Telstra is Australia's largest mobile provider, so naturally it has a decent range of prepaid plans on offer for customers. Whether you're looking for tons of data that will take ages to expire or you just want something for the next little while, there's a prepaid plan to suit.
Compare prepaid plans from Telstra below
Why choose Telstra prepaid?
If you're buying any plan with Telstra, you're getting all the benefits that go along with Australia's biggest provider: great coverage wherever you go, a big, reliable brand name, and a boatload of extras and features, including data-free streaming of sports and music and Telstra Plus rewards. However, all of this doesn't come cheap, and Telstra remains Australia's most expensive mobile provider.
That said, if you're comfortable paying extra, Telstra's Pre Paid Max plans are a solid choice in terms of data, and they even come with features that their postpaid plans lack, like data rollover and international calls. Its Long Life Plus long expiry plans aren't anything too special as far as long-lived credit goes, though these, too, have a few uncommon bonus features.
Either way, Telstra's prepaid plans are all month-to-month, so if you decide it's not working out for you, you can switch away whenever you want.
Telstra prepaid features
Data bank. As long as you recharge your plan before the expiry date, you'll be able to roll over any unused data on a Pre Paid Max plan up to a total of 200GB.
International inclusions. With all but Telstra's smallest plan, you'll receive free international calls to landlines in 18 different countries. For a full list, see the table under "Telstra prepaid international inclusions" further down.
Sports streaming. You can stream a bunch of sports, from AFL to netball and more, without using up any data.
Music streaming. If you have an Apple Music subscription, you can listen to as much music as you want with your Telstra plan without eating into your data allowance.
Telstra Air. As with any Telstra service, you gain access to the Telstra Air national Wi-Fi network for free.
Telstra Plus. This is Telstra's loyalty rewards program. If you join, you can rack up points for spending money on your mobile bill and other things. You can then spend those points on phones and speakers, plus you can get access to other benefits like cheap movie tickets.
As with any phone plan, Telstra's prepaid offerings are variable and there are quite a few to choose from. Here's the good and the bad of Telstra's prepaid plans:
No bill shock. With a prepaid plan, you can never go over. Your services stop when you hit your limit.
Loads of extras. Telstra has loads of features of offer, from data-free music streaming to international calls. These are great if you'll use them, but irrelevant if you don't.
Brand benefit. Telstra has a reputation as one of Australia's most reliable providers.
Flexible. Telstra has a wide range of options to choose from and because its prepaid plans are all month-to-month, you can switch easily if your current plan isn't working out.
Premium pricing. While Telstra's plans have plenty of features and they're known to be reliable, the company charges dearly for its services.
28 day expiry. Telstra's main plan has only a 28-day expiry period, which is not quite a month. This means that you may have to pay for an extra recharge over the course of a year.
Lower monetary value. Prepaid plans tend to have lower value overall in data-per-dollar terms. A postpaid plan might offer you more bang for buck.
What are the different types of Telstra prepaid mobile plans?
Telstra has two types of prepaid plans on offer:
Pre Paid Max. Suitable for most regular phone users, this plan includes unlimited domestic calls and texts, as well as unlimited calls to 18 countries. The more you spend, the longer the expiry period and the higher the included data. The plans range from $10 for 2GB over 7 days, all the way up to $300 for 150GB over 12 months.
Long Life Plus. Great for infrequent phone users or those who barely use phone data, this plan lets you purchase a set amount of credit that can be used over a certain period of time. Money will be deducted for calls, texts and data usage. Within Australia, you'll be charged 30c for each minute of a voice call or text that you send, and data is charged at a high rate of 10c/MB. The more you recharge, the longer your credit lasts.
Telstra prepaid international inclusions
With a Long Life Plus plan, you don't get any international inclusions. However, with a Pre Paid Max plan, you'll get unlimited calls to 18 countries and reduced rates to others, which is outlined in the table below.
International call rate
Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, UK, USA and Vietnam
Ireland, Bangladesh, France, Germany, Japan, Philippines and Sri Lanka
Andorra, Austria, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Finland, Greece, Guam, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Nepal, New Caledonia, Norway, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Vatican City and Virgin Islands (US)
Telstra prepaid phones
Telstra's prepaid handsets come at a pretty reasonable price with one of their prepaid plans, but they are locked to the Telstra network. To use them with another carrier's SIM, you'll have to wait two years, or pay $80 if it's been active for less than six months or $25 if it's been active for between six months and two years.
Here are the prepaid handsets currently on offer from Telstra:
We've compared Telstra's Pre-paid Max $30 deal to other similar plans on the market.
As you can see, Telstra's only real bonus over competitors for the extra price is the additional features it offers such as streaming inclusions and Telstra Plus points. Otherwise, you can get a comparable amount of data from providers like Optus or Boost for less.
Frequently asked questions
How do I switch to Telstra prepaid?
Don't cancel your existing plan if you want to retain your phone number.
Purchase a new prepaid plan with a SIM online or in store.
When signing up, ask to transfer your existing number over.
Activate your new SIM when it arrives. You should be good to go within a few hours.
If you're not already with Telstra, you simply need to purchase an appropriate prepaid plan either online or at a Telstra store. New plans will come with a SIM card that you'll need to install in your phone and activate, after which you'll be able to access your credit and recharge like normal.
If you're on a postpaid Telstra plan and want to switch to prepaid, you can usually keep your SIM and number by either contacting Telstra or going to one of their stores to get it sorted. If you have a prepaid plan and want a different one, it's possible to change your offer via account management on Tesltra's online portal or 24/7 app.
How do I recharge Telstra prepaid?
Telstra offers plenty of options for recharging your prepaid plan. Always check the specific details of your plan, since some offer rewards for recharging ahead of the expiry date.
Online at m.telstra.com. You can visit Telstra's web portal on your browser, create a Telstra ID and recharge using most payment methods. If you use your prepaid phone to visit the website, it will automatically detect your mobile and won't charge you for data.
Via Telstra's 24/7 app. This app will detect your sim automatically from your prepaid phone. The Telstra 24/7 app is available free of charge for iPhone (you can download it here) and Android (download here).
Via credit card/PayPal. Telstra supports payments via Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express or PayPal to recharge mobile services, but you will have to go through Telstra's prepaid payment gateway to access the service. You can recharge your own mobile service or the service of any other Telstra prepaid mobiles this way.
With a voucher. You can opt to purchase recharge vouchers at most supermarkets and other mass-market retailers, which you can then apply to your mobile service through the Telstra 24/7 app or mobile web portal.
By phone. If you'd rather use your phone to recharge, you can access recharge services by dialling 125 888 from your handset.
Via automatic recharge. You can set up an automatic recharge with most payment methods using the app or online portal. Be aware that if you set this up, you'll be paying regularly even if you aren't using the service until you explicitly cancel it.
Sam Baran is a writer for Finder, covering topics across the tech, telco and utilities sectors. They enjoy decrypting technical jargon and helping people compare complex products easily. When they aren't writing, you'll find Sam's head buried in a book or working on their latest short story. Sam has a Bachelor of Advanced Science from the University of Sydney.
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