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Telstra Australia Review: The Best in Class (+Speedtests)

Back in 2019/2020, I was supposed to stay in Australia for a year.

Unfortunately, things were cut short due to the pandemic.

While I intended to stay in Taiwan for only a month until my boyfriend's mom would go back home again (she decided to come to visit for just two months… and the apartment was too small for the three of us), I was in Taiwan for an entire year.

Yeah… that escalated quickly. Australia was closed off, and Europe, where I am from, was crazy.

Taiwan was kind enough to let me stay longer than my visa-exempt status would typically allow me to stay (90 days – but that was extended to 840 days if I wanted to 🤯 (read: had the savings, lol)), so I decided to stay.

And that may have been the best decision I had made in the 2020s century (the Dutch government arranged a flight back home… but I declined it).

The year spent in Taiwan allowed me to test the six Taiwanese SIM cards extensively… and I have taken that experience and applied it to any other country I visited afterward.

You see, before Taiwan, I did not do extensive testing with the SIM cards I wanted to review.

I did a few speed tests here and there, used only one SIM card as my main one, and I was done

But after Taiwan, I upped my game (because I did tests at more than 100+ locations in nine counties) so that you can make a solid decision when buying local SIM cards.

As a result, I tested seven Australian SIM cards, including Telstra, and five travel eSIMs to be used here.

Btw, I wrote a Telstra review back in 2020. You might have read an excerpt of it if you came from Google. You are not missing out – the review was subpar 🗿.

I went to six different cities across five states.

I did more than 120+ speed tests with each SIM card and (travel) eSIM – going to tourist attractions and off the beaten track so that you can have a solid idea of how each SIM card or eSIM performs depending on your style of travel.

So I spent about 1000 AUD (Australian Dollar) for my Australian SIM card review series – who else is this crazy? 🤪

So you may already know that Telstra is the largest mobile operator in the country.

But does that mean it is the best? That is not a given in some countries… but it is in Australia (as per the review title).

But you cannot say something is the best without (extensively) testing it against its competition.

And in the case of Australia, that would be Optus and Vodafone Australia, but also a few Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), such as ALDImobile Australia (Telstra MVNO – speed restricted), Amaysim (Optus MVNO), Boost Mobile Australia (Telstra MVNO – speed NOT restricted) & Lebara Australia).

And as (travel) eSIMs are also becoming rapidly popular, I also tried out Airalo (Yes! Go! – can be used in Australia only & Discover Global – can be used in 85+ countries), Holafly, Nomad & SimOptions (3 HK).

Yeah… I went all out! But in this review, I will mostly focus on Telstra.

Let's get started, shall we?

Original publication: 30th of March 2020 (but rewritten on the 28th of November 2022 as part of an updated and revamped review). Last updated: 29th of November 2022.


Table of Contents

Who is Telstra?

Telstra Australia Logo Blue
© Telstra

Telstra is the largest mobile operator in Australia.

It is also the oldest mobile operator in the country, as it used to be a state-owned company.

To this day, Telstra is the fastest in Australia, winning multiple awards.

However, Optus is currently winning the 5G NR race, but for how long?

Optus… what is that? That is the second-largest mobile operator in Australia.

Speaking of which, what other options do you have in the country?

In Australia, you have three mobile operators and 12 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) offering prepaid services easily accessible to tourists:

  • Telstra
  • Optus
  • Vodafone Australia (TPG Telecom)
  • ALDImobile (Telstra MVNO)
  • Amaysim (Optus MVNO)
  • Australia Post Mobile (Optus MVNO)
  • Belong Mobile (Telstra MVNO)
  • Boost Mobile Australia (Telstra MVNO)
  • Coles Mobile (Optus MVNO)
  • Gomo Australia (Optus MVNO)
  • Gotalk Australia (Vodafone Australia (TPG Telecom) MVNO)
  • Hello Mobile Australia (Vodafone Australia (TPG Telecom) MVNO)
  • Lebara Australia (Vodafone Australia (TPG Telecom) MVNO)
  • Lycamobile Australia (Telstra MVNO)
  • Woolworths Mobile (Telstra MVNO)

You have many, many more MVNOs in Australia (about 40 or so), but most offer postpaid services only, or you need to order the SIM card online (which can take some time, depending on where you are).

I tested the other two mobile operators and four MVNOs while in Australia. You can read about them here: Optus, Vodafone Australia, ALDImobile Australia, Amaysim, Boost Mobile Australia & Lebara Australia.

Buying a SIM Card in Australia Guide (logos of Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, ALDImobile, Amaysim, Australia Post Mobile, Belong Mobile, Boost Mobile, Coles Mobile, Gomo, Gotalk, Hello Mobile, Lebara, Lycamobile & Woolworths Mobile)

Let's talk about Telstra's coverage first, after these quick frequency details:

  • 2G: N/A – shut down on the 1st of December 2016
  • 3G: 850 MHz – shutting down in 2024
  • 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 28), 900 MHz (Band 8), 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
  • 5G NR: 850 MHz (n5), 3500 MHz (n78) & 26 GHz (n258)
  • VoLTE: Yes
  • VoWiFi: Yes

Here you have Telstra's APN settings:

  • Name: Telstra
  • APN: telstra.internet OR telstra.iph OR telstra.broadband

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.


Telstra Coverage + My Experience

You can have a mobile operator providing you 1 Gbps download speeds.

