Mobile broadband plans

Don’t want the NBN? Need Internet on the go? Mobile broadband is wireless, increasingly affordable and fast for most Australians.

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Mobile broadband comes in different shapes and sizes but they all get you online by using a mobile network, just like your mobile plan.

Anywhere your phone gets a signal, your mobile broadband plan will work too. This makes it a great portable Internet solution, both inside and outside of the home.

You can use mobile broadband for:

  • Getting online if you don't have access to the NBN
  • An alternative to the NBN if you're not happy with your speeds
  • Working on your laptop/tablet while you're out and about
  • An Internet connection if you live in a mobile home
  • Connecting to the Internet while travelling around Australia

Compare mobile broadband plans below

You can narrow down your search by changing the filters below. If you're looking for unlimited mobile broadband, unfortunately, there are no data only SIMs that provide this. For unlimited mobile broadband to use at home, we'd recommend looking into home wireless broadband for more options.

How to compare mobile broadband plans

Picking a good mobile broadband plan means thinking about these three things:

Your location and Internet speed
Mobile broadband speeds greatly depend on your mobile signal strength, and where you live dictates whether you have 5G access or not. If you're using mobile broadband while you're out and about, just keep in mind that your Internet speed might not work as well in some areas, especially if you're going from a 5G area to a 3G area.

How much data you need
Video streaming and downloads can chew through data fast, and extra data can be pretty expensive on mobile broadband. Make sure you get a plan with a high enough data cap to do whatever it is you're planning to use it for. When in doubt, it's always best to go for a plan with a bit more data just in case.

Whether you need a mobile broadband device
Some plans come with a SIM card that you can stick into an existing tablet or phone, while others might require you to buy a new modem or device. If you need a device, make sure you factor in the cost of one when you're looking at plans

What is a mobile broadband device?

There are quite a few ways to connect to mobile broadband:

apple ipads

Data SIM
  • Connects one device
  • Can be inserted into a tablet, computer or phone
  • Portable
USB modem

USB modems
  • Plugs into a tablet or computer
  • Small and easily portable
  • Powered by the connected device
WiFi modem icon

Pocket Wi-Fi
  • Battery-powered
  • You can hotspot multiple devices at the same time
  • Portable
WiFi modem icon

Home wireless broadband
  • Plugs into a power outlet
  • Higher data caps available
  • Similar than a regular Internet modem, but not very portable

How fast is mobile broadband?

In Australia, your mobile broadband will most likely use the 4G network, since 5G is not yet widely available for this type of connection. The table below should give you an idea of how fast your mobile broadband connection might be:

TechnologyTypical speed rangeAverage speed in AustraliaAverage time to download a 50MB podcast episodeAverage time to download a 1GB file
3G0.5-40Mbps6Mbps67 seconds22 minutes
4G2-150Mbps38.5Mbps10 seconds3.5 minutes
5G50Mbps-1Gbps200Mbps*2 seconds40 seconds

* 5G is still a new technology in Australia, so this is only a best estimate and is likely to change.

Currently, only Telstra and Optus offer 5G access on some of their mobile broadband plans. You can get 5G access on Telstra's more expensive data SIM plans, and Optus has 5G access on some of its home wireless plans. You'll need to make sure you're in a 5G network area if you want to make the most of these speeds.

Can you get unlimited mobile broadband?

Sort of. Telstra currently offers no excess charges on its data SIM plans, which means that if you hit your monthly data cap, you'll still have Internet access at no extra cost, but your speed will get slowed down to 1.5Mbps. Unfortunately, truly unlimited mobile broadband plans do not currently exist in Australia.

While you can't get unlimited mobile broadband in Australia, unlimited home wireless broadband does exist. This is handy since home wireless broadband is intended to be used as a home Internet connection, where data limits of 100GB or under sometimes won't cut it. Currently, only Optus offers unlimited data on its 5G home wireless plan, but more unlimited data home wireless plans are definitely a possibility for the future.

As an alternative, if you're looking for a plan to use as an Internet hotspot that comes with loads of data, check out Circles.Life's 100GB mobile plan below. It's competitively priced and you can use it as both a mobile plan and a hotspot, thanks to its high data cap.

Promoted
Pay $28 for 100GB of data per month. Plan reverts to $38 for 100GB per month after 12 months. T&Cs apply.

Is mobile broadband reliable?

Mobile broadband can be a great, reliable option if:

  • You're a big traveller and you need Internet wherever you go
  • Your regular home Internet options aren't great or you can't get a plan
  • You want to share your data connection with lots of devices, e.g. for collaboration
  • You have an uncertain living situation or move often
  • You want a backup for your normal Internet connection

While mobile broadband is an easy and portable solution for an Internet connection, because it's a wireless technology, it can be affected by a number of different factors. The speed that you get can be influenced by your physical location, the device you're using, the weather and the mobile networks that are available to you. Compared to a standard NBN connection, your speed will be more variable because of these factors.

