Reliable connectivity is more important than ever. There’s nothing worse than trying to work or learn from home when your internet goes down. Outages can happen, but there are now a few NBN providers that offer 4G backup with their plans.
These plans include a modem that connects you to the NBN as well as a mobile network. If your NBN carks it, the modem will automatically rollover to 4G to keep you online.
You will however experience much slower speeds. Every provider that offers 4G backup also caps download speeds to 12Mbps when you fall back to their mobile network. That’s the equivalent of an NBN 12 plan and will still be fast enough to keep watching Netflix, but it will struggle when it comes to larger uploads and downloads.
There are four major providers that currently offer 4G backup in Australia: Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, and Tangerine. We’ll take a closer look at these providers below, but first, here’s how they compare when it comes to NBN 50 plans:
Be aware that 4G backup is an optional add-on when it comes to Tangerine and will set you back an extra $15 per month.
Telstra NBN plans
Telstra NBN plans are all bundled with its second-generation Smart Modem, a modem router with 4G backup. You can use the 4G backup while you’re waiting for Telstra to connect you NBN plan, but it’s also there to help deal with internet issues.
Telstra’s 4G backup pulls from your download allowance, but most Telstra plans are unlimited these days. You’ll get 4G download speeds of 12Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps whenever you fall back to 4G.
Here’s a look at Telstra’s NBN plans:
Telstra currently has a couple of NBN promos available. If you sign up before November 2, you can save $10 per month on any unlimited Telstra NBN plan for your first 12 months. If you sign up online, Telstra will also waive the $99 connection charge.
Lastly, you can also score yourself three months of free access to Binge. Signing up to Telstra’s loyalty program – Telstra Plus – will extend this by a further three months.
Telstra NBN plans are technically contract-free, but you’ll need to pay out the pro-rated value of the included modem ($216) if you leave within your first 24 months.
If you don’t like the prospect of your backup connection being limited to 12Mbps, Telstra’s small business NBN plans include uncapped 4G access. Exact speeds will depend on your location and network congestion, but the Telstra 4G network can comfortably hit speeds between 50Mbps and 100Mbps.
Optus NBN plans
As part of plan changes earlier this year, Optus added a new modem with integrated 4G backup: the Optus Ultra WiFI modem. 4G connectivity will be available while you’re waiting for your NBN connection to be finalised, as well as if there’s an outage in your area.
Optus 4G backup is unlimited, but your speeds are limited to 12Mbps down and 1Mbps up.
Here’s a look at Optus’ NBN plans:
Optus’ NBN plans are contract-free, but you’ll have to pay out a prorated modem fee if you leave within your first 36 months. The modem fee is equivalent to $7 multiplied by the number of months remaining in your three-year term.
Vodafone NBN plans
Vodafone NBN plans can be paired with a modem with integrated 4G backup: the Vodafone WiFi Hub. You’ll be able to use your 4G for up to 30 consecutive days when you’re waiting for Vodafone to connect you to the NBN or whenever your connection craps out.
4G backup data is unlimited, but speeds are capped to 12Mbps down and 1Mbps up.
Here’s a look at Vodafone’s NBN plans:
Vodafone is currently offering a $10 per month discount on all NBN plans for your first six months.
If you want to save extra, you bring down your bill bundling with another Vodafone service. Vodafone offers a 5% discount for every postpaid plan on your account after your first – encompassing NBN, mobile, mobile broadband, and tablets – up to a maximum discount of 20% with five plans.
Vodafone NBN plans are contract-free, but if you add the WiFi Hub to your plan, you’ll pay out a prorated modem fee if you leave within your first three years. This is equivalent to $5 multiplied by the number of months left in your term.
Tangerine NBN plans
Tangerine is one of the only smaller NBN providers to offer 4G backup with its NBN plans. However, since Tangerine doesn’t have a mobile network to call its own, its offering is a little different to what you’ll find on the big three. Tangerine 4G backup isn’t included out of the box, doesn’t have unlimited data, and will cost you extra.
If you want to add 4G back to your Tangerine plan, you’ll need to grab its 4G backup modem – a Netcomm NL19ACV – when you sign up. It will set you back $189.50. You’ll also be up for an extra $15 per month, which gets you 30GB of backup data. As with the other providers who offer 4G backup, Tangerine also has speed caps. You’ll be limited to speeds of 12Mbps down and 12Mbps up.
$15 per month may seem like an expensive add on, but you’d typically only get a 5GB or so mobile broadband plan for that kind of money.
Tangerine’s 4G backup is powered by the Optus network.
Here’s a look at Tangerine’s NBN plans:
Tangerine is currently running a promotional discount on all its plans. You’ll save $10 per month for your first six months on its NBN 25, NBN 50, and NBN 250 plans, or $15 per month on your first six months on an NBN 100 plan.
All Tangerine NBN plans have a 14-day satisfaction guarantee. If you decide to bail on Tangerine in your first fortnight, you can get a full refund of your plan fees. Modem fees can’t be refunded, but Tangerine’s modems are all unlocked.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
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