Picking Australia’s Best Mobile Broadband Provider

There are four national 3G mobile broadband networks , so picking a nominations list might seem pretty simple. But the reality is a bit more complex, which is why we want some ideas from readers for our Lifehacker Best Of The Year awards mobile broadband category.

3, Optus, Telstra and Vodafone are obvious candidates, but Optus also resells its mobile broadband services through a host of other providers. There's also niche options like Vividwireless and BigAir, as well as something that didn't occur to us until a reader suggested it: McDonald's.

Share your thoughts on Australia's best mobile broadband provider in the comments below (or head to our original awards post).


    I had a giggle about McDonald's too. Until I realised that 99% of my connections not made from home or work are done at a McDonalds or a cafe hotspot.

    Those Unwired cafe setups are going up all over the place and make for a great way to get a bit of work doen when you'd rather have a muffin & a coffee than sit in an office.

    I am going to voice a vote for Telstra. Whilst part of me is dying inside for supporting Big Pond at all, their network for mobile broadband is excellent. I have yet to fully test out my little prepaid Wifi device, but so far it's meeting my tough standards;

    *I can connect 3-5 devices
    *It can run on battery for up to 4 hours of usage (which seems to be the standard for these devices).

    The ultimate test however, was if it would connect to my PS3 and allow me to play Black Ops Online; which it does.

    Bonus information for LH readers; typical CoD online matches only use 15-20MB per 30 min session (a fact I have verified through very nerd/obsessive means).

    The thing I'm most impressed with is the ability to turn off the broadcasting of the SSID for the device, so that I can have my own private wifi without having to announce I'm an uber-nerd to the entire train.

    I will be doing a full review/run-down of my Telstra Prepaid Mobile Wifi experience on my blog (linked) sometime in the near future.

    Telstra buy far, love Telstra ther network is king

    but there Bigpond counter part are terrible. Bigpond is stupid, throw rocks at them

    While re-sellers may contribute value to a customer in other ways (price, services), they are completely reliant on the underlying wholesaler (i.e. optus). So the reseller's best-case reliability/speed etc is the wholesaler's. As it happens, my smartphone is on optus, and my home wireless broadband is on exetel (reselling optus). Optus crapped out over the weekend = no Internet connection. So I now have a vodafone SIM for redundancy. Vodafone (in my area at least) seems much faster and more reliable than optus. I'm sure telstra would be better, but at a high price.

    Having said that, I've long been a fan of exetel overall.

    I've used 3, Telstra, and Optus. Telstra definitely has the best coverage in regional areas. It also seems faster in metro areas.

    Optus is a close second, and 3 was fine in metro but terrible in regional.

    I hate telstra customer service and prices, but I cant fault their network. We have an optus rep after our business right now, who'll going to give us a few devices/sims to send out with some of the remote workers and see how the optus network compares.

    If anybody knows a nice app for iphone/blackberry that'll log gps location and signal at regular intervals, It'd make any results I get that much more meaningful.


      For the iPhone I'm a big fan of the Speedtest.net app on iPhone.

      Just goto App Store, search "Speedtest.net"

      It give excellent network speed results, and if you look at the results in detail it gives you lat/long (GPS) info.

    Optus and Telstra seems to have the best speeds and coverage but are expensive. Vodafone seemed to have reasonable speeds and prices but their customer service and support is atrocious. Virgin seems to have the best mix for my money. I would not touch Dodo with a 100 ft pole.

    With Telstra v The Rest, it all comes down to whether you're prepared to pay nearly double for a superior service. I'm not. I'm with Vodafone, wouldn't look at the #2 (optus), and Dodo and Virgin would suck even more than couldn't-care-less Vodafony.

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