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 two of Australia’s largest internet providers, but they’re both pretty premium when it comes to price. Spending a little more can net you some perks like more reliable peak hour speeds and a few extras, but if you’re going to drop top dollar on your NBN plan, which provider should you pick?

Speeds

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 250Mbps 100Mbps 50Mbps 25Mbps
Optus 250Mbps 215Mbps 100Mbps 50Mbps

If speed is your primary concern, you shouldn’t see any real difference between Telstra and Optus on NBN 100 or NBN 50 plans.

Both providers report typical evening speeds of 100Mbps during peak hours on NBN 100 plans, and 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans. This means you shouldn’t encounter any meaningful congestion either telco.

Speeds vary more if you’re looking at plans faster than NBN 100, however. Telstra beats Optus on NBN 250 plans, reporting 250Mbps compared to Optus’ 215Mbps.

The difference is even larger on 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.

Contracts and NBN setup fees: Optus vs Telstra

Both Telstra and Optus plans are sold on a no-contract basis and can be had without set-up fees.

While Telstra normally charges a $99 connection fee, it will currently waive it if you sign-up online. Optus plans no longer have a set-up fee.

Telstra plans are bundled with a second-generation Smart Modem, valued at $216. Just be aware that you’ll need 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 two-year term.

You’ll face similar with Optus. The provider’s bundled Ultra WiFi Modem is valued at $252, and you’ll need to pay out a prorated amount if you leave within your first 36 months. This is equivalent to $7 per month left in your three-year term.

If you want to add in a WiFi Booster to extend your network range (included in Optus’ “Ultimate” plans) you’ll need to pay it off too. This is valued at $216, which works out to a further $6 per month for each month left in your three-year term. This means you’re looking at a total exit fee of $13 per month you’ve got left. Ultimate plans are also $10 per month more expensive than Optus’ standard plans.

Optus also has a gamer plan that includes an ASUS DSL-AX5400 WiFi 6 gaming modem. This is available on NBN 100 speed tiers and up. If you opt for Optus’ gamer plan, note that you won’t get 4G backup. Your modem fee also rises to $14 for each month left in your three-year term if you decide to bail early.

NBN 50 plans

When it comes to NBN 50, Optus plans start at $79 per month, while Telstra plans start at $95. Telstra will currently give you your first month for $1.

If you’re looking for extras, a further $10 per month on Optus takes you to its Ultimate plan, which includes a WiFi Extender. Optus will waive the $10 per month difference for your first six months.

NBN 100 plans

On NBN 100, Optus has three options: a basic plan, an Ultimate plan featuring the WiFi Extender, and its gamer plan.

With the basic plan, you’re looking at $89 per month for your first six months, and $99 per month thereafter. On the Ultimate plan, you’ll pay $99 per month for your first six months, and $109 per month thereafter. And on the gamer plan, you’ll pay $99 per month.

If you’d prefer Telstra, you’re looking at $110 per month, but can get your first month for $1.

NBN 250 plans

Once again, you’ve got three choices for Optus NBN 250 plans. You’ll pay $99 per month for your first six months on its standard plan, and $119 per month thereafter.

If you want the Ultimate plan with a WiFi Extender, you’ll pay $109 per month for your first six months, and $129 per month thereafter instead. And lastly, the gamer plan will set you back $109 per month for your first six months and $119 per month thereafter.

Telstra’s NBN 250 plan will set you back $140 per month, but you can get your first month for $31.

NBN 250 plans are available to those with FTTP or HFC NBN connections.

NBN 1000 plans

It’s a similar story with NBN 1000 plans. Optus is charging $129 per month for your first six months on its standard NBN 1000 plan, and $149 per month thereafter.

Adding in the WiFi Extender takes this to $139 per month and $159 per month, respectively. Alternatively, the gamer plan goes for $139 for your first six months and $149 per month thereafter.

On Telstra, you’ll pay $180 per month for an NBN 1000 plan, but can get your first month for $71.

NBN 1000 plans are available to FTTP premises, and over 90% of HFC premises.

Extras

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

Firstly, both Telstra and Optus’ bundled modems offer 4G backup if your NBN goes down. In the event of an outage, you’ll be able to stay online with 4G download speeds of 25Mbps. The only exception to this is Optus’ gaming plan.

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 5:00 pm on a Saturday, public holidays, and special events. A $3 surcharge applies after 5:00 pm 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 also offers discounted movie tickets, but 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 score 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.

This article has been updated to reflect the latest updates on Telstra and Optus’ NBN offerings.

Comments

  • 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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