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Best home wireless broadband plans
If you're ready to ditch the NBN and find an alternative, then you've come to the right place.
- : Optus 4G Home Internet 500GB Plan
- : TPG's Home Wireless Unlimited plan
- : Optus 5G Internet Entertainer plan
- : Telstra 5G Home Internet
- : TPG 5G Home Internet Premium Plan
Wires? Who needs them? If you find yourself asking whether it's time to cut the cord and ditch the National Broadband Network for something a little faster, rest assured you aren't the only one.
Home wireless broadband has become an increasingly popular way of getting online in recent years, thanks in no small part to the fact that as much as 40% of Australian homes are connected to the NBN over dated copper wires.
This shoddy foundation creates an unsolvable problem for a large number of Aussie homes where the NBN will never truly be the fast internet they want or need it to be.
At a time when the Australian Government is looking to put the finishing touches on the NBN, more and more consumers now have access to fast and reliable wireless broadband at home. Some can even do so using one of Australia's new 5G networks.
Home wireless broadband takes everything that is controversial about the NBN and throws it out the windows.
Using the existing mobile phone networks means that home wireless broadband is fast to set up, easy to use, and you will be able to estimate how reliable it will be by looking at the coverage you get on your smartphone.
To figure out which home wireless broadband plans are best we take a look at a few key points:
- The type of network (4G vs 5G)
- Maximum theoretical speeds
- Price and included data
- The quality of the included wireless modem
- The difference in price relative to a comparable NBN plan
While the rollout of Australia's 5G networks has accelerated over the last 18 months, there are still plenty of places in the country where these next-generation mobile networks don't or can't reach.
For that reason, we're currently keeping our picks for best value home wireless broadband plan and the best budget home wireless broadband plan to 4G-based options.
Best value home wireless broadband plan
Optus 4G Home Internet Everyday plan
If you're not willing or unable to gamble on the patchwork coverage afforded by Australia's 5G networks, then the Optus 4G Home Internet Everyday plan on a 24-month contract is probably going to offer you the best value.
Compared to other 4G-based wireless broadband options, this plan gets you faster 4G download speeds of up to 100Mbps.
While the 500GB data cap remains a key point of difference between this and our pick for the best budget pick, you are getting much higher compared to what you'll get from Vodafone-based home wireless plans like TPG's Home Wireless Unlimited.
It helps that Optus will automatically add another 40GB to your data cap if you go over it.
Each time this happens, up to a maximum of 5 times, you'll be charged another $2 on your monthly bill. While this isn't as good as unlimited data, it does take some of the sting out of having to keep your data usage in mind.
If you opt for a two-year contract rather than a month-by-month plan, you'll also get the modem needed to set up your wireless broadband connection for free.
In addition to offering the first month for free, Optus are bundling in a $10/month discount on the plan for those who sign up before the 2nd of May, 2022.
Ultimately, it's these smaller extras that add up and set Optus' home wireless broadband plan apart from the rest of the pack, earning it our recommendation for the best value home wireless broadband plan.
For a look at how this plan compares to the rest of market, check out the widget below:
Best budget home wireless broadband plan
TPG Home Wireless Unlimited plan
While Spintel has a narrow lead when it comes to price, TPG's Home Wireless Unlimited plan remains the standout option for budget-savvy households for a number of reasons.
Simply put, TPG's 4G-based wireless broadband plan provides a ton of bang for buck at a price that puts it well ahead of other Vodafone-based 4G wireless broadband plans from Internode and iiNet.
While the speed caps out at 20Mbps and you are going to be reliant on the Vodafone network, this plan does include a free router (which brings the overall costs of signing up down) and (most importantly) unlimited data.
TPG also throws in the first month for free, which makes it even easier to recommend.
A competing plans from Optus or Spintel might offer better speeds or network coverage, but if you can get away with the strings attached here then you absolutely should.
The widget below should help put these advantages in context:
Best 5G home wireless broadband plan
Optus 5G Internet Entertainer plan
If you're ready to spend a little more and embrace the possibilities of 5G connectivity, then your field of options when it comes to home wireless broadband widens considerably.
Our pick here for the best value option is the Optus 5G Internet Entertainer plan.
This plan typically costs $99/month and comes with all the benefits of the cheaper $79/month Optus 5G Internet Everyday, plus a few extra perks.
The biggest of these is that connection speeds are uncapped with this plan.
Optus says to expect around 210Mbps for typical evening download speeds, which puts this plan well above the maximum speeds you'll find on any 4G home wireless broadband alternative.
Another value add here is the included Fetch Mighty PVR streaming box. This free add-on comes with a one month subscription to the Ultimate Channel Pack free, plus one Premium Channel Pack for the life of the plan.
While the Optus 5G Internet Entertainer plan does come with a $200 setup fee on the month-to-month option, Optus will reduce this to $0 if you opt to sign up for 24 months instead.
