Much like "civil online debate", "cheap Telstra plans" is a phrase seldom spoke. Big T is often referred to as Australian's best mobile network, but that privilege comes at a price.
However, Telstra's reputation as a premium provider doesn't mean there aren't more affordable ways to sidle onto an otherwise expensive network. Telstra has been running some killer deals in the lead up to Christmas.
But more importantly, there are now plenty of MVNOs powered by the Telstra network, all of which get you the coverage you crave without making your bank account cry.
Here’s some of our favourite Telstra-powered SIM-only plans.
Plans With 30GB+ Data
In terms of data-for-dollar, the best value SIM-only plan on the Telstra network currently comes from Telstra. $49 per month gets you 60GB on a 12-month contract. This is easily one of the most generous Telstra offers we've seen to date. There is however a catch: this offer is only available to new customers.
If you're an existing Telstra customer, you'll get billed $59 per month instead. Admittedly, this is still a nice discount on the plan's regular $69 per month access fee.
If you don't need quite as much data or just don't want to sign a contract, Southern Phone is currently doing 30GB for $40 per month on a month-to-month basis.
Plans With 15GB+ Data
Not all of us guzzle data to the point at which a large plan makes fiscal sense, but there are still plenty of well-priced Telstra network plans with more moderate allowances.
Right now, Southern Phone is the standout. $30 per month gets you 15GB with no contract. Perfect if you want a well-priced plan that doesn't make you ask "what would I even use that data for?"
If you’d prefer prepaid, Boost Mobile is the current winner with a 22GB inclusion on its $40 recharge. You’ll currently get a bonus 23GB on your first five $30+ recharges, giving you a hefty amount of extra data for your first few months. You’ll need to make your recharge by February 25 next year to be eligible for bonus data.
It's worth noting that Boost’s recharges have a 28-day expiry, so you’ll need to top up 13 times per year. However, Prepaid does mean you can leave whenever you want, so you can always bail after you've used up all your bonus data.
Plans With 5GB+ Data
Southern Phone comes out on top when it comes to small inclusion plans. $20 per month currently gets you 5GB with no contract.
Belong is a good all-rounder with 5GB for $25 per month on a month-to-month basis. Better yet, you can bolt on unlimited international calls to 35 countries for just $5 extra per month.
When it comes to prepaid, Telstra's $30 8GB recharge is good value, and comes with a 22GB Data Bank bonus on your first five recharges. Telstra prepaid plans let you save up to 200GB of unused data in between recharges, which can then be used at a later date when you've exhausted your standard inclusion - provided you have an active recharge worth at least $30.
To get this bonus, you'll need to make your first recharge by February 5 next year, and all other recharges by June 30.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website. He's now had far too many phone plan related dreams.