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Free Telstra Essential Plus Smartphone for Customers with Phones That Lack 850MHz 3G


Telstra is giving away new smartphones for people stuck with devices that lack 3G 850mhz on Telstra prepaid.

In March 2019, Telstra is refarming the 2100mhz band to 4G. Hence, if your phone is outdated enough, Telstra will give you a new Essential Plus and SIM for free.

Many Optus and Vodafone locked phones are 2100mhz/900mhz 3G only, so it might pay off to put your Telstra SIM into that and see if it triggers the offer.

Telstra's website seems to be smart enough realise I have a Nokia 8 with 3G 850mhz, so no freebie for me :(.

Edit: I got a shipping confirmation email from Telstra despite not having an eligible phone, thanks to realfancyman's hack (see below)

Incomplete list of eligible phones for the free Telstra upgrade

I have a Pre-Paid service: Please complete the web form here so we have your most current details. A care pack will be posted to you within 14 days, otherwise you can call 1800 112 722 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), or visit a Telstra store to find suitable replacements.

What is the device included in the care pack?

A 4G capable Telstra Essential plus Smartphone will be provided

edit, realfancyman might have a way around this website

Was a bit suspicious that the website went to the "ineligible" panel so quickly, so I had a look at the Network Tools to see if the input was actually submitted - and it wasn't. Turning off javascript and using "document.getElementsByName("CustomerSurveyForm")[0].submit();" in console to submit the form gets me this response:

Thank you. Your order has been submitted.

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closed Comments

  • hey do you have to have a telstra mobile number for this with the hack or no need?

  • How much has telstra charged people to unlock this phone?

  • Submitted late on 21/12 & got thank you message on the website using suggestion from rectangular. But still nothing😢
    Will submit again.

    • Don't worry i still haven't got my email/sms either. The order page did say we will receive within 14 business days and they will contact us if there was a problem or something like that.

      It seems like they have caught onto this hack and stopped any new orders :(

    • Any news dude? Still nothing for me.

      • +1

        just got an email… web form was submitted around 28/12. Will check for SMS later.

        Hi Battler,

        Thanks for placing your order with the Telstra Online Shop – order no. 04XXXXXXXX.

        It’s on its way
        We've processed your order and it will be arriving soon. Our courier will deliver it to the address you gave us ….

      • Telstra is finally working though it's Christmas list & I made it into the 'nice' list so receive a pressie🎁

        Received same email a few minutes ago for order submitted late on 21/12 - on its way👍 (no SMS received)

        • Yes i got my email too :)

          Looks like the Telstra team was on an extended break and finally caught up with the orders.

          • @Monty1089: Too many Christmas orders from Santa🎅
            As the shut down is a while away, these requests would receive low priority over paying orders.

        • Same! Just got tracking numbers for two orders

          • @realfancyman: Merry Christmas, etc - thanks for your help. Late presents for everyone🎁

  • Thank you PO.I have an old Samsung Omnia, but did not receive a text from Telstra. I went to the Telstra shop and after a long debate with their phone help line I have now a phone being delivered.

  • +1

    As with many other lucky duckies, I opened my alternate email today to find I've got another one of these coming to me, nice.

    Also got an email for the one I ordered for a mate to his house, he genuinely still uses a button phone and is gonna be shut out come March. Poor sucker had no idea, lovely idea by Telstra, but not very good if a genuine technophobe who is genuinely gonna have a dummy phone in a few months, never receives the text.

  • +1

    Australia Post catalog just arrived… lists this Essentials Plus phone @$89! $99 @Telstra, BigW etc.
    Review Lucky we're not paying!

    • Was $49 with free Google Home Mini, so essentially free phone with purchase of GHM, or free GHM with purchase of phone.

      • Was… Now full price without that bonus.
        Many got the GHM free or heavily discounted elsewhere. I bought @$20.

        • +1

          An indication of how much these gadgets cost to bring to market and how much are profit.

  • Shame this thing looks un-unlockable (apart from a walk-up $20 method which may be a reprogramming of it)

    • An option would be to wait 6 months, buy Telstra $30 sim @ $10 and use $25 of the $30 Telstra credit to unlock?

      • It's available for $8 at the moment :)


        Do I activate and keep my number (porting it to the new sim?) or get a new number?
        In order to use the credit for unlocking.

        • +1

          Good idea of it worked (Telstra told me no), but I'm not sure it's worth $8 to unlock🔓
          Not that impressed with it.

          • @the INFIDEL: Agreed. Better to wait 2 yrs and unlock for free, unless you need to use non-Telstra sim right now. Alcatel touchscreens frequently hit an miss.

      • +1

        $25 for devices activated for six months

        Rang Telstra & was told no longer can use prepaid credit to pay unlocking fee.

        • I called up to get my 2 handsets unlocked called 2 seperate times first time was charged $80 to unlock second time got charged $25 said both times I only just got the phone and that I didn't have a telstra service. Their unlocking fees and process is crap.

          • @Djlegzy: Telstra state the phone must be active on a Telstra service for the specified time to qualify for the discounted/free unlock charge. As you found, this may not be enforced. I was quoted $80.

            I've got a pile of free locked prepaid mobiles from deals here with a few Telcos. All are basic smart models. I just change phone rather than pay to unlock. So the Vodafone ones get use with Kogan SIMs etc. I won't be unlocking this phone at Telstra's price.

            Online unlocking service say they can unlock for $6. No one here seems to have used the service. I've unlocked many other phones for $1-2 through ebay.

            • @the INFIDEL: How did you go unlocking this phone,did the online unlocking service work

              • @mickq: Didn't bother. Joined the pile of different Telcos locked phones📱

                Other services (except Telstra) require phone to be brought in, so not sure it will work.

