Telstra is often referred to as Australian’s best mobile network, but that privilege typically comes at a price.
However, Big T’s reputation as a premium provider doesn’t mean there aren’t more affordable ways to sidle onto an otherwise expensive network. If you’re willing to shop around, you’ll find plenty of MVNOs powered by the Telstra network, all who offer the coverage you crave at a lower cost.
Here are some of our favourite Telstra-powered SIM-only plans.
Telstra network plans with 30GB of data or more
Let’s start with Boost Mobile. If you sign up before March 15, you’ll get your first $30 recharge for $15. In addition, you’ll also get a bonus 18GB data on your first three recharges. This gives you an allowance of 38GB initially, which will drop down to 20GB when the promo is up. This plan also comes with unlimited international calls and text to 20 countries, and a further 300 minutes for another 30 destinations.
Boost Mobile is also worth considering because it’s the only provider with access to the entire Telstra network. Every other Telstra powered MVNO only has access to the Telstra wholesale network. While Telstra’s full network reaches 99.4% of the population, the wholesale version covers 98.8%. This may not seem like a huge difference, but it can mean most Telstra MVNOs may not be suitable for some in rural and regional areas.
numobile also has a solid deal where you’ll pay $30 per month for 30GB. $1 per gigabyte is excellent at this price point for a Telstra MVNO. Alternatively, Pennytel has a pretty similar offer: 30GB will set you back $32.99 on a contract-free basis. Both these plans have unlimited talk and text to 15 destinations.
If you need a little more data, you could go for ALDI, where you’ll pay $35 for a 40GB recharge. Be aware that you’ll pay an extra $5 upfront. ALDI also has unlimited international calls to 15 countries.
There’s also Belong with a 40GB plan for $40. Belong is Telstra’s budget brand – a diet Telstra, if you will – and offers no frills plans with better bang-for-buck. You won’t get the same kind of extras as you do on Telstra itself, but when you exclude promo pricing, you’d normally pay $55 per month for 40GB on Telstra. This plan has unlimited international talk and text to around 30 countries, although these change slightly from time to time.
Telstra is however running a promo of its own, offering 15GB of bonus data on its $40 prepaid plan for your first three recharges. This gets you 35GB of data initially, and 20GB when the promo runs out. This plan has 500 international minutes to what Telstra calls “Zone 1” destinations.
Telstra network plans with 50GB of data or more
If you need even more data, Woolworths Mobile should be your first port of call. You’ll get 55GB for $45 per month on a contract-free plan. Better yet, you’ll also get 10% off a Woolies grocery shop once per month. This plan includes unlimited standard international talk and text to 22 countries.
ALDI and numobile both have similar plans, but the Woolies has stronger international inclusions, and the grocery discount puts it over the edge.
If you want to stick with Telstra itself, Big T is doing a discount on its 80GB plan. You’ll pay $60 per month for your first year, and $65 per month thereafter. You’ll also get 30 minutes of standard international calls to any country, and unlimited international SMS and MMS to any destination. This offer is available until March 29.
Telstra network plans with 5GB of data or more
If you’re after a Telstra powered plan with smaller inclusions, you should be considering either Pennytel or Woolworths Mobile. Pennytel gets you 18GB for $22.49 per month for your first six months, after which you’ll pay $24.99 per month. This offer is available until March 13.
Woolies, on the other hand, will sell you an 18GB plan for $25 per month. You will however get 10% off your Woolworths grocery shop once per month.
Pennytel’s plan has unlimited international talk and text to 15 destinations, but Woolies doesn’t have any overseas inclusions at this price point.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.