Home wireless broadband

Looking for something other than the NBN? Home wireless broadband can be a fast and reliable alternative.

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While the NBN is the "norm" for connecting to the Internet, other options do exist if you're unhappy with your connection or just want to avoid the NBN altogether.

Home wireless broadband is one of the best alternatives to the NBN, offering similar speeds at reasonable prices.

Compare home wireless broadband plans

What is home wireless broadband?

Home wireless broadband connects you to the Internet via existing 4G and 5G mobile networks. All you need for it to work is:

  • A home wireless plan
  • A home wireless modem


By placing the modem in one spot with a good signal, you'll get a more consistent connection than you would on mobile broadband.

What's the best home wireless broadband plan?

There is no single best plan that works for everyone, but there are 3 main factors to consider when you pick a plan.

gaming data icon

1. Data

Unlike NBN plans, most home wireless plans have data caps. Consider how much data you're likely to use in a month.

As a guide, the average Australian uses 258GB of data per month. If you're a heavy streamer, you might want to get more data just in case.

data speed icon

2. Speed

Your speed on a home wireless plan is likely to vary depending on the strength of your connection.

data coverage

3. Coverage

Most home wireless plans use Optus's mobile network, but iiNet is on Vodafone and offers less coverage in rural and regional areas.

If you're looking to get a 5G home wireless plan, you'll also need to check whether you're in Optus's 5G footprint or not.

Is home wireless broadband any good?

Home wireless broadband has the advantage of being quick to set up, and one of the most reliable alternatives to fixed-line Internet.

Here's a summary of the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Very fast and easy set-up.
  • Good alternative to the NBN.
  • Modem is portable.
  • A great temporary Internet solution.

Cons

  • Data is usually capped.
  • Some services are limited by maximum download speeds.
  • Can be more expensive than NBN plans with similar speeds.
  • Less stable connection than fixed-line Internet, with variable speeds and ping.

One of the best features of home wireless is that you can get it up and running within minutes of getting your modem, with little to no extra configuration required.

4G home wireless is also available at mostly the same quality everywhere. However, those with NBN connections will have to take what they can get.

The biggest drawback to home wireless versus fixed-line Internet is how variable your connection can be.

No matter how perfectly you position your modem, mobile networks are prone to interference from weather and congestion.

Fixed-line Internet, on the other hand, is usually only interrupted by network faults and heavy congestion and tends to be more stable.

  • Tip: If you're on the fence, it's a good idea to try out a home wireless service with a no-contract plan.

🎮 Enjoy online multiplayer gaming? Home wireless might not be for you

By its nature, home wireless is a mobile Internet connection. No matter how fast your download speeds are, it's unlikely you'll get a low, stable latency, which is very important for online multiplayer games.

Even on 5G home wireless, plenty of gamers report lag spikes and an unplayable experience compared to a fixed-line connection.

Can I get unlimited home wireless?

Yes, there are a handful of unlimited home wireless plans available from iiNet, SpinTel and Optus.

iiNet is currently the only provider to offer unlimited 3G/4G home wireless, which is more accessible.

Optus and SpinTel only offer unlimited home wireless broadband on Optus's 5G network. You'll need to verify your address with both providers to make sure you're within the coverage area.

The majority of home wireless providers offer data-capped plans, ranging from 200-500GB a month.

  • Watch out with limited data plans, as most providers will automatically charge you for extra data.


It's worth making sure your plan has enough data for your household, or else you'll find that these extra blocks add up fast.

  • Tip: If you're unsure how much data you need, it might be worth signing up to a higher data home wireless plan with no locked-in contract to start off with. At the end of the first month, you can check your data usage on your Internet bill, and switch to a lower data plan if it suits you better.

What's the coverage like for home wireless broadband?

Coverage is split into 2 kinds: 4G and 5G.

4G coverage

The majority of home wireless providers use the Optus 4G network, which covers 98.5% of the population.

iiNet uses the Vodafone network which covers 96% of the population and may provide worse coverage in rural and regional towns.

5G coverage

Currently, 5G home wireless plans are only accessible through the Optus 5G network.

They are only available in major cities and other urban centres, but expansion plans across Australia are ongoing.

You can check your address on Optus's site to see if you're eligible for 5G wireless.

Is home wireless available in more areas than the NBN?

No, not really. The NBN rollout was declared "complete" in December 2020, meaning nearly every property in Australia has access to it.

Mobile networks are available to nearly all Australian homes too, meaning they have about equal coverage.

Who offers home wireless broadband?

Home wireless plans are not widely offered. Here are some of the main providers:

Optus logo

Optus

Optus has both 4G and 5G home wireless options available to customers in covered areas.

  • 4G home wireless plans from $59 per month for 200GB of data.
  • 5G home wireless plans from $75 per month with unlimited data (as of June 2021, expect typical speeds of 77Mbps on the cheaper plan, or 225Mbps on the other).
  • 50Mbps Satisfaction Guarantee promises a 50Mbps minimum download speed on 5G plans.
  • Modems are included on 24-month contracts or can be purchased outright.

Telstra Logo

Telstra

Telstra's home wireless plans are 5G only, but they aren't available to the general public quite yet. The initial trial of the service has operated on an invite-only basis.

  • Telstra 5G home wireless is expected to be publicly available sometime in 2021.
  • Included data will likely range from 500GB to 1,000GB.
  • Typical evening speed ranges from 50-600Mbps, averaging around 378Mbps (accurate as of June 2021).

Vodafone Logo

Vodafone

Vodafone has a set of 4G home wireless plans, but they're available in "selected areas of Australia at approved addresses only".

You'll have to call up Vodafone's support team to see if you're eligible for one of its plans.

  • Plans start from $55 per month for 200GB of data.
  • Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub is free if you stay connected for 36 months, or $5 for each month less than that if you cancel.
  • Stay online at a maximum download speed of 1.5Mbps once you reach your data limit.
  • 30 Day Network Satisfaction Guarantee – get a full refund if you aren't happy within 30 days of getting connected.

Spintel Logo

Spintel

SpinTel has both 4G and 5G home wireless plans available on the Optus network. It's the first smaller provider to sell 5G home wireless.

  • 4G plans start at $49.95 per month for 200GB of data.
  • Speed cap of 12Mbps downloads applies to the cheapest 4G plan.
  • 5G plan offers unlimited data for $70 per month (typical evening speed of 239Mbps as of June 2021).
  • The 4G modem can be bought outright for $179.
  • The 5G modem is a rental, and will need to be returned to SpinTel if you cancel your service.

iiNet Logo

iiNet

iiNet has only a single home wireless plan, which uses the Vodafone mobile network.

  • Get unlimited data for $59.99 per month.
  • Speeds are capped at 20Mbps download, 2Mbps upload.
  • Existing iiNet broadband customers can get $10 off per month on this service.
  • Modem is free if you stay connected for 24 months, or $8 for each month less than that if you cancel.

Frequently asked questions


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