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Telstra mobile plans review

There's a reason Telstra costs more than most; but do you really need to be paying the premium?

Telstra Mobile
4.5 out of 5 stars
Postpaid and prepaid
Telstra 5G and 4G
From $10 for 7 days (Prepaid) and $58 per month (Upfront))
Joe Hanlon
Mar 20, 2023
Icon Time To Read4 min read
Quick verdict: Telstra Mobile review
We all know that you'll pay more to be a Telstra mobile customer but we also think it is worth the extra money for a lot of Australians. Telstra mobile plans offer the fastest network with the widest coverage, and it also has an extensive customer support network.
pro World-class network
pro Extensive customer support
con Expensive plans
con No 5G for lower-cost plans

Find out how we score mobile providers.

It's not just coverage that makes Telstra the most expensive mobile provider. Telstra is Australia’s original phone service provider, and for many, it is still the best for coverage and speeds. Telstra’s network coverage remains superior to the competition, with extended reach in regional and remote areas of Australia, and it was among the first of the network owners to roll out fast 5G coverage. 

You’ll pay extra to be a Telstra customer, and in some cases this price difference is significant. But in return, you get access to Australia’s fastest mobile network, a huge customer support team, as well as plenty of exclusive offers and perks through Telstra Plus rewards. Telstra itself is not for the budget conscious but you can save some money with an MVNO that uses the Telstra network.

To give you an idea of Telstra's value for money, let's take a look at its most popular plan: 

At the time of writing, the $58 Basic Upfront SIM Plan is the most popular Telstra plan available. It gives you 40GB to use for $58 per month on the Telstra 4G/5G network. It's no contract and can be paired with a new smartphone on a 24 or 36-month payment plan. It also comes with some neat perks, like two months of Binge, three months of Apple TV Plus and four months Spotify Premium. 

Telstra iPhone 14 plans

iPhone 14 Pro Island

If you're looking to pick an iPhone 14 up through Telstra, your cheapest option is going to be the Telstra Upfront Mobile Plan Basic. Priced at $58 per month, this plan includes 40GB of data, unlimited local calls and texts and access to both Telstra's 4G and 5G network coverage.

The cost of pairing this plan with the new iPhone 14 is going to vary based on the model you choose. Assuming that the baseline iPhone 14 is the model you're after, you're looking at $38.86 per month in handset fees on a 36 month plan. All told, this works out to a total $96.58 per month over 36 months.

If you'd prefer a 24 month plan, you're looking at $58.29 per month in handset fees and $115.87 overall.

Telstra phone plans

Pricier plans with coverage benefits.

Instead of the typical postpaid model, Telstra's SIM plans uses what it calls an Upfront payment method. Essentially, instead of paying your bill at the end of the month, you'll simply fork out your fee at the start of the month. It's similar to a prepaid plan but comes with the more premium inclusions you'd expect from a postpaid arrangement.

Across the entire Telstra range of phone plans, we’d argue that you needn't choose a plan higher than the Basic Upfront SIM Plan. There are phone plans with more data, of course, and you’ll need to bring your own phone (or grab one through Telstra), but this plan has everything you need at a price that won’t break the bank. If anything, 40GB of data per month is probably a tad excessive, but there are no smaller options available. 

Telstra BYO Upfront SIM plans

All of Telstra’s BYO Mobile Phone plans are offered with no lock-in contracts and if you'd like to add a new phone down the track, you don't need to change plans, you just add monthly phone repayments to your bill. Here's a look at the rest of Telstra's BYO mobile plans:

Of course, there are plenty of other plans in market to consider too, several of which operate on the Telstra network. Here are a few popular plans from other providers on the Telstra network:

Popular SIM plans from Telstra MVNOs

If the prices of the plans listed above overshoot your budget, or you’d prefer to avoid signing a contract, Telstra does have Prepaid plans available too. Our pick is the $30 Prepaid Complete plan, as you can see below. Just keep in mind that the credit you buy with this plan expires every 28 days. This means you need to recharge your account 13 times each year, a fact that may come as a surprise.

But to be honest, we probably wouldn’t choose Telstra for a Prepaid plan if value for money was a consideration. There are dozens of smaller mobile carriers offering better, cheaper prepaid plans.

