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Belong vs Telstra: Mobile plans compared

Belong beats Telstra when it comes to price, but does the Telstra network MVNO take out any other mobile categories?

Nathan Lawrence
Jul 12, 2023
bullet5 min read

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There are three mobile network operators in Australia—Telstra, Optus and Vodafone—but there are also dozens of smaller mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that operate on those three networks. Case in point, Belong, which offers mobile plans on the Telstra wholesale network. Let’s look at how Telstra and Belong mobile plans compare in terms of key factors, including price, speed, data and coverage.

But before we get into the Belong vs Telstra comparison, here’s a list of popular mobile plans from our comparison engine.

Belong vs Telstra mobile plans: Price and data

From the outset, it’s worth flagging that Telstra offers SIM Only (Upfront) and Prepaid plans , while Belong exclusively sells SIM Only mobile plans. Also note that if you’re reading this article after 4 July 2023, Telstra’s mobile plan prices have gone up.

Disclaimers aside, here’s how the cheapest Belong and Telstra mobile plans stack up.

For comparison, here’s a look at popular SIM Only plans from our database with at least 20GB of data.

Belong also has a 40GB SIM Only plan that’s at least $20 cheaper than Telstra’s cheapest plan.

Telstra’s next cheapest plan jumps to 180GB of data, while Belong’s next mobile plan includes 100GB of data.

For comparison, below is a daily updating list of popular SIM Only plans with at least 100GB of data.

Belong also has another SIM Only plan with 160GB of data.

And if neither 160GB nor 180GB are enough data for your monthly needs, Telstra has a 300GB SIM Only plan.

Check out the list below for an idea of popular SIM Only plans with at least 200GB of monthly data.

Overall, Belong has better dollars-to-data value but Telstra SIM Only plans have more data.

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Data rollover
While Telstra Prepaid plans include data rollover, Telstra’s SIM Only plans do not. But Belong SIM Only plans have data rollover and data gifting. Any unused data at the end of the month carries over to the next month, and there’s no limit on how much data you can bank. You can also shift between Belong plans and keep your data bank. Alternatively, donate leftover data in 1GB increments to other Belong customers.

Belong vs Telstra mobile plans: Speeds

It used to be that only Telstra and Boost Mobile customers had access to the Telstra 5G network. These days, more and more Telstra MVNOs are getting access to the expanding Telstra 5G network, including Belong. The disclaimer, though, is there are different speeds caps.

Three of Belong’s four SIM Only mobile plans have max 100Mbps download speeds, regardless of whether you’re on the Telstra 4G or 5G network. Belong’s most expensive plan, though, ups that speed cap to 250Mbps for Telstra 4G and 5G networks. That 250Mbps cap is also the same max download speed for Telstra’s cheapest SIM Only plan. The two pricier Telstra SIM Only plans have no download speed caps.

Neither Telstra nor Belong charge excess data fees if you blitz through your monthly allowance. They do, however, throttle your speeds for the remainder of the billing period. For Telstra, speeds drop to 1.5Mbps and for Belong, speeds are capped at 1Mbps.

If speed is important to your mobile experience, Telstra is the telco to go with.

Belong vs Telstra mobile plans: Coverage

If you want the best mobile coverage in Australia, you want to either be a Telstra or Boost Mobile customer. Both telcos operate on the main Telstra network, and the 4G portion of the network is available to 99.4% of the Australian population. The Telstra 5G network is available to 80% of Australians.

While Belong customers have access to the Telstra 5G network, the backbone is the Telstra wholesale network, which offers 4G coverage to 98.8% of Australians. If coverage is an important component for a mobile plan, particularly in rural and regional areas, go with Telstra.

Belong vs Telstra mobile plans: Handsets

At the time of writing, Belong exclusively sold SIM Only plans, meaning there’s no way to pay off a new handset with Belong. You can, however, buy a refurbished phone outright from Belong. Telstra offers a range of new iPhone and Android handsets that you can pair with a Postpaid plan. Below is a breakdown of some of the popular handsets available from Telstra today.

Belong vs Telstra mobile plans: International calls and roaming

By default, all Telstra SIM Only plans include standard SMS to international numbers around the globe, plus 30 minutes of calls to any standard overseas phone number. For more calls, Telstra mobile customers can add a Zone 1, Zone 2 or Zone 3 calling pack for $10, $20 or $30 a month, respectively. Zone 1 includes 23 international dialling destinations, Zone 2 adds an additional 45 to those 23, while Zone 3 adds 93 atop the base 23.

Belong SIM Only customers don’t get any international inclusions as part of a base plan, except for those using the priciest Belong mobile plan. For the other Belong plans, it costs $5 a month for unlimited standard calls and texts from Australia to 30 international dialling destinations. If those particular countries are the ones you want to call, Belong is the better choice, otherwise Telstra has better global flexibility.

In terms of international roaming, Telstra and Belong offer travel packs. For Telstra, it’s $5 a day for 1GB of calls and unlimited SMS in New Zealand. Otherwise, it costs $10 a day for the same allowances for Zone 2 countries or $10 a day for Zone 3 countries with no data (but unlimited calls and SMS). It’s $10 per 1GB of data to top up, which is valid for 31 days. Telstra offers international roaming in 70+ countries.

For Belong, international roaming costs $30 for 3GB of data, unlimited standard SMS and 150 minutes of calls (making and receiving). Once purchased, that $30 fee covers 15 days. Belong’s travel pack is available in 30 global destinations. For better overall value, Belong is the winner, but that’s only if you’re travelling to one of the 30 supported countries.

Belong vs Telstra mobile plans: Contracts and extras

Neither Belong nor Telstra has contracts for their SIM Only plans, so you’re free to come and go as you please. Note that Telstra Upfront plans are paid in advance (like Prepaid plans) while Belong SIM Only mobile plans are paid at the end of a billing month. Additionally, if you’re on a Telstra Postpaid plan with a handset, you’ll need to pay off the remainder owed on your new mobile phone.

In terms of extras, Belong doesn’t have any outside of the aforementioned data banking and data gifting inclusions. Telstra, on the other hand, tends to offer some great sign-up incentives. At the time of writing, that included short-term subscriptions for Binge, Apple TV Plus, Spotify and Telstra Device Security.

The Telstra Plus perks program is a more consistent extra, which gives Telstra customers access to cheap movie tickets, presales for concerts and discounted tickets for sporting events. Telstra Plus participants also earn points for paying their mobile bill. If mobile plan perks are important to you, pick Telstra over Belong.

Belong vs Telstra mobile plans: Which is best?

The winner of the Belong vs Telstra showdown ultimately depends on what’s most important to you. If you want a competitively priced plan with plenty of data, Belong is the winner. If speeds, coverage and extras are critical considerations, Telstra is the better choice.

Belong vs Telstra frequently asked questions

For mobile plans, Belong has cheaper mobile plans than Telstra. The extra cost of Telstra mobile plans, though, includes more data, better coverage, Prepaid and SIM Only plans, plus better inclusions.
Yes, Belong offers slower overall speeds because it uses the Telstra wholesale network for mobile plans while Telstra uses its main network. Belong mobile plans are capped at 100Mbps download speeds, while Telstra’s cheapest mobile plan is capped at 250Mbps and the other two have uncapped speeds. That said, super-fast mobile speeds aren’t as important for everyday use cases as home internet.
Yes, Belong has good coverage via the Telstra wholesale network, covering 98.8% of the Australian population. For better coverage, you want to buy either a Telstra or Boost Mobile plan, both of which cover more than 99.4% of the Australian population.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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