It might seem like an unfair comparison right out of the gate. OVO vs Telstra apparently looks like a battle of David & Goliath proportions. On one side we have Telstra – the dominant telecommunications company in Australia for decades. They built the earliest mobile networks years before any other players arrived and their unrivalled coverage is extensive. On the other side, meanwhile, we have OVO – one of the newest third-party mobile providers on the market. They have quite a few unique ideas to make themselves stand out from the crowd, “for the fans”. So which one is better for you?
If you’re looking for a great-value mobile deal, let’s set some parameters to make this fight a fair one. Let’s say you want unlimited calls and texts, as well as a generous data allowance. You don’t want to spend too much money every month and you don’t want to get stuck on a contract you can’t get out of for a year or more. The stage is set – let’s see how the two companies shape up.
The best thing about the way the mobile marketplace works in Australia these days is the level of competition. OVO Mobile is fairly new to the game. However, they launched with a unique selling point – a free streaming service called OVOPlay. It’s only available to their customers, providing exclusive sport content like Formula Drift and Australian gymnastics, and top radio stations as well. All content is delivered data-free any time you like for as long as you like. It’s a point of difference from other providers that may make sports fans sit up and take notice. Though Telstra’s not idle in that department either, more on that in a minute.
Prepaid OVO mobile plans all come with a free subscription to Family Zone. This is a “cyber safety” service that allows fine-grained parental control over what a mobile service is allowed to do and when it can do it. That makes OVO a great choice for parents buying a mobile service for their kids. And while OVO does offer special kids’ plans with minimal calls and data for a very low price, the free service is available on all their plans.
For unlimited calls and text, OVO starts at $19.95 with a 2GB data allowance. However, the plan to go for if you use more than a little bit of data is the $34.95 15GB option, which recently won Money Magazine’s award for best high usage mobile plan. If you need even more data you can jump up to the 20GB plan for $49.95, but the value lies in that very keenly-priced middle tier.
OVO uses the Optus 4G Plus network, which should give you speedy 4G data coverage in all cities and most high population areas, with more coverage continuing to be rolled out across Australia. The Optus network will have you covered with 3G otherwise.
Over on the telecommunications-giant side of the room, Telstra Mobile’s been no slouch when it comes to responding to the changing prepaid marketplace. And while they don’t publicise their prepaid offerings as heavily as they do their contract plans, if you search thoroughly there are some excellent Telstra deals available. Of course, one of the primary benefits right from the start is that you’ll be on the Telstra 4G network. It remains the largest in Australia with coverage almost anywhere there are people (and quite a few places where there aren’t!).
While prepaid Telstra mobile plans come in a variety of different types, only one group offers unlimited talk and text in Australia- the “Prepaid Plus” plans. Starting with the $30 plan with its restrictive 2.5GB data limit, it is easily bested by the $40 option, which gives you 5GB and unlimited calls to 10 international destinations. Bump that up to $50 and you’ve got 7.5GB of data to play with. The top-end $60 plan, meanwhile, delivers 10GB.
The data limits may seem restrictive at first glance. Telstra’s not known for advertising big-number data limits, but there are usually offers running for bonus data. Hence, you’re likely to get a lot more than the base amount for your money. Call-wise, the $40, $50, and $60 plans also include unlimited international calls to a group of major countries; potentially huge value for those with friends and family overseas. In addition, all four prepaid plans include credits to use for other services not included in your chosen plan — $5, $10, $15, and $20, respectively.
Furthermore, there are some attractive extra perks available for Telstra customers. Sports fans are well catered for with a free subscription to streaming services for the AFL, NRL, and Netball for as long as they keep recharging. You also get a free access to Telstra Air wi-fi hotspots and data-free streaming of Apple Music for iOS users.
There’s no getting around it – OVO wins hands-down when it comes to bang for your buck with data allowance. Telstra isn’t even trying to compete at that level. But the fact that they’re using their own network does mean that users with the latest smartphones will likely get faster downloads with Telstra, so there’s that. OVO offers a unique video streaming service that’s expanding as it goes, but Telstra offers access to streaming of two of the biggest sporting codes in the land.
OVO’s $34.95 plan won an award for a reason – it’s astonishingly good value, and with no contract to tie you down, you lose nothing by giving it a try. And then if you find yourself hankering for Telstra’s network and perks, you can easily switch. Just check the Formula Drift race schedule first to make sure you don’t miss something!