But it will be useless if it covers only one street in Australia.

So, how is Telstra's coverage?

In 2022, Telstra had the best 4G/LTE coverage experience and the best 5G NR reach, according to Opensignal's Australia Mobile Network Experience Report (data collected between July and September 2022).

That all sounds great, but how was my coverage experience with Telstra?

It was excellent, honestly – I had nothing to complain about.

Unlike most countries I visit, I also spend much time in non-touristy areas.

But as I am in Australia for about a year… I had the time to do so 😎.

In most cases, I was still connected to 5G NR or 4G/LTE if the former was not deployed yet.

Be prepared to deal with 3G reception when on the train (suburban, intercity, or regional) every now and then.

However, unlike some other mobile operators or MVNOs (Vodafone Australia and Lebara Australia), you can still use the net when on 3G (but it will obviously be slow(er)).

Below is Telstra's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

However, click here to see Telstra's official coverage map.


How to Get a Telstra SIM Card (or eSIM) & Prices

I would discourage you from buying a SIM card at airports in most countries.

Either becaue of (overly) expensive tourist SIM cards are sold there, or the salespeople jack up the prices with high “minimum top-ups” or because they simply can.

While getting a SIM card at the airport can be convenient, especially when you arrive late or need to be connected as soon as possible, it is often (way) cheaper to buy SIM cards in town.

In Australia, however, things are a bit different – there is often no harm in getting SIM cards at airports.

In fact, some airport deals are very attractive and only available there.

In Telstra's case, there is no benefit or disadvantage to getting its SIM cards at airports because it has no booths at airports.

Optus, Vodafone Australia & Lebara Australia have dedicated booths or stores at major airports (including Brisbane Airport (BNE), Melbourne-Tullamarine Airport (MEL) & Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD)) selling (tourist) SIM cards.

Telstra does not bother for some reason, but its SIM cards are often available from convenience stores, like WHSmith, or resellers, SIM Planet (Sydney only).

Here is a list of airports selling Telstra SIM cards:

  • Adelaide Airport (outside the airport from WHSmith)
  • Brisbane Airport (BNE)
  • Canberra Airport (CRB – still within the terminal (secure area) from News@CBR 1
  • Melbourne-Tullamarine Airport (MEL)
  • Perth Airport (PER)
  • Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD)

1 in Australia, you can enter the domestic terminal even when you are not flying (to meet your friends and family at the gate – very cool to be honest!). So if you somehow had an international flight to Canberra and you went to the arrivals hall already, you could go back to the terminal to go to News@CBR

There may be other Australian international airports selling Telstra SIM cards, but I have not been there yet or was unable to locate them 🤪.

But suppose you are in a hurry or do not feel like getting a SIM card at the airport (because resellers like WHSmith will not help you with the SIM card registration process – yes, registration is mandatory – more about that later)

In that case, you can get a Telstra SIM card in a Telstra store or from grocery stores (which often sell starter packs with 50% off).

Before we continue, what is this registration thing I mentioned earlier?

For most reading this, SIM card registration is not new (some even had to re-register because their local government thought why not again).

But in most countries, you must register register your SIM card with your personal details (passport details). Some countries ask for biometrics too.

In the case of Australia, only your passport is required. But do note that you must be in the country before attempting to register your SIM card.

This is especially important with eSIMs (yes, Telstra sells eSIMs to prepaid customers) because your visa status has to be set to onshore before you can register anything (and the status gets changed from offshore to onshore once you have crossed the border – not earlier. This is an automatic process).

  • Find out which countries have SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

If you get your SIM card from a Telstra store, the salesperson will register the SIM card for you on your behalf (as long as you have brought your passport with you).

If you get your Telstra SIM card from the airport, a grocery store, or another reseller, you can easily activate your SIM card online or on the Telstra app (Android/iOS).

Coles and Woolworths, the two largest supermarket chains in Australia, often sell Telstra starter packs at half the price – Telstra itself often does so too online only, not really in their own stores.

So for the best savings, get a discounted starter pack, register the SIM card online, and you are good to go.

Okay, that was a lot of background information; how much do Telstra SIM cards cost?

You can get a Telstra SIM card for 2 AUD or between 10 AUD and 300 AUD.

You have two types of Telstra SIM cards: Telstra Pre-Paid (regular) and Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband (data-only).

The following seven Telstra Pre-Paid starter packs are available:

PriceDataLocal MinutesInternational Zone 1 Zone 1International Zone 2 Minutes 2International Zone 3 Minutes 3Local SMSInternational SMS 4Validity
10 AUD2 GBUnlimitedN/AN/AN/AUnlimited100 SMS7 days
30 AUD300 MB80 minutes10 minutes10 minutesN/A100 SMS10 SMS6 months
30 AUD30 GBUnlimited300 minutes60 minutes5 minutesUnlimited100 SMS28 days
40 AUD40 GBUnlimited500 minutes100 minutes10 minutesUnlimited100 SMS28 days
60 AUD65 GB 5Unlimited1500 minutes250 minutes20 minutesUnlimited100 SMS28 days
150 AUD90 GBUnlimited3000 minutes350 minutes50 minutesUnlimited100 SMS6 months
300 AUD200 GBUnlimited6000 minutes800 minutes100 minutesUnlimited100 SMS12 months

1 zone 1: Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands & Vietnam
2 zone 2: Argentina, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Brunei, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, the Faroe Islands, French Guiana, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Greece, Italy, Laos, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, France, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Mexico, Mongolia, Palestine, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Peru, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates & Venezuela
3 zone 3: Austria, Comoros, Croatia, East Timor (Timor-Leste), Egypt, Fiji, Ghana, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Russia, Samoa, Serbia, the Solomon Islands, Suriname, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey, Vanuatu & Zimbabwe
4 to any country – not restricted to zone 1-3 countries
5 with 5G NR access (although all Telstra prepaid plans have 5G NR access now (until late November 2022), plans with 5 should still have 5G NR access when the trial ends

Unused data will go to your Data Bank when your plan auto-renews or when you renew your plan before it expires.

