Top 4 Mobile Broadband Plans in Australia

What are the 4 best mobile broadband plans in Australia?
What are the 4 best mobile broadband plans in Australia?

What is Mobile Broadband?

Mobile broadband helps you to connect your devices to the broadband using the mobile network.

Unlike your standard mobile phone plan, mobile broadband (also known as data-only) does not have the potential to call or send text messages. These offer only data plans. It includes only the data that you can use on your mobile.

Mobile broadband can be used with any device that has a SIM card and is a great choice for people who want to connect to the internet while on the go as long as they have a mobile network signal.

You can insert a data-only SIM card into any device like Tab, WiFi dongle, or mobile hotspot device, which is a great option if you work remotely, travel frequently, or have just moved house and don’t yet have a fixed internet connection at your new address.

Mobile Broadband Vs NBN

Mobile Broadband Vs NBN
Mobile Broadband Vs NBN

Mobile broadband and the NBN are both ways to connect to the internet, but the major differences are how they connect, and the hardware required.

Mobile broadband is designed for on-the-go internet while NBN is wired and connected to your home.

Mobile broadband utilizes the 3G, 4G, or even 5G mobile networks, while the NBN uses various fixed technologies.

The NBN is usually faster than mobile broadband and can be connected to more devices.

Most NBN plans these days come with unlimited data, while mobile broadband usually comes with capped data allowances.

Mobile broadband is “connect and play” and can be used to instantly connect to the internet while connecting your home to the NBN usually requires a visit from a technician.

Usually, while you can use mobile broadband as your home’s internet connection, NBN plans are better suited for your home’s WiFi. On the other hand, for people who want to connect to broadband from anywhere, mobile broadband can be a great alternative.

Mobile Broadband vis a vis Home Wireless Broadband

Mobile Broadband vis a vis Home Wireless Broadband
Mobile Broadband vis a vis Home Wireless Broadband

Both mobile broadband and home wireless internet utilise the mobile network to connect your devices to the internet but there are some critical differences between the two.

Mobile broadband is designed for on-the-go internet connection while home wireless broadband is meant to be used in one location like your home or office.

Mobile broadband has a separate SIM card that you can pop into any eligible device while home wireless broadband requires the use of a special modem.

Home wireless broadband plans come with higher (or often unlimited) data allowances, while mobile broadband often comes with more varied data allowances.

While mobile broadband and home wireless internet are similar in their technology, home wireless broadband is better suited for in the home, while mobile broadband is best for on the go.

Best Mobile Broadband Plans

Best Mobile Broadband Plans
Best Mobile Broadband Plans

Here are the best mobile broadband providers in Australia as per a survey:

  • Telstra
  • Optus
  • Vodafone
  • ALDI Mobile

ALDI Mobile is considered to be the top-ranked. Amaysim comes next and was the only other provider to score five stars across some categories, including customer service and speed and coverage. Vodafone came after this in the third position followed by Optus. Telstra comes after this for overall satisfaction.

1. Telstra Mobile Broadband Plans

Telstra Mobile Broadband Plans
Telstra Mobile Broadband Plans

You can get Telstra mobile broadband plans on a month-to-month basis with no lock-in contract.

With the Telstra data-only SIM card, you’ll get:

Data sharing: Share data between up to 10 eligible plans on the same Telstra account.

No excess data charges: In case you use up your data allowance on a Telstra mobile broadband plan, you can continue to use the web at reduced 1.5Mbps speeds.

Autopay: Set and forget your bill payments by setting up autopay with your chosen bank or credit/debit card.

International roaming: Select destinations are eligible for an International Roaming Day Pass add-on

You can choose to bring your own devices such as a tablet or dongle, purchase one with Telstra outright or repay it over 12, 24, or 36 months.

Telstra Mobile Broadband Plans

1. Upfront Data Plan Extra Small ($15 per Month)

  • 5GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Get one month free on Foxtel

2. Upfront Data Plan Extra Small ($19 Per Month)

  • 5GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Get one month free on Foxtel

3. Upfront Data Plan Small ($25 Per Month)

  • 30GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Get one month free on Foxtel

4. Upfront Data Plan Small ($29 Per Month)

  • 30GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Get one month free on Foxtel

5. Upfront Data Plan Medium ($55 Per Month)

  • 75GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Get one month free on Foxtel

6. Upfront Data Plan Medium ($59 Per Month)

  • 75GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Get one month free on Foxtel

7. Upfront Data Plan Large ($85 Per Month)

  • 400GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Get one month free on Foxtel

8. Upfront Data Plan Large ($89 Per Month)

  • 400GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Get one month free on 

2. Optus Mobile Broadband Plans

Optus Mobile Broadband Plans
Optus Mobile Broadband Plans

Optus has four data-only mobile broadband plans on a month-to-month basis with no lock-in contract.

