It’s Time To Ditch The NBN And Go Mobile

It’s Time To Ditch The NBN And Go Mobile
Image: Supplied

Despite all of the hard work going into the NBN rollout, fixed-line internet isn’t going to be the best internet solution for every household. Depending on how many people there are at home, and how much you use the internet, you might find that going mobile is an awesome option.

You’ve got a few choices for mobile broadband these days. You can get ‘Home Wireless Broadband’, which are products that try and simulate a fixed line connection with bigger data inclusions and a full-size WiFi router. Or you can use a portable mobile broadband modem, like a pocket-sized WiFi hotspot.

There are pros and cons with each, like speed limits on Home Wireless Broadband, and the cost of mobile broadband, but in general all options are worth a look if you plan on ditching the NBN.

[Note: Our interactive tables may take a few seconds to generate. Thanks for your patience!]

Mobile Broadband

For a full-speed Data SIM, you don’t need to pay more much, but you won’t get nearly as much data. Considering that you’d pay $70 per month for an NBN plan, the Jeenee Mobile and Amaysim plans are both great value.

If you’re already an Optus phone customer, you get a $10 per month discount on mobile broadband, plus all of the other benefits, like music and video streaming, and cheap tickets at the cinema.

All of the plans above are for SIM cards only, so you’ll need to sort out a portable modem, or dig an old phone out of the drawer to use as a hotspot. You need to keep an eye on excess data use as well. Many offer 1GB top-ups for $10, like phone plans, but others have fixed per MB rates. Either way it would get mighty pricey if you go over your limits.

Home Wireless Broadband

If you take a look at how much data you actually use, you might be surprised to learn that 200GB to 250GB is enough. Even if you watch Netflix a fair bit, you’d still squeeze in about 60 hours per month.

You do need to keep two things in mind before signing up. All of the plans above operate on the Optus mobile network, so you need good Optus coverage at your house. And, all of the plans are speed limited to 12Mbps download and 1Mbps upload. I’ve tested this out before and it is fine for all of the standard internet applications I use, like Netflix, gaming, etc, but it might not be the best idea if you regularly download big files, like digital copies of games, or need to send large files for work.

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.

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • You mentioned it was fine for gaming, but speed isn’t the issue. I’ve been with Vividwireless for over a year. The connection is relatively consistent in Melbourne’s metro north. Ping spikes are rare but will be a daily annoyance. 30-50ms ping is optimal for off-peak times. 80-150ms is expected during the evenings. If you care about ping, 4g is very unlikely to be your best choice in 2018. Even ADSL1 should perform better. Should.

  • I think when you do an article like this you should at least touch on the pros/cons of the different technologies for different types of internet use. eg: If a tech has high ping it might be ok for browsing, even streaming but terrible for gaming. Sadly people still sign up for a plan expecting everything to “just work” and the reality is certain things won’t.

  • recently gave Telstra the flick after being awarded $900 in compensation for misleading warranties of service with respect to ADSL2+ after successfully winning a case against iiNet with the TIO (Ombudsman) after TPG took them over and basically the same thing, unreasonable ultimatums and non provision of contractually obligated services.

    As the author wrote, start with analysing HOW MUCH data you use. I pay $120/mth to Optus for a business plan and the included 100GB of data suddenly was doubled for me to 200GB (maybe the heard about my track record with Telstra and iiNet) – when I took the last six months of net usage from Telstra’s “My Account” my partner and I were shocked we were sub 200GB – she is chained to Netflix and YouTube when not working, I regularly download BIG files like the Adobe CC suite updates (up to 10GB worth of updates) and movies and watch a lot of YouTube in 1080p constantly. We averaged 190GB/mth if that, so it made perfect sense to pay out Telstra, f*%k them off and continue paying the one mobile bill fixed with Optus at $120/mth which covers all our internet home needs, all my business calls and business data needs while working from office to office and even gave me 1.5GB of international roaming data for the month and unlimited calls and SMS’s back to Australia when recently in Portugal and Spain.

    We’ve not looked back. The NBN is quite possibly at least and definitely at most, the greatest travesty in Australian technological history.

  • I’ve reached out to one of the companies but it’s all my risk if I proceed and if it turns out performance is no good it’s too bad. Is there any way to get some confidence the performance will be close to their claims without taking the plunge? I use an Optus reseller for my phone.

  • hahaha well my mobile phone coverage says different. With Telstra, and half the time the phone drops out / does not ring inside the house. I live in the middle of Sydney.

    Nothing compares to a hard line.

  • It’s a stretch to call mobile wireless a long term replacement for fixed line NBN. Firstly, the towers would not have capacity to service a large number of static users. Secondly, signal quality varies greatly across the terrain. Thirdly, the towers handle load and “pass connections” adding to QoS issues. NBN is far from optimal, but fixed line beats wireless in reliability and load. 5G will be great and exceed NBN innshort bursts, but it’s not a long term static user solution. But y’know, being a “phone and internet” company you would already know this right?

  • NBN is a bit slow but still faster that 4G. By the time we get 5G well yes it will still be slower the NBN plus unlimited downloads vs 200GB a month. We all know what happen if you exceed that by 1bite. Had a friend that could only get the internet through mobile when NBN came through could not be happier to switch.

  • 4g networks are already theoretically faster than the 100mb NBN they’re rolling out, unless 5g magically solves congestion it’s not going to beat wired internet

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!