How Do Telstra’s New Phone Plans Stack Up?

How Do Telstra’s New Phone Plans Stack Up?
Image: Telstra
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Telstra has refreshed its mobile plans, increasing prices, but also data allowances in some cases.

While Telstra Upfront plans previously started at $55 per month with 40GB, you’re now looking at $58 per month for the same allowance. The $65 per month plan is now $68 per month, but has a 180GB data allowance, which is a 100GB increase over the previous plan. And lastly, Telstra’s new top-end plan is an $89 per month option with 300GB.

In addition, the $58 plan now includes 5G. Speeds are capped to 250Mbps, however. While that’s still quite fast, it’s about a quarter of the speed Telstra’s 5G network is capable of.

Before we start…

Here’s the new core range of Telstra Upfront plans

No contract SIM-only plans:

When it comes to SIM-only plans, Telstra is still the most expensive option.

Vodafone has the cheapest SIM-only plan out of the three, offering 40GB of data for $40 per month. On the other hand, you’re looking a $45 per month for 20GB on Optus, or $58 per month for 40GB on Telstra.

Telstra’s $68 per month plan with 180GB is the sweet spot in terms of value if you’re set on Big T. It also compares reasonably well to Optus’ $65 per month plan with 200GB. Optus is also discounting its 500GB plan to $65 per month for your first year. You’ll pay $115 per month thereafter.

If you go over your allowance, all three providers offer unlimited data at capped speeds. On Telstra and Optus, you’ll get restricted to 1.5Mbps. Vodafone plan capped speeds vary between 2Mbps and 10Mbps, depending on how much your monthly spend is. The more expensive your bill, the faster your capped speeds are. Vodafone also has a truly unlimited plan currently available for $65 per month.

Plans with a phone

All telcos now sell phones the same way: you pick from one of their SIM-only plans, and then slap on a handset. You’ll then pay it off over 12, 24 or 36 months, interest-free, at an overall cost that’s roughly equivalent to the outright price. Telstra doesn’t consistently offer 36-month repayments, however.

The similarity between how all three telcos now sell phones means pricing is a lot more predictable: you’re just taking the outright price of the phone and tacking it onto your chosen plan. However, a few other factors can alter this equation. We’ve seen telcos apply discounts to the outright price of a phone to make them a little cheaper, for example.

Let’s look at how the cheapest options from the Big Three providers compare for some of the latest devices.

How do Telstra, Optus and Vodafone plans compare?

iPhone 13 (128GB)

iPhone 13 Pro (128GB)

Samsung Galaxy S22 (128GB)

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (128GB)

Google Pixel 6 Pro (128GB)

OPPO Find X5 Pro (256GB)

International calls

Telstra’s plans include unlimited SMS and MMS to all international numbers and 30 minutes of calls to any standard international number. If you want to make more than 30 minutes of international calls in a month, you’ll need to add on a $10 per month International Calling Pack.

All Optus plans worth at least $55 per month include unlimited talk and text to 35 countries.

Vodafone plans start to get international calling inclusions from the $45 per month and up mark. These are typically broken down into Zone 1 and Zone 2 destinations. For example, Vodafone’s $50 per month plan includes 1,000 minutes to Zone 1 destinations and 100 minutes to Zone 2. All Vodafone postpaid plans include unlimited standard international SMS.

Extras

On top of talk, text, and data, plans from the Big Three all include a couple of extras.

Telstra plans get you discounted movie tickets from Event Cinemas and data-free access to Apple Music. You’ll need to join Telstra Plus if you want cheap movie tickets, however.

Joining Telstra Plus also 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. Telstra Plus is free to join.

You’ll also get a one-month free trial of Foxtel Now and a one-month free trial of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Optus customers can get discounted access to Optus Sport, and discounted tickets for Hoyts cinemas.

Vodafone doesn’t have much in terms of extras, but if you’ve got multiple postpaid plans on the same Vodafone account, you’ll save 5 per cent on your total bill for each plan after the first, up to a maximum of 20 per cent. This includes SIM-only, mobile, tablet, and mobile broadband. Vodafone mobile customers can also get a discount on Vodafone 4G home internet, 5G home internet, and NBN plans.

What are my other options?

If you’re looking for a cheaper plan on the Telstra network, these plans with at least 40GB start at $35 per month.

Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.