NBN Showdown: Telstra vs. TPG

NBN Showdown: Telstra vs. TPG
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Telstra and TPG are Australia’s largest NBN providers, but they’re entirely different beasts. Telstra isn’t cheap, but comes with heaps of perks, while TPG built its reputation slinging budget internet plans.

This is reflected in both telcos’ approach to NBN. Telstra plans come with bonuses and perks, while TPG’s are a little simpler and more affordable. Fortunately, both offer pretty great speeds. If you’re trying to pick between the pair, here’s a look at how Telstra, and TPG NBN plans compare.

Telstra and TPG NBN speeds

Typical evening speeds are one of the biggest differences between NBN providers, serving as an indicator of what kind of performance you can expect during the busiest parts of the day. Both Telstra and TPG increased their reported evening speeds lately, making them some of the fastest NBN providers around.

Here are the speeds Telstra and TPG report across each speed tier they offer.

tpg telstra nbn

Telstra is ostensibly reporting congestion-free evening speeds when it comes to NBN 100, NBN 50, and NBN 25 speed tiers. This means you should be able to get the speed tier’s maximum potential no matter what time of day.

TPG’s plans are also faster than what they used to be, with it now reporting 95Mbps on NBN 100 plans. That’s a huge increase from the 80Mbps it previously reported, and puts it equal second in terms of major provider evening speeds (alongside stablemate iiNet).

In addition, Telstra is now offering NBN 1000 and NBN 250 plans. TPG hasn’t made these available to its customers yet.

Telstra and TPG contracts and setup fees

Telstra NBN plans are sold on a no-contract basis, and you can avoid paying the $99 setup fee if you sign-up online. Telstra plans come with a second-generation Smart Modem, which provides 4G backup in case your NBN cuts out.

The modem is valued at $216. Just be aware that if you leave within your first 24 months, you’ll need to pay out the pro-rated value. This is equivalent to $9 for each month remaining in your two-year term.

On the other hand, you can pick from signing a six-month contract or going contract-fee with TPG. If you’d prefer to avoid a contract, you’ll pay a $99.99 setup fee which covers your modem. No matter which you pick, you’ll also need to pay a $10 modem delivery fee and $20 phone call prepayment.

NBN 50 plans

When it comes to NBN 50 plans, TPG will set you back $20 less than Telstra. You’ll pay $69.99 per month for an unlimited data NBN 50 plan on TPG, or $90 per month for an unlimited data NBN 50 plan with Telstra.

Here’s how the telcos compare to their competition in market:

NBN 100 plans

Both Telstra and TPG are currently running promos on NBN 100 plans. You’ll pay $79.99 per month for your first six months with TPG, and $89.99 per month thereafter. Committing to a six-month contract will save you paying any setup fees, and you can always leave once the discount expires and your term runs up.

Telstra has knocked its NBN 100 plan down to $90 per month for your first year, after which you’ll pay $110 per month. While the plan is contract-free, remember you’ll need to pay out a modem fee if you leave before two years. If you left exactly a year in, you’re looking at an exit fee of $108.

The other way to look at the Telstra plan is to average out the discount over the two-year term. This makes it the equivalent of paying $100 per month across two years, which isn’t that bad for a high-end NBN plan. Aussie Broadband and iiNet charge similar.

And here’s how Telstra and TPG’s NBN 100 plans compare to the competition:

NBN 100 plans compared, sorted by speed

Plans faster than NBN 100

Telstra also offers NBN 250 plans and NBN 1000 plans, which TPG doesn’t currently have in its roster. You’re looking at $140 per month for a Telstra’s NBN 250 plan, or $180 per month for a Telstra NBN 1000 plan.

NBN 250 plans are only available to FTTP customers and 70% of HFC customers. NBN 1000 plans are only available to FTTP customers, and 7% of HFC customers. NBN Co hopes that all HFC customers will be able to sign-up for an NBN 250 plan by June 2021.

Telstra NBN extras

Telstra NBN plans cost a little more than TPG, but they include a few perks that could make them more attractive. To start, Telstra plans come with a modem with 4G backup. If your NBN carks it, you’ll switch over onto Telstra’s 4G network with download speeds of up to 25Mbps.

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

  • $12.50 standard movie tickets for Event and BCC cinemas. A $3 surcharge applies for after 5pm on a Saturday 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 Plus membership also earns 10 points for every dollar you spend on your monthly bill as part of a Frequent Flyer style rewards scheme. These can then be redeemed for gadgets or discounts on devices.

By comparison, TPG’s NBN plans are a fairly standard ‘just internet’ affair.

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