You can save up to 200 GB in your data bank (except for the 30 AUD – 300 MB starter plan).

The Telstra Pre-Paid starter packs auto-renew – this can be disabled online or on the Telstra app (it is recommended to disable auto-renewal immediately if you do not plan on staying in Australia for more than 28 days. Else, you will give Telstra free money for a service you will not use anymore).

Telstra Australia SIM Cards

The following three Telstra Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband SIM cards, the data-only ones, are available:

PriceDataValidity
30 AUD20 GB28 days
150 AUD80 GB12 months
300 AUD250 GB12 months

Just like with Telstra Pre-Paid, unused data will go to your Data Bank when your plan auto-renews or when you renew your plan before it expires.

You can save up to 200 GB in your data bank with any starter pack or Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband plan.

And just as with Telstra Prepaid, The Telstra Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband starter packs auto-renew.

Telstra Australia Mobile Broadband SIM Cards

When your Telstra SIM card has been activated, Telstra will send you an email and an SMS informing you about it.

Then you are good to go and enjoy your service!

As I mentioned earlier, Telstra offers eSIMs to prepaid customers for the same price as a regular SIM card.

They have to be purchased on the Telstra app – I am not sure if Telstra stores can help you out, and resellers, like grocery stores, do not sell eSIMs.

Just like regular SIM cards, eSIMs have to be registered with your personal details.

Many affordable travel eSIMs can be used in Australia, which do not need registration.

I compare the best Australia travel eSIMs in my Australia eSIM comparison guide and drop a few discount codes for you 😏 – you can also read the reviews of the eSIMs I tested in Australia.

Buying an eSIM for Australia Guide (Airalo, Nomad, Holafly, Simcorner, Amaysim, Gomo, T, ALDIMobile, Woolworth Mobile, Lebara, Kogan mobile, Vodafone, Optus, Felix & Yes! Go!)

Telstra Plans, Bundles & Offers

Telstra has four data-featured prepaid plans:

  • Pre-Paid Mobile Recharges (combo)
  • Pre-Paid Mobile Casual Recharges (combo)
  • Mobile Broadband Recharges (data-only for data-only SIM card)
  • Data Packs (data add-ons)

All Telstra plans can be activated on the Telstra app.

Disclaimer: these were the available plans at the time I was in Australia – the offering may have changed since then (including whether 5G NR is available to prepaid customers or not). To see Telstra's current plans, check out my Australia SIM card buying guide (which gets updated regularly – at least four times a year).

I will list all the prices in AUD (Australian Dollar).

To convert AUD to your currency (let's say NZD – New Zealand Dollar) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Wise Signup Banner

Pre-Paid Mobile Recharges

The Pre-Paid Mobile Recharges are combo plans with data (with 5G NR access until late November 2022 during the trial), minutes & SMS.

Pre-Paid Mobile Recharges can be activated on the My Telstra app:

PriceDataLocal MinutesInternational Zone 1 Zone 1International Zone 2 Minutes 2International Zone 3 Minutes 3Local SMSInternational SMS 4Validity
10 AUD2 GBUnlimitedN/AN/AN/AUnlimitedN/A7 days
30 AUD30 GBUnlimited300 minutes60 minutes5 minutesUnlimited100 SMS28 days
40 AUD40 GBUnlimited500 minutes100 minutes10 minutesUnlimited100 SMS28 days
60 AUD65 GB 5Unlimited1500 minutes250 minutes20 minutesUnlimited100 SMS28 days
150 AUD90 GBUnlimited3000 minutes350 minutes50 minutesUnlimited100 SMS6 months
300 AUD200 GBUnlimited6000 minutes800 minutes100 minutesUnlimited100 SMS12 months

1 zone 1: Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands & Vietnam
2 zone 2: Argentina, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Brunei, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, the Faroe Islands, French Guiana, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Greece, Italy, Laos, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, France, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Mexico, Mongolia, Palestine, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Peru, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates & Venezuela
3 zone 3: Austria, Comoros, Croatia, East Timor (Timor-Leste), Egypt, Fiji, Ghana, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Russia, Samoa, Serbia, the Solomon Islands, Suriname, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey, Vanuatu & Zimbabwe
4 to any country – not restricted to zone 1-3 countries
5 with 5G NR access (although all Telstra prepaid plans have 5G NR access now (until late November 2022), plans with 5 should still have 5G NR access when the trial ends

Unused data will go to your Data Bank when your plan auto-renews or when you renew your plan before it expires.

You can save up to 200 GB in your data bank.

Telstra Australia Pre-Paid Mobile Recharges

Pre-Paid Mobile Casual Recharges

The Pre-Paid Mobile Recharges are combo plans with data (with 5G NR access until late November 2022 during the trial), minutes & SMS.

