Telstra network coverage: Telstra vs ALDI vs Boost and more

Do you need to go with Telstra? Or can you settle for an MVNO?
  • Telstra network

    Covers 99.2% of Australians

    Telstra Mobile

    Read review
    4.5 out of 5 overall
    World-class network with 5G rolling out
    Extensive customer support
  • Telstra network

    Covers 99.2% of Australians

    Boost Prepaid

    Read review
    3.5 out of 5 overall
    Uses full Telstra 4G network
    No international roaming
  • Telstra Wholesale

    Covers 98.8% of Australians

    ALDI Mobile Prepaid

    Read review
    4.5 out of 5 overall
    5-star value for money
    No international roaming
  • Telstra Wholesale

    Covers 98.8% of Australians

    Woolworths Mobile

    Read review
    4 out of 5 overall
    Great for Galaxy handsets
    No iPhone plans
  • Telstra Wholesale

    Covers 98.8% of Australians

    Belong Mobile Plans

    Read review
    4 out of 5 overall
    Unlimited data banking
    No prepaid plans

As the leading provider in Australia for mobile network coverage, there’s no wonder a huge portion of Australians are interested in finding the cheapest way to access Telstra’s premium network. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) like Boost, Belong, ALDI Mobile, Woolworths and more use Telstra’s network, but not every provider can access the complete network. There’s a considerable difference between Telstra’s network and what the company calls the Telstra Wholesale Network, the network reserved for most MVNOs.

Here’s everything you need to know about the coverage you can expect from providers using the Telstra and Telstra Wholesale network so you can decide whether you can afford to save some dough with an MVNO.

Telstra network vs Telstra Wholesale network

The complete Telstra 4GX network reaches 99.2% of the Australian population, whereas the Telstra Wholesale 4G network only reaches 97.9% of Australians (98.8% of Australians for combined 3G/4G). That might not look like much, but it’s a considerable difference when we’re talking about 25 million Australians.

The Telstra Wholesale network is still larger than the Optus 3G/4G network, which covers 98.5% of the Australian population, so even Telstra MVNOs still offer wider coverage than Optus.

The map below shows the complete Telstra 3G/4G/5G network. For an accurate coverage map of the Telstra Wholesale network, head to the official website.

Here’s a glance at how the Telstra network compares with the Telstra Wholesale network.

Telstra Network: Telstra vs Boost

There are only two mobile providers with access to the complete 4GX Telstra network: Telstra itself, and prepaid alternative Boost Mobile. If you need the full extent of Telstra’s network but want to save some money, Boost’s plans offer a more wallet-friendly alternative if you can handle being on prepaid.

Telstra vs Boost coverage

Up until last year, there was no difference between the Telstra and Boost mobile networks. However, with the introduction of Telstra 5G, that’s no longer necessarily true. Telstra’s 4GX network remains the same, and Boost customers have access to the full network, but Telstra doesn’t offer 5G access to its MVNOs yet, including Boost.

The Telstra 5G network is rolling out fast but it’s still early days and many Australians will still be relying on the 3G/4G network for years to come. For those people, the coverage should be the same across Telstra and Boost.

Telstra vs Boost plans

Boost has long been the budget prepaid alternative to Telstra. It still is, but Telstra’s prepaid plans offer more value than ever too. You can still spend more at Telstra if you so choose, but gone are the days where you’d pay $30 for 3GB per month.

The other thing that Telstra offers that Boost doesn’t is month-to-month SIM plans and phone plans. If you want to grab the latest iPhone or Samsung, you won’t get it through Boost.

Here’s a glance at the most popular plans from Boost and Telstra.

Telstra Wholesale network: Telstra vs ALDI vs Woolworths vs Belong and more

Besides Telstra and Boost, every other Telstra MVNO uses the Wholesale Network. That list of providers includes ALDI mobile, Belong, CMobile, Lycamobile, MATE, numobile, Pennytel, Southern Phone, Tangerine Telecom, and Woolworths Mobile.

Telstra vs ALDI vs Woolworths vs Belong coverage

The combined 3G/4G Telstra Wholesale network still reaches 98.8% of the Australian population. To find out whether you’ve got ample coverage under the Wholesale Network, head to Telstra’s official coverage map.

In the meantime, here’s how Telstra’s coverage compares with MVNOs like ALDI, Woolworths Mobile, Belong and more.

Plans: Telstra vs ALDI vs Woolworths vs Belong and more

If you’re covered by the Telstra Wholesale network, there are way more plan and provider options available to you. Some of the most popular Telstra MVNOs, like ALDI mobile and Woolworths Mobile, operate on the Wholesale network, each with a unique offer.

Woolworths Mobile, for example, is one of the few MVNOs that offer phones on a plan and more often than not, it’s your best choice for the latest Samsung Galaxy handsets thanks to some tempting early bird discounts. Woolworths Mobile customers don’t have access to Telstra 5G yet, which can be a little confusing considering they sell 5G handsets. Something to consider if you’re signing up for a new phone with Woolies.

ALDI mobile is another supermarket MVNO and, honestly, one of the best prepaid providers out there. In our ongoing analysis of Australian mobile providers, ALDI mobile scored top marks for value, which isn’t common for a provider using the Telstra network (Wholesale or not). It won’t suit frequent travellers, as there are no roaming deals to be found, but that’s common of MVNOs and prepaid-only providers.

Belong, on the other hand, is more of a barebones SIM-only provider. There are a few like Belong on the market, MATE is another Telstra MVNO that comes to mind. Both companies’ focus lies in their NBN offers while their mobile plans are an afterthought.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the most popular plans from every Telstra MVNO.

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