The best NBN alternatives
Best NBN Alternative
Tangerine Home Wireless500GB included data$69.90 p/m (no contract)
Optus Home Wireless500GB included data$75 p/month (contract options)
Best Mobile Broadband
Optus $25 Data SIM Plan50GB included data$25 p/m (no contract)
Belong UnlimitedUnlimited data$70 p/month (no contract)
Did you lose the ‘NBN lottery’ at your address?
The NBN is made up of a number of different technologies, where some are clearly better than others. This is what we call the ‘NBN lottery’ as you have no choice or control over which NBN tech will connect your home to the network.
If you find yourself on the end of a sub-par NBN connection, or in a house with no NBN, you may not be able to change it (without a lot of money) but you may be able to switch to something different entirely.
Home Wireless Broadband and other mobile internet options are available and if you get a decent smartphone signal at home, you may find this is the best option for you.
Let’s take a look at some of the NBN alternatives available to Australians.
Best NBN Alternative
Tangerine Home Wireless Internet
Tangerine is an internet company making waves in the NBN market, but should be on top of your list for wireless internet too. A current promotion gives Tangerine an edge on price for the first 6-months, and you get 500GB of data on the Optus 4G Plus network.
The plan is no contract, which is great for testing out the service, but you will need to buy a modem; either from Tangerine or source your own from somewhere else.
The 500GB plan is our pick of the range, but Tangerine also offers 200GB and 1000GB plan options, which will either save you $10 per month or add $20 per month for the big data plan.
Our advice? Check how much data you typically use with your current provider before switching to home wireless broadband.
Optus Home Wireless
Optus is the most well-known name in Home Wireless internet, and though you will pay slightly more each month, you do get some extra flexibility.
All Home Wireless internet plans require a special modem to use them, and this isn’t something most of us have lying around the house. In general, you should expect about $200.
Unlike most of the other providers, Optus offers the option to sign up for a 24-month term and get this modem for free. Otherwise you can choose a month-to-month obligation and pay $216 for the modem upfront.
What is Home Wireless Broadband anyway?
While it’s not technically a home wireless broadband plan (Telstra still needs to catch up), Telstra does offer the perfectly capable HTC 5G Hub with 4G fallback. It’s an incredible little device designed for the home or on the go and can support up to 20 connections.
Telstra’s Large MBB plan is a good alternative for those who need a little extra coverage and if that’s your primary concern, there are a few other Telstra MVNOs doing good deals on data. The only issue is, Telstra MVNOs don’t typically offer data-only plans.
Still, there’s a decent selection of Telstra-powered mobile plans that you can tether from in a pickle. Here are some of the most popular.
Best 5G Home Alternative
While it’s only available in select areas, Optus is slowly rolling out 5G across Australia. There are already a number of towers that have switched on 5G and Optus is selling 5G modems to eligible customers.
Optus is currently selling its Home 5G at $70 per month, for unlimited data with included Nokia 5G modem. Check it out over on the Optus website.
Will 5G replace NBN?
Currently, Optus is experimenting with mind-blowing 5G home wireless plans that offer unlimited data on a slick 50 Mbps connection for just $70 per month. That’s stunning value for a home wireless plan but only a handful of Australian suburbs are currently serviced by Optus 5G.
Head over to the Optus website to check if you’re suburb is one of the lucky few.
There’s also no telling if Optus will continue to sell 5G at a steal once the rollout is complete.
What does 5G mean for the future of NBN? Well, it’s hard to say.
Both broadband technologies can be impacted by a wide variety of environmental and infrastructure issues. NBN speeds can take a hit if there’s congestion on the network or if your retail service provider hasn’t purchased enough CVC in your area. 5G home wireless speeds will be subject to the same old network coverage issues of any other mobile technology (i.e. distance from the tower).
Best 4G Mobile Broadband
Optus $25 Data SIM plan (50GB)
If you’re opting for mobile broadband over home wireless, our guess is that you don’t need too much data and want to save a bit of money on your monthly bill. Luckily, there are still providers offering decent deals on data-only SIM plans designed to be used on the go.
At the time of writing, Optus has a great promotion running until the middle of October 2020. The plan includes 50GB of data for just $25 per month. The plan has no contract, but if you sign up during the promotion period you will get the deal for 36-months.
If you’re looking for an even better mobile solution, head over to our guide for the best pocket WiFi and WiFi dongles available.
If that’s not your pace, here’s a small handful of month-to-month 4G mobile broadband plans.
ADSL2+ won’t be around for long
If your address isn’t connected to the NBN yet, ISPs that service your area will still hook you up with an ADSL2+ connection. Most providers, such as Telstra and Optus, will then upgrade you to the NBN when it becomes available.
There isn’t usually a fee for switching from ADSL to NBN but there could be an NBN install and modem fee. ADSL and NBN plans are usually priced differently too, particularly if you opt for a speed boost, so expect to see a change on your monthly bill after switching.
With that said, ADSL2+ is the least desirable NBN alternative on the market. Firstly, it’s old technology. ADSL2+ speeds have a maximum potential download speed of 24Mbps but the latest ACCC broadband report tracked average ADSL2+ speeds in Australia at about 7.7Mbps in busy hours.
ADSL2+ is also on its way out. Once the NBN rolls out in your area you have roughly 18 months before they pull the plug on copper in your area.
For those still eligible, here’s a small selection of ADSL2+ plans with a decent amount of data.
Most popular NBN plans
Maybe it’s not the NBN itself, maybe you just haven’t found the right plan for you. If speed’s a worry, there’s currently some great deals on NBN Premium (NBN 100) plans. Take a look at the table below at the most popular NBN Premium plans this week.
When do I have to switch to the NBN and is it compulsory?
Simple answer: No, it’s not compulsory. Though the NBN rollout is intended to replace the ADSL network in your area (which will be unavailable after a specified cut-off date once NBN is live), you are not required to sign up to an NBN plan. With that said, it could be your best option. We’ve discussed a lot of NBN alternatives in this guide, but realistically, NBN could actually be your best option for broadband if you’re looking for a good value unlimited plan.
Are there other fibre alternatives?
Outside of your mobile alternatives, certain regions, apartment buildings and housing estates have access to non-NBN fibre alternatives like iiNet and Exetel’s OpticComm, which services select housing estates, or Lightning Broadband, which uses a 5G/Fibre hybrid technology to deliver ultra-fast broadband speeds to homes and businesses in and around Melbourne.
These fibre providers don’t quite qualify as an NBN alternative as they are often overpriced or your only option for broadband if you’re living in an apartment complex or housing estate.