So you’re after a new mobile phone plan and already know one requirement that’s set in stone. You want to get on the Telstra network for its unbeatable coverage, capacity and speed. Now, the obvious first place you’ll probably be heading is to the Telstra web site. However, there are alternatives worth considering as well. There’s not a huge amount of third-party providers that operate using Telstra’s network, but they do exist. And one of them is Boost Mobile.
Boost moved over to the Telstra network a few years ago. It now offers a range of plans heavily geared towards data users. Plus, their plans come with features and perks that Telstra’s plans don’t. Not to mention that they’re often more affordable as well.
But going directly with Telstra has some obvious advantages. Let’s take a look at some key plans from both companies and see if we can help you make a choice. Boost or Telstra?
Operating exclusively as a prepaid provider, Boost Mobile offers a range of five plans. One of those, the low-end $10 plan, only offers a 7-day credit expiry. That’s one we can safely set aside for the purposes of this comparison and instead look at where the real value lies. All Boost Mobile plans offer unlimited calls, text, and MMS to Australian numbers. At the $30 price point, there’s a well-placed plan that includes 6GB of base data.
You’ll then need to recharge to continue using Boost’s network, of course — and the $30 worth of recharge gives you a lower 5GB data allowance. Boost’s data allowances work differently to any other provider. They give you a base level data inclusion when you purchase their SIM starter pack. Then, every recharge you get a slightly decreased data allowance. So the $30 plan comes with a base 6GB of data and 5GB every after recharge. The $50 plan has a 30GB base data, then 20GB after you use Boost’s Anytime Plus recharge. The only plan with which data allowance remains the same is the one valued at $40 where it packs 15GB.
If you call or text people overseas it’s well worth going for the $30 plan where it adds unlimited calls and texts to ten major international countries. The list features the US, UK, New Zealand, Canada, China, Germany, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brazil, and Ireland. Plus 100 more minutes and 100 texts to 40 countries if you purchase and activate before 25 February 2019.
Expiry on the $20, $30, $40, and $50 plans is 28 days. There’s no contract of any kind – you just need a SIM and you’re good to go. There are Boost Add-Ons ($5 and $15) you can purchase to access premium services that aren’t in your plan’s inclusions.
Boost also offers unlimited streaming of Apple Music without it counting against your data limit. If you’re an iPhone user, that’s likely to tick another box for you.
One thing worth mentioning, by the way – Boost doesn’t get access to the full potential speed of the Telstra network when it comes to data. This won’t impact you in terms of coverage. However, you won’t be able to reach the full potential download speeds available on your phone in 4G areas, capping out instead at 50Mbps. In practice, you won’t notice any difference – and that top speed is still blazingly fast for mobile data!
Going with Telstra mobile plans directly does have some very real advantages above raw data speed. But you need to let go of the idea of “unlimited” if you’re trying to keep within a budget. The lowest-cost Telstra BYO plan to offer unlimited talk, text nationally and to overseas starts at $59 on a 12-month contract.
Much more appealing among the Telstra deals is the Mx plan. It gives you unlimited calls and 15GB of data for $49 per month on a 12-month contract. Text and MMS are unlimited, and the main condition of the plan is that you manage your account online rather than calling support or visiting a Telstra Shop. If you’d prefer the personal service, you can have that on the “M” plan for an extra $10 a month. But in our opinion, it’s better to manage your account online anyway.
If you’d rather stick with prepaid, you can’t go past the $40 plan, which gives you 5GB of data and unlimited calls and text. You also get international calls to ten countries. The downside is the lower data limit. But as a plus, if you don’t use all your data you can “roll over” the unused portion to the following month.
As for the perks, well, there’s plenty of them. Six months of free Apple Music subscription (and permanent data-free streaming from that service). Free Wi-Fi hotspots with Telstra Air around Australia and with Fon hotspots worldwide. A free new-release movie rental with Bigpond Movies along with free movies each week. And best of all, a full year’s free access to live streaming of both AFL and NRL with their respective Live Passes, normally costing $90.
Alongside all the freebies you get Australia’s best mobile coverage, full support for super-fast 4G data download, support for VoLTE on supported phones for high definition voice calls and even free access to Visual Voicemail on devices that support it (such as the iPhone).
What about the alternatives?
There are a few other options that make use of the Telstra network that are worth taking a look at as well, including Southern Phone’s range of Orange plans. Their $35 plan, for instance, comes with unlimited talk/text and 5GB data along with the option to go month-to-month or sign up for 12 months.
Another option is Woolworths Mobile, which gives you a similar deal but adds unlimited calls to the ten major countries. The plan is priced at $30 per 30-day recharge, with a discount for Woolworths Rewards cardholders. Similarly to Boost, both of these use a slightly slower subsection of the Telstra network.
There’s a few factors that might influence your choice between Telstra and Boost – not least the fact that Telstra’s best plans for data plans are on a contract while Boost is prepaid and contract-free. All of the Telstra mobile deals come with a range of very valuable freebies, while Boost prefers to stick to the basics. Whether the extras provided by Telstra will sway you depends on your own personal needs, but they’re very nice inclusions. And when it comes data, Boost wins out on quantity while Telstra is easily going to win for speed.
To have such great-value choice on Australia’s best mobile network is a win-win for everyone, though. And regardless of whether you pick Boost or Telstra, you’re going to be very happy with the results.