The Telstra network has earned a strong reputation for being Australia's best, despite Optus and Vodafone recently topping various network reports for having slightly better voice and data in our capital cities.
Still, if you compare coverage maps, there's little doubt that the Telstra network reaches farther, with tendrils of coverage spreading out across regional Australia. The downside of Telstra's reputation is the price premium you pay to access it. Or at least it used to be.
Over the last couple of years Telstra has added several wholesale and retail partners that all offer Telstra 4G coverage, minus the Telstra price tag. You probably know a few of these, like Boost Mobile, but there are now 10 to choose from.
Telstra network plans with 10GB or more
How do you like them apples? While you might find cheaper plans using the Optus or Vodafone network, it is hard to argue that the Telstra network is out of anyone's reach.
The table above has a mix of no-contract and 12-month contract plans, and you will find that signing up for a year will get you a much better deal. Telstra's Mx plan is a great example. You get plenty of data, and all of Telstra's perks, but you need a 12-month contract to get this price.
There's a good mix of prepaid and postpaid, big name brands like Aldi and Woolworths, and options like Lycamobile with international calls bundled in.
It's worth pointing out that the providers you see with 12-month plans also have no-contract options. Click here to see the full list.
Phones on a plan (Samsung Galaxy S9)
If you're looking for a new phone, a few of the Telstra MVNOs sell a small range of new handsets. Woolworth is interesting because it has phone repayment options, like Vodsfone. You pick you plan, and then you choose a repayment term for the smartphone.
It's also worth noting that the Telstra MVNOs don't access the entire Telstra network. They do tap into the vast majority of it, but there are patches of rural Australia that are missing when you compare the coverage maps. Telstra also saves its super fast 4GX speeds for its own customers. MVNO customers get regular, old 4G speeds.
Joe Hanlon is Publisher at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website. He’s been writing about phones and plans for far too long.