If your NBN connection is letting you down, it’s time to make a change. 5G home internet options have become more widely available, there are more 4G home internet plans than ever, and you can even pick from a few supersized mobile broadband plans.
While these won’t be right for every kind of user, home wireless broadband and mobile broadband plans can be genuine NBN alternatives.
Here’s what you need to know about home wireless broadband and mobile broadband, and some of the best plans for both.
5G home wireless broadband
5G isn’t available to everyone yet, but Telstra’s 5G footprint now covers over 75% of the population, while Optus and Vodafone’s networks are both growing.
These telcos now all have 5G home internet plans – 5G-powered internet solutions that function as an alternative to a fixed line connection such as the NBN. These plans are designed for home use, which means the modems require a constant power source. This does however mean the modems tend to have features like multiple ethernet ports, a USB port, and WiFi 6.
Telstra, Optus, SpinTel, Vodafone, TPG, Internode, and iiNet all offer 5G home internet plans. TPG, Internode, and iiNet’s plans are all powered by the Vodafone 5G network. Better yet, most these telcos are all offering customers their first month free. SpinTel is the only exception, but it still has a 14-day trial period to ensure you get good coverage.
5G home internet plans come in two forms: capped and uncapped. If you get a capped plan, you’ll pick between 50Mbps and 100Mbps plans – the equivalent to NBN 50 and NBN 100. You may also get even slower speeds during peak hours. TPG, Vodafone, iiNet and Internode sell both 50Mbps and 100Mbps plans. Optus and SpinTel have 100Mbps options.
Here’s a look at the capped 5G home internet plans you can get right now:
Uncapped plans are only limited by network conditions, and should be able to exceed speeds of 200Mbps. Depending on your coverage and congestion, you may even be able to get faster performance from these. Telstra, Optus, and SpinTel sell uncapped 5G home internet plans.
Here’s a look at the uncapped 5G home internet plans you can get right now:
With almost every 5G home internet plan, you can simply cancel your plan and return your modem if it isn’t right for you. If you do so, you won’t pay a cent to leave.
Optus is the only exception, where you’ll get hit with a costly exit fee if you cancel within your first 36 months. This fee is equivalent to $16 for each month left in your three-year term, up to a maximum of $576. The only way you can get out of paying this fee is if you’re experiencing speeds under 50Mbps and Optus can’t help you improve them.
4G home wireless broadband
If you can’t get 5G yet, 4G home wireless broadband works much the same way – the plans will just be a bit slower.
Most home wireless broadband plans have speed caps. The TPG family – TPG, iiNet, Internode, and Vodafone – all have 4G home internet plans with unlimited data, but with download speeds maxed out at 20Mbps. Kogan also has a 20Mbps plan. That’s just a bit slower than an NBN 25 plan. Optus’ speeds are capped to 25Mbps instead.
4G mobile broadband
Mobile broadband is an internet connection similar to the kind you get on your smartphone. The majority of mobile broadband plans are powered by 4G networks, with pricing similar to what you’d get on a standard mobile plan but with a larger data allowance.
The average mobile broadband plan has less data than a 4G home wireless broadband plan, but you won’t deal with speed caps and they can be more flexible. The portable hotspots and dongles you use with mobile broadband plans are battery-powered, so you can take them anywhere you have coverage. Or you can always just get a SIM-only mobile broadband plan and chuck it in your own hotspot, a tablet, or even a spare phone.
Here are some SIM-only mobile broadband plans with at least 100GB. Just be aware that you’ll need to bring your own modem with these.
Belong has a pretty affordable big data option, where you’ll pay $35 per month for 100GB. Alternatively, Telstra has a plan with a 400GB allowance. You’ll pay $85 per month.
5G mobile broadband
In addition to 4G mobile broadband, you can also opt for faster 5G mobile broadband. Of course, this does require a hotspot with 5G network support.
Telstra and Optus are currently the only providers to offer 5G hotspots. Your cheapest option from Big T is the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro, which will set you back an extra $24.95 per month.
Optus’ only option is a ZTE 5G Portable WiFi Modem, which will add $18.12 per month to your bill on a 24-month term.
Not all Telstra and Optus mobile broadband plans support 5G. If you want next-generation coverage, you’ll need to opt for Telstra’s 75GB plan at a minimum, or Optus’ 60GB plan. Telstra’s 400GB is your best bet for actually replacing an NBN connection, however.
Here are Telstra and Optus’ 5G-ready mobile broadband plans. Note that these exclude modem costs:
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.