Telstra Mobile Plans Review

There's a reason Telstra costs more than most but do you really need to be paying the premium?
amaysim Mobile Review 2020 | Telstra logo
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Australia's fastest mobile network
Expansive customer support
Premium service comes at a premium price

Our verdict

We all know that you’ll pay more to be a Telstra mobile customer, but we also think it is worth the extra money. Telstra offers the fastest network with the widest coverage, and it has an extensive customer support network behind this.

What we like

  • World class network
  • Extensive customer support options

What could be better

  • No SIM only plans under $50 per month

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. Telstra’s network coverage remains superior to the competition, with extended reach in regional and remote areas of Australia, and it is among the first of the network owners to roll out fast, new 5G coverage. Does this mean that Telstra mobile phone plans are best?

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 and plenty of exclusive offers and perks. Telstra is not for the budget conscious, but if you keep your eye on its Telstra Deals page, you can find a solid bargain from time to time.

Best Telstra SIM Only Plan

Across the entire Telstra range of phone plans, we’d argue that you needn’t choose a plan higher than the Small Plan. There are phone plans with more data, of course, and you’ll need to bring your own phone, 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’s no smaller options available.

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 Teltra’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:

Best Telstra iPhone Plan

Did you know that one in four Aussie smartphone users owns an iPhone? We like Apple phones in Australia more than most other countries around the world.

Telstra’s range of iPhone handsets is a tad smaller than you might expect. Gone are the days when you could buy a cheaper iPhone from two or three generations ago. Telstra current sells the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, the iPhone SE and the iPhone Xs.

For our money, the iPhone 11 64GB is the perfect combination of new hardware without spending a fortune on a new phone. Not that the iPhone 11 is exactly cheap, but it’s a fair bit cheaper than the Pro models and a decent upgrade from the iPhone SE too.

Best Telstra Samsung Galaxy Plan

This is a tad controversial, but our pick for the best Samsung phone available on Telstra is actually last year’s Galaxy S10. We’ve been quite unimpressed with the S20 range this year, and given the price of these phones, we’d recommend saving the dollars and choosing the cheaper, but still excellent S10.

Best Telstra Prepaid Plan

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 in the table above. 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 options.

How we choose the best Telstra mobile phone plans

Telstra’s product range covers all categories: phone plans, phone leasing plans, BYO phone plans, prepaid plans. When you factor in all of the different handsets available, the number of plan combinations is enormous.

To find our recommendations, we use our phone plan search engine to slice up the data and isolate the best value picks. Seriously, our plan finder tool is great — you should give it a go.

We don’t believe that bigger is always better, especially when you consider that a ‘bigger’ plan, packed with included data and bonus features, will always come with a bigger phone bill. We align our search criteria with what industry data suggests people are using. For example, we search for plans with 10GB of data because this caters for average monthly data usage in Australia (8GB) plus a small buffer.

There are always trade-offs to make when sifting through the different plan combinations, and we tend to lean towards finding the cheapest plan that meets our criteria.

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.

How to unlock Telstra mobile phones

All phones bought on a postpaid phone plan (a standard 24-month contract) or a leasing plan contract are sold unlocked. You don’t need to do anything to use these phones on different networks, just switch out the SIM cards and away you go.

Phones bought with prepaid SIM cards are different, and you will need to unlock these phones before you can use a competitor’s service. Doing this takes a bit of time and may require you to pay a fee.

Before you do anything, you need to know your phones IMEI number. You can find this in your phone’s settings menu (look for the ‘About Phone’ menu on Android, or the ‘General’ tab on an iPhone), or you can dial *#06# (asterisk, hash, zero, six, hash – then hit dial) and write down the number that appears on the screen.

You then need to call Telstra on 13 22 00 and follow the prompts.

Telstra charges a fee depending on how long you have owned the phone.

  • Under 6 months = $80
  • Between 6 and 24 months = $25
  • Over 2 years = free

Can I call overseas on Telstra Mobile?

Yes, you can always call overseas numbers with a Telstra service, but the cost will vary depending on your plan and the country you are trying to call or SMS.

A number of Telstra plans include calls and messages to overseas numbers. Typically these are for calls to popular destinations like the UK, US, New Zealand, China and countries in Western Europe. For more specific info about this, make sure you read the Critical Information Summary for any plan before you sign up.

If you need a plan with great international call inclusions, check out out picks for the best of the bunch.

Why is Telstra Mobile so expensive?

This is a great question and one which we can only speculate 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 fast is the Telstra mobile network?

Telstra Nighthawk Mobile Broadband

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 the faster speeds more reliably. We have lots more about 5G in our guide.