Still unsure about mobile broadband? Here's a summary of the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Portablility. Wi-Fi hotspots and modems can be used anywhere. Home wireless modems can be unplugged and easily connected elsewhere. It's very handy for moving.
  • Connection speed. High quality 4G or 5G mobile broadband can match or outspeed the NBN.
  • Sharing power. Multiple people can connect to a hotspot at once, making it flexible for families or group work.

Cons

  • Unreliable. A wireless connection can be affected by the weather or poor reception more easily than a fixed line.
  • Limited data. Mobile broadband plans have relatively low data caps for their price.
  • Price. Mobile broadband is more expensive than a wired connection, although home wireless is closing that gap.

Which is the best mobile broadband provider?

The right mobile broadband provider for you will depend on what you need, from the amount of data you get to the expiry period. Here, we've focused on Vodafone, Optus and Telstra, since all mobile broadband plans will run on one of their networks, even if sold by a different provider.

Telstra logo

Telstra mobile broadband plans

Telstra has a number of data-only plans, ranging from 5GB for $15 per month to 200GB for $75 per month. You can either provide your own SIM-enabled device or purchase a modem from Telstra starting at $99.

Check out Telstra's mobile broadband plans here

Optus Logo

Optus mobile broadband plans

You can get data SIM plans from Optus that offer between 10GB for $15 per month and 150GB for $50. There are also additional data plans with longer expiry periods. With a data-only SIM, you'll get free included streaming of the Premier League via Optus Sports.

There are also Optus home wireless plans available, with some of them offering unlimited data and 5G access.

See Optus's mobile broadband plans here

Vodafone logo

Vodafone mobile broadband plans

If you need a modem, Vodafone has a set of Red Data plans that include one with repayments over a 12, 24 or 36-month contract. The Red Data plans themselves provide between 20GB and 150GB for $20 to $60 monthly. You can access this same suite of plans if you bring your own mobile modem.

In terms of extra features, Vodafone's mobile broadband plans come with global roaming in 80 countries for an extra $5 a month, and you can potentially bundle your plan with other Vodafone offers to save a percentage on your total bill.

Take a closer look at Vodafone's mobile broadband plans


FAQ about mobile broadband

Is mobile broadband the same as Wi-Fi?

Not exactly. Mobile broadband can use Wi-Fi signals to connect, but it's not the same thing. Wi-Fi is a networking technology that allows phones and laptops to connect to the Internet.

Can I use mobile broadband as my home Internet?

You can, but for regular mobile broadband, it's not a very cost-efficient option. Home wireless, however, can be an excellent substitute for fixed-line home Internet, allowing for fast download speeds and high data caps at a reasonable price.

Why is home broadband cheaper than mobile Internet?

Traditionally, the higher cost of mobile broadband is a result of the fact that it's more difficult to send large amounts of data via mobile networks than via a high-speed cable. Recently, though, home wireless plans have become very competitive in terms of price.

Is 4G mobile broadband fast enough for Netflix?

Yes. Netflix recommends a minimum speed of 3Mbps for standard streaming, or 5Mbps for HD streaming. Average 4G speeds in Australia are around 38.5Mbps, well above what you need to watch Netflix comfortably.

Is mobile broadband good for gaming?

No, not really. Online games require a stable and steady Internet connection for a satisfying experience, and mobile broadband tends to be a little too variable to maintain a good ping. You may get lucky, but you'll have a much better experience with fixed-line Internet.


Images: Telstra, Huawei, Apple. Icons made by Pixel perfect & Freepik from www.flaticon.com

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4 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    SteffApril 18, 2018

    Still end of the day its way to high..the day we get 500gs at 60 a month then we might actually be interested

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayApril 18, 2018Staff

      Hi Steff,

      Thank you for getting in touch.

      Prices indeed vary depending on the plan you get and the provider. If you’re looking at your options for SIM-only data mobile plan, you might like to check out our comparison table and use our search filters to help narrow down your search.

      Best to contact the provider directly to discuss your options. When you are ready, you may then click on the “Go to site” button and you will be redirected to the provider’s website where you can proceed with the application.

      I hope this can help.

      Cheers,
      May

    Default Gravatar
    damianJuly 23, 2017

    how to get amaysim mobile internet

      Default Gravatar
      DanielleJuly 24, 2017

      Hi Damian,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      Please check Amaysim mobile internet to find the right plan for you. You may review and compare the offers available on the table. Once you have selected one, you may proceed by selecting the “Go to Site” button.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

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