Telstra vs Optus tablet plans

In the battle of our biggest telcos, which is best for tablet owners?
Telstra
Best coverage
Best tablet range
Optus
Cheaper plans
Better value

Quick verdict

Telstra vs Optus… it’s a tale as old as time. Well, not quite, but in the battle of tablet plans, we reckon there’s a clear winner. Taking into account coverage, plan value, tablet range and popularity, Telstra comes out on top here. Although Optus’ plans are of better value, Telstra takes it out with a network that covers more Australians and more tablets to choose from.

Telstra vs Optus: Coverage

In terms of network coverage, it’s pretty hard to beat Telstra. As our oldest and largest telco, it’s little wonder its 3G/4G network covers the most Australians (99.4% of us, to be exact), with 5G expected to cover 75% by the end of June 2021.

Optus, on the other hand, covers about 98.8% of the population, with a slower 5G rollout. Those numbers are certainly still impressive, but when it comes down to the numbers, this round goes to Telstra.

Winner: Telstra

Telstra vs Optus: Value

Telstra has never exactly been synonymous with ‘cheap’, but compared to its mobile and NBN plans, its SIM-only tablet plans are actually quite reasonably priced. Monthly fees start at $15 for 5GB of data, all the way up to a massive 400GB for $85. At the time of writing, all of Telstra’s month-to-month Upfront Data Plans (except the Extra Small plan) are discounted by $10 per month for the first 12 months that you stay connected. Medium and Large plans also include 5G access for compatible devices.

For those wanting a prepaid solution, Telstra also offers a number of prepaid plans, though these are much worse value than the month-to-month plans.

Here are Telstra’s SIM-only tablet plans in full. For tablet handset bundles, read on.

If you’re after the best dollar-for-data value, however, there’s simply no beating Optus – at least, not right now. Why? All of Optus’ Data SIM Plans come with double data for new customers who sign up before June 30. There are three SIM-only tablet plans, ranging from $15 for 10GB (normally 5GB) to $50 for 150GB (normally 75GB).

Without sales, the two telcos are pretty neck-and-neck when it comes to pricing, but right now, we have to give this one to Optus.

Winner: Optus

Telstra vs Optus: Tablet range

The tablet market is a lot less crowded than it used to be, with only a few major players remaining – namely, the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab.

When it comes to the most recent models, both telcos have the key products covered (iPad Air, iPad Pro and Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G, to name a few). However, in terms of the range of models, Telstra has Optus well and truly beat.

For reference, Optus has the following 10 tablet models available right now.

TabletStorageMinimum monthly device payment (36 mths)Total minimum costOutright
Apple iPad (8th gen)32GB or 128GB$19.40$698.40$699
Apple iPad Air (4th gen)64GB$30.52$1,098.72$1,099
Apple iPad Pro 5G (11-inch)128GB, 256GB or 512GB$43.86$1,578.96$1,449
Apple iPad Pro 5G (12.9-inch)128GB, 256GB or 512GB$52.74$1,898.64$1,899
Apple iPad Pro (11-inch)128GB, 256GB or 512GB$58$2,088$1,299
Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch)128GB, 256GB or 512GB$57.46$2048.56$1,449
Samsung Galaxy S7+ 5G256GB$54.12$1,948.32$1,949
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7128GB$34.68$1,248.48$1,249
Samsung Galaxy Tab A732GB$5$180$529
Samsung Galaxy Tab A10.132GB$6$216$395

Telstra, on the other hand, has 16 models available. Unlike Optus, they offer the iPad Mini, Galaxy Tab Active Pro, Galaxy Tab Active 3 and the self-branded Telstra Enhanced Tab 2 on a plan. Here’s how much each will set you back.

All tablets offered by Telstra
TabletStorageMinimum monthly device payment (36mths)Total minimum costOutright
Apple iPad Mini 564GB or 256GB$22.66$815.76$599
Apple iPad (8th gen)32GB or 128GB$19.33$695.88$699
Apple iPad Air 464GB$30$1,098.72$1,099
Apple iPad Pro 11 (2nd gen)128GB or 256GB$43.86$1,578.96$1,299
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (4th gen)128GB or 256GB$52.75$1,899$1,449
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch 5G128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB$40.25$1,449$1,449
Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch 5G128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB$52.75$1,899$1,899
Samsung Galaxy Tab A732GB$14.69$528.84$529
Samsung Tab Active364GB$23.58$848.88$799
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active Pro64GB$32.75$1,179$1,179
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7128GB$34.69$1,248.84$1,249
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G256GB$54$1,944$1,949
Telstra Enhanced Tab 232GB$6.66$239.76$240

Strangely, you may end up paying more by purchasing a tablet on a plan with either telco rather than simply buying it outright. Take Optus, for example, which is selling the last-generation iPad Pro models for more than the brand new ones. Even weirder, the 11-inch model is slightly more expensive than the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Still, on device range alone, we’re giving this one to the Big T.

Winner: Telstra

Though they’re two of our most popular carriers, neither Telstra nor Optus have particularly great customer service scores, both rating just 1.4 out of 5 stars on user-generated reviews website ProductReviews.

Still, Aussies are still flocking to them for the coverage and perks that come with a premium telco. The two are constantly battling for the title of most popular provider, but here’s where it stands right now.