Making ends meet on a pension that doesn’t seem to ever keep up with the rising prices of everything can be tough, to say the least. But one of the essential items in life that seems to just get more and more affordable is the mobile phone – the handsets themselves as well as the cost of calls and mobile data.
As Australia’s largest phone and Internet provider, Telstra is a leading choice. Your home phone’s probably already connected with them. Hence, it’s nice and simple to add a mobile plan or broadband package in the mix without spending too much extra money.
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Why Telstra Mobile for Seniors?
Intense competition combined with more affordable technology has led to some incredible deals on mobile services in recent years, but often you’ll find the cheaper deals to be offered by smaller, third-party providers who are re-selling access to one of the big three networks – access that’s not always what it seems, as there are hidden limits on which parts of the network you can connect to.
That’s one of the reasons a huge number of Senior mobile package users head to Telstra. As owners of the biggest mobile network in Australia, they are in a unique position to get coverage into the most remote areas and the most difficult of buildings, in many cases the only network that can be relied on while driving around the country. That unmatched coverage is backed up by the latest technology, too – making calls clearer and mobile data speeds much faster. That technology is only available to Telstra customers on their network – while a few other mobile providers sell plans using the Telstra network, they don’t have access to all the advances that Telstra’s own customers do.
Best Mobile Plans for Pensioners and Seniors
Currently, Telstra offers Seniors several benefits for holders of eligible pension cards – whether you are on an age pension, a disability pension, the recipient of a carer payment and a range of other government benefit programs. Exactly what is offered depends on the service and plan that best meets your needs.
If, like many, you’ve already got a mobile phone that you’re perfectly happy with, you’ll just be looking for a Telstra SIM to plug into your phone and get you talking. For instance, the Telstra SIM-only Mobile plans have seen huge increases in data allowances in recent times, with their top-end plan now boasting an incredible 60GB per month of included data. The cheapest plan, meanwhile, offers 2GB.
Sounds small, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t all that long ago that 2GB was a huge data allowance for a mobile plan, and there’s a reason for that – it’s actually very, very hard to use a lot of mobile data unless you’re intending to stream Netflix on your phone, use it as a modem for your home computer, or similar. Normal mobile data usage – email, web browsing, using apps to pay bills, and so on – doesn’t use much data at all, and actually consuming anywhere close to 2GB in a month really does take some doing. With that in mind, if you’re looking for one of the best Telstra mobile plans for seniors it’s hard to go past Telstra’s $39 “S” package, which gives you that 2GB of data along with unlimited text messages and $500 of calls within Australia. That $500 will give you about 8 hours of call time per month, which is more than enough for most people.
If you’re wanting to spend hours on the phone having a proper chat, though, then it’s worth adding an extra $10 to get the “Mx” plan. At $49/month, the “Mx” plan gives you unlimited calls and texts within Australia and a hefty 15GB of data. However, this plan misses out on one thing that may be important to you – in-store and phone-in support, which is included with the $39 plan. For that reason (as well as the value) it’s the $39 plan that’s our pick. It’s good to have options, though!
These plans are on a 12-month contract; if you’d prefer to just go month-to-month, you can on the “S” plan, but the price goes up to $49.
What About Prepaid?
Here’s where the real value comes into play. Telstra’s prepaid mobile deals have been incredibly attractive for a while now, and that hasn’t changed one bit. That “S” plan we recommended above is excellent and comes with the reliability of a regular, billed phone service. But if you don’t mind the idea of “recharging” your phone credit whenever you need to, then Telstra’s “Pre-Paid Extra” plans are the way to go. At the entry level, a $30 recharge gives you 28 days of access with 2.5GB of data and unlimited calls and texts within Australia – as well as free access to the thousands of Telstra Air wi-fi hot spots.
And on prepaid, any unused data at the end of that 28 days is added to what Telstra calls the “Data Bank” – a pool of extra data that you can draw on any time your allowance runs out. You can store up to 50GB in the Data Bank – great for times when you’re away on holiday and want to catch up with some TV or the nightly news, for example.
Prepaid also gives you the flexibility of changing your data and call allowances with every recharge. For example, you could decide to go for the $40 option with its generous 5GB of data and unlimited international calls to 10 major countries.
Don’t Make Phone Calls?
Telstra is one of the only providers to offer long-expiry prepaid plans, with several options available. These are perfect if you don’t make mobile calls much, if at all – you’ve got a home phone for that – but want an active service so that people can call you. Called Long Life Plus, these plans offer six months for $30 or a full year for $70. Calls are billed at 30c per minute, texts at 30c each – but data is 10c per MB, which can chew through your recharge amount fast. For that reason, we’d recommend you avoid smartphones for these plans or turn off their data access.
What About Data-Only Plans?
If you’ve got an iPad, an Android tablet or a laptop computer that you want to get connected to Telstra’s fast data network, you can do that affordably as well – the days of mobile broadband plans costing a small fortune are thankfully far behind us!
You’ve got two options with Telstra’s data plans – just like with the phone plans, you can pick from a 12-month contract or prepaid. The 12-month plans are easily the way to go here, with some flexible options letting you get that iPad connected incredibly cheaply if you’re only planning on using it online occasionally (just make sure it’s a model that can accept a SIM card first!) The entry-level $15/month plan gives you 1GB of data a month which, if you’re a light user, is ideal and very affordable. For a more beefy data allowance, double the monthly cost to $30 and you get 6GB, more than enough for almost any use on a portable device. There’s also higher-limit plans – 30GB and 50GB – but they’re getting into “home broadband replacement” territory and are priced to match.
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While Telstra’s $30 prepaid phone plan looks like it edges out the $39 contract plan, there’s more to the story than it seems. Telstra has long offered generous extras to its mobile customers, and that hasn’t changed. You get free access to the AFL, AFLW, NRL and Netball apps to stream every game of the season live, completely data-free. You also get a six month Apple Music subscription (also data-free!) and some free rentals from Bigpond Movies. These extras are only available to post-paid (contract or month-to-month) customers – and yes, data plans get these same bonuses as well!
Is Telstra Right for You?
With the mobile phone such an essential part of our lives these days, you want the most reliable, hassle-free service available. And it’s Telstra’s network that’s unbeatable for coverage and quality, with incredibly fast data speeds so you’re never waiting around for web pages or email to load. At just under $10 per week – not much more than the line rental on the home phone – you get access to the best mobile network in Australia. All in all, if you’re either a Senior or Pensioner the Telstra Mobile discounts are most definitely worth looking into!