Is Telstra’s Budget Brand Actually Worth It?

Is Telstra’s Budget Brand Actually Worth It?

You might not know it, but Belong is quite literally budget Telstra. In many cases this discount mobile and internet brand comes in cheaper that Big T. But is it actually worth it?

Of course, a cheap Telstra plan might seem too good to be true. You might be wondering if Belong’s cut price plans can hold up to what you get with Telstra proper. To help, we’re going to look at how the pair compare on both mobile and NBN plans.

Telstra vs. Belong: Mobile plans

Both Telstra and Belong recently refreshed their mobile plans. Let’s look at how they compare. Here’s the complete set of Telstra and Belong SIM-only plans, in order of price:

Which is cheaper?

As you can see, Belong’s most expensive plan is more affordable than Telstra’s cheapest. With Belong, plans start at $25 per month for 20GB and max out at $45 per month with 80GB. On Telstra, you’re looking at least $55 per month for a 40GB plan.

What about bonuses?

Belong’s plans are a little bit more basic than Telstra’s. The only extra perks you get are data rollover and the ability to gift data to any other Belong customer. You can add unlimited international talk and text to 30 countries to any plan, but it will cost you an extra $5 per month.

Telstra’s new range of plans includes 30 minutes of international standard international calls to any country out of the box, and unlimited international text. You can also share your data with any other Upfront plan on your account.

What about data caps and coverage between Telstra and Belong?

Both providers are free from excess data charges. If you go over your data on Belong, you’ll be capped to speeds of 64kbps for the remainder of the month. If you don’t want to deal with dial-up-esque connectivity, you can pay $10 for a further 5GB.

With Telstra, you’ll be capped to a much more reasonable 1.5Mbps.

One major difference is that Belong only offers SIM-only plans, while Telstra also has new devices. If you’re after a Belong plan, you already need to have your own phone. Here’s a selection of popular devices currently available through Telstra:

It’s also worth noting that while Belong might be powered by Telstra, it doesn’t have access to the entire Telstra network. Belong uses the Telstra wholesale network to deliver mobile service, which reaches 98.8 per cent of the Australian population. Telstra’s full network reaches 99.4 per cent.

This might not seem like a massive difference, but it can affect coverage in remote, regional, and rural areas.

Here’s how the full Telstra network compares to Belong.

Belong currently doesn’t have access to Telstra’s 5G network.

Lastly, here’s how Belong and Telstra’s plans compare to a few other postpaid providers powered by the Telstra network:

Telstra vs. Belong: NBN plans

For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to start by comparing Telstra and Belong contract-free NBN plans:

Which is cheaper?

Unsurprisingly, Belong in comes in much cheaper than Telstra. $60 per month gets you Belong’s NBN Stater plan with unlimited data. This plan, is however, capped to maximum speeds of 30Mbps.

Comparatively, Telstra’s cheapest NBN plan is an NBN 25 option with 500GB for $75 per month.

Both plans are contract-free, but there are caveats to be aware of. You’ll need to pay a $60 modem fee if you’re after a contract-free Belong plan. On Telstra, if you leave within your first 24 months, you’ll pay out a modem fee equivalent to $9 multiplied by the number of months left in your two-year term.

This trend continues as we go up in speed tiers. You can get Belong’s NBN 50 ‘Standard Plus’ plan for $70 per month, while Telstra will set you back $80 per month for your first six months (and $90 per month thereafter).

What about the speed differences between Telstra and Belong?

In a rather unusual move, Belong’s NBN 50 plan is capped to speed of 40Mbps no matter what time of day. This is the same case with its NBN 100, where you won’t get speeds faster than 80Mbps.

In comparison, Telstra reports typical evening speeds of 50Mbp and 100Mbps on its NBN 50 and NBN 100 plans, respectively. This means you shouldn’t encounter any slowdown, no matter what time of day.

Any bonuses?

Given Telstra’s premium pricing, you can expect a few bonuses with its NBN plans. All plans come with a three-month free subscription to Binge, you’ll get a modem with 4G backup in the event your NBN goes down (with download speeds of up to 25Mbps), and access to faster NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans.

These faster plans are only available to certain NBN premises, however. All FTTP connections can get either an NBN 250 or NBN 1000 plan, while at least 70 per cent of HFC connections can get a NBN 250 plan, and at least 7% can get an NBN 1000 plan.

No other connection type can currently get an NBN plan faster than NBN 100.

Belong has contract-free options for its NBN Starter and NBN Standard Plus plan, where you’ll save $5 per month and get a $0 modem in exchange for committing to a year with the telco.

Lastly, here’s how Belong and Telstra’s NBN 50 plans compare to a few other popular providers:

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