You choice of mobile phone network can be as important a decider as your choice of mobile phone. For most people, the one thing that matters above anything else is coverage. Nobody wants to sign up for a new phone plan only to find that they have to venture out into the back garden to get decent reception. Or be on a drive out of the city only to find they don’t have coverage at all. Telstra’s mammoth mobile network has long been a favourite of millions for its coverage. Not just in cities and big towns, but in rural areas and on remote highways as well. And now it’s easier than ever to access it.
For others, it’s all about data speed. In that department, Telstra’s 4Gx network – extensively available in major cities and rolling out around the country – doesn’t hold back. Many customers are experiencing data download speeds better than what’s available even on the fastest NBN connection.
But you don’t need to sign up for a Telstra plan to get access to this best-of-breed network. There are several third-party providers that can get you there as well. Often at greatly reduced prices and with unique perks. Let’s take a look at Telstra third-party providers worthy of your consideration.
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Right on the front page of their web site, Cmobile states that their goal was to provide a different service to the big Australian telcos. And different they indeed are – the only provider we’ve seen that uses twomobile networks for its services. Cmobile sells two different flavours of plan, categorised as “Red” and “Blue.” And if it’s the Telstra network you’re after, you’ll want to be heading straight for the Blue plans. The Red plans operate on the Vodafone network.
All Cmobile’s plans are monthly-billed post-paid, but there’s no contract to deal with. You can switch any time if the plan you choose doesn’t work out. While they have a couple of under-$20 plans, those are very restrictive when it comes to calls and texts; offering only 100 and 150 minutes’ worth and only 500MB of data. That said, they’d be ideal for someone who just needs an active phone around, or who takes more calls than they make.
Starting at $24.90 and heading up to $69.90 per month, all plans offer unlimited calls, text and MMS. The cheapest plan offers 1GB of data and the most expensive one gives you 10GB. The sweet-spot here is the $34.90 3GB plan. It packs great value with plenty of data for everyday use without going overboard.
It’s data, data and more data with Boost’s prepaid plans on the Telstra network, with a unique twist. You get a base amount of data every month and then, every weekend, a bonus 1GB is added to your account. So if you’re the type of person who manages their data usage carefully, you’ll end up with an additional 4GB per month on each plan.
The $30 plan gives you 3GB as a base, and with the bonus data that clocks up to 7GB in a month; alternatively, there’s a $40 plan with 5GB base and a $50 plan with 7GB (great value in itself even before you take the bonus data into consideration).
All Boost plans come with unlimited calls and texts within Australia. The $40 and $50 plans also add unlimited international calls to ten major countries which, well, boost their value considerably.
As an additional perk for iPhone users, Apple Music streaming is completely data-free on all Boost plans. You can spend the day with your favourite playlists and not use a single byte of your precious data allowance.
With ALDI, it’s the unlimited-call plans that are the real value, not surprisingly. Their L plan, at $25, gives you all the national calls and texts you can muster along with 100 international minutes to 50 countries. The plan comes with 3GB of data.
If that’s not enough for you, the $35 7GB plan is the one to head for. Not only is it astonishing value, it also features data rollover. So if you only use 4GB of the 7GB plan one month, the next recharge you’ll have 10GB to play with.
With a slogan of “call the world for less”, LycaMobile places a heavy emphasis on international calling without limits. They’re not messing around in the value department either – the first 28 days with them is massively discounted from what are already remarkably cheap rates.
For example, the Unlimited Plan S includes unlimited calls and text, a total of 10GB of data if you buy or recharge online, and a discount for new customers of $9.90. After the first month that reverts to the regular rate of $29.90. Still amazing value, since the plan also comes with unlimited international calling to ten countries, along with bonus minutes to a range of others.
Their $44.90 plan, meanwhile (half price for new customers at $22.45) ramps up the number of unlimited-call-and-text international countries to 40.
LycaMobile frequently runs special discounts and promotions. It’s well worth double-checking to see what’s on offer before you buy. However, if you do a lot of international calling, this is the provider for you.
Telechoice keeps things simple with a website that’s all about the raw facts. The telco has a winner on their hands with the $30 no-contract plan. It gives you unlimited calls, texts and MMS messages and 3GB of data for the price. If you’re usually the one who gets called, the $20 version of that plan might be a good option. It’s only got $500 talk time (still totally fine for more occasional users) and 2GB of data. SMS and MMS is still unlimited.
Happy to go on a 12-month plan? That $30 offer becomes $29 per month and the data limit is ramped up to 5.5GB. That’s astonishingly low-cost access to the Telstra network.
If you’ve got a valid Australian student ID
With hundreds of outlets all around Australia constantly selling mobile phones and SIMs for other providers, it’s no surprise that Woolworths decided to step into the mobile game themselves. They’ve even shaken things up a bit while doing so!
You can buy one of two prepaid starter packs from any Woolworths store. This gives you the SIM you need along with your first recharge and some bonus data as well; 1GB extra for the $30 pack or 2GB extra for the $45 pack.
Not that the data allowances are in need of propping up. The $30 plan comes with 3GB and the $45 plan offers a massive 8GB per recharge. Data rollover is in effect as well, so any unused allowance is added to the next recharge.
National calls, texts and MMS are all unlimited on both plans, and both also come with international calls to 10 countries ($150 minutes on the lower plan, unlimited on the higher one) and $100 credit for calling other countries.
On top of all that, presenting your Woolworths Rewards card when you recharge gets you an instant 10% discount, making that $45 plan only $40.50. An absolute bargain.
How to choose your plan
Have a good think about how you use your mobile. Do you make a lot of calls? Or do your friends and family mostly call you? If the latter, picking a plan without unlimited calls can be a real money-saver. Do you call friends or family overseas a lot? Head straight for the companies that offer unlimited international calls and you can save big money. If you’re the sort of phone user who spends most of their time on the screen keeping up with social media, watching videos and sharing photos, then head straight for the plans with big data limits.
Something for everyone
There’s no “one size fits all” mobile plan, and that’s why most of the plans we’ve featured here are contract-free. If you sign up for one and find it doesn’t meet your needs, you can change plans or even change providers without penalty. And, of course, without losing your mobile number. One thing’s for sure – accessing the Telstra network has become both easier and cheaper.