If you want Telstra network access, Big T isn’t your only choice. There are plenty of other telcos powered by the network that are cheaper
Telstra runs Belong as its discount brand, undercutting its own plans. While you’ll pay $55 per month for a Telstra SIM-only plan with 40GB, you’ll only pay $35 per month for the same allowance on Belong.
All Belong plans include unlimited data rollover, meaning unused data at the end of each month is stored for future use. If you build up a large enough stash you can drop down to a cheaper plan and save on your monthly bill until you burn it all.
If you’ve got friends on Belong, you can also gift data in 1GB increments.
Boost is kinda special when it comes to Telstra MVNOs. It’s the only one with access to the full Telstra network. Telstra’s 3G and 4G networks reach 99.4 per cent of the population, but the Telstra wholesale network that only reaches 98.8 per cent of the population.
This may not seem significant, but it can affect coverage in some remote, regional, and rural areas. Here’s how the full Telstra network vs wholesale compare:
In addition to more coverage than other Telstra MVNOs, all Boost plans include data-free streaming of Apple Music, and all 28-day recharges include data rollover if you top up before expiry.
Boost also has year-long recharges for those willing to commit to a longer term.
Woolworths Mobile is often one of the best value options for buying a phone on a plan. Woolies doesn’t just undercut Telstra, but Optus and Vodafone too.
The cheapest Galaxy S21 5G plan on Telstra will set you back $107 per month for 40GB on a 24-month term. Comparatively, you pay $82.75 per month on Woolworths Mobile for a 35GB plan.
Woolworths Mobile doesn’t have as large a range of smartphones as Telstra, but it sells most Samsung devices:
It also has most OPPO devices:
Woolworths Mobile also has a solid range of SIM-only plans:
It’s worth noting that Woolworths Mobile doesn’t currently have access to Telstra’s 5G network.
All Woolworths Mobile customers can get 10% off their Woolies grocery shop once up a month, up to a maximum discount of $50.
ALDI Mobile is also powered by the Telstra network and has a solid range of prepaid plans sold on a 30-day expiries.
The plans are a bit basic, but spending at least $25 per month nets you unlimited talk and text to 15 countries and a further 100 minutes for another 35.
All ALDI Mobile prepaid plans also include data rollover.
Pennytel is one of the newer names on the Telstra network, and focuses on affordability. At present, every plan will cost you less than $25 per month.
MATE is better known as an NBN provider, but the company also offers SIM-only plans powered by the Telstra network. The plans are decent value, but if you bundle one with a MATE NBN plan, you’ll save $10 per month on your monthly bill.
All MATE mobile plans worth $25 per month or month include a bonus subscription to music streaming service Tidal, valued at $11.99 per month. If you’re okay with changing your music service (or are already a Tidal customer), it’s not a bad way to bring down your monthly expenses.
numobile is a telco with a twist, selling refurbished phones only. Devices on offer tend to be a little older, like the iPhone XR and Galaxy S9 – but this also means you save a bit of cash. The phones go through multiple stages of testing to ensure everything still works, but they may have some superficial damage like light scuffs and scratches.
It also has a range of SIM-only plans:
So why go with Telstra?
While most Telstra-powered providers offer better bang-for-buck, there are still a few compelling reasons to stick to with the OG.
Firstly, besides Boost, Big T keeps its full network to itself. It also isn’t passing its 5G network onto its MVNOs yet.
And while overseas travel isn’t exactly A Thing right now, MVNOs tend to be a bad choice for global roaming. You’ll be stung by hefty pay-as-you-go rates, or roaming might be disabled entirely.
Comparatively, with Telstra you’ll pay $10 per day you’re overseas which gets you 500MB of data and unlimited talk and text (or $5 per day in New Zealand). If you go over, you’ll pay another $10 for a 1GB top-up with a 31-day expiry.
This can still add up quickly, so it is always worth considering a local SIM at your destination.
Lastly, you’ll also get access to the Telstra Plus perks program, which gets you a few bonuses. These include:
- $12.50 movie tickets for Event and BCC cinemas. A $3 surcharge applies for after 5pm on a Saturday and on public holidays.
- Free large popcorn and drink combo upgrade when you book a movie ticket through Telstra
- Presale tickets for select concerts and events
- Discounted tickets for select sporting events
Telstra Plus also means you’ll earn points for every dollar you spend with Telstra, which can then be redeemed on a gadget or a discount on a new phone. The dollar value of points is miniscule – you shouldn’t sign-up for Telstra just because it has a loyalty program – but it’s okay if you were going to anyway.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.