The Best Australian Mobile Broadband Plans

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Mobile Broadband was once something used by road warriors and students; people who spent long stretches of their day away from a reliable WiFi network. And it still is, but more and more people are now turning to a mobile data connection for everyday internet as well.

It's a good time to take a look, too. While you wouldn't describe mobile data prices as cheap, especially compared to fixed line internet prices, the prices are certainly more affordable now, and the plans come with much more data than before. Here are some hand-picked options to consider.

Just keep in mind that with many of the smaller providers you will need to BYO a compatible modem. You can get something suitable from online stores — include some pretty robust modem routers with ethernet ports and support for newer WiFi protocols — or you could just dig up an old smartphone and use the personal hotspot feature.

Data only SIMS

As you can see, the data-per-dollar ratio is starting to look very good across the board. Two or three dollars per gigabyte used to be a pretty good deal a year or two ago, and now you're likely to pay about 50 cents.

One thing you notice when looking for mobile broadband is that most of the high value data plans operate on the Optus network. Telstra and Vodafone has good plans, but obviously don't make Data Only plans that attractive for their wholesale partners.

Plans with 4G modems

A first few products in this table can be genuinely consider alternatives to crappy FTTN NBN connections. These come with a Huawei modem router (not exactly the same model) which needs a power outlet. It's not a portable connection, but you do get a lot of data.

Others include the portable WiFi pucks that have been around for a while, include the Telstra plans that come with the excellent Netgear Nighthawk M1.

Joe Hanlon is Publisher at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.


    I have VividWireless and cannot recommend it at all. I tried it out because I knew the ADSL was bad and NBN is nowhere to be found.

    On Vivid I get 1-3Mbps and 800 ping. Completely unusable for anything except Netflix and light web browsing. It's supposed to go up to 12 in "selected" areas and 5 everywhere else, but I don't know what selected even means because when I tested in Adelaide CBD I only got 4. At least there's no fixed contract and the second month is free.

      Optus's wireless broadband offerings are an interesting thing. Their network speed, to my understanding, tops out at 12mbps and Optus themselves are quite selective about who they sell those products to. Should you reside in an area with poor coverage, environmental interference, or high utilisation of Optus's towers you won't be able to buy their wireless broadband plans. Optus restrict the sale of these products in those areas as they know it'll be a problem.

      On the other hand the companies that act as resellers using Optus's network will sell to anyone - even the subsidiary companies owned by Optus.

      I'd wager you fall into one of these areas. Optus wouldn't want to tarnish their brand by selling a poor product to you directly, but someone else who isn't as concerned clearly has.

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