Telstra Turbo Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband modem

Prepaid billing and the Next G network's superior speed and coverage make Telstra's Turbo Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband modem a viable option for getting online

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Telstra Corporation Turbo Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband
  • Telstra Corporation Turbo Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband
  • Telstra Corporation Turbo Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband
  • Telstra Corporation Turbo Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5
  • User Rating

    1.00 / 5 (of 4 Reviews)


  • Good speed and coverage, no contract commitments, Mac and PC compatible, simple software, hinge-style USB connector, 2GB data included


  • Pricier than alternatives, most recharges have a 30-day expiry, modem hinders access to nearby USB ports on some notebooks

Bottom Line

Improvements over the previous Turbo prepaid modem are minimal, but a cheaper initial outlay, prepaid billing and the Next G network's superior speed and coverage make Telstra's Turbo Prepaid Mobile Broadband offering a viable solution for getting online while on the move.

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Telstra's latest prepaid mobile broadband modem sports a slimmer profile than the telco's previous prepaid offering and has a rotating USB connector. The Telstra Turbo Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband modem also includes new software that is compatible with both Windows PCs and Macs.

Telstra is touting the "slim profile" of the new Turbo modem as a key feature. While it is slimmer than many other USB modems on the market, it still prevented access to the second USB port on our 13in MacBook Pro. On larger notebooks this shouldn't be a problem. Once plugged in, the Telstra Turbo Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband modem can rotate to sit upright alongside a notebook, reducing the risk of bumping it when connected. Four LEDs on the modem notify you of power and data status, and lifting a small flap on the right side allows the connection of an external antenna for better reception.

The software required to use the Telstra service is stored on the modem itself and is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X. The modem also doubles as a USB flash drive: a microSD card slot is located next to the SIM card slot and is accessible via a slide off plastic panel. The software is unobtrusive and easy to install and allows you to quickly access your prepaid account details, see total of sent and received data and access a range of Telstra services including news, sport weather, WhereIs maps and Sensis search.

Like its predecessor, the Telstra Turbo Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband modem has a maximum download speed of 7.2 megabits per second (Mbps) and a maximum upload speed of 5.8Mbps. Telstra claims the service will provide typical real-world speeds of between 550 kilobits per second (Kbps) and 3Mbps. As with all mobile broadband devices, the actual speed achieved will depend on a number of factors such as your location and equipment, network usage and coverage, and network congestion at the time. Telstra's Next G network theoretically supports download speeds of up to 42Mbps in certain locations around Australia, but only the much more expensive Ultimate USB modem can take advantage of this.

Using our Broadband Speed Test, the modem managed to achieve download speeds of up to 3.2Mbps, but it regularly hovered around 2Mbps. Upload speeds were stable at around 700Kbps, but did occasionally rise over 1Mbps.

Telstra sells the Turbo prepaid mobile Broadband modem for $89 upfront and includes 2GB data in the starter pack. Telstra uses a per kilobyte charging system, and the data rates and allowance are determined by the recharge amount. For example, recharging with $30 gives you a per kilobyte charge of 7.5c (400MB of effective data), while recharging with $100 gives you a per kilobyte charge of 1.6c (6GB of effective data). All recharges have a 30-day expiry (so any unused credit after this time is lost) — with the exception of $130 and $150 recharges, which give you a 90-day and 180-day expiry period respectively.

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Read more on these topics: mobile broadband, Telstra, next g

Use A Macinstrad


I have tried the new Turbo and worked for 3 weeks under OSX 10.6.4. As soon as I upgraded to OSX 10.6.5 it would no longer work. It does not see the USB drive or auto load the software and the Modem Manager software says there is no drive connected - when there is. Only red lights show.

Telstra is no help and I am at a loss as to how to get Apple or the modem supplier to fix. Does anyone else know or have this problem?



Bought one: it didn't install the software. A very helpful Telstra dealer downloaded the software for me onto a flash drive. I installed the software. Now I can receive E-mail but sent messages never arrive and I can't connect to the internet. So much for Telstra's offering, which cost me $79!



Are these obsolete now??
Went to use mine today after a year and buying new credit, won't even connect to the network to begin.
Telstra are a f***ing joke, have you ever heard of them actually being a proper help?

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My temper
all telco and their isp colluders in poor service and greed
• • •

After a lot of time and proof reading the telstra info page with a telescope, I managed (WITH NO HELP FROM TELSTRA) to create an email address with Telstra(you will not get a bigpond address as a pre-paid user).
It's been about 7 months since first use and I am still not impressed. I live about 2km from a telstra exchange, my PC runs well, and the only problem I have with internet use is network overloading which affects both connection and utilisation. In short: too many users and slow download and upload speeds.
My answer to this problem: stop selling the things if the network cannot accommodate the quantity of users !




• • •

Just bought this (for $29) and thank God for the cheap price - because where I am I do not have other network coverage. Have finally plugged it in but the speed (I am lesss than 140kms from Melbourne)is such that it is next to useless - was trying to download an email file - getting 6.5kbps - it was going to take me 15 minutes to download - and that was only one file. It will be quicker for me to go to the local town less than 10 monutes away and log onto Vodafone and do all my business that to use this pathetic product and do less than 20% of what I need to do. Telstra - absolutely useless - again.




don't expect to create an email address with telstra/bigpond as the isp. Cannot be used with Windows Mail
• • •

You will not get an email address from telstra(and certainly not bigpond) by being a pre-paid customer, therefore cannot be used with windows mail. therefore its useless for many as it is no better than competitors offerings.

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