Telstra Mobile Prepaid Service

There is some thing very dodgy about how Telstra manages the recharging of Prepaid Mobile services.
The service is for 28 days, thats fine, even-though they get an extra recharge per year this way (13).
They sent reminders that your service is going to expire at least a week earlier, and then some further notifications.
So if you do choose to recharge before the end date (i.e. before the 28th day) then you actually lose X days from your 28 day contract. For example 1 day before, lose 1 day, 2 days before lose 2 days, etcc…
This is theft in my books, imagine paying your utility or any other bills earlier than the due date and being penalised for that, that is what happens if you recharge before the end date.

What about errors/mistakes that occur on the platform, it has happened now a number of times, Telstra has indicated the wrong expiry date (i.e. much later), so then your service expires, and you lose your rollover credits. Or when you do recharge on the due date and your payment receipt is received but the platform has an error and your recharge does not occur, so again, you lose your rollover credits.

Another point about the Telstra Mobile Prepaid Service, it was $30 for 28 days, recently it increased to $35 that is a ~17% increase, how can that be justified, it’s an automated system!!
Especially with the cost of living aspects, is this just corporate greed.

Shonky or what!!


Welcome to the Community @epajfl

I hear you but unfortunately that seems a ‘feature’ of most if not all prepaid plans.

The only way around it seems to be to set up auto-recharge and direct debiting when available - something everyone is not amenable to doing. Some have additional quirks such as Aldimobile where one loses ‘the extra days’ and needs to accept that Auto Recharge can take up to 6 hours from the time your plan expires at midnight, Sydney time. If you need to use your service during this time either recharge manually or top-up your PAYG credit. I have a dual SIM phone with aldimobile as #1 and amaysim for #2 because of service/signal issues around Eltham; no stress about a bit of outage on just one.

Without getting into economics/capitalism, a company’s only mandated requirements are to maximise shareholder value and operate within the law. None fudge the former while some push the limits of the latter and some beyond.

[Telstra] Shareholders appreciate their dividends. Some countries try to regulate public utilities and communications services more or less successfully. ‘Australia’ made a conscious decision in the 1980’s to sell off government companies, minimise so-called red tape, and regulatory overheads, so here we are. For balance I applied for a landline in Southport Qld in 1972. ETA was 2 years. We moved on before our service arrived. Some things did improve, or at least improved more quickly that if left to BAU processes of the times.

On the flip side, while not telco, Victoria is working to reconstitute its SEC to regain some control over the faux-competition and laissez faire systems introduced by the ideological privatisation of most everything ‘government’ deemed to be beyond ‘governance’. Even in markets more robust than our own the outcomes of privatisation have been profits spread around as well as freedom of choice for consumers, but accompanied by myriad often confusing and misleading advertising and marketing claims, with not so many that should be received as in the consumers’ best interests while all are in the shareholders interests.


My Optus prepaid is so simple. If my remaining credit drops below $5, I get a message. I then pay for $30 credit manually, which lasts 6 months, and all unused remaining credit gets rolled over.

I long ago ditched Telstra for their nasty plans.


I haven’t been with Telstra for ages, because of other issues, not the least of which is cost. However when I was with them, if you set automatic recharge, you got 30 days.

They really do want people to go for auto-recharge, don’t they? And they really do want people to use a credit/debit card for it as well, as that is the only auto-recharge payment option.

Once upon a time they used to allow BPAY auto-recharge, but they removed that option some years ago (for reasons unknown). When you pay manually, you can use other options like BPAY and PayPal, both of which can do automatic periodic payments. One wonders why those methods aren’t available for auto-recharge.

Hi All,
Thanks for your feedback, comments, and advice, much appreciated.
I thought that I would provide an update, since then I did raise a Telstra complaint which was pointless and then I escalated to TIO (Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman), that then when back to Telstra and here is some of the responses, again what a total waste of time.


You were concerned with your Telstra Prepaid service.
We acknowledge that your recent experience with Telstra has been less than satisfactory, and we regret the time and effort exerted whilst you have pursued an outcome to your complaint. Telstra recognises this is important to you and we hope this communication conveys the importance for Telstra to get this right for our customers when possible.
My Response: Correct!

