Best 4G network: Telstra vs Optus vs Vodafone


Although offering a very similar structure to Telstra’s SIM only 12-month plans, every Optus plan has unlimited talk and text, and when purchased online, each plan gets a significant bump to the data allowance. 

Considering these data bonuses, the $30 plan gives you 2GB of data, the middle tier offers 15GB for $55, and the top of the rank nets you 25GB for $70. Until 14/05/2017 Optus has a special offer plan with 12GB of data for $40, which makes it much more reasonable middle ground between the $30 and $55 plans.

Excess data, as with Telstra, is charged at $10 per GB automatically when you exceed your monthly allowance although there doesn’t seem to be the option to purchase any extra data packs.


Vodafone has the widest stretch of 12-month BYO phone plans, with seven unique plans ranging from $30 to $60 a month. Most price tiers give you the choice of whether you’d prefer more data or some included international calls, and all plans include unlimited national talk and text, like Optus, so in this case we’ll just compare the data options. 

For $30 you can get 2GB, the same as Optus, at $40 you get 8GB, $50 offers 12GB, and the top-tier $60 plan offers an impressive 17GB data.


Depending on how you use your data, you could be interested in the new trend of offering exclusive streaming services for free (so they won’t count towards your monthly data limit). At the moment, you can get free music streaming and a 6-month Apple Music account with Telstra, and although you don’t get any free subscriptions, Optus offers music streaming from Spotify, Google Play Music, Pandora and iHeartRadio that doesn't count towards your data cap.

It's important to note that all the above plans also include varying amounts of talk and text value, which might sway your decision, not to mention the plethora of options when it comes to bundling your plan with a brand new phone.

Best 4G handsets

The most important part of your new contract will be your new smartphone, whether you buy it outright or on a plan will obviously impact significantly on the value, and the phone itself is going to determine whether or not you can make use of the double speed 4GX and 4G Plus.

Possibly the biggest phone for any network right now is the Samsung Galaxy S8, and all three telco’s are offering it with a variety of plans – none of which are directly comparable – so we’ll look at similarly valued plans. 

Telstra’s offering is the most expensive, with 12GB of data and unlimited talk and text (both nationally, and to 10 selected countries) for $105 a month. Optus’ 10GB plan is $94 a month, with unlimited talk and text and $300 included international. Vodafone is the cheapest at $90 a month for 13GB, but you’ll have to consider the lack of international calls and the network itself in making your decision.

When choosing your handset on either Telstra or Optus, it would be wise to get a phone that can make use of their double speed technologies, and although Vodafone doesn’t currently have the capability, it could be worth future-proofing with a compatible handset on their network as well.

There is currently quite a large range of phones with this capability, so it’s worth checking the Telstra and Optus websites for the full list. Among the more popular models, the iPhone 6s, 7 and SE ranges along with Samsung’s Galaxy S5, S6, and S7 series are all compatible, as are Google’s new Pixel and Sony’s Xperia X series.

Given the prevalence of 4G handsets in Australia, the easiest course of action in deciding the ideal handset may be checking out our list of the country's best mobile phones.

Harry Domanski
Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.