Each month you stay with Optus, the carrier will knock $16 off the total price of the Optus 5G modem. If you leave either plan before your 36 months are up, you'll have to pay off whatever remains of the $576 the device is valued at.
For a sense at how this plan compares to other high speed home wireless plans, check out the widget below:
Best speed home wireless broadband
Telstra 5G Home Internet plan
If you're committed to cutting the cord and ditching Australia's NBN but need faster speeds than 4G can offer, then a 5G home wireless broadband solution is definitely something worth investigating.
If you're a speed demon living somewhere with decent 5G coverage and are happy to pay the premium, your best bet is going to be the Telstra 5G Home Internet plan.
It's slightly cheaper than the Optus 5G Internet Entertainer plan. It also boasts faster speeds, reaping the benefits of Telstra's more mature 5G network.
The Telstra 5G Home Internet plan comes with 1TB of data with typical evening download speeds of between 50Mbps and 600Mbps while typical upload speeds fall between 10Mbps and 90Mbps.
If you use up your monthly allowance, your connection speed will be slowed, but there aren’t any extra data charges.
This plan also comes with three months of Binge Standard (for new Binge subscribers).
For a better sense of how Telstra's flagship 5G home wireless broadband offering compares to the other options in the market, check out the widget below.
Also consider home wireless broadband plan
TPG 5G Home Internet Premium Plan
If none of the above recommendations suit your needs, there are a few other home wireless broadband plans that might be worth considering.
That being said, many of these NBN alternatives are carried by the same network. That means that, in truth, there's very little difference in price and features when it comes to these home wireless broadband plans and the picks above.
The TPG 5G Home Internet Premium Plan is something of an exception to this rule. At $69/month, it's cheaper than either of the Telstra or Optus 5G home wireless options out there. While you are sacrificing the potential for the higher speeds and better coverage found on other 5G networks, you're also paying less overall.
When the same amount of money gets you a 500GB data cap and a 4G connection with Spintel, the case for TPG's first foray into 5G home wireless is easy to make.
If that doesn't fits the bill, check out the widget below for a round-up of popular NBN alternatives.
Other home wireless choices to consider
For many consumers considering home wireless broadband, the path to finding the right provider is best expressed as a series of questions.
- Are you located in an area that has access to 5G? Or are you going to be limited to 4G coverage?
- Which carrier offers the best coverage of your local area? Do you have the option of choosing between all three networks or just one or two?
- Do you need an unlimited data cap more than you need faster speeds?
- Is home wireless broadband any good?
While these are the biggest questions facing modern Aussies look to break from the NBN, there is one less important decision worth considering before you sign up for a home wireless broadband plan.
- Is it worth my time and money to go with a non-MNO home wireless provider?
Unfortunately, this isn't really a question with an easy or straightforward answer. That's not to say we don't have a recommendation to make on the topic.
Right now, our pick for the best non-MNO home wireless plan is the SpinTel 4G Wireless Broadband.
This plan comes with a Huawei B628 modem, 4G speeds of up to 50Mbps and 500GB data cap. You're not necessarily getting the unlimited data available from Internode or iiNet, but you are probably going to get faster speeds - which is going to help make this plan viable for more than just sending emails and watching the odd YouTube video.
If that's not a trade-off you're willing to make, then your best option might be to wait.
Get in on the right deal, and the savings offered by a provider like Spintel or Tangerine can absolutely make them a competitive alternative to Telstra, Optus or Vodafone's home wireless plans.
For a round up of popular non-MNO home wireless plans, check out the widget below.
How we choose the best home wireless broadband plans
As it is with a fixed-line internet plan, the equation to finding a great home wireless broadband deal is pretty straightforward. The two major factors to consider are how much data do you get and how much will you pay each month.
So, what's more important: speed or data? It's a question that's plagued consumers looking to sign up for the best value internet and mobile plans for decades and it applies just as much to today's 5G home wireless broadband options as the 4G-based bundles of yesteryear.
Unfortunately, it's not really a question with an easy, one-size-fits-all answer. It's going to vary from person to person. Some people use less data. Some people need more speed. When we evaluate internet and mobile plans, we tend to err towards the options that hit the sweet spot and offer the most data and fastest speeds for the lowest price.
Beyond this, we consider the cost of setting up a new account and the commitment you are required to make. We always lean towards a no-contract plan but recognise that sometimes you need to sign up to a plan to get the best deal.
Product availability, and in this case signal coverage, also factors into our decision making. That applies especially for home wireless providers looking to leverage the faster speeds of Australia's growing 5G networks as an advantage.
While the difference between the coverage offered by the various 4G home wireless providers in the market isn't huge, the same can't be said for the 5G-based options.
Another aspect of the equation that we paid attention to in our review of the market was the increase in performance you might get by choosing Optus as your provider. Ultimately we felt the cheaper product was a better choice, but you might prefer the faster option.
