Published 9 minutes ago: April 24, 2023 at 2:12 p.m
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If you’ve finally reached your limit with an unreliable NBN connection, it might be high time to make the switch. The good news is that it’s not hard to get an internet plan that doesn’t use NBN. While these options may not suit every type of user, wireless broadband and mobile broadband home plans can be real landline alternatives to NBN.
In recent months, 5G home internet options have become more widely available, and there are more 4G home internet plans than ever before. There are even a few oversized mobile broadband plans that also make a viable alternative to NBN.
Here’s what you need to know about wireless broadband and mobile broadband at home, and some of the best plans for both.
Best NBN Alternatives NBN Alternative #1: 5G Home WiFi
While not everyone can access 5G just yet, it has become increasingly available over the past year or so. You can now find plans from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, iiNet, TPG, Internode and SpinTel.
5G home internet plans are pretty self-explanatory – they are 5G-powered internet solutions that serve as an alternative to a landline connection like the NBN. These plans are designed for home use, which means the modems require a constant power source. However, this means that the modems you get tend to be more robust and come with extras like multiple gigabit ports.
5G home internet plans come in two different forms: capped and uncapped. If you get a capped plan, you’re limited to maximum speeds of 50Mbps or 100Mbps (depending on the plan) and may experience slightly slower connectivity during peak periods. This is similar to most NBN 100 plans.
At the time of writing, most 5G home internet providers are offering new customers the first month free. For the most part, these studies are all risk-free. If you decide 5G home internet isn’t for you, you can easily cancel your plan without paying a dime, provided you return your modem to your telco.
However, this is not the case with Optus. If you pick up an Optus 5G home internet plan and change your mind, you’ll be stung by a costly exit fee. If you cancel your Optus plan within the first 36 months, you will pay a $16 modem fee for each remaining month of your three-year term. That’s a maximum of $576.
The only way to avoid Optus’ fee is to hit speeds of at least 50Mbps. If that’s the case and Optus can’t help you improve them, you can return your modem and get out of the plan scot-free.
Telstra, Vodafone, iiNet, Internode, TPG and SpinTel allow you to return your modem if you decide to cancel during or after your free trial.
Here’s a look at the limited 5G home internet plans, most of which include a free trial:
Internode, TPG, and iiNet all report speeds of up to 50Mbps, and their respective plans cost $59.99 per month. While SpinTel doesn’t offer a free introductory month, you can get its 5G plan for $49 a month for the first three months and $59 a month thereafter. You also have to pay $20 upfront for modem delivery.
On the other hand, unlimited plans can go as fast as network conditions allow. SpinTel reports speeds of up to 240Mbps, which isn’t too shabby. Meanwhile, Telstra’s 5G home internet reports speeds of up to 600 Mbps, with an average of around 378 Mbps. With Optus 5G home internet, the telco reports typical speeds of 240 Mbps. Exact speeds depend on your coverage and Congestion off, but 200Mbps is a pretty safe average.
It’s also worth noting that while SpinTel and Optus offer unlimited data, Telstra has a 1TB free limit. Once you hit that cap, your internet speed slows down to 25Mbps.
Here’s a look at the unlimited 5G home internet plans you can get with a free trial:
NBN Alternative #2: Home 4G WiFi Broadband
If you can’t get 5G just yet, 4G home wireless broadband works similarly — plans will just be a little slower.
Some home wireless broadband plans have speed caps, while others run at full 4G speeds. The TPG family – TPG, iiNet, Internode, Vodafone and Kogan – all have 4G home internet plans with unlimited data, but you’re limited to 20Mbps download speeds. That’s just slightly slower than NBN 25.
If you want faster wireless broadband at home, companies like Optus and SpinTel offer plans with unlimited 4G speeds. According to Optus, its 4G home internet has a maximum speed of 25 Mbit/s, while SpinTel reports 20 Mbit/s.
NBN Alternative #3: 4G Mobile Broadband
As the name suggests, 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 prices similar to a standard cellular plan but with a larger data allowance.
The average mobile broadband plan has less data than a 4G WiFi home broadband plan, but with more flexible speed limits. The dongles and portable hotspots you use with a mobile broadband plan tend to be battery powered, making them great for when you’re on the go. Alternatively, you can simply purchase a SIM-only mobile broadband plan and use it with your own hotspot, a tablet or even a spare phone.
Here are some SIM-only mobile broadband plans with at least 100GB. Note, however, that you must bring your own modem.
If you want the cheapest 4G mobile broadband connection, Belong offers a $35 per month plan with 100GB of data.
Tangerine is one of your cheapest options for a big data plan, offering 400GB for $59.90 per month for the first six months and $64.90 per month thereafter. SpinTel is powered by the Telstra network. Speaking of which, Telstra also has a 300GB plan, but it’s a bit more expensive at $70 per month.
NBN Alternative #4: 5G mobile broadband
In addition to the 4G mobile broadband, you can also opt for the faster 5G mobile broadband. Of course, this requires a hotspot or modem with 5G network support. As it stands, Telstra is the only telco with an available 5G-enabled portable hotspot.
Telstra currently offers two 5G mobile broadband plans. The first comes with 75GB of data and will set you back $55 a month, while the larger 400GB plan costs $85 a month. As a bonus, the provider is also giving away two months of Binge and three months of Apple TV+.
Here’s Telstra’s 5G-ready mobile broadband plan. Note that this excludes modem costs:
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website. This article has been updated since it was first published.
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