Is Telstra’s Budget Brand Belong Actually Worth It?

Is Telstra’s Budget Brand Belong Actually Worth It?
Contributor: Alex Choros
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You may not know it, but Belong is quite literally budget Telstra. Big T runs Belong as its discount mobile and internet brand, and for the most part, undercuts its mainline product. Belong even has some of the cheapest plans available on the Telstra network.

Of course, a cheap Telstra plan might seem too good to be true. You might be wondering if Belong’s budget options can hold up to what you get with Telstra proper. To help, we’re going to look at how the pair compare on mobile plans, mobile broadband plans, and NBN plans.

Telstra vs. Belong: Mobile plans

To start, mobile; let’s look at how Diet Telstra compares to Big T itself. Here’s every Telstra and Belong SIM-only plan, in order of price:

As you can see, Belong’s most expensive plan is more affordable than Telstra’s cheapest. With Belong, plans start at $25 per month for 20GB and max out at $45 per month with a typical allowance of 100GB. Belong is however offering double data for the first 12 months, however, bringing it up to 200GB per month for your first year with Belong. This offer runs until the end of January.

On Telstra, you’re looking at a minimum of $58 per month for a 40GB plan.

Telstra and Belong mobile plans all have 5G now. Belong’s plans are capped to speeds of 100Mbps. Telstra’s $58 plan is capped to 250Mbps, while its other two plans are uncapped. In our testing, we’ve seen Telstra 5G speeds reach over 1Gbps.

Belong’s plans are very no-frills when compared to Telstra’s. The only perks you get are data rollover and the ability to gift data to any other Belong customer. If you’ve got friends and family overseas, you can add unlimited international talk and text to 30 countries to any plan for a further $5 per month.

Telstra’s plans include 30 minutes of international standard international calls to any country out of the box, and unlimited international text. You can purchase a calling pack if you need extra minutes. You can also share your data with any other Upfront plan on your account.

Telstra plans currently come with one more of free Foxtel Now, two months of free Binge, and three months of free Apple TV+. They also allow you to sign-up for the Telstra Plus perks program, which among other things, gets you discounted movie tickets for Event and BCC cinemas.

You won’t pay excess data charges on either provider. If you go over your data on Belong, you’ll be capped to speeds of 1Mbps for the remainder of the month. If want normal speeds, you can pay $10 for a further 5GB. On Telstra, you’ll be capped to a slightly faster 1.5Mbps if you go over your allowance.

One big difference is Belong is a SIM-only provider, which means you already need to have your own phone you’re happy with. On the other hand, Telstra also lets you buy a phone on a plan. Here’s a selection of popular devices currently available through Telstra:

Lastly, here’s how Belong and Telstra’s plans compare to a few other postpaid providers powered by the Telstra network:

While Belong mobile plans are powered by Telstra, it doesn’t have access to the entire Telstra network. Belong uses the Telstra wholesale network to deliver mobile service, which reaches 98.8 per cent of the Australian population. Telstra’s full network now reaches 99.5 per cent. This can impact coverage in rural and regional areas.

Here’s how the full Telstra network compares to Belong.

Telstra vs. Belong: Mobile Broadband Plans

Belong added mobile broadband plans to its range earlier this year. Here’s how they compare to that of its parent company.

Belong’s cheapest mobile broadband plan starts at $15 per month, with 20GB of data. Telstra meanwhile charges $25 per month for its cheapest option, with a 30GB allowance.

On the other end of the pricing spectrum, Belong will sell you 400GB for $70 per month. Telstra also has a 400GB plan, but you’ll pay $75 per month for your first year, and $85 per month thereafter.

Belong’s 20GB and 100GB mobile broadband plans are capped to 100Mbps, while its 400GB plan is capped to 250Mbps. Telstra’s mobile broadband plans are uncapped, which means you’ll get the maximum speeds the network is capable of at the time.

Belong’s mobile broadband plans include data gifting, which means you can send unused data to any other Belong mobile customer, in 1GB increments. Telstra’s mobile broadband plans have data sharing.

Both Belong and Telstra mobile broadband plans are contract-free.

Telstra vs. Belong: NBN plans

Here’s every Telstra and Belong NBN plan, ordered by price.

Unsurprisingly, Belong in comes in much cheaper than Telstra. $65 per month gets you Belong’s NBN 25 plan. For comparison, Telstra’s cheapest NBN plan is an NBN 25 option for $80 per month. Both report typical evening speeds of 25Mbps.

Both plans are contract-free. Belong will typically charge $60 for a modem if you need one, but you can bring your own instead. On Telstra, you’ll get a third-generation Smart Modem at no cost, but you’ll need to return it if you leave within your first two years. If you fail to do so, you’ll be hit with a fee.

This trend continues as we go up in speed tiers. You can get Belong’s NBN 50 plan for $75 per month, while Telstra’s will set you back $90 per month for your first six months, and $95 per month thereafter. Telstra reports typical evening speeds of 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans, while Belong is a bit slower at 48Mbps.

Similar holds true for NBN 100 plans. On Belong, you’ll pay $90 per month. On Telstra, you can get your first six months for $95 per month; you’ll then pay $110 per month thereafter. Belong reports typical evening speeds of 95Mbps, while Telstra reports typical evening speeds of 100.

Given Telstra’s premium pricing, you can expect a few bonuses with its NBN plans. All plans with come with a two-month free subscription to Binge and a three-month free subscription to Apple TV+, you’ll get a modem with 4G backup in the event your NBN goes down (with download speeds of up to 25Mbps), and the ability to get faster plans like NBN 250. Telstra does not currently offer NBN 1000 plans as part of its Upfront range, but intends to bring them back.

These faster plans are only available to certain NBN premises, however. All FTTP connections can get either an NBN 250 or NBN 1000 plan. All HFC customers can get an NBN 250 plan, while about 95% can now get NBN 1000. No other connection type can currently get an NBN plan faster than NBN 100.

Belong doesn’t do much in terms of extras, but you’ll get a SIM with $80 of mobile credit if you always want to swap your phone plan to Belong.

Lastly, here’s how Belong and Telstra’s NBN 50 plans compare to a few other popular providers:

Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website. This article has been updated since its original publication.