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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.
If you're looking for an affordable alternative to the Big T, you're at the right place. Below, you'll find the latest on the best Telstra network mobile providers, ranked and rated for coverage, value and data.
Gone are the days when one could pull on a pair of parachute pants, buy a brick-sized phone and flip a coin with Telstra on one side and Optus on the other. You're now spoiled for choice because small mobile service providers— or Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) — dominate the telco market. These MVNOs are typically cheaper while offering the same (or similar) coverage as the big three networks.
These 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 look at the best plans and providers powered by Telstra.
To start, these are the most popular plans currently available on the Telstra network.
- : Tangerine
- : Numobile
- : Boost Mobile
- : Woolworths Mobile
- : MATE
Best cheap Telstra MVNO provider
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.
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
Budget brand Numobile is currently offering a 180GB SIM-only plan for $45 month for 6 months for new customers who sign-up. The plan will revert to 90GB after the initial 6 month period.
Numobile has 500GB data banking so you'll be able to save any unused gigs for a rainy day. Numobile also lets you upgrade or downgrade your plan once per billing cycle.
This plan also has 5G connectivity triai until July 2023, 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
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 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 hardline 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
At $45 per month, MATE has one of the best 5G offers on the Telstra network. In addition to 120GB 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. What's more, MATE is currently running a promotion that lets you pay $1 per month for the first three months you're with the provider. That's tough to top.
Best Telstra MVNO for NBN bundles
Superloop is the latest NBN provider to start offering SIM-only mobile plans, and it even has discounts for customers that bundle.
Adding a Superloop SIM-only mobile plan to the same account as your Superloop NBN plan will save you $5 per month. You can save a further $2.50 per month for each Superloop mobile plan on your account after the first, up to a maximum of $15 per month with five SIM-only plans.
If you're not already a Superloop customer, here are its NBN plans:
Best Telstra MVNO for CommBank customers
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
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 mobile plans available from this particular provider 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
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.
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.
ALDI Mobile is powered by the Telstra wholesale network, which means it reaches 98.8% of the population.
Other than Telstra, Boost Mobile is the only provider to use the full Telstra network.
ALDI Mobile, Belong, Exetel, MATE, More, numobile, Tangerine, and Woolworths Mobile all offer 5G plans on the Telstra network.
If you want to save money, an MVNO is the best option to bring down your monthly phone bill.
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.