Telstra is replacing postpaid SIM-only with Upfront billing

Payments will now be direct-debited from the day of activation.
Photograph of prepaid telstra handset on blue background

Telstra is moving to an upfront payment system for all of its SIM-only mobile plans, effectively removing the postpaid SIM-only option from its range. As reported by WhistleOut, the new Upfront plan structure was soft-launched back in 2020, but will officially replace all existing postpaid offers from Tuesday, 16 February 2021.

The official rollout of the Upfront Plan structure also means Telstra will be discontinuing its range of postpaid SIM-only plans.

Upfront plans won’t impact prepaid customers, and customers who sign up for a phone will be given the option to remain on postpaid, or switch to upfront payments until 30 March 2021, after which every new postpaid Telstra phone plan will be charged upfront.

So, what’s the difference? Essentially, it boils down to the fact that you pay for your month’s allowance before you use it, rather than after the fact as with a typical postpaid plan. As WhistleOut’s Alex Choros points out, the billing cycle is more like prepaid but the plan inclusions and features will be scarcely different from Telstra’s current postpaid offers.

Typically when you sign up for a postpaid SIM-only plan through Telstra, your first bill arrives one month later (and a two-week grace period for payments). But on these new Upfront plans, you will pay your first monthly bill on the day you activate. The monthly bill will be direct-debited automatically at the start of every month.

What’s the difference between Telstra Upfront and Telstra postpaid plans?

The main difference between the two is the reversed billing cycle as outlined above but a few other differences are coming to Upfront plans that customers should be aware of. New Upfront plans will feature data-sharing on up to 10 devices on the one account and also include unlimited SMS/MMS to all international destinations, plus 30 minutes of standard calls to international numbers.

Speaking with Telstra, WhistleOut also reports that “Upfront plans currently don’t support international roaming or use with a smartwatch,” but that Telstra plans to add both those features soon. The other big difference is that Upfront plans aren’t currently compatible with Telstra Air (Telstra’s free WiFi hotspot network) or eSIM, though Telstra again confirmed eSIM support was on the way.

Here’s a short list of Telstra postpaid and upfront plans: