NBN Showdown: Telstra vs. Optus

NBN Showdown: Telstra vs. Optus
Both Telstra and Optus plans are sold on a no-contract basis but attract setup fees. Image: Supplied
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Telstra and Optus are some of Australia’s largest internet providers, but they both sit toward the more premium end of the pricing scale. Spending a little more can net you some perks like more reliable peak hour speeds, but if you’re going to drop top dollar on your internet plan, which provider should you go for?


Both Telstra and Optus report excellent typical evening speeds on plans as fast as NBN 100, advertising plan tier maximums on the speed tiers they offer.

NBN 1000 NBN 250 NBN 100 NBN 50 NBN 25
Telstra 700Mbps 230Mbps 100Mbps 50Mbps 25Mbps
Optus 250Mbps 215Mbps 100Mbps 50Mbps

If you’re tossing up between Telstra and Optus on speed alone, there shouldn’t be any meaningful difference if you’re after an NBN 100 or NBN 50 plan. Both report 100Mbps during peak hours on NBN 100 plans, and 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans.

There’s more of a difference if you’re looking at plans faster than NBN 100, however. Telstra edges out Optus on the NBN 250 speed tier, reporting 230Mbps compared to Optus’ 215Mbps.

The gap is much wider when it comes to NBN 1000 plans. Telstra reports a massive 700Mbps on its NBN 1000 plan, which is currently the fastest evening speed guidance we’ve seen on the speed tier. Optus only reports 250Mbps on NBN 1000 plans, but until recently, 250Mbps was very much the industry standard for typical evening speeds on NBN 1000 plans.

Telstra and Aussie Broadband are the only two major telcos to have gone beyond this so far. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Optus increase its NBN 1000 plan evening speed guidance in the future.

Contracts and Setup Fees

Both Telstra and Optus plans are sold on a no-contract basis but attract setup fees.

While Telstra normally charges a $99 connection fee, it will currently waive it if you sign-up online. Optus plans also have a $99 start-up fee.

Telstra plans 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 the plan. This is equivalent to $9 per month left in your term.

Optus has a similar approach to its bundled 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 with Optus. This is equivalent to $7 per month left in your term.

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 $15 per month with Optus will bolt on a Fetch TV subscription with a Mighty set-top box and one premium channel pack, whereas an extra $10 per month with Telstra gets you a Telstra TV set-top box.

Optus also has a new family plan at $85 per month that is similar to its NBN 50 plan, but also includes a WiFi Extender. Taking this plan does however increase your prorated modem fee to $13 per month, up from $7 per month.

NBN 100 plans

When it comes to NBN 100 plans, Optus once again has three options available. A $95 per month plan, a $105 per month family plan that includes A WiFi Extender, or a $110 per month plan with a Fetch Mighty set-top box and one premium channel pack.

On Telstra, you’re looking at $90 per month for your first six months, and $110 per month thereafter.

NBN 250 plans

Telstra is currently running deep discounts on its NBN 250 plan, cutting the price down to $90 per month for your first six months. You’ll pay $140 per month thereafter.

Optus’ NBN 250 plan goes for $130 per month, or bundling in Fetch TV takes it to $145 per month.

NBN 250 plans are available to FTTP premises and at least 70% of HFC premises.

NBN 1000 plans

It’s a similar story on NBN 1000 plans. You’ll pay $130 per month for your first six months on Telstra, and $180 per month thereafter.

On Optus, you’ll pay $150 per month for the entry-level NBN 1000 plan, or $165 per month to add in a Fetch Mighty and premium channel pack.

NBN 1000 plans are available to FTTP premises, and about 7% of HFC premises.


Given both Telstra and Optus and NBN plans are at the premium end of the pricing spectrum, it’s natural to expect a few perks.

Firstly, both Telstra and Optus’ bundled modems offer 4G backup if your NBN connection carks it. In the event of an outage, you’ll be able to keep using your Telstra plan with speeds of 25Mbps down, or your Optus connection at 12Mbps down. In both cases, you’ll get unlimited data.

Big T customers also get access to the Telstra Plus perks program. Telstra Plus members get:

  • $12.50 movie tickets for Event and BCC cinemas, excluding sessions after 5pm on a Saturday, public holidays, and special events. A $3 surcharge applies after 5pm on Saturdays 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

You’ll need to join Telstra Plus to get these offers.

Telstra is currently giving new NBN subscribers three months of free access to Binge.

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 the points discounts on devices.

Optus has its own perks program, simply called Optus Perks. While Optus Perks previously included presale concert tickets and discounted experiences, the only benefit available right now is discounted movie tickets for Hoyts cinemas. These will set you back $12.50 for an adult ticket or $27 for LUX for any session on any day (including Saturday nights).

Optus NBN customers also get themselves a free Optus Sport subscription.

What about the rest?

If Telstra or Optus don’t 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.


  • What about lower speed options? I have a 25/5 200Gb NBN plan that meets all of my needs for surfing, streaming and video conferencing. There are many other people who don’t need high priced plans. How many people have been oversold?

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