  • Ordered before christmas, got 2 delivered today, 1 more coming tomorrow

    • +7

      So much profit yet so stingy on a + vote.

  • Care Package arrived this morning🎁

    • lol just got mine delivered literally 1 minute ago. Time to open the bad boy up.

      • +2

        Our cycles are very much in sync😱

  • I just received another one randomly…..

  • I got mine 30 mins ago! Just note that the Alcatel charger is 5V 550mA. Came with earphones too lol!

  • -3

    It's just too slow for anything (even as a dedicated GPS navigator), and the screen is simply horrible to view.

    • +2

      The more we are used to good smart phones, the more this phone will seem unbearable.

      Fortunately, I'm cheap & not that spoilt😉
      I've used worse - years ago.

      It has its uses like a 4G mobile hotspot.

      This is meant to be a free replacement for those using old phones not on 850MHz , some of which may even have keypads. So viewed from that perspective, it will likely be a major improvement. There was a similar scheme before Telstra close it's 2G

      I wouldn't like to have paid $99 for it!

      • Right, mobile hotspot, but only if you are not using Optus or VHA.

        • Of course. Tried Telsta reseller Catch - still needs to be unlocked.

  • +4

    Regarding the included SIM…

    Set Up Guide says to ring to activate the included SIM as a SIM SWAP (using your existing number) - if current SIM won't fit Nano SIM slot. (I have done many SIM SWAPs.)

    I didn't have an active Telstra SIM to try the phone, so inserted the included SIM… & was pleasantly surprised.

    Included SIM arrived activated & makes calls, new number shown is not associated with my Telstra account, & shows "Sorry your service has been suspended. For information, please call 1258880" when ringing #100#… So can't find details of any credit or expiry.

    I wonder how long I can make free calls on this temporary SIM😉

    • +1

      Well, this is weird. Same thing here. I can call numbers and receive texts, but cannot receive calls or send texts and data usage redirects to the activation page? Very weird

      • +1

        I like the weird😱
        Sometimes you can find interesting uses for such things…

        It's only meant to be a temporary blank SIM for a SIM SWAP of old number.

        Didn't try data as there was no reason to be active.

        • Works great for me because I'm just using them for free uber etc. so I can do so without having to go through the activation process

      • +1

        That's odd, I have the same thing where I can make outgoing calls but can't send SMS. I can use data and send mms though. I can check my usage on the Telstra 24/7 app too. Apparently my credit is valid for 14-days.

        I did manage to go through the activation process though on the Telstra website. Maybe that is why I can use data and mms.

        • Without activating…
          Makes but does not receive calls
          Receives SMS, but can't send.
          Sends & receives MMS.
          Turning on Data only sends me to the activation page. Other sites can't be reached.
          Wouldn't show on T24/7 app.

          But you activated - which explains why data works & why it shows in 24/7 app under your account.

          The Set Up Guide with the phone said to ring to SIM SWAP your old Telstra SIM & number. That gives the full service on your old number (with the new SIM) if you had a Telstra SIM active. (If your old Telstra SIM is a Nano SIM you don't need to do that - just insert in phone.)

          Seems you activated a blank SIM, not meant to be used for normal service.
          So looks like it might be like the $10 credit 14 day included SIM if buying the phone, without incoming calls etc!!

          So activating the included SIM just gives Data on top of limited service we get by not activating. (Who knows how long it will be able to be used without activating.)

          Data will be very limited at Telstra's premium cost per MB with $10 credit! And only 14 days use.

        • I did manage to go through the activation process though on the Telstra website. Maybe that is why I can use data and mms

          That would do it. Weird that you can't send SMS then? No idea why that would be.

          • @realfancyman: The blank SIM is not full service. It's just meant for simple SIM SWAP (on existing Telstra service, for changing to Nano-SIM). It's not meant to be activated.

            Activating it likely adds $10 credit for 14 days & just adds Data with calls & Data charged at expensive rate.

          • @realfancyman: It's definitely odd. The box mine came in said it includes $10 credit that can be used for calls and SMS. I spent far too long trying to get it working earlier. I don't have any other Telstra sim to test with, but I think the phone itself it probably fine and the sim is the issue.

            • @CatGrandma: SIM works the same way in other phone tested - limited as it's not a full service SIM. So it's not an issue with the phone😉

              Update: Finally realised SIM & phone numbers were on label on side of Care Pack. Expires in 2 years.

              My box did not show $10 SIM included. That comes in the retail pack, not the Care Pack.
              Seems you received a different box, but probably same limited use blank SIM designed only for a SIM SWAP.

              Thanks - Your different experience helps us understand the limits & uses for these blank SIMs. Interesting😉

              • @the INFIDEL: That explains it. Mine does look like it has the retail packaging. I guess they just must be sending whatever stock they have left. I can't imagine they have a huge number of retail sales of these.

                • @CatGrandma: Probably not geared up for so many requests for Care Packs, so sending out some retail packs. The effect of OzBargain😉

                  Telstra are trying to sell a lot of these phones…
                  Half of front page of current Australia Post catalog promoting this phone @$89! Earlier it sold for $49 with a free Google Home Mini!

    • No longer works on outgoing calls (even to Telstra)😢

  • Mine arrived today :)

  • +2

    @relentless @realfancyman and OP, Thanks, I got mine today.

  • +1

    Thanks to Telstra, StrayFireX and FancyMan :D

    Applied for mine a couple of days ago and it arrived today (18 Jan 2019). I got a confirmation email I think the day after application

    • Yep, mine's a Telstra Care Pack

  • Partial list of eligible phones. So nice of Telstra to look after Vodafone customers.

    Huawei U8120 Vodafone 845 V845
    Vodafone 785
    Vodafone R207
    Vodafone VF695

  • haha nice work guys

    • +1

      Free phones for all😀