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Optus vs Telstra: Which provider offers the best broadband plans?

Does Telstra or Optus get you more value for your money? Find out in this guide.

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While there's no shortage of broadband providers to choose from these days, Optus and Telstra are still far and away the biggest names in the business. Not only are they the only companies to operate nation-wide cable broadband networks, together they control a large part of the country's ADSL infrastructure, a fact that kept smaller providers from competing in the ADSL space for a long time.


Compare Optus and Telstra's NBN plans below

Compare Optus and Telstra's ADSL plans below


Even with the neutrally-owned NBN rolling out across Australia, Telstra and Optus remain the go-to choices for reliable broadband. But that still leaves the question: Optus or Telstra? To answer that, let's break down what each has to offer.

Optus vs Telstra: Speed

If you've got the need for speed, both Telstra and Optus are equally capable of delivering the goods. With the NBN, Telstra offers two NBN speeds without extra cost. On its 200GB plan, you get a Basic II NBN connection while on its Unlimited plan and streaming bundles you get a Standard NBN connection. If you want to get Fast NBN speeds, you'll need to spend an extra $30 a month. Optus, on the other hand, offers just Standard and Fast speed tiers.

The NBN speed tiers don't tell the whole story, however. Practical performance can differ wildly from provider to provider due to factors like network congestion and how much bandwidth a provider has purchased from nbnco. This is why most NBN plans are accompanied by the "typical evening speed" you can expect to receive during the peak hours of 7:00PM to 11:00PM. Here, Telstra and Optus both claim similar typical evening speeds for their users across each NBN connection tier, so the speeds you see in practice should be much the same regardless of who you go with.

On their ADSL plans, each serves up a maximum download speed of 20Mbps, though you'll likely see speeds much slower than that due to the way ADSL speeds degrade the further you live from your local telephone exchange. Nevertheless, you won't see much of a difference between Telstra and Optus' ADSL speeds.

For offering more choice across its NBN plans, Telstra has the edge in the speed department.

Optus vs Telstra: Data caps

Optus has a small advantage over Telstra on the data front. All Optus' broadband plans come with unlimited data, saving you the hassle of monitoring your data usage every month. Telstra also offers unlimited data, but it's cheapest plan only includes 200GB. This gives Optus a slight edge.

Optus vs Telstra: Monthly costs

Once again, Optus has the edge over Telstra in the pricing comparison. Its two main plans clock in at $75 a month for unlimited data and pay-as-you-go calls, and a month for unlimited data, pay-as-you-go calls, a Yes TV by Fetch subscription and a subscription to Optus Sport. These prices remain the same whether you sign up for an ADSL or basic 50Mbps cable connection.

Telstra's plans aren't quite as impressive. $75 a month will get you 200GB of data and pay-as-you-go calls with an ADSL or 50Mbps cable connection. To match Optus' unlimited data, meanwhile, you'll be looking at a minimum of $80 a month.

Optus retains its advantage with its NBN plans. For $75 a month, you'll get a Standard NBN connection along with unlimited data and pay-as-you-go calls. A similar plan over at Telstra will set you back $80 a month instead.

At the high-end of the NBN spectrum, Telstra and Optus are neck and neck, both charging an additional $30 a month to upgrade to an NBN Fast connection.

Additional fees

ProviderActivation feeEquipment charge
Optus (ADSL2+, NBN same with Bundles Month-to-month)$200$0
Optus (ADSL2+, NBN same with Bundles 24 Month)$99$0
Telstra (NBN same with Bundles Month-to-month)$99$216

Optus vs Telstra: Bundles

Bundles play a large role in both Optus and Telstra's broadband business. For basic home phone bundles, Optus' price advantage makes it the clear winner, but Telstra turns things around on the entertainment front. Since Telstra owns 50% of Foxtel, it's able to bundle Foxtel in with select Internet plans, getting you premium channels from across a variety of genres including drama, lifestyle and documentaries.

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