How to switch broadband providers

Switching NBN providers could save you money and get you better service.

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Unhappy with your existing Internet plan or simply think there's something better out there? While there are plenty of benefits to changing your plan, including saving money and getting a faster connection, many Australians just stick with what they have.

But switching NBN providers is a lot easier than you might think. To help you out, we've put together an easy five-step guide that should make your transition as painless as possible.

Keen to switch? Start comparing NBN plans here

Before you leave your broadband provider

There are a couple things to check before you cut ties with your current provider:

  • Ongoing contracts. Some long-term contracts will charge a fee if you leave early.
  • Other costs. Even without a contract, some companies may charge you for leaving early. For example, Vodafone makes you pay for a modem if you leave before 36 months.
  • Consider negotiating. While success from negotiation isn't guaranteed, if you're unhappy with the value of your NBN plan, consider contacting your current provider first before switching. Come to them with a comparable plan and ask if they'll match it or give you a good deal otherwise. Be prepared to go ahead and disconnect if they won't, though.

Once you've gone through this checklist, you're ready to start finding a better NBN plan and provider.

Step #1: Choose your new NBN plan

With all of the NBN plans and providers currently on the market, it can feel pretty overwhelming to actually make a choice. A good approach is to focus on your reasons for switching. Do you want:

A better deal?
Not all NBN plans are created equal. Even if two plans are offering the same speed for the same price, there will still be something that separates them. One provider may have a faster typical speed, offer entertainment features like a Fetch bundle, or have something else to attract you.

A cheaper price?
In some cases, you can get the same NBN speed tier for a lower price. Keep in mind that this could require a trade-off in terms of data limits, or you may have to sacrifice typical evening speeds. You can also save some money by searching for a plan that doesn't require you to buy a new modem or pay activation/set-up fees.

Better service?
Although it can be somewhat difficult to evaluate the trustworthiness or service quality of a particular provider, it's not impossible. Advice from friends can help, or online reviews on sites like TrustPilot or Product Review. Always use common sense and caution with online reviews. Some reviewers may have been offered a financial incentive or they could be Internet trolls.

Higher speed?
The same speed tier can deliver very different speeds depending on your provider. If you're interested in getting the fastest connection possible, consider selecting a provider that rates highly on the ACCC's broadband performance tests. You might not even have to pay more than what you're currently paying.

One thing to note here is to make sure that your property can support the speeds that you're after. The connection technology you have will determine the speeds that you can access. It's important that you aren't trying to buy a plan with higher speeds than your connection can handle.

Luckily, we can help with that. By inputting your address into our Broadband Plan Finder™, we'll sort out which NBN technology matches your property, so you can easily compare NBN plans that are available to you.

Compare NBN plans below

You can adjust the filters to whatever speed, data limit or price you're looking for.

Step #2: Transfer any services across

This step is only necessary if you've got any accounts or services tied to your current NBN provider. If you don't, feel free to skip to step 3 - too easy!

Email icon

Migrate your data

If you have an email address with your current NBN provider, then you should move your email and contact info to a third-party service like Gmail or Outlook. Your provider should be able to assist with this process if you need help. After your transfer, any data that you haven't moved across will be lost.
Home phone icon

Transfer your home phone service

It's very important to arrange for your phone service to be transferred before switching from or cancelling your old service. If your old service is cancelled before the transfer, you will lose your existing phone number.

Once you've confirmed these transfers, you can safely give your current NBN provider notice that you're leaving.

Step #3: Give your broadband provider notice

Giving your current NBN provider at least 30 days notice helps make the transition as smooth as possible. This allows you to sort out any bills, charges and outstanding payments, and it prevents you from getting charged for an extra month that you don't need. Beyond that, switching should be automatic.

While you could just sign up to a new provider without giving your old NBN provider any notice, that could put you at risk on paying for two Internet bills. Your new NBN provider may not automatically cancel your old NBN connection on your behalf, so it's always best to call up your current provider yourself to make sure it's been organised. That way, you'll avoid having to pay for two connections, and have the peace of mind that you've settled everything before leaving.

Step #4: Check your hardware

In most cases, your existing NBN router should function fine with your new plan. By choosing a plan that doesn't force you to purchase new hardware, you can save quite a bit of money.

However, there are some instances in which you may need to purchase new hardware:

  • Purchasing a plan that comes with a "free" modem. Providers like Vodafone offer a "free" modem with their month-to-month plans, but only if you stay connected for 36 months. If you change or cancel your plan earlier than that, you'll have to pay out the remaining value of the modem, which means you're still spending money on a modem, albeit a modem that you already own.
  • 4G backup modems. Providers like Optus and Telstra require you to sign up to NBN plans with 4G back-up. Without their modems, you won't be able to take advantage of 4G backup broadband whenever the NBN is down. If you're switching to an NBN provider that doesn't have 4G backup capabilities, then using your own modem should be fine.
  • Upgrading to an NBN plan with a higher speed. Although it shouldn't be a problem for the regular suite of NBN plans on offer, you may need new hardware if you're going for one of the NBN250 or NBN1000 plans that are being rolled out by a few providers. Older or less capable routers might not be able to handle that fast a connection. With these plans, you also want to make sure that the NBN technology connected to your property allows you to access these high-speed plans, as they're currently limited to FTTP and some HFC connections.
  • If you're looking to connect more devices. More capable routers can connect more devices simultaneously. If you're upgrading your service in order to support more devices, you may need to buy new hardware to support it.

If you're bringing your own modem across to a new provider, you will most likely need to configure your current modem with your new provider's details. Don't worry, this sounds harder than it really is. Your new provider will usually send you instructions with the new settings after you've signed up. Alternatively, you can call up the technical support number and a representative should be able to walk you through the process.

Step #5: Sign up and switch!

The end is here! Now you're ready to sign up to the plan you decided on in step 1. Go ahead and complete the sign-up process with your new NBN provider. If you want to know how long the service transfer will take, ask your new provider, or alternatively, they may give you a rough estimate in your welcome email.

Once you've successfully switched NBN providers and have checked that your Internet connection is up and running, it might be a good idea to double-check with your old provider that your service has been cancelled or will be cancelled soon, just to ensure you're not paying for an Internet connection that you're no longer using.

FAQ about switching NBN providers

Will my modem work with any Internet provider?

In almost all cases, yes. The vast majority of modems are not locked to a specific provider, allowing you to use them with any company. The major exception are providers that offer 4G backup as part of their plans, which will require you to purchase their specific modem to access that feature.

If you're unsure whether your modem is locked to your NBN provider, make sure to contact your current provider's customer service team and ask them to check your modem details for you.

How long should it take to get connected to my new provider?

You'll usually find it takes only a couple days to a week for your new provider to process your application and make the change. This timeframe can also be dependent on whether you're waiting for a new modem to arrive in the mail. In most cases, if you can use your existing modem, the actual switch itself will take less than an hour. That means you'll have your connection back up and running with minimal downtime.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    LanaMay 14, 2019

    How I want to use a different internet provider with my iiNet modem but only has iiNet or sister companies in the set up wizard. How else do I configure please?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiMay 15, 2019Staff

      Hi Lana,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      The set up wizard will not allow you to choose other providers aside from iiNet and its sister company. You may need to do manual configuration. You have to contact your incoming NBN provider to assist you with manual configuration of your iiNet modem that will match with their settings.

      Hope this helps! 😊

      Kind Regards,

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