Pre-Paid Mobile Recharges can be activated on the My Telstra app:

PriceDataLocal MinutesInternational Zone 1 Minutes 1International Zone 2 Minutes 2Local SMSInternational SMS 3Validity
20 AUD150 MB40 minutes5 minutes5 minutes50 SMS5 SMS45 days
30 AUD300 MB80 minutes10 minutes10 minutes100 SMS10 SMS6 months
50 AUD500 MB120 minutes10 minutes10 minutes150 SMS10 SMS6 months
70 AUD700 MB200 minutes20 minutes20 minutes200 SMS15 SMS12 months
100 AUD1 GB300 minutes20 minutes20 minutes300 SMS15 SMS12 months

1 zone 1: Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands & Vietnam
2 zone 2: Argentina, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Brunei, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, the Faroe Islands, French Guiana, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Greece, Italy, Laos, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, France, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Mexico, Mongolia, Palestine, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Peru, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates & Venezuela
3 to any country – not restricted to zone 1 or 2 countries

Unused data will go to your Data Bank when your plan auto-renews or when you renew your plan before it expires.

You can save up to 200 GB in your data bank.

Telstra Australia Pre-Paid Mobile Casual Recharges

Mobile Broadband Recharges

The Mobile Broadband Recharges are data plans (with 5G NR access until late November 2022 during the trial).

Mobile Broadband Recharges can be activated on the My Telstra app:

PriceDataValidity
20 AUD10 GB14 days
30 AUD12 GB28 days
50 AUD40 GB 128 days
70 AUD300 GB28 days
150 AUD60 GB12 months
300 AUD20 GB12 months

1 with 5G NR access

Unused data will go to your Data Bank for one recharge when your plan auto-renews or when you renew your plan before it expires (applicable for the 20 AUD, 30 AUD & 50 AUD plans).

Telstra Australia Mobile Broadband Recharges

Data Packs

The Data Packs are data add-ons.

Data Packs can be activated on the My Telstra app:

PriceDataValidity
5 AUD1 GB7 days 
20 AUD4 GB28 days
Telstra Australia Data Packs

Telstra Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check

Telstra top-up vouchers are sold in Telstra stores, grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout Australia.

But the most convenient way to recharge (or get a (new) plan) is online or through the Telstra app.

To top up your Telstra SIM card, dial #100# and follow the instructions.

You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.

Dial #100# to check your Telstra balance.

You can also top up and check your balance on the My Telstra app (Android/iOS).

Telstra Australia My Telstra App
© Telstra

Telstra Speed Test Results (in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Shepparton & Sydney)

Alright, now it is time to talk about the speeds you can expect with Telstra after covering all the other essential topics like coverage.

But before I share my 128 speed test results in Adelaide (SA – South Australia), Brisbane (QLD – Queensland), Canberra (ACT – Australian Capital Territory), Melbourne (VIC – Victoria), Shepparton (VIC) & Sydney (NSW – New South Wales), I want to set the stage first and make a small comparison with Telstra's competition.

Telstra is regarded by Speedtest as the fastest mobile operator in Australia in Q1-Q2 of 2022.

With a median download speed of 81.57 Mbps, ahead of Optus (75.27 Mbps) and Vodafone Australia (59.15 Mbps).

When I arrived in Australia, 5G NR was still restricted to postpaid customers (like in most countries).

But a month or two later, prepaid customers could use 5G NR as part of a trial (which has been extended multiple times, fortunately).

So I have plenty of 5G NR results to share with you.

I did speed tests with the Speedtest app in six cities (although Australia has sub-cities (like the City of Monash in metro Melbourne), making the number of cities 17) across five states.

So I will go city to city, allowing you to just read the results of the city/cities/state you plan to visit.

For reference, I consider an average download speed of 25 Mbps and an average of 10 Mbps upload speed fast enough.

Preferably, download speeds should be 100 Mbps+ on 4G/LTE… but we are not there yet 🗿.

But why these averages?

A download speed of more than 25 Mbps is enough to video stream content @ 4k resolution.

Social media sites that allow for live streaming, like Facebook Live, recommend an upload speed of at least 10 Mbps.

So, that is why – but that does not mean that a download speed of less than 100 Mbps excited me 😏.

But Australia spoiled… everything slower than 300 Mbps is slow now 🤣.

Telstra Speed Test Results in Adelaide (South Australia)

Flag of the city of Adelaide in Australia

Adelaide is the capital of South Australia (SA), the second-least-populated Australian state (excluding the territories), and precisely in the middle (fifth-most-populated of nine) when taking internal territories into account.

Personally, I thought Adelaide was a boring city 🗿, and my fellow Melburnians agree (and I probably pissed off some Adelaideans – I still love y'all 🫶🏿🥹).

National Railway Museum in Adelaide South Australia
An old train at the National Railway Museum in Adelaide

Luckily, my stay was short because I did not want to stay longer than an extended weekend.

Anyway, I mostly stayed in the city and did not explore the rest of South Australia (I may go in the not-near future).

Flag of the state of South Australia Flag

Let's see how Telstra performed in Adelaide:

.

Telstra Australia Speed Test Results in Adelaide South Australia

Spectacular 5G NR speeds with Telstra in Adelaide!

In fact, Telstra had the fastest download- and upload speed in Adelaide.

