• Telstra vs Optus
  • Which gets more coverage?
  • Learn more in our latest article

As Australia's two largest telcos, Telstra and Optus share many similarities but also have notable differences. Telstra boasts the most extensive network coverage, while Optus often offers more competitive pricing. Both providers offer a wide range of plans and the latest popular smartphones.

If you're deciding between Telstra and Optus or questioning whether your current plan is a good deal, this head-to-head comparison will help you understand how each stacks up.

Mobile wireless broadband operates through mobile phone towers and is typically accessed via a small USB modem with a SIM card. This type of broadband functions similarly to a mobile phone and does not rely on your landline telephone line like ADSL broadband used to do.

However, good mobile wireless broadband coverage isn't guaranteed just because your provider's mobile phone works well in your area. Mobile phones and mobile wireless broadband use different frequencies.

Telstra and Optus own the majority of mobile phone towers in Australia. However, Three Mobile has its own towers in major metropolitan cities, while Vodafone operates its network in regional locations.

Telstra vs. Optus

Telstra and Optus are Australia's two largest mobile network operators, offering similar types of phone plans, including SIM-only and phone-on-a-plan options.

Network coverage:

  • Telstra is the largest network provider in Australia.
  • Optus provides excellent coverage and is close behind Telstra.
  • Both are expanding its 5G networks across the country.

Plan value:

Both telcos provide a variety of new phones bundled with plans and several SIM-only plan options.

Choosing the best plan:

Optus is often cheaper and may provide better value for your money.

Telstra offers extensive network coverage and premium services.

Optus broadband provider logo
Optus Plus Everyday Basic NBN™ Bundle Plan
$70 .00/ mth
Min total cost $70
Optus broadband provider logo
Optus Plus Everyday Fast NBN™ Bundle Plan
  • Unlimited Data
  • 100/18 Mbps
  • Deal: $79 for first 6 months, then $99 ongoing
$79 .00/ mth
Min total cost $79
Optus broadband provider logo
Optus Plus Everyday NBN™ Bundle Plan
$85 .00/ mth
Min total cost $85
Optus broadband provider logo
Optus Plus Everyday Superfast NBN™ Bundle Plan
  • Unlimited Data
  • 245/22 Mbps
  • Deal: $89 for first 6 months, then $119 ongoing
$89 .00/ mth
Min total cost $89
Optus broadband provider logo
Optus Plus Family Entertainer Bundle Plan
  • Unlimited Data
  • 50/18 Mbps
  • Deal: $95 until 08/07/24, $99 a month for first 6 months or remaining Standard Intro Offer period and $109 a month thereafter
$95 .00/ mth
Min total cost $95
Optus broadband provider logo
Optus Plus Family Entertainer Fast Bundle Plan
  • Unlimited Data
  • 100/18 Mbps
  • Deal: $99 for first 6 months, then $119 ongoing
$99 .00/ mth
Min total cost $99
Optus broadband provider logo
Optus Plus Family Entertainer Superfast Bundle Plan
  • Unlimited Data
  • 245/22 Mbps
  • Deal: $109 for first 6 months, then $139 ongoing
$109 .00/ mth
Min total cost $109
To find out more about how we recommend plans, click here.

Telstra broadband provider logo
Telstra Basic NBN Broadband plan
$85 .00/ mth
Min total cost $85
Telstra broadband provider logo
Telstra Essential NBN Broadband plan
$100 .00/ mth
Min total cost $100
Telstra broadband provider logo
Telstra Premium NBN Broadband plan
$100 .00/ mth
Min total cost $100
Telstra broadband provider logo
Telstra Ultimate NBN Broadband plan
$115 .00/ mth
Min total cost $115
To find out more about how we recommend plans, click here.

Optus vs Telstra network coverage

Optus

Optus has made significant strides in expanding and enhancing its network to provide better service and reliability to its customers across Australia, aggressively rolling out its 5G network, aiming to cover the majority of urban and suburban areas. 

While 5G is expanding, Optus continues to maintain a robust 4G network, ensuring comprehensive coverage in rural and remote areas. There is a continued focus on improving coverage in regional and remote areas through partnerships and investments in new infrastructure. This includes deploying small cell technology and upgrading existing towers to enhance service quality and reach.

Optus has invested in network resilience, ensuring that its mobile phone towers are equipped to handle increased demand and provide reliable service even during peak usage times. Backup systems and alternative power sources have been implemented to maintain connectivity during emergencies and natural disasters.

Telstra

Telstra is the current front runner offering the most extensive network in Australia, covering 99.6% of the population. This widespread reach includes the largest 5G network in the country, which serves 87% of Australians.

Telstra's network is indispensable for rural residents who might struggle to get reliable reception from other providers. However, if you're in an urban area, the difference in service quality between Telstra and other telecom companies might be less noticeable.

What about Vodafone?

Despite occasionally being perceived as having lesser coverage, Vodafone actually reaches 96% of the Australian population - just slightly less than Optus and only 3.6% behind Telstra.

To counter any lingering misconceptions about its network quality, Vodafone provides a 30-day network guarantee. This allows new customers to try the service for a month, and if they aren't satisfied, they can cancel without any commitment.

Telstra vs Optus coverage: The verdict

When comparing Telstra and Optus for mobile wireless broadband coverage, both providers offer extensive networks with good coverage across Australia. However, there are some differences to consider.

When it comes to coverage, Telstra generally has a larger coverage footprint, particularly in regional and remote areas. If you require coverage in more remote locations, Telstra may offer a better option. 

Both Telstra and Optus offer 4G and 5G mobile broadband plans. Telstra's 5G network is more extensive, which can result in faster speeds and more reliable performance in areas where 5G is available. When it comes to pricing, Optus tends to be more competitively priced compared to Telstra. If pricing is a significant factor for you, Optus may offer better value for money.

Ultimately, the best provider for you will depend on your specific needs and location. It's recommended to check coverage maps and compare plans from both providers to determine which offers the best coverage and value for your mobile wireless broadband needs.

Contact Compare Broadband

No matter what, contacting the team at Compare Broadband is a great way to determine whether you are in an area that gets better coverage from Telstra, Optus, or - in some areas - Vodafone - for mobile wireless broadband. Give our Australian-based team a call today on 1300 764 000; let’s talk about it.