Most plans include full access to the 4G network, but other may cap the download speeds at 20Mbps. This detail will be listed in plan details or the critical information summary for the plan.
Pros and cons of home wireless broadband
- Ditch the NBN!
- No annoying technician visits and delays
- Plug and play modem setup
- Take the internet when you travel
- Some services are speed limited
- Can be more expensive than NBN internet
- Smaller range of providers to choose from
As it is with most things, the advantages of Home Wireless Broadband are far more obvious than the drawbacks.
The fact that you can set up a brand new Home Wireless Broadband connection in minutes will come as a huge relief for anyone who has waited for weeks on an NBN technician’s visit. And we literally mean minutes; the last time we tested a Home Wireless Broadband service we timed it and it took just two minutes and thirty-seven seconds.
On the flipside, home wireless broadband can be more expensive than a regular home internet connection and unlimited data plans aren’t always available.
Best Home Wireless FAQs
- Southern Phone
There are several service providers offering home wireless broadband products. However, many of these companies have something in common: the Optus network.
This means that regardless of whether you're choosing between Southern Phone, Moose, Tangerine or Spintel, you will need to be in an area with good Optus coverage to take advantage of the service.
Otherwise, choosing the best home wireless provider is like picking an NBN plan. How much data do you get for your dollars? Do you need to sign a contract or can you switch freely if you're unhappy with the service? What are the upfront costs to consider?
If you’re familiar with mobile broadband USB dongles or pocket modems, you might be wondering what the difference is between home wireless and mobile broadband. To be perfectly honest, not that much.
Both services operate on mobile phone networks, and the plans you buy are like phone plans without calls and SMS included. Both need a SIM card inside to work.
The big difference is the modem you use. Home wireless broadband plans work with large WiFi modems like you’d get with an NBN plan. These modems can connect more users to WiFi at the same time and have Ethernet ports for directly plugging in computers. But the modem needs to be plugged into the wall for power, and it doesn’t have a battery, so you can’t take it on the bus with you.
Mobile broadband modems are exactly the opposite. These are small enough to slip in your pocket and have batteries so you can keep your connection when you’re out and about, but are mostly designed for a single user.
The specific model may vary from provider to provider, but in general a home wireless modem will look like the one in the image to the right.
In many cases, it's comparable to the size of a carton of milk. It's even smaller in other cases, like a stack of credit cards. Regardless of the size, a home wireless internet modem has a SIM card inside it and may require a constant power supply to work.
On the back of the larger sized modems, you’ll typically find four Ethernet ports for connecting computers (or other devices like smart TVs). Depending on the modem in question, there may also be two screw-in ports for connecting larger external antennas.
Yes, one of the great things about home wireless broadband is that you can pack it in your suitcase and take it on holidays when travelling in Australia. So long as you can get a signal, and in most cases, this means an Optus signal, then the home wireless broadband will still work.
Unfortunately, there are a few caveats to this. Just because you typically get a certain speed from your router at home doesn't necessarily mean you'll get the same speed elsewhere. For example, you might only be able to reach maximum download speeds of 5Mbps rather than 12Mbps in some parts of the country.
The reason for this is that most home wireless broadband services operate across several different wireless radio frequencies, which tend to be more clustered towards metropolitan areas.
This probably doesn’t need to be said, but don’t plan on taking your home wireless broadband modem overseas. In most cases it simply won’t work, but if it did, you might find yourself ambushed by an enormous bill when you get home.
When it comes to 5G speeds, the biggest factor isn't what kind of plan you have so much as where you are physically located.
Regardless of whether you're going with Telstra or another 5G provider, your location relative to the reach of their respective network is going to have a clear and measurable impact on the speeds you can reach.
That dynamic applies as much for 5G mobile customers as it does home broadband users, though not necessarily to the same degree.
There's no hard rule that says that 5G mobile plans offer faster download speeds than their home broadband counterparts. However, 5G mobile plans are more likely to reach higher speeds for a number of reasons.
The first is that many 5G-based NBN alternatives come with something of an unofficial speed limit.
For example, Telstra tells prospective 5G Home Internet customers to expect speeds of between 50Mbps and 600Mbps and an average of around 380Mbps.
While that might sound fast, it's not necessarily going to match the speeds found with a 5G mobile connection.
Depending on where you are, Telstra 5G mobile connection speeds can currently go as high as speeds of 1Gbps. While that figure isn't universal, it's certainly faster than both the estimates that Telstra offers for its own 5G home internet service.
Testing done by WhistleOut found that both the Telstra and Optus 5G mobile networks offered average speeds of around 500Mbps, which exceeds the average speeds promised by both the Telstra 5G Home Internet plan and its Optus counterpart.
This really comes down to your personal circumstances. Some households really struggle to connect to the NBN, or have a lousy connection, so a home wireless internet connection might be the perfect alternative. However, if you have an excellent NBN connections, you might not even need to consider home wireless.