The best MVNO providers and plans on the Telstra network

Don't want to pay the big bucks for the Big T? There are plenty of alternative providers doing Telstra coverage for cheaper.

Best coverage
Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starts at
$20 per month
Telstra network
Full 4G access
Perks
Data rollover
Best cheap
Woolsworth Mobile
Woolworths Mobile
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$20 per month
Telstra Network
Parts of the the 4G network
Perks
10% monthly shop
Best big data
Pennytel
Pennytel
5 out of 5 stars
5
Starts at
$15.99 a month
Telstra network
Parts of the the 4G network
Perks
Plans with loads of data
Best for phone plans
Woolsworth Mobile
Woolworths Mobile
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$20 per month
Telstra network
Parts of the the 4G network
Perks
10% off monthly shop
Best for international calls
Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starts at
$20 per month
Telstra Network
Parts of the the 4G network
Perks
Unlimited calls to 20 countries
Kate Reynolds
Outreach Specialist
Read More
August 17, 2022
5 min read

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If you're looking for an affordable alternative to the Big T, you've arrived at the right place. Below, you will find the latest on the best mobile providers using the Telstra network, ranked and rated for coverage, value and data. 

Gone are the days when one could pull on a pair of parachute pants, buy brick-sized phone and flip a coin with Telstra on one side and Optus on the other.  You're spoiled for choice now, because small mobile service providers— or Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) ⁠— dominate the telco market these days.  These MVNOs are typically cheaper while offering the same (or similar) coverage as the big three networks.  

This smaller, more versatile outfits are especially appealing for Australians who rely on Telstra's leading coverage but can't stomach the premium plan costs. 

So let's dive right in and help you navigate the overwhelming amount of brands laid out before you. Below, we've rounded up some of the best MVNO providers on the Telstra network worth your time and money depending on your usage needs.

In the meantime, take a look at the most popular plans currently available on the Telstra network.

Best Telstra MVNO for coverage

Boost Mobile

pro
Pros
pro Access to entire Telstra 4G and 4G network
pro Data rollover
con
Cons
con No postpaid plans

Usually, we'll try to recommend a range of options to go with. However, there's just no getting around the fact that Boost Mobile is the only MVNO with access to the entire Telstra network (with the exception of Telstra 5G) and therefore a no-brainer pick. If you want great network reliability as you trek it around our great sunburnt land, then nobody is going to do it cheaper for you than Boost.

Best value Telstra MVNO provider

Woolworths Mobile

pro
Pros
pro 10% off monthly shop at Woolies
pro No lock-in contracts
con
Cons
con Smaller data allowance than other plans

Anybody looking for the most mobile for their money shouldn't go past Woolworths Mobile's budget-friendly options. Generally speaking, Woolworths' range of prepaid and postpaid plans tend to sit at the lower end of the market. It's also common for them to come with the lovely no-strings-attached dynamic of a no-lock-in contract – so if you do find you're operating in some sort of Bermuda Triangle of bad coverage, you can go elsewhere without much of a worry. That, and you won't be slapped with any of those nasty excess charges that tend to ambush people who use longer-term agreements.

Woolworths Mobile plans are also well known for one of the best provider perks available: 10% off one Woolies shop every month. Used properly, it could mean you're saving the entire cost of your phone plan.

It's also worth noting that while the monthly data allotment (and bonus data) is slightly smaller than some plans in this price band, it's perfectly fine for casual internet browsing purposes. Plus, anything you don't use can be squirrelled away for another month (in most cases the maximum size of your data larder is 200GB).

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Info Box
What is an MVNO anyway?

Currently, these are the major Telstra MVNOs that ought to be on your radar: ALDI Mobile, Belong, Boost Mobile, CMobile, Lycamobile, MATE Mobile, numobile, Pennytel, Southern Phone, Tangerine Telecom and Woolworths Mobile - including for Telstra prepaid plans, too.

While Telstra's mobile network is unrivalled in terms of coverage and speed, the biggest dog on the block is always in the position to charge you premium rates for their services (and obviously that's not ideal if you're trying to stay connected on a budget). Enter the smaller concern MVNOs who only use a marginally smaller part of Telstra's 3G/4G networks (read: none of Telstra's fandangled "4GX" or 5G network) and are therefore in a better position to give you a cheaper deal.

If you're more than happy with a top ceiling of 200Mbps, or you don't even own a handset with the technological means to go beyond that speed limit anyway, why pay Telstra extra for a part of the service you can't or won't be using? Just go with a cheaper MVNO that's tailored to your more modest needs.