Telstra Speed Test at Adelaide Rundle Mall in Adelaide (974.71 Mbps)
Adelaide Rundle Mall Adelaide

I had an average download speed of 521.09 Mbps and a median download speed of 589.63 Mbps with Telstra: it passed the 4K video streaming test in Adelaide.

Telstra Speed Test at Adelaide Central Market in Adelaide (98.35 Mbps)
Adelaide Central Market Adelaide

The same counts for the HD live streaming test in Adelaide – Telstra had an average upload speed of 48.08 Mbps and a median upload speed of 42.40 Mbps.

Telstra's slowest download speed was at Adelaide Airport (7.53 Mbps on 4G/LTE).

Telstra Speed Test at Adelaide Airport in Adelaide (7.53 Mbps)
Adelaide Airport Adelaide

This was way too slow to pass the 4K video streaming test (minimum of 25 Mbps), which resulted in Telstra having the third-worst performance at this test location compared to its competitors (ahead of Boost Mobile Australia (6.11 Mbps on 4G/LTE) and ALDImobile Australia (1.72 Mbps on 4G/LTE) – both are Telstra MVNOs).

When we also look at the travel eSIMs I tested, Telstra was faster than Nomad (6.41 Mbps – on the Optus 4G/LTE network) and SimOptions (on the Vodafone Australia 4G/LTE network) but slower than Holafly (22.01 Mbps – on the Vodafone Australia 4G/LTE network) and Airalo (67.30 Mbps (Yes! Go! eSIM) on the Optus 4G/LTE network).

Telstra's worst upload speed performance was at Port Adelaide Plaza (2.43 Mbps on 5G NR), making it fail the HD live streaming test (minimum of 10 Mbps).

Telstra Speed Test at Port Adelaide Plaza in Adelaide (2.43 Mbps)
Port Adelaide Plaza Adelaide

This was remarkable because Telstra had a download speed of 371.39 Mbps here, making it the fastest mobile operator at this test location (local mobile operators, MVNOs & travel eSIMs included).

Anyway, only Optus was slower (1.50 Mbps on 5G NR).

And if we take travel eSIMs into account, only Airalo was slower than Telstra (1.07 Mbps on 4G/LTE).


Telstra Speed Test Results in Brisbane (Queensland)

Flag of the city of Brisbane in Australia

Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland (QLD), the third-most-populated Australian state. It is also the third-largest when taking internal territories into account.

Before I went to Brisbane, I asked some of my Melbourne friends if Brisbane was fun.

They all said Brisbane is a big country town – some even said it was as boring as Adelaide.

I can tell you that Brisbane is not boring at all – they were all liars.

River in Brisbane Queensland Australia
A stunning and relaxing views next to the Saint Lucia river in Brisbane – imagine waking up to that view every day!

I confronted one of those spreading anti-Brisbane propaganda… she told me that some other friends of her had visited the city between the time she told me about Brisbane, all saying it is actually quite fun.

She herself did not go to Brisbane in 20 years 🗿 so it may have been a boring country town in the past… but not anymore!

Anyway I mostly stayed in the city and did not explore the rest of Queensland (unlike South Australia, I would be willing to go back again, to Cairns, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast).

Flag of the state of Queensland in Australia

Let's see how Telstra performed in Brisbane:

.

Telstra Australia Speed Test Results in Brisbane Queensland

Blazing-fast 5G NR speeds with Telstra in Brisbane!

In fact, Telstra had the second fastest download- and upload speed in Brisbane (both behind Boost Mobile (1131.69 Mbps/1.13 Gbps and 139.42 Mbps on 5G NR, respectively)).

Telstra Speed Test at Indooroopilly Station in Brisbane (934.44 Mbps)
Indooroopilly Station Brisbane

I had an average download speed of 365.55 Mbps and a median download speed of 387.88 Mbps with Telstra: it passed the 4K video streaming test in Brisbane.

Telstra Speed Test at Woolloongabba The Gabba in Brisbane (125.15 Mbps)
Woolloongabba The Gabba Brisbane

The same counts for the HD live streaming test in Brisbane – Telstra had an average upload speed of 49.07 Mbps and a median upload speed of 42.63 Mbps.

Telstra's slowest download speed was at Hypetea, a milk tea shop, in Brisbane CBD (19.20 Mbps on 4G/LTE).

Telstra Speed Test at Brisbane CBD Hypetea Brisbane in Brisbane (19.20 Mbps)
Brisbane CBD Hypetea Brisbane

This was just too slow to pass the 4K video streaming test (minimum of 25 Mbps), which resulted in Telstra having the second-worst performance at this test location compared to its competitors (ahead of Amaysim (14.10 Mbps on 4G/LTE) – an Optus MVNO).

When we also look at the travel eSIMs I tested, Telstra was only (significantly) slower than Nomad (138.99 Mbps – on the Optus 4G/LTE network).

Telstra's worst upload speed performance was at The Village Shopping Center in the Kelvin Grove suburb – one of Brisbane's inner suburbs (1.71 Mbps on 5G NR), making it fail the HD live streaming test (minimum of 10 Mbps).

Telstra Speed Test at Kelvin Grove The Village Shopping Center in Brisbane (1.71 Mbps)
Kelvin Grove The Village Shopping Center Brisbane

No other mobile operator, including Boost Mobile Australia (a Telstra MVNO), had a slower download speed at this location – the second-slowest was ALDImobile Australia (3.88 Mbps on 4G/LTE), also a Telstra MVNO.