Upon investigation, your last recharge on 15 September 2023 shows was
about to expire on 13 October 2023 at 11:59PM AEST. An SMS notification
was sent to your mobile 0419xxxxxx on 12 October 2023 08:23 AM AEST.
MyResponse: Correct

We found the 1st attempt of $35 Prepaid recharge on 13 October 2023 10:02
PM, and we acknowledge the issue encountered for the1st recharge failed
hence, a refund of $35 automatically process on 13 October 2023 11:09PM.
My Response: Correct

Another recharge of $35 was successfully processed on 14 October 2023
11:08 AM.
My Response: Correct

We apologise as the recent transaction caused the remaining data not to roll
over and expire. Hence, we are offering to apply 240GB data which will be
good for 12 months.
My Response: How is this really better than the previous offer of 200GB of
data that will expire in 24 months.
As previously indicated, there are 3 issues that I detailed.
1: False information provided and so rollover expired
2: Theft of service, full 28 days is meant to be provided.
3: Error on platform, so rollover expired.
These issues are the responsibility of Telstra, and the onus to reinstate back to the prior rollover levels is on Telstra.
Providing a token amount of data is wrong, and having an expiry is even more wrong.
If successful recharges are done, rollover occurs with accumulation of services, no expiry!! The only expiry is if recharge is purposely not done, then all is lost. So, providing an offer with an expiry is wrong.
Issue 1: On 7th Jan 2023, expiry was indicated as 02 Jul 2023. Note: Rollover data was meant to be 180GB (that was lost).

edit: text and image edited to remove phone number - @PhilT

Typical Data usage: less and 1GB per 28-day service.
As of today, my data usage for my current recharge is 0.1GB (of 15G) with 4 more days left.

As previously indicated, the appropriate data level is 180GB + 11*14GB = 334GB, not 240GB.

Also, as part of your offer you have only referred to data, what about the other features that
rollover, such as international minutes.
Why is this not included?
Should be reinstating to what was lost (all), not just a single component only.

Please be advise that we are unable to override any expiration dates as it
always follow the last recharge and we send notification 24 hours prior of the
expiration. We best recommend to recharge 24hrs prior of the expiry to avoid
losing any roll over data.
My Response: I followed this method which resulted with issue 2 that I have reported, by doing the recharge a day earlier than expiry, results in the theft of a day of service. This is so wrong!!

In line with the Price Increase, We’re increasing our prices due to a range of
factors including keeping up with changing customer needs, growing business
costs and continuing to invest in delivering our network and services. We’re not
removing unlimited calls and texts on 28-day plans.
My Response: This is corporate greed, especially now with the high cost of living and rate rises. The proof of the greed will be obvious when Telstra next reports profits, I expect Telstra to have high profits without incurring extra costs. So, the price increase is unjustified.

We apologise as we do not offer any discount or credits on the new Prepaid
plan however, you may downgrade to a $12 prepaid charge still with unlimited
calls and SMS however, it will only have 3GB of data.
My Response: How is this a plan better, this is 12GB data @ $48 for the
equivalent 28-day service, compared to 15GB @$35. This is a pointless substitute plan.

The TIO is funded and operated by the telco industry although it has some dispute resolution powers.

The process they follow is documented in this link. It appears you are at ‘#4’? Depending on how much time you want to spend, it appears your exchange is with a mindless bot or someone who reads quickly and then thinks like a bot. If you have a chatGPT or similar account it could be fun to have that bot write your own replies to see if that would get a meeting of the minds and the resolution you want :joy:

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Phil T, Thanks for the phone number edit.

I do have a ChatGPT account I might just do that, see what response it suggests.
So far it is frustrating, but I do have the time to pursue this further.
TIO, just refers it back to Telstra, we will see how the second round goes.

All communication is via email so I have traceability, they have tried calling, but I have refused to speak to them, since I selected communication via email.


HUH? How do you get this? I wouldnt mind it at all, my needs are very small.

Unfortunately, I think that’s referring to Telstra’s $12 7-day plan, which is not cheap for long-term use!

But there is Pre-paid casual | that sounds more like what you need.

Thanks for that but no, I guess my Woolies is best for me after all. 95 minutes of calls? Sheeesh.

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All industry ombudsman schemes (electricity / water / gas / banking / insurance) are funded by their industry members (eg electricity companies etc). I know that some people think this means the schemes aren’t independent, but given that Telstra (eg) is a private company, this is a fair way to pay for the dispute resolution services (rather than asking all taxpayers to pay for them). You could suppose that given that the companies have to pay for dispute resolution, this is an incentive to resolve complaints or avoid them in the first place. That’s an idea, at any rate…

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