking at $126 to leave.
NBN 50 plans
When it comes to NBN 50 plans, Optus plans start at $75 per month, while Telstra plans start at $90.
Spending an extra $4 per month with Optus will add on a Fetch Mini set-top box, while an extra $15 per month will bolt on a Fetch TV subscription with a Mighty set-top box and one premium channel pack. On the other hand, an extra $10 per month with Telstra gets you a Telstra TV set-top box.
NBN 100 plans
Both Telstra and Optus are currently discounting NBN 100 plans. While Optus NBN 100 plans would normally start at $95 per month, you can currently get a $10 per month discount on its $99 plan with a Fetch Mini for your first 12 months. This brings it down to $89 per month. This discount also applies to Optus’ Fetch Mighty plan, which comes down to $100 per month for your first year.
On the other hand, Telstra is offering a $20 per month discount on its NBN 100 plan, slashing it to $90 per month for your first year. You’ll pay $110 per month after.
NBN 250 plans
Telstra and Optus both now offer NBN 250 plans. Once again, Optus is cheaper: you’re looking at $130 per month. With Telstra, you’ll pay $140.
All FTTP NBN connections and 70% of HFC connections can get an NBN 250 plan. All HFC connections should be able to get an NBN 250 plan by June next year.
NBN 1000 plans
It’s a similar story with NBN 1000 plans. You’ll pay $150 per month on Optus or $180 per month on Telstra.
All FTTP NBN connections and 7% of HFC connections can get an NBN 1000 plan.
Given Telstra and Optus NBN plans are both at the premium end of the pricing spectrum, it’s natural to expect a few perks.
To start, the pair both offer bundled modems with 4G backup in the event that your NBN connection goes down. If you’re experiencing an outage, either modem will kick over onto a 4G network, albeit capped at speeds of 12Mbps.
Big T customers also get access to the Telstra Plus perks program. Telstra Plus members get:
- $12.50 standard movie tickets for Event and BCC cinemas. A $3 surcharge applies for after 5pm on a Saturday and on public holidays.
- Free popcorn and drink large combo upgrade when you book a movie ticket through Telstra
- Discounted tickets to select sporting events
- Presale tickets for select concerts and events (aww, remember those?)
You’ll need to join Telstra Plus to get these offers.
In addition, joining Telstra Plus earns 10 points for every dollar you spend on your monthly bill as part of a Frequent Flyer style rewards scheme. You can spend these points on selected gadgets or use them to get discounts on devices.
Optus has its own perks program, simply called Optus Perks. Benefits include:
- Discounted movie tickets for Hoyts cinemas, starting at $12.50 for an adult ticket or $27 for LUX for any session on any day (including Saturday nights)
- Discounted tickets for “over 3,000 experiences” across Australia and New Zealand, including activities such as jet boating and hot air ballooning, when these are all operational again.
- Presale tickets for concerts and sporting events when they are available.
Optus NBN customers also get themselves a free Optus Sports subscription.
What about the rest?
If neither Telstra or Optus seem right for you, here’s a look at how their NBN 50 plans stack up to the competition:
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
As Lifehacker editors we write about stuff we like and think you'll like too. Lifehacker often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.