And if we take travel eSIMs into account, all of them were faster. The slowest was the Airalo Discover Global eSIM (8.70 Mbps on 4G/LTE – on the Telstra/Boost Mobile Australia 4G/LTE network).


Telstra Speed Test Results in Canberra (Australian Capital Territory)

Flag of the Australian Capital Territory

Canberra is the largest city in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which, as the name implies, is also Australia's capital city.

Not Sydney or Melbourne (and certainly not Brisbane) – Canberra.

Just like how Wellington is New Zealand's capital and not Auckland… or how Toronto and Vancouver get called Canada's capital instead of Ottawa.

The Australian Capital Territory is the most-populated internal territory (ahead of the Northern Territory and Jervis Bay Territory, which often gets forgotten), but the ACT has a smaller population than any other state.

Canberra Airport in Australian Capital Territory
Canberra Airport at night

One thing I find unfortunate about Canberra's reputation is that everyone says it is boring – even the security guy at the airport asked if I thought Canberra was boring.

Honestly… Canberra is not boring at all!

Sure, it is not as exciting as Brisbane, Melbourne, or Sydney, but it is certainly pretty.

Canberra Airport used to host two international flights (after years of lobbying) from Qatar and Singapore.

The latter scrapped the flight because of COVID – the former planned to resume its Melbourne – Canberra – Doha flights in October, then December, before ultimately ditching it, unfortunately.

But I do not think you should visit only Canberra when visiting Australia… that would be disappointing 🗿.

Let's see how Telstra performed in Canberra:

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Telstra Australia Speed Test Results in Canberra Australian Capital Territory

Again incredibly 5G NR speeds with Telstra in Canberra!

In fact, Telstra had the fastest download- and upload speed in Canberra.

Telstra Speed Test at Braddon McDonald's in Canberra (568.17 Mbps)
Braddon McDonald's Canberra

I had an average download speed of 329.72 Mbps and a median download speed of 333.18 Mbps with Telstra: it passed the 4K video streaming test in Canberra.

Telstra Speed Test at Canberra CBD Natural Nine in Canberra (53.22 Mbps)
Canberra CBD Natural Nine Canberra

The same counts for the HD live streaming test in Canberra – Telstra had an average upload speed of 25.75 Mbps and a median upload speed of 24.49 Mbps (significantly slower than in any other city I went to besides Shepparton, Victoria).

Telstra's slowest download speed was at Canberra Center, the main shopping center in the territory, in Canberra CBD (46.09 Mbps on 5G NR).

Telstra Speed Test at Canberra CBD Canberra Center in Canberra (46.09 Mbps)
Canberra CBD Canberra Center Canberra

This was fast enough to pass the 4K video streaming test (minimum of 25 Mbps).

Even though 46.09 Mbps is quite fast but extremely slow for 5G NR, Telstra was the second-worst performer at this test location, ahead of Amaysim (26.93 Mbps on 4G/LTE) – an Optus MVNO.

When we also look at the travel eSIMs I tested, Telstra was only (significantly) faster than the Airalo Discover Global eSIM (11.51 Mbps on 4G/LTE on the Telstra/Boost Mobile Australia 4G/LTE network).

Telstra's worst upload speed performance was at my Airbnb in the Reid suburb – part of the District of Canberra Central (0.10 Mbps on 4G/LTE), making it fail the HD live streaming test (minimum of 10 Mbps).

Telstra Speed Test at Lyneham Jet Flight Simulator Canberra in Canberra (0.10 Mbps)
Lyneham Jet Flight Simulator Canberra Canberra

I am not sure what was wrong at my Airbnb, but all the SIM cards and eSIMs I tested struggled over there (although ALDImobile Australia was the best overall performer, with a download speed of 79.05 Mbps and an upload speed of 7.48 Mbps on 4G/LTE).


Telstra Speed Test Results in Melbourne (Victoria)

Flag of the city of Melbourne in Australia

Melbourne is the capital city of Victoria (VIC), the second-most-populated Australian state (including the internal territories).

Greater Melbourne is also the second-largest city in Australia, just behind Sydney.

I may be baised because I live in Melbourne, but Melbourne is my favorite Australian city 😍.

The vibe, the way the city is set up & the attractions are why I, and especially my boyfriend, love (living in) Melbourne.

Adu from Phone Travel Wiz with his boyfriend in Docklands Melbourne Victoria Australia
My boyfriend and I in a hotel in Docklands in Melbourne – matching outfits!

Sydney is not bad either – not at all. The issue is that things are too spread out… and I thought it felt a bit too corporate 🤔.

Moreover, Melbourne has the most extensive tram network worldwide (thanks to Major General Sir Robert Joseph Henry Risson) and the largest shopping mall in the southern hemisphere – Chadstone (take that, Sydney!).

Flag of the state of Victoria in Australia

Let's see how Telstra performed in Melbourne:

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Telstra Australia Speed Test Results in Melbourne Victoria

Lightning fast 5G NR speeds with Telstra in Melbourne!

In fact, Telstra had the fastest download- and second-fastest upload speed in Melbourne (the latter behind Optus (144.86 Mbps on 5G NR)).

