The best Telstra and Optus mobile alternatives

How to get the coverage of one of the big providers, without the additional cost

If you’re looking for a way to cut your mobile bill, but don’t want to sacrifice your Telstra or Optus coverage, great news: you can have your money-saving cake and eat it too.

Both Telstra and Optus sell network access to smaller telcos, called MVNOs. If you decide to switch to an MVNO, you can enjoy more or less the exact same coverage as you’d get on a big-name plan, but usually for a significantly smaller monthly fee.

Some of these providers may not feature all the bells and whistles included in Optus and Telstra plans – for example, free music and TV streaming, or bonus international extras.

It’s also worth noting that most of these plans are also SIM-only, which means you’ll need to bring your own unlocked phone (a phone that’s off-contract, and not locked in to your current telco).

But if you already have a device you love, and you’re after a no-frills plan with unlimited national talk and text and great value data, the following smaller providers are worth checking out.

Telstra coverage

While Telstra’s mobile network is still Australia’s largest, it’s also the most expensive. But customers wanting to shave down their plan cost can pick from several alternative telcos, all of which sell plans on Telstra’s 3G and 4G networks.

Providers using Telstra’s networks include Aldi Mobile, Boost Mobile, CMobile, Southern Phone, Telechoice, and Woolworths Mobile.

Although these MVNOs all offer 3G and/or 4G Telstra coverage, you won’t be able to access Telstra’s super-fast 4GX service. Telstra keeps its highest speeds exclusively for its own customers, but its standard 4G coverage should be more than fast enough for the average user.

Average data plans (2GB)

Bigger data plans (5GB)

Super data plans (10GB)

Optus coverage

If you’re hoping to keep your Optus coverage and speed, you have plenty of low-cost options. MVNOs operating on Optus’ network include Amaysim, Bendigo Bank Telco, Coles Mobile, Dodo Mobile, Exetel, iiNet, Jeenee Mobile, Moose Mobile, OVO Mobile, SpinTel, Vaya, Virgin Mobile and Yomojo.

Out of those names, you’re probably already familiar with Virgin Mobile. Virgin Australia’s telco service is actually owned by Optus, but offers great value SIM-only plans, as well as phones on 24-month contracts. Virgin Mobile also includes extras such as international texts, rollover data, and data-free Spotify streaming on selected plans.

If data speeds are important, Optus MVNOs’ have access to the extra-fast 4G Plus network, which is available in all capital cities and most major regional towns across Australia. In areas outside of 4G Plus coverage, plans include either 4G or 3G speeds.

Average data plans (2GB)

Bigger data plans (5GB)

Super data plans (10GB)

Tara Donnelly is an editor at Australia’s most comprehensive telco comparison site WhistleOut.

* In highlighting particular offers we are not making specific recommendations as this article does not cover all available products and may not compare all features relevant to you. Any advice provided is general in nature and does not take account of your needs, objectives or financial situation. Individuals should consider their own circumstances, and if in doubt seek appropriate advice, before proceeding.