For many years, the telco industry was driven by contracts. You'd have to sign away as much as two years of your life to get a new internet connection, and pay heinous early exit fees if you ever wanted to leave. Your telco wanted you locked in.
The dramatic rise of small NBN suppliers has helped change this. While there are still providers that make you commit to fixed terms, there are plenty of plans available on a month-to-month basis. And since you can leave at any time, these telcos should also be working harder to keep you as a customer in terms of either price or quality of service. Hopefully both.
As such we're going to take a look at some of the cheapest contract-free NBN plans around. These plans don't have any setup fees, but if you need a new modem, most of these ISPs will sell you one as an optional add-on.
Contract-free NBN 50 plans with at least 500GB
Several NBN providers are currently offering discounted rates for your first couple of months. Click Broadband, Sumo, and Tangerine will all knock at least $10 off your bill for your first six months. Since these plans are all contract-free with no setup fees, you could feasibly change provider every six months if you're intent on chasing the cheapest plan.
Flip TV is also offering a discounted rate, but only for the first three months of service.
Mate Communicate will knock $6 off your monthly bill if you add one of its Telstra-powered mobile plans to your account. Prices for these start at $15 per month for 1GB of data. Mate's mobile plans are exclusive to its broadband customers.
Telstra isn't normally part of the no setup fee club, but it's waiving the $240 connection charge on its month-to-month plan until February 25.
Contract-free NBN 100 plans with unlimited data
Options are a little more limited when it comes to no-contract NBN 100 plans with no setup fees, but there are still some great plans to pick from.
Sumo is the cheapest, with a discounted rate of $72 per month for your first six months. After your first six months are up, you'll pay $80 per month, which is still one of the cheapest non-discounted NBN 100 plans around. You can also save a further $5 per month if you're interested in switching to Sumo for your electricity.
Aussie Broadband is a bit pricier than the rest, but it reports some of the fastest peak hour speeds around for its NBN 100 plans. Aussie is also unique in that it publishes individual capacity graphs for each NBN Point of Interconnect, so you can see if there's any risk of congestion in your area. If you need consistently fast internet all the time, Aussie Broadband could be a good choice.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website. He's now had far too many phone plan related dreams.