Telstra Speed Test at Murrumbeena Station in Melbourne (849.66 Mbps)
Murrumbeena Station Melbourne

I had an average download speed of 379.11 Mbps and a median download speed of 341.14 Mbps with Telstra: it passed the 4K video streaming test in Melbourne.

Telstra Speed Test at Malvern East Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne (116.57 Mbps)
Malvern East Holmesglen Institute Melbourne

The same counts for the HD live streaming test in Melbourne – Telstra had an average upload speed of 48.69 Mbps and a median upload speed of 34.77 Mbps.

Telstra's slowest download speed was at Melbourne-Tullamarine Airport, the city's main international airport (0.19 Mbps on 4G/LTE).

Telstra Speed Test at Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne (0.19 Mbps)
Melbourne International Airport Melbourne

This was way too slow to pass the 4K video streaming test (minimum of 25 Mbps).

Surprisingly, every other SIM card and (travel) eSIM I tested at this location was faster than Telstra (including its MVNOs, ALDImobile Australia (0.44 Mbps on 4G/LTE) and Boost Mobile Australia (0.28 Mbps on 4G/LTE) & the Airalo Discover Global eSIM using the Telstra/Boost Mobile Australia 4G/LTE network (18.82 Mbps on 4G/LTE)).

The airport was also the same location where Telstra had its worst upload speed performance (0.75 Mbps – faster than its download speed, surprisingly), making it fail the HD live streaming test (minimum of 10 Mbps).

Telstra Speed Test at Collingwood The Perfect Barbershop Melbourne in Melbourne (0.98 Mbps)
Collingwood The Perfect Barbershop Melbourne

Only ALDImobile Australia, a Telstra MVNO, was slower than Telstra (0.36 Mbps on 4G/LTE), and all the travel eSIMs were faster too (with Holafly being the slowest travel eSIM I tested (1.84 Mbps on 3G – on the Vodafone Australia 4G/LTE network).

Yeah… even a travel eSIM that was restricted on 3G was slower than Telstra on 4G/LTE – embarrassing 🗿.


Telstra Speed Test Results in Shepparton (Victoria)

Greater Shepparton Logo
© Greater Shepparton

Shepparton-Mooroopna (not to be confused with Shepperton, Surrey in the United Kingdom) is the sixth-largest city in Victoria.

While I had nothing to do there, my boyfriend always wanted to see the museum up there (Shepparton Art Museum – SAM).

Adu from Phone Travel Wiz with his boyfriend in Shepparton Victoria Australia
My boyfriend, with his super cool sunglasses, and I on a bridge in Shepparton on our way to Mooroopna

Moreover, it was a great opportunity to test the mobile operators' and travel eSIMs' performance in regional Australia.

Shepparton is certainly not part of The Outback, but it is far from the metro area to call it regional.

But if you want to visit more exciting regional cities in Victoria, you are better off in Ballarat and Bendigo – both reachable by V/Line regional trains.

Let's see how Telstra performed in Shepparton:

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Telstra Australia Speed Test Results in Mooroopna and Shepparton Victoria

Fast speeds with Telstra in Mooroopna and Shepparton!

In fact, Telstra had the fastest download- and second-fastest upload speed in Shepparton (the latter behind Boost Mobile Australia – a Telstra MVNO (67.49 Mbps on 5G NR)).

Telstra Speed Test at Shepparton Accommodation in Shepparton (167.22 Mbps)
Shepparton Accommodation Shepparton

I had an average download speed of 89.89 Mbps and a median download speed of 95.08 Mbps with Telstra: it passed the 4K video streaming test in Shepparton.

Telstra Speed Test at Shepparton Native Flora and Fauna Reserve in Shepparton (52.02 Mbps)
Shepparton Native Flora and Fauna Reserve Shepparton

The same counts for the HD live streaming test in Shepparton – Telstra had an average upload speed of 18.23 Mbps and a median upload speed of 16.56 Mbps.

Telstra's slowest download speed was at the sole McDonald's in Mooroopna – part of Central Shepparton (4.53 Mbps on 4G/LTE).

Telstra Speed Test at Mooroopna McDonald's in Shepparton (4.53 Mbps)
Mooroopna McDonald's Shepparton

This was way too slow to pass the 4K video streaming test (minimum of 25 Mbps).

Only Optus and Amaysim, an Optus MVNO, performed well at this location (87.88 Mbps and 67.36 Mbps on 4G/LTE, respectively).

All the other SIM cards and (travel) eSIMs struggled to get a faster speed than 12 Mbps (with Boost Mobile Australia, a Telstra MVNO, being the fastest (11.04 on 4G/LTE).

Telstra's worst upload speed performance was at Riverlinks Westside in Mooroopna (0.13 Mbps on 3G), making it fail the HD live streaming test (minimum of 10 Mbps).

Telstra Speed Test at Mooroopna Riverlinks Westside in Shepparton (0.13 Mbps)
Mooroopna Riverlinks Westside Shepparton

Every other SIM card and (travel) eSIM I tested was faster than Telstra (but not by a lot. The fastest upload speed was with Optus (5.56 Mbps on 4G/LTE)).

Surprisingly, Telstra's MVNOs, ALDImobile and Boost Mobile Australia, were not restricted to 3G (both were on 4G/LTE).


Telstra Speed Test Results in Sydney (New South Wales)

Flag of the City of Sydney in Australia Flag

Sydney is the capital city of New South Wales (NSW), the most-populated Australian state (including the internal territories).

