Ditch The NBN With These Fast Mobile Alternatives

Ditch The NBN With These Fast Mobile Alternatives
Image: Getty Images

The National Broadband Network has become a bit of a crapshoot – with emphasis on ‘crap’. Depending on the technology deployed in your suburb and the type of plan you plump for, you could be getting speeds as low as 20 megabits per second. This clearly isn’t good enough.

If you’re sick of sluggish, unreliable internet it might be time to consider an alternative to the NBN – namely wireless mobile broadband. (Scroll down to see the fastest plans you can get right now.)

As the name implies, mobile broadband is an internet service provided over Australia’s mobile networks – typically via a SIM card that you insert into a wireless modem.

It goes without saying that mobile broadband is equally dependant on location. If you’re out in the sticks, you’re unlikely to get super-fast internet speeds. With that said, mobile broadband tends to perform very well in metro areas where congestion is low – particularly when it comes to transferring data.

According to Ookia’s most recent speedtest report, Australia has average mobile broadband speeds of close to 50Mbps.

This was an improvement of more than 20% compared to the previous report and places us eighth in the world. (By contrast, Australia is currently ranked 58th for fixed broadband.)

In other words, when you’re in the right place with the right plan, mobile broadband provides some of the best average internet speeds on the Aussie market.

Naturally, the best mobile broadband speeds can be found on Australia’s major telco networks due to their larger 4G footprint and proliferation of towers. But which is best? In the below table, we compare plans from Telstra, Optus and Optus MVNOs (no Telstra MVNOs offer mobile broadband at the moment.)

To find out more about each plan, click on the ‘Go’ buttons in our interactive table:

So if mobile broadband is so great, why isn’t everybody using it? As mentioned, speeds are dependent on location – it’s worth enquiring about average upload and download speeds at your residential address before signing up to a plan.

You also need to consider your usage levels. While data caps are getting higher, they still wont be enough to suit every customer. If you regularly churn through over 100GB per month, you may want to stick with the NBN, warts ‘n’ all.

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • Although I’m near city in Adelaide, NBN is still months and months away. With all the horror stories I didn’t want it anyway.

    I bought a deal with Uniti. They offer 100Mbps but I took the 50Mbps. Unlimited download, dish on the roof, completely rid of old phone connections and anything related.

    I consistently get 52Mbps. When it briefly fell below that they spent a week checking it out and gave me a months credit!

    Unaffected by peak times or anything else. Modem not needed, actually router not needed (though you can’t share a WiFi signal that way).

    • Like charleskane except in Perth, we’re using unlimited fixed wireless with 50gbps speed. Even though we are only 3kms from the CBD, NBN is still unavailable until the end of the year and the only other options are ADSL (@2gbps) or Telstra HFC which had a $2000 install cost. There will be little incentive to change when NBN is available when this service is soooo good. The only caveat is that you need line of sight to the CBD from your roof.

  • I’ve just moved to an area that has no fixed line NBN, no access to fixed wireless NBN (Hills) and, well, Satellite is useless.
    I investigated other options and also came across mobile broadband.
    In fact Optus (who I’ve never used previously) have a $60 for 200gb a month or $80 for 500gb a month offer (modem included).
    I signed up, set up and am a happy user.
    I’m getting 23 to 28mbps evening speed and high 50mbps day/later night speed. Uploads of between 8 and 23mbps, so plenty fast enough for Netflix, You tube, browsing etc.
    Disappointed that you haven’t included those 2 offers in your article!

  • On Optus 500gb home wireless broadband also. Good option as ADSL2+ is 3mbps and NBN is due in 2020.

    Speeds from 15 – 50mbps depending on the time of day.

    I think the home wifi broadband aren’t in the results because they’ve only selected ‘Mobile’ in the WhistleOut search.

  • 4G Internet is great unless you’re in one of the many areas that don’t offer unlimited plans, prices are definitely getting better, but theres definitely room for more improvement on that front

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