With Optus mobile broadband, you can get:

No excess data charges: If you use up your data allowance you can continue to browse the web at reduced 1.5Mbps speeds

Data sharing: Eligible Optus Choice Plus plans on the same account can share data

Although you won’t get international data roaming included as you do with Telstra’s plans, you do get subscription benefits.

Subscriptions: When you use SubHub to sign up for streaming services you can save 10% if you bundle 3 or more subscriptions. Also, Optus customers get Optus Sport at a discounted rate of $6.99/month.

You can bring your own compatible device to use with an Optus data-only SIM card, or purchase one and pay it off over 12, 24, or 36 months.

Optus offers the following data and prices.

1. $15 Optus Choice Plus Data Plan (M2M) ($15 Per Month)

  • 10GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Double data for 12 months on an eligible plan

2. $25 Optus Choice Plus Data Plan (M2M) ($25 Per Month)

  • 60GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Double data for 12 months on an eligible plan

3. $15 Optus Choice Plus Data Plan (M2M) ($33 Per Month)

  • 10GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Double data for 12 months on an eligible plan

4. $25 Optus Choice Plus Data Plan (M2M) ($43 Per Month)

  • 60GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Double data for 12 months on an eligible plan

5. $45 Optus Choice Plus Data Plan (M2M) ($45 Per Month)

  • 120GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Double data for 12 months on an eligible plan

6. $45 Optus Choice Plus Data Plan (M2M) ($60 Per Month)

  • 120GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Double data for 12 months on an eligible plan

7. $45 Optus Choice Plus Data Plan (M2M) ($63 Per Month)

  • 120GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Double data for 12 months on an eligible plan

8. $60 Optus Choice Plus Data Plan (M2M) ($78 Per Month)

  • 200GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term
  • Deal: Double data for 12 months on an eligible plan

3. Vodafone Mobile Broadband

Vodafone Mobile Broadband
Vodafone Mobile Broadband

Vodafone offers three mobile broadband plans available starting at $20 per month.

All Vodafone mobile broadband plans come with no lock-in contract and a 30-day network guarantee. You can bring your own device, or get a mobile broadband modem through Vodafone and pay it off over 12, 24, or 36 months.

Nowadays, Vodafone is upping its game. They have just expanded their mobile internet plans to include lot’s more data and are investing in improving its network. 

With Vodafone mobile broadband plans you’ll get: 

International roaming: For only $5 a day, you can use your plan as normal with no overage charges.

30-day Money-back Guarantee: If you aren’t happy with the Vodafone network, you can get your money back.

1. 10 GB SIM Only Modem Plan

  • 30 GB Data
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term

2. 40GB SIM Only Modem Plan

  • 70GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term

100GB SIM Only Modem Plan

  • 150GB Data 
  • Mobile Broadband Connection
  • No Contract Term

4. ALDI Mobile Broadband

ALDI Mobile Broadband
ALDI Mobile Broadband

Operating on the Telstra 3G and 4G networks, ALDI Mobile provides a span offers a range of data-only SIM packs that are ideal for on-the-go tablet and device use. Data packs begin at $95 for 30GB of data with a 365-day expiry.

Three 365-day options are available, offering up to 365GB of data for use over 12 months.

All plans include data rollover, provided customers recharge on time.

Plans are offered on a prepaid basis only, with auto-recharge options available.

ALDI Mobile Broadband Plans

1. 30GB Plan ($95 / 365 days)

Yearly Data Package
SIM only
Prepaid with auto-recharge
Tesltra 3G & 4G network
Monthly data rollover

2. 185 GB ($240 / 365 days)

Yearly Data Package
SIM only
Prepaid with auto-recharge
Tesltra 3G & 4G network
Monthly data rollover

3. 365 GB ($365 / 365 days)

Yearly Data Package
SIM only
Prepaid with auto-recharge
Tesltra 3G & 4G network
Monthly data rollover

FAQ

1. What is mobile broadband and how does it work?

Mobile broadband acts as a portable and home internet solution by using 4G, 3G (and on some plans 5G) networks to deliver internet to your device. In a nutshell, you pay for a plan from your selected provider, with plans varying in terms of costs, data inclusions, and bonuses. Prepaid is the best way to pay for a mobile network, where the full cost of your internet is paid in advance prior to using it.

Mobile broadband can work in three ways: either it’s delivered through a SIM card that you slot into your phone or a SIM card compatible device or it’s delivered through a dongle that connects via USB to your laptop or computer, or it’s delivered through a completely separate device, like a portable modem.