Greater Sydney is also the largest Australian city (just ahead of Melbourne).

Sydney is a lovely city with plenty of things to see and do.

Adu from Phone Travel Wiz in front of the Sydney Opera House New South Wales Australia
This photo does not really need a caption, right? 🤪

But it is a rather car-centric city, making visiting multiple key attractions in one day a bit challenging.

Let alone how expensive everything is over there 🤑.

But I do love Sydney's doubledecker suburban trains – they are fun!

Let's see how Telstra performed in Shepparton:

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Telstra Australia Speed Test Results in Sydney New South Wales

Extremely rapid 5G NR speeds with Telstra in Sydney!

In fact, Telstra had the second-fastest download- and upload speed in Sydney (both behind Optus (913.12 Mbps and 131.98 Mbps on 5G NR, respectively)).

Telstra Speed Test at Milsons Point Station in Sydney (602.44 Mbps)
Milsons Point Station Sydney

I had an average download speed of 250.50 Mbps and a median download speed of 250.38 Mbps with Telstra: it passed the 4K video streaming test in Sydney.

Telstra Speed Test at Sydney CBD King Street Wharf Darling Harbour in Sydney (107.21 Mbps)
Sydney CBD King Street Wharf Darling Harbour Sydney

The same counts for the HD live streaming test in Sydney – Telstra had an average upload speed of 35.35 Mbps and a median upload speed of 25.47 Mbps.

Telstra's slowest download speed was at the Ribs & Burgers restaurant in Chippendale – one of Sydney's inner suburbs (7.23 Mbps on 5G NR).

Telstra Speed Test at Chippendale Ribs & Burgers in Sydney (7.23 Mbps)
Chippendale Ribs & Burgers Sydney

This was way too slow to pass the 4K video streaming test (minimum of 25 Mbps).

All the other SIM cards and (travel) eSIMs I tested at this location struggled to get a faster download speed than 13 Mbps, so it was not just Telstra (the Airalo Discover Global eSIM was the fastest (12.55 Mbps on 4G/LTE – on the Telstra/Boost Mobile Australia 4G/LTE network)

Surprisingly, every other SIM card and (travel) eSIM I tested at this location was faster than Telstra (including its MVNOs, ALDImobile Australia (0.44 Mbps on 4G/LTE) and Boost Mobile Australia (0.28 Mbps on 4G/LTE) & the Airalo Discover Global eSIM using the Telstra/Boost Mobile Australia network (18.82 Mbps on 4G/LTE)).

The airport was also the same location where Telstra had its worst upload speed performance (0.94 Mbps – faster than its download speed, surprisingly), making it fail the HD live streaming test (minimum of 10 Mbps).

Telstra Speed Test at Haymarket Dae Jang Kum Restaurant in Sydney (2.23 Mbps)
Haymarket Dae Jang Kum Restaurant Sydney

Only ALDImobile Australia, a Telstra MVNO, was slower than Telstra (0.36 Mbps on 4G/LTE), and all the travel eSIMs were faster too (with Holafly being the slowest travel eSIM I tested (1.84 Mbps on 3G – on the Vodafone Australia 4G/LTE network).

Yeah… even a travel eSIM that was restricted on 3G was slower than Telstra on 4G/LTE – embarrassing 🗿.


My Overall Experience with Telstra – Is It Any Good?

I would recommend Telstra, and it would be my top recommendation for anyone wanting to buy an Australian SIM card.

Being expanded


Australian SIM Card Reviews

As mentioned earlier, I also tried out Optus, Vodafone Australia, ALDImobile Australia, Amaysim, Boost Mobile Australia & Lebara Australia when I was in Australia.

You should read those reviews too.

>>> Optus Review | Vodafone Australia Review | ALDImobile Australia Review | Amaysim Review | Boost Mobile Review | Lebara Australia Review <<<

Later, I will make a comparison post of the seven Australian SIM cards I tried… but that will take a while (I have many reviews of other countries that I still need to write, so they are prioritized).

But you can still make an educated purchased after reading the Australian SIM card reviews.

I also tried out various travel eSIMs that work in Australia: Airalo (Yes! Go! & Discover Global), Holafly, Nomad & SimOptions.

You should also read those reviews.

>>> Airalo Yes! Go! Australia eSIM Review | Airalo Discover Global eSIM Review | Holafly Australia eSIM Review | Nomad Australia eSIM Review | SimOptions 3 HK eSIM in Australia Review <<<

Check out my reviews page if you want to read all the other reviews I have written, including other Oceanian SIM cards.

Australia SIM Card Buying Guide

There are 14 other SIM cards to choose from in Australia besides Telstra.

I analyze and discuss them in-depth in my Australia SIM card buying guide.

Buying a SIM Card in Australia Guide (logos of Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, ALDImobile, Amaysim, Australia Post Mobile, Belong Mobile, Boost Mobile, Coles Mobile, Gomo, Gotalk, Hello Mobile, Lebara, Lycamobile & Woolworths Mobile)

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Your support helps me keep producing impartial content by eliminating the need to recommend international SIM cards as the best local SIM card (but some of them CAN be useful).

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In my starting an online business guide, I tell you which tools, services & products I have for this site and my YouTube channel.

If I can start a business about something I am passionate about (phone travel), then you can do it too!

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You can buy local prepaid SIM cardsinternational SIM cardsmobile hotspots, or roam internationally.

Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.

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