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Why smaller NBN providers are challenging Optus, Telstra, TPG

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The top 3 NBN providers lost 95,000 services in the December 2022 quarter while smaller providers gained around 86,000.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released its latest NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report in which smaller NBN providers have strengthened their numbers against Telstra, Optus and TPG.

The biggest reason appears to be price.

Smaller providers may not always offer bells and whistles on their NBN plans but many of them have good speeds available at budget-friendly price points.

When you add frequent 6-month discounts and no-lock-in contracts into the mix, you have more Aussies eager to make the switch.

"This shift from the larger providers to smaller ones is helping to enable greater competition within the sector," ACCC commissioner Anna Brakey said in a media release.

For example, the cheapest unlimited NBN 50 plan on Finder comes from Exetel. You'll pay $53.95 a month for the first 6 months and then $74.95 per month after. That's $773.40 in total over the year.

The same NBN 50 plan from Optus with discounts will cost you $888 for the year. With Telstra, it adds up to $1,080 per year inclusive of special offers.

Compare NBN 50 plans

Which NBN plans are people signing up to?

The NBN 50 speed tier still remains the most popular category for 53% of Australian households. However, this has decreased by more than 131,000 services.

Interestingly, there was a noticeable increase in those taking up NBN 100 plans with almost 190,000 new services.

"We continue to see consumers choosing higher speed products, but we urge them to carefully assess their needs before rushing into a decision to upgrade to a more expensive plan," Brakey said.

"Less expensive 25Mbps speed plans allow households to access most online applications, including high-definition streaming applications, with retailers generally recommending their 100Mbps speed tiers for households of at least 5 or 6 occupants, or those that have special requirements."

If you think you need the speed, the cheapest NBN 100 plan from Finder with maximum available typical evening speed also comes from Exetel. It'll cost you $68.95 a month for the first 6 months and then $84.95 a month going forward.

Compare NBN 100 plans

NBN services decline

The ACCC says that for the very first time in the December 2022 quarter, NBN services overall fell by 0.1% or almost 9,000 services.

This could very well be because more people have started to ditch the NBN for home wireless broadband. Or in TPG's case, it's seen a boost in customers taking up its fixed wireless internet connection which uses the 5G network.

This was revealed at the end of last month when TPG released its financial results.

Not sure if the NBN is right for you? Compare 4G or 5G home wireless plans and see if you can improve your home internet connection.

Image: @Karolina Grabowska via Canva.com

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