Belong Mobile Review: Budget BYO on Telstra Network
In our Australian mobile provider analysis, Belong Mobile came out as one of the top providers with a 4 out 5-star rating overall. This was thanks mostly to Belong’s 4.5-star score for data per dollar value but being on Telstra’s wholesale network contributed heavily to the provider’s high overall score.
- Great coverage on Telstra’s wholesale network
- Fantastic value for money
- Unlimited data banking
- No 5G access yet
- No prepaid plans
Belong Mobile: Value for money
Excellent value no-frills SIM-only postpaid plans.
Unlike Boost Mobile, which is a privately owned telco that partnered with Telstra, Belong is owned and operated by Telstra as a subsidiary brand. Rather than muddy its own range of plans with budget-friendly options, Telstra launched Belong as a way to sell affordable access to the NBN and Telstra’s 4G network under a friendlier moniker.
The coverage you get on Belong isn’t quite as comprehensive as Telstra’s but it is close and the difference in coverage is a small price to pay for Belong’s cheaper plans. It’s no secret that Telstra customers have always paid a premium price for premium coverage and Belong’s second-best network is a godsend for rural customers looking to save a fair chunk of cash on their phone bills.
Just like Belong’s NBN plans, the Telstra-ish telco offers an incredibly simple suite of mobile plans – in fact, there are just two to choose from.
That’s great value for a telco with that kind of coverage. To give you an idea of how it compares with other plans on the Telstra network, check the table below.
It’s important to note that Belong only offers postpaid plans. If you’re after something prepaid, you might want to check out ALDI Mobile, which provides similar value in the prepaid space.
Belong Mobile: Features and perks
A mixed bag.
Belong Mobile plans have a decent range of goodies to go along with the usual unlimited talk and text offering. Firstly, there’s unlimited data banking, so whatever you don’t use in a month will be stored for later use. Alternatively, if you have a friend or family member also on Belong, you can gift your unused data to them. As with most SIM-only plans these days, Belong is also contract-free, so you can cancel at any time if a better option comes along.
On the flip side, there are a few caveats – as to be expected with any budget carrier. Firstly, unlimited international calls and texts are only included in the top $40 per month plan. For the cheaper $25 plan, you’ll have to fork out an extra $5 per month to be able to contact the same 30 destinations. Secondly, Belong doesn’t offer any handsets, meaning you’ll have to bring your existing phone or buy one outright. Finally, there’s no international roaming (not a huge problem at the moment given the current international travel ban) or add-on data packs in case you’re running low.
Also, since Belong runs on Telstra’s wholesale network, coverage isn’t quite as good as it is for bona fide Telstra customers. In fact, the only budget telco with full access to Telstra’s 3G/4G network is Boost Mobile. That said, Belong still covers up to 98.8% of the population. Use the slider on the map below to see the difference between Telstra’s main network and the wholesale network.
Belong Mobile coverage
Belong Mobile: Customer support and satisfaction
Average customer service and ratings to match.
Generally speaking, most of Australia’s budget providers have less than amazing customer satisfaction scores – after all, that’s what you get with a no-frills plan. Belong Mobile sits around the middle of the pack, with a 2.8-star rating on user-generated reviews site Product Review and a poor 1.7-star rating on Trustpilot.
In the event that you require a bit of help with your service, there are a few channels available to you. There’s an online hub filled with support articles and a self-management portal, however, you can’t chat with a representative online and they recently ditched phone support. That said, you can send a message via their website, where you’ll receive a response within 24 hours. Otherwise, you can contact them via their Facebook page or Twitter.