The best 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 cheap
Tangerine Telcom
Tangerine
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$24.90 per month
Telstra Network
Parts of the the 4G network
Data
From 22GB
Perks
Unlimited calls to 15 countries
Best big data
Belong
Belong
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$45 per month
Telstra network
Parts of the the 4G network
Data
From 100GB
Perks
Data banking and data gifting
Best coverage
Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starts at
$20 per month
Telstra network
Full 4G network
Data
From 10GB
Perks
Data rollover
Best for phone plans
Woolsworth Mobile
Woolworths Mobile
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$25 per month
Telstra network
Parts of the the 4G network
Data
From 22GB
Perks
10% off monthly shop
Best for 5G
Mate
MATE
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$40 per month
Telstra Network
Parts of the 4G network
Data
60GB
Perks
5G at 250Mbps
Kate Reynolds
Outreach Specialist
Read More
January 10, 2023
6 min read

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🔥 Hot Deal 🔥

Get double data for your first year on these Belong SIM-only mobile plans until January 31. 


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 cheap Telstra MVNO provider

Tangerine

pro
Pros
pro Unlimited calls to 15 countries
pro No lock-in contracts
pro 500GB Databanking
con
Cons
con Telstra wholesale network

Anybody looking for a cheap mobile plan on the Telstra network shouldn't go past Tangerine's budget-friendly options.

Generally speaking, Tangerine' range of postpaid plans tends to sit at the lower end of the market. And, they also 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. 

Tangerine plans also have one of the best provider perks available: unlimited calls to 15 countries.

It's also worth noting that the monthly data allotment (and bonus data) is providing great value in this price band. Plus, anything data you don't use can be rolled over up to a maximum of 500GB.

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What is an MVNO anyway?

Currently, these are the major Telstra MVNOs that ought to be on your radar: ALDI Mobile, Belong, Boost Mobile, Lycamobile, MATE, More, numobile, 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 its 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 network (less coverage in some rural and regional areas) and are therefore in a better position to give you a cheaper deal.

Telstra's full 4G and 3G network covers 99.5% of the population. Meanwhile, the Telstra wholesale network covers 98.8% of the population. In practice, this means those in some remote areas get Telstra coverage on a Telstra MVNO.

Boost is the one exception to this rule - it has access to the full 4G and 3G Telstra network. 

Best Telstra MVNO for big data

Belong

pro
Pros
pro Loads of data
pro 5G
pro No excess charges
con
Cons
con Capped to speeds of 100Mbps

If you sign up to Telstra's budget brand Belong before the end of January, you'll get a massive 200GB allowance for $45 per month. 

This is thanks to double data promotion that will last the entirety of your first year of Belong, after which your allowance will revert to 100GB.

Belong has unlimited data banking, however, so you'll be able to save any unused gigs for a rainy day. And if you do manage to go over your allowance, you can keep using your service with no excess charges, capped to speeds of 100Mbps. 

This plan also has 5G connectivity, but the speeds are limited to 100Mbps. 

If that don't impress you much, you're either Shania Twain or you've got a serious appetite for data. Below is a table of the top five Telstra MVNO plans, sorted by highest to lowest data inclusions. Note that these also include 12-month expiry and family plans. 

Best Telstra MVNO for coverage

Boost Mobile

pro
Pros
pro Access to entire Telstra 3G 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 4G network and therefore a no-brainer pick. If you want great coverage as you trek it around our great sunburnt land, then nobody is going to do it cheaper for you than Boost.

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 brands, 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 the Fresh Food People jingle in your mind, you could look to numobile. This MVNO is well regarded for its nucertified (read: refurbished) device deals and plans at a bargain. Check out the most popular handsets below.

Best Telstra MVNO for 5G

MATE

pro
Pros
pro Cheapest plan with 250Mbps 5G speeds on Telstra network
pro 500GB data bank
con
Cons
con Slower speeds than Telstra's more expensive 5G plans

At $40 per month, MATE has one of the best 5G offers on the Telstra network. In addition to 60GB of data, this plan gets you 5G at speeds of 250Mbps. While that's slower than the maximum speeds 5G is capable of, it's faster than the 100Mbps we've seen some Telstra network plans limited to. 

For comparison, most other Telstra MVNOs selling selling 5G mobile plans with 250Mbps speeds charge at least $55 per month. 

MATE says this offer will be available until January 31. We don't know how much it will cost after, but if you sign-up now, you'll lock in the price for the life of your plan. 

Best Telstra MVNO for CommBank customers

More

pro
Pros
pro Great initial savings for CommBank customers
pro Smaller ongoing discount after first year
con
Cons
con MMS is unlimited

Okay, this might sound like a weird category, but if you're a CommBank customer who's looking for a plan on the Telstra network, you should consider going with More.

More is partially owned by CommBank, and as such, offers a 30% discount on all of its mobile plans to CommBank customers. This discount lasts for your first year with More, after which you get a smaller ongoing 10% discount. 

More has the usual Telstra network perks including international calls to 15 countries and the ability to bank up to 500GB of data. Just be aware that MMS isn't unlimited on More; you only get 1,000 per month. 

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.

Best Telstra MVNO for a data-only SIM

Belong

pro
Pros
pro Great value
con
Cons
con Need a more expensive plan for faster speeds

If you're looking for a month-to-month data-only SIM on the Telstra network, Belong is your only choice. Fortunately, it also represents great value, especially on the $35 plan that gets you 100GB. 

It's worth noting that Belong's two cheaper plans are capped to speeds of 100Mbps. If you want faster speeds, you'll need to go for its 400GB option. Here you'll get 180Mbps on 4G or 250Mbps if you're in a 5G area. 

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 plan 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?

A number of Telstra MVNOs now offer 5G access, but typically on their most expensive plans. Here's a selection of Telstra network plans that already have 5G:

How do I pick the right Telstra MVNO plan?

The most important thing when picking a new mobile plan is that it meets your needs.

The key to finding the right one is understanding your own data usage. There's no point paying for a 100GB plan if you only use 10GB per month, but you also don't want to buy a plan with no wiggle room. 

If you tend to use about 15GB per month, a 25GB or so plan would be a safe bet as it gives you a good buffer. This means you shouldn't end up in a situation where you have to pay excess charges if you have a busier than expected per month or your data usage grows. 

You should also ensure your plan has any extra inclusions you may need, like international calls to a select country.  

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.


FAQ

What providers use the Telstra network?

Telcos including ALDI Mobile, Belong, Boost Mobile, Exetel, Lycamobile, MATE, More, numobile, Tangerine, and Woolworths Mobile all have phone plans powered by the Telstra network. 

Does ALDI Mobile use the Telstra network?

ALDI Mobile is powered by the Telstra wholesale network, which means it reaches 98.8% of the population. 

Which providers use the full Telstra network?

Other than Telstra, Boost Mobile is the only provider to use the full Telstra network.

Which MVNOs have access to the Telstra 5G network?

ALDI Mobile, Belong, Exetel, MATE, More, numobile, Tangerine, and Woolworths Mobile all offer 5G plans on the Telstra network. 

Is it worth going with an MVNO?

If you want to save money, an MVNO is the best option to bring down your monthly phone bill. 

What are the downsides of an MVNO?

While MVNO prices are cheaper, the plans tend to have less perks and more limited roaming options. You're getting data, talk, and text, and not much else. In most cases, you also need to bring your own phone. 

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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