Telstra Prepaid plans

Telstra offers both 28-day, 6-month and 12-month long expiry prepaid mobile plans.

Telstra mobile features and perks

Feature-packed plans.

All Telstra's Upfront plans now come with 5G connectivity, a huge perk for those who want faster mobile speeds. Telstra’s Prepaid plans, on the other hand 

Telstra Upfront plans can be bundled with a range of cutting-edge and recent smartphones, including the latest iPhone, Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy. Telstra lets you opt to purchase a handset outright, or you can pay it off over time with 12-month or 24-month handset repayment terms.

One of the better data-related perks for SIM-only plans is there are no excess data charges in Australia. This means if you burn through your max-speed data allowance, speeds are slowed to 1.5Mbps for the duration of your billing cycle. 

Woolworths Mobile also runs on the Telstra network and tends to offer great perks, too. Check out their plans below in comparison to Telstra’s offering.

Telstra mobile customer support and satisfaction

Great support but less great customer satisfaction.

The premium price of Telstra plans also helps fund an impressive array of customer support options for when things go awry. Telstra offers self-paced support via forums and self-service online tools. If you want to talk to someone, Telstra is responsive via Twitter and Facebook, plus there’s an online chat service and dedicated phone support.

While there aren’t any excess data charges on SIM Only plans, you can monitor your usage via the Telstra app, plus there’s a range of in-person stores and Telstra Plus perks for earning points and other benefits.

Telstra support is impressive, but overall customer satisfaction isn’t as flash according to user-generated score on sites like Product Review and Trustpilot, even if the Google review fares better. In fairness, those score trends are relatively the same for Optus and Vodafone, too. Moose Mobile, Numobile, Pennytel and Tangerine are the only telcos that average above four out of five on these user-review websites.

What are Telstra Blue Tick phones?

In a country as large as Australia, coverage is a major consideration, especially if you live or work outside of the major metro areas. Telstra’s network is renowned for its coverage reach, but if you are at the edges of this coverage area you may need a specific phone model to get a good signal.

The Telstra Blue Tick is a way for Telstra to signify which handsets are superior for coverage based on its own internal testing. Not every phone is eligible, so this list is important if you feel like you need that boost in signal.

Samsung phones are generally the most popular Blue Tick handsets, mostly because the Apple iPhones don't earn the Blue Tick signification.

Telstra Mobile FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about Telstra Mobile.

How fast is the Telstra mobile network?

We’ve mentioned several times that Telstra has the fastest mobile network in Australia, but just how fast is it? The core of the Telstra network is known as the 4GX network and with the right device used in the right location, the network is capable of speeds up to 2Gbps (20 times faster than the NBN). In the real-world Telstra says its network will deliver speeds up to 300Mbps. This is fast enough to download a full-length HD movie from iTunes in just over two minutes. You also may have heard about a little thing called 5G. This is the next big leap in mobile network technologies and Telstra is already well on its way to deliver a 5G service to its customers. In the first phases of the 5G rollout, the network won’t be faster than the 4GX network, but it should deliver faster speeds more reliably. We have lots more about 5G in our guide.

Why is Telstra Mobile so expensive?

This is a great question, but we can only speculate on the answer. A key part of the equation comes down to how much Telstra invests in its network. It costs billions of dollars to develop and maintain a nationwide mobile network, and with Telstra, you are paying for access to the largest and fastest. Telstra also runs one of the largest customer support teams in the mobile industry, and this costs money, too. You can call and chat to a support rep at all hours of the day, which is a service many of the smaller providers can’t replicate. There are Telstra Stores across Australia too, giving you a place to go and seek help when you need it. And lastly, it is probably just simple economics. Telstra, as a business, will charge as much as the market will bear. Despite being the most expensive service provider, Telstra maintains the largest share of customers. Until these customers flock to cheaper service providers, Telstra will keep its prices where they are.

How do I sign up for Telstra Mobile?

Signing up for a Telstra mobile plan is a breeze. If any of the plans catch your eye below, click on the corresponding “Go” button to add the plan, create or sign into a Telstra account, then follow the rest of the prompts.
Joe Hanlon
Written by
Joe Hanlon
Joe has been reviewing tech and gadgets for over a decade having worked at CNET, TechRadar and telco comparison site WhistleOut.

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