Telstra phone plans & hidden features: what do you actually get?

23 June 2015

Welcome to Telstra phone plans 101, where we take an in-depth look at Telstra phone plans, as well as what features are available and decipher what each of them actually offers. After all, if you're signing up for a 24-month contract, it's usually a good idea to know what you're paying for. Even for a current customer, there may be a few great perks that you didn't know you were missing out on.

The plans

Telstra offers five post-paid plan tiers: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large and Premium. These are the plans that let you get your hands on a subsidised smartphone, often for an extra monthly price on top of the base plan cost. This added device repayment varies depending on the plan and on the phone itself. Each plan carries a minimum 24 month commitment.

Right now the M, L and XL plans all carry ‘bonus data’. It’s difficult to tell if this is a short-time promotion with an approaching end date, or if Telstra will continue to offer this incentive indefinitely.

Go Mobile - S
Go Mobile - M
Go Mobile - L
Go Mobile - XL
Monthly price before
phone repayment
Monthly price before
phone repayment
Monthly price before
phone repayment
Monthly price before
phone repayment
No bonus data
2GB + 500MB
5GB + 1GB
8GB + 2GB
For calls
For calls
National calls
National calls
For calls
For calls
National calls
National calls
Show me the plan Show me the plan Show me the plan Show me the plan

Recently, Telstra added large amounts of data to the L and XL plans, while the S and M plans kept similar inclusions to their past iterations, with some notable increases to calls. All plans have unlimited text and MMS within Australia.

Why not go Premium?

Hey big spender, isn't it frustrating that your 'unlimited' calls and texts are restricted to being sent within Australia? Would you prefer unlimited overseas access, as well as built-in roaming charges? Check out Telstra's all-new Premium Plan.

Premium Mobile
Monthly price before
phone repayment
15GB + 1GB
Calls to Australian numbers
and overseas
Show me the plan

The plan you ultimately choose is up to you; you should have a good idea based on past experience how much data and call credit you need. If you need a little help, be sure to check out our mobile data usage guide.

On top of your general calls, data and text restrictions, Telstra has a lot of added features and bonuses. The milieu can be confusing to the newcomer; let’s take a look at some of the more-notable ones.

25GB data for your first month

This is the “Peace of Mind Commitment” and it’s on all five contract plans. Generally, your first month with a new phone is going to be one of your highest data cycles. You need to download your apps again, songs, images, sync your dozens of online accounts and there will probably be some increased daily usage while the honeymoon period is still strong with your new toy.

Telstra wants to take the fear out of this initial period so that you can settle in to your fresh phone all relaxed and happy-like. 25GB should do it for almost everyone. Just don’t do it on month number two, when your regular monthly data allowance kicks in.

No more bill shock

Instead of expensive per-MB charges for overuse, Telstra now charges $10 per GB. This works out to around one third the cost per MB of the previous overage fees.

Mostly, just like the Peace of Mind Commitment, it’s about letting you relax. Going beyond your monthly data allowance is usually stressful. Once you’re past the marker, every time you have to send an email or check an instant message your mind conjures an image of money pouring down a sink.

With the $10 per GB automatic top-up system, you have a better idea where you’re at. 1GB extra is about half again what most users will go through in a month, so if you hit your limit there’s a good chance you can give a sigh, accept the $10 hit, and go back about your online activities without worrying about what mystery amount you’ll be hit up for.

More about Telstra auto top-ups

Phone upgrades every 12 months

'New Phone Feeling' is Telstra’s optional 12 month phone upgrade system, available on all four Go Mobile plans, as well as Premium. Just 12 months in to your contract, you will have the option to pay an additional $149 and swap your current phone for a shiny new one.

After 12 months, a flagship device would have devalued at least $149 if you’re looking to sell it on Ebay, so this is a pretty good option for folks that always like to have the latest and greatest device out there.

The downside is that you’ll also need to sign a new 24 month commitment, effectively extending your contract by 12 months and paying whatever the new monthly charges and phone repayments are at that time.

Of course, the phone you trade in has to be in good, working order. Only minor scratches and ‘normal wear and tear’ is permitted.

Family Share Plans

You can now roll up to 5 additional SIM cards in to your one account, for a total of 6 devices. You can choose to add either phone plans or tablet SIMs, each for an added monthly cost. These new shared plans do not add to your data pool, but the phone plans do come with unlimited calls and messages within Australia.

Required Plan
Cost of additional Phone Plan
Cost of additional Data SIM
Telstra Go Mobile Plan
$55, $70, $95, or $135 per month
$40 per month
Comes with Unlimited Calls and Messages
$5 per month
No inclusions added to shared pool

The whole explanation is fairly complicated. Be sure to check out our Telstra Data Sharing Explained article for more details.

More about Telstra Family Share Plans

Free public WiFi

Telstra customers can enjoy free WiFi access in select metro areas. WiFi access points are located at Telstra phone booths topped by the ever-familiar WiFi symbol.

These hotspots won’t be as fast as your 4G, or even a good 3G connection. Still, they’re a great way to browse the web without encroaching on your precious monthly data cap.

Travel Passes

Roaming is expensive. Most stories you hear about nightmare bill shock involve people using their phones while overseas. To help combat this, Telstra has introduced Travel Passes.

These are short term passes that allow use of your phone, including data, in select countries for a limited time. The nations are split up in to two zones:

Zone 1 includes New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia – including Bali.

Zone 2 is a bit more substantial. Its members include: Cambodia, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland), United Arab Emirates, and the United States of America.

It is double the price of Zone 1.

Zone 1 prices:

  • 3 Day pass: $15 and 150MB of data
  • 7 Day pass: $35 and 350MB of data
  • 14 Day pass: $70 and 700MB of data
  • 30 Day pass: $150 and 1.5GB of data

More about Telstra Travel Passes

Zone 2 prices:

  • 3 Day pass: $30 and 150MB of data
  • 7 Day pass: $70 and 350MB of data
  • 14 Day pass: $140 and 700MB of data
  • 30 Day pass: $300 and 1.5GB of data

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