2. How fast does mobile broadband work?

4G mobile broadband’s theoretical speeds can reach up to 100Mbps, which is fast enough to stream TV shows and sports across multiple devices. However, in real-world scenarios, mobile broadband speeds can reach around 30Mbps to 50Mbps, and even slower in congested areas or times.

5G testing has established that the new network can exceed 20Gbps in ideal conditions, with more realistic real-world scenarios likely to achieve about 1-5Gbps. This is much faster than anything we have seen in Australia.

While 5G is still in its early stage, there’s cannot be any debate on the 4G vs. 5G. But there are many factors that can affect your mobile broadband speeds, regardless if you’re using 5G, 4G or even 3G.

3. What affects mobile broadband speed?

Congestion: In busy locations, mobile cell towers are often overloaded with traffic. Have you ever noticed at a busy market place your data speeds are quite slow? That’s the congestion effect.

Signal strength: 4G (and now 5G) is strongest in major metro areas, while some areas will only get a weak 4G signal. 3G, whereas, is more widely available across even regional areas but is much slower.

Your device’s capability: Many new devices are now 5G-compatible, but older phones, tablets, and modems are likely to only support 4G and 3G speeds. Using an older device can affect your performance, as sluggish software can cause your rates to appear slow or create lag.

The weather: It is true. Even weather can indirectly affect mobile internet speeds! While windy and stormy weather can physically knock over mobile towers, adverse weather also encourages people to stay home, snuggle up and use the internet, thus increasing congestion.

4. Can I get unlimited mobile data?

Unlimited mobile broadband is currently offered by Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone only. But there’s a catch. Once you surpass the monthly data limit on your plan, any data you use after that point will be limited to 1.5Mbps. These speeds are good enough for basic social media use and email access, but you might find it tough when trying to watch Netflix or high-quality YouTube videos.

5. Should I get a mobile broadband plan on a contract?

Mobile broadband plans on a contract typically include larger data amounts and lower monthly costs, at the disadvantage of not being able to leave until your contract is complete. The reverse is true of contract-free mobile broadband plans; on these plans, you can expect a little higher costs and lower data inclusions, with the benefit of being able to leave at any given time.

It depends on what you want out of your mobile broadband plan, and how long you expect to use it. If you think you’ll need it for a longer period of time, consider a contract plan however if you only need mobile broadband for a short while, consider a contract-free plan.

6. Is mobile broadband good or bad?

Mobile broadband is a great solution to your portable and home internet woes if the NBN has let you down, however, there are some issues you might face.

While 4G (and 5G, which are only available on some plans) mobile broadband plans are portable and provide high speeds that can rival the NBN in some circumstances, keep in mind that mobile broadband plans offer limited data and often higher prices compared to NBN plans which aren’t portable, but are cheaper with unlimited data included. Also, remember that mobile broadband speeds are heavily influenced by your location, so speeds vary greatly depending on where you are.

7. How do I check my mobile broadband usage?

You can visit your service provider’s website or app, if this option is available. Keep in mind that accurate data might take a while to update if you’re checking after a large download.

8. How to find my mobile broadband number?

Mobile broadband plans don’t have phone numbers included, however, if you are after the phone number attached to your billing account, you can find that information on your bill or in the account of your service provider’s website.

9. How do I top up my mobile broadband plan?

You can top up your mobile broadband plan using your telecom provider’s website or app, if this option is available. If you’re finding that topping up your mobile broadband plan is something you’re doing often, consider getting a big data mobile broadband plan, or one that automatically recharges.

10. Is mobile broadband good for home internet?

Yes, it can be a good home internet solution for a household that doesn’t use the internet heavily, such as for basic social media and email use. However, for a household that streams Netflix or plays online games regularly, mobile broadband might not be the best solution. Mobile broadband’s low data means you’d likely run through your plan’s data after a few hours of standard definition video streaming.

11. Home Wireless Broadband

If you’re looking for unlimited data mobile broadband, there’s another wire-free mobile option on the market. It’s called ‘home wireless’ and can replace your home internet. In most cases, you just need to plug in your 4G or 5G modem and use it like normal internet – no wires, no installation, and setup can take less than five minutes.

Home wireless is not the same as mobile broadband as it comes packaged with a router, and is intended for use as a replacement for a fixed-line connection. It’s worth considering if you’re renting or have no fixed address, or if you’re unable to access an ADSL or NBN connection.

Major players in the home wireless segment are Optus and SpinTel, and plans usually come with a 4G WiFi modem. Most 24-month plans will also include a pre-configured modem, but those on month-to-month plans may need to pay an upfront price.

Both Telstra and Optus offer 5G data-only plans, with 5G connectivity available for plans with a larger data allowance. It’s important to note that you will need a 5G-enabled device to connect to the 5G network and as of yet, 5G is not available everywhere in Australia right now.

About the author

Kamal Kaur