Best Telstra MVNO for Big Data

Pennytel

pro
Pros
pro Loads of data
pro Excellent customer service
con
Cons
con Telstra wholesale network

If you love data, take a look at Pennytel. This MVNO has a history for providing vast chunks of gigabytes for not much money at all. If you're into live-streaming your exploits, or you just need that Netflix distraction to help you zone out of your daily commute, Pennytel ought to be your first port of call.

Another big benefit of this carrier is their stellar customer service reputation, consistently scoring top marks on user review site ProductReviews.com.au. 

Alternative big-data pick: Belong Mobile

Belong is not too much lower in our data-loving affections. They're good at luring new customers in with a whole bunch of gigabytes. Along with a few different “big data” options to choose from, you also get unlimited data rollover for whatever you don't use.

If that don't impress you much, you're either Shania Twain or you've got a serious appetite for data. Below is table of the top five Telstra MVNO plans, sorted by highest to lowest data inclusions. 

Best Telstra MVNO for handset bundles

Woolworths Mobile

pro
Pros
pro 10% off monthly shop at Woolies
pro Good quality devices
con
Cons
con Customer service not as high rating as others

Woolworths Mobile is head and shoulders above all other MVNOs when it comes to phone deals. That sheer buying power of being one of the biggest grocery chains in the country cannot be denied. And we're not talking crappy off-brand devices like “Sorny” or “iFruit” – Woolworths Mobile offers a wide range of apex brand, premium phones and devices to pick from, not to mention very generous data inclusions for them. Even better, if you find yourself wooed by another MVNO, Woolies’ plans are contract-free to allow you to cut and run without penalty. You can also opt to pay off your phone over the course of 24 or 36 month periods.

Check out the most popular Woolworths Mobile phone bundles below.

Alternative pick: numobile

If you are some sort of hard-liner Coles customer, or you want to get back at Woolies for subconsciously implanting their Fresh Food People jingle in your mind, you could look to numobile. This MVNO is well regarded for their nucertified (read: refurbished) device deals and plans at a bargain. Check out the most popular handsets below.

Best Telstra MVNO for international calls

Boost Mobile

pro
Pros
pro Unlimited calls to 20 countries
pro Data rollover
con
Cons
con Prepaid only

There are quite a few Telstra MVNOs offering decent plans with international call inclusions, but we really can't go past Boost Mobile. One of the best value ones is the Boost Mobile $30 Prepaid plan, which provides unlimited international calls to 20 selected countries, with 300 minutes for a further 30 countries. That’s pretty good for an MVNO. You also get the usual perks like data rollover and access to the full Telstra 4G/3G network.

How do Telstra's mobile plans compare?

At the end of the day, if there's a particular handset you want to bundle with your plan (say the latest iPhone), then your only choice will often be Telstra itself. To be fair, Telstra's prices aren't nearly as exorbitant as they once were and the number of perks and bonuses you get as a Telstra customer tend to make up for the premium plan pricing.

If none of the MVNOs suit your smartphone needs, take a look at Telstra's prepaid and postpaid phone plans below.

Do providers on the Telstra network offer 5G access?

Rival telco Optus has extended the 5G olive branch to MVNO Spintel but Telstra hasn't announced any plans to give its MVNO partners access to its growing 5G network. There's no doubt it will eventually, but it's likely to be in a limited capacity. With the exception of Boost, Telstra MVNOs have access to the Telstra Wholesale Network, a slightly smaller network that allows Telstra to keep its claim as Australia's largest mobile network.

Our best guess is that we'll begin to see providers on the Telstra network offering limited 5G once the next-generation network is further along.


How we choose the best plans and providers on the Telstra network

When we work to find the best MVNO providers on the Telstra network, we take into consideration all of the things that really matter to an avid mobile user. Stuff like coverage, data for dollar value and all those shiny extra plan benefits designed to lure you in. Typically the perks being dangled here include data rollover, data-free streaming (usually aimed at Netflix/Stan aficionados), no-contract plan options and more competitive approaches to better customer service and/or network coverage.

Kate Reynolds
Written by
Kate Reynolds
Kate Reynolds is a writer who's at her happiest when there's haloumi on the brunch menu and a dog to give pats to. She's worked as a travel writer, journalist, theatre reviewer, broadcaster and radio creative, and spends her weekends with as much of the aforementioned haloumi and dogs as possible. She writes on Cammeraygal and Wangal land.

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