How does Telstra’s New Phone Feeling work?

The Telstra New Phone Feeling allows you to swap out your handset annually, but there are catches to be aware of.

Telstra has offered the New Phone Feeling package since 2014, with the alluring promise of a new phone after only twelve months on a 24 month contract. Don’t like the phone you signed up for, or tempted by a better model that’s emerged since you signed on the bottom line? No problem – or at least that’s the theory. Before you sign up, it’s worth knowing the full details of how the service works.

How much does the Telstra New Phone Feeling cost?

When it launched New Phone Feeling, Telstra initially charged $10 per month for plans that had it added, or in other words $120 annually for the service. It’s now included automatically on all Go Mobile plans as a matter of course without any monthly fee to pay upfront, but that’s not quite the same thing as the service being entirely free. If you opt to take up Telstra’s New Phone Feeling offer, you pay a one-off charge of $149 for doing so. The one exclusion to this is Telstra’s $195 Premium Phone Plan; if you’ve signed up for that plan level then New Phone Feeling is included, but the redemption fee is explicitly waived.

What happens to my existing phone?

The other part of redeeming against the New Phone Feeling offer is that you have to hand back your original handset in "working order". Telstra defines "working order" as a device that:

  • Turns on and off;
  • Functions normally (for example, it is capable of making and receiving calls and connecting to the internet and any touchscreen functions as intended);
  • Has a fully functioning battery;
  • Is free from physical damage except normal wear and tear (for example, it does not have liquid damage, a cracked or discoloured screen or casing, connector damage, or a faulty or broken SIM reader);
  • Does not have any missing, disassembled, customised or non-original parts;
  • Has all activation and device locking features disabled (eg. Find My iPhone on iOS 7 devices); and
  • Is not IMEI blocked.

What if my phone has been replaced in the meantime?

Telstra will accept phones replaced under an insurance policy (its own or others) or under warranty as being the same thing as your original phone for the purposes of the New Phone Feeling offer.

What if my phone has been lost?

Telstra will allow customers to use the New Phone Feeling offer without you handing in the original handset, but in that case you’ll need to pay off the entire handset cost of the device remaining under contract before doing so.

What happens to my contract if I take up the Telstra New Phone Feeling offer?

New Phone Feeling works by effectively "cancelling" your existing contract with only the $149 fee to pay contingent on you signing up for a new 24 month contract, complete with its own New Phone Feeling contingency for the following 12 months. This does mean that you’d be signing up for whatever Telstra’s contract offer for the handset of your choice was at that time, along with the handset repayments for whatever device you choose to move to. The end effect of all of this in contract terms is that you end up under contract to Telstra for a three year period rather than a two year one.

Is the Telstra New Phone Feeling worth it?

As always, that’s dependent upon your circumstances, but there are some situations under which it could be very appealing. If you find the handset you’ve signed up for unsuitable for your purposes, whether you don’t like the size or the camera or storage or any other factor, switching out to a phone that more closely matches your needs could well make good sense.

Equally, because you’re signing up for a completely new contract when you take up the New Phone Feeling offer, you can also reassess your actual usage over the year. If you’re not using all the inclusions on your plan, notably data, you can opt to switch down to a lower cost plan. You will most likely pay more in handset costs that way, so it’s a delicate balance. Equally, if you constantly run out of data and end up buying lots of $10/GB extra data blocks, jumping up plans might make good financial sense.

Do any other Telcos offer similar services?

Optus has a fundamentally identical scheme, launched in 2016 which it calls "New Phone Trade Up" with much the same 12 month phone swap feature built in.

Alex Kidman

Alex is the Telco Editor at He's been writing about consumer technology topics for the best part of two decades, and enjoys breaking down complex topics into their component parts.

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