I recently moved house and faced a ten-day internet hiatus thanks to a skinny conduit and living in a suburb on the arse-end of the NBN rollout. Despite my obvious disappointment, this actually turned out to be a great time to test out life without fixed-line internet.
I've often recommended mobile broadband, but I'm still surprised at how usable a solution it is for most everyday online tasks. We didn't change anything in the way we used the internet during this time, I’d just switch on the mobile hotspot on my phone and this was more than enough to stream 4K Netflix movies on our TV while browsing the web on a couple of laptops.
It was also a good reminder about how much data we use. We ended up having the fixed-line connection worked out in about six days, but this was enough to burn through 50GB of mobile data, mostly thanks to the high-resolution video streams.
If you're struggling with home internet, especially if you're still in the NBN holding pattern like I am, then now it a good time to check out a few alternatives.
Home internet alternatives
It used to be that VividWireless was the only game in town if you wanted a mobile broadband service designed as a fixed-line replacement, but these days you have lots of solid options.
In the list above, all of the plans work on the Optus 4G network, except for Telstra obviously. All of these plans come with a generous data limit, and the prices are pretty good, but they all share the same downside; a 12Mbps download speed limit.
Given the way these plans are designed for home use, this is probably a smart move by Optus. It saves the network from getting clogged up, and it isn't fast enough to have people turning away from the NBN in droves. Still, it would be nice if the limits were a tad faster.
Dongles and pucks
If you need mobile internet that is actually mobile, and offers full 4G speeds, there are plenty of plans to choose from. All of the plans above come with a 4G WiFi portable modem, but you have the option to just grab a data SIM too, if that's all that you need.
The Telstra Go Mobile Data Plus L Plan really jumps out as great value here, especially considering that it comes with the awesome Netgear Nighthawk M1 modem. You'll need to sign a contract to get all of the goodies in this deal, but it seems like a far better offer than the others at around the same price.
Joe Hanlon is Publisher at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website. He’s been writing about phones and plans for far too long.