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Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – Which is best? Which is cheapest?

There’s no easy way to put this – choosing a telco is bloody hard!  But with some of the biggest shakeups in plans we’ve seen in a long time there’s never been a better time to start looking for a better deal.

Think about it, when new plans come out, they are normally better value overall – sure some people might be worse off on their current plan, but there will be a new plan to suit.  That means that there’s probably 16 million people who right now are on an out-of-date plan!  Yep, you – you’re one of them.

Doesn’t matter if you’re on a prepaid, month to month or contract deal, it’s out of date – as of now.

So let me help you out.  For the purposes of this comparison, I’m looking ONLY at the big three telcos – the networks themselves.  Mainly to prove the point re the better deals to the many who are choosing to stay loyal, but also because seriously there are too many telcos, if you’re willing to jump away from the big three – trust me, there’s money to be saved.

Tonight I went to the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone websites.  I looked at what it would take to get my hands on a brand new iPhone 8.  That’s a desirable phone, it’s not the most expensive, but it’s desirable.  Good middle ground.

Telstra

The big fella, the elephant in the room, the majority stakeholder.  The one you’re all so damn loyal to – because “they have the best network” and “I go to the country”.

Firstly, yes, they cover more % of the population, but they don’t cover the whole country – no-one does.  Secondly, you don’t really go as remote as you think.  If you’re travelling to Young or Wagga Wagga, Telstra is great, but so are the others.  So for the purpose of this example, I’m going to talk to the city slickers.  Let’s say the 7-8 MILLION people in Sydney and Melbourne alone.  Network is not part of the debate, if you think it is, it’s been too long since you’ve actually got a SIM card and tried the other networks.

At Telstra, we can get an iPhone 8 for $94 a month on a two year contract.  That’s $35 for the phone payment, and $59 for the plan.  For that, I’ll get 3GB of data.

If I want a decent chunk of data, I need to spend $109, not a big jump frankly, which then becomes $10 for the handset, and $99 for the plan, offering me $30 GB of data.

On both, I can now pay an additional $10 to get “peace of mind” and ensure no bill shock if I use more than the allotted data allowance.

Optus

Big yellow looks a lot more enticing I’ll be honest straight up.

$80 is the minimum entry point for an iPhone 8, the cheapest of the big three. $35 for the phone, $45 for the plan.  For that I’ll get 3GB, 1GB of which is “bonus” but that’s ok.

A gentle extra $9 ($89) gets me a $10 handset payment on the $79 plan, and a whopping 30GB of data.  Yep, $20 cheaper than Telstra.  That’s a saving of $240 a year.  You’re kidding if you don’t think that’s decent.

Vodafone

Big Red likes to complicate things.  Not really, because actually it’s simple – but when you try and compare it isn’t as easy because they’re doing this whole “honest and transparent” thing by giving you a clear repayment for the mobile phone – with seperate plan choice.

On a two year repayment cycle, the iPhone 8 is $44.95 a month.  Now look above, take a look at how much the “plan” compensates the telco for the actual handset cost.  Yep.

A savvy buyer will choose to strip that out to three years of repayments, reducing the monthly mobile cost down to $29.97.

At that three year level, though you are not locked into a mobile plan with Vodafone (you can switch to another carrier and pay off the phone in a lump sum no questions asked), you can then choose a mobile plan to suit.  This makes Vodafone the cheapest place to get an iPhone at $69.97. Opting for the $40 plan with 6GB of data.

On a comparative two year plan that’s $84.95 on the $40 plan with 6GB of data.  Not as cheap as Optus, but double the data allowance.

Step it up to the $58 plan and you’ll get 30GB of data, which is madness given that for $60 a month ($104.95 in total), you’ll get 80GB of data (and no excess costs, just a slowed data speed).

Best value would be to go three years on the handset, and hit that $60 plan, a cost of $89.97 a month with 80GB of data and no contract!

So – who’s best?

Ahh, though you’d ask that.

For my mind, Optus take the title of the cheapest of the big three, because of that crazy good $80 entry point. Their $89 plan is ridiculous value also.

But I’d steer you toward Vodafone – their flexibility, lack of contracts and data offering make it hard to resist their $60 plan with 80GB of data!!  Just choose a handset that you want and take that one!

Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.

He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.

Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.

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Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – Which is best? Which is cheapest?
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