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The best NBN alternatives
Feel free to ditch the NBN with these data-heavy alternatives.
- : SpinTel Home Wireless
- : TPG Home Wireless Unlimited (20Mbps)
- : Telstra 5G Home Internet
- : Optus 5G Internet Everyday
- : Telstra 5G Home Internet
- : SpinTel Mobile Broadband 200GB
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 slow 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.
If you're looking for a way to access the internet that doesn't involve the NBN, your best bet is home wireless broadband, or perhaps even mobile broadband. 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.
Home wireless uses the same mobile network as mobile broadband and phone plans. The difference is, home wireless plans are designed to be used as a home broadband replacement with bigger download quotas and sturdier Wi-Fi modems to deliver a more robust internet connection to the numerous devices you will have connected. In Australia, 4G speeds typically hit around 33 Mbps, but can also achieve well over 100Mbps in certain areas, too (which blows ADSL2+ out of the water).
Best 4G home wireless NBN alternative
SpinTel Wireless Broadband
SpinTel streaks ahead with a great price on its wireless broadband offering with 500GB of data (which should be enough for most households). It runs on the Optus 4G Plus network, so people with an Optus phone service will have a good idea about how SpinTel's home wireless plan will work for them.
The plan is contract-free, which is great for testing out the service, but you will need a modem, which you can buy upfront from SpinTel for $210 or as a monthly rental for $7 per month.
If you don't feel like you need 500GB of data per month you can opt for the cheaper plan with 200GB for $49.95 per month. Our advice? Check how much data you typically use with your current provider before switching to home wireless broadband.
If our top pick isn't for you, here's a selection of other popular 4G home wireless plans - but keep in mind that some are speed-limited to 20Mbps.
Whether or not 4G (or 5G, for that matter) home internet is good really depends on network coverage where you live.
If you're in a metropolitan area with solid coverage on your phone, chances are you'll have equally good coverage for your home internet. On the other hand, if you're in a black spot (or live in a rural area), you might be better off with a fixed wireless NBN plan or satellite internet.
Best 4G home wireless with unlimited data
TPG Home Wireless Unlimited (20Mbps)
If you're a true data glutton and only want unlimited data, you'll be happy to know TPG's unlimited 4G home internet plan is also one of the cheapest on the market at just $54.99 per month. Even better, you get your first month completely free.
That said, there is a catch - TPG's plan is speed-capped at 20Mbps. So, though it is technically a 4G plan, you're not able to get the maximum 4G speeds available. Still, 20Mbps should be enough for single-person or two-person households, and since it's a contract-free plan, you can always bail if it doesn't suit your needs.
Here's how it compares to other plans on the market.
Best 5G home wireless NBN alternative
Telstra 5G Home Internet
For a while, Optus was the only provider offering 5G home wireless plans. But then Telstra swooped in and stole the show with its surprisingly better value offering, the 5G Home Internet plan. Telstra's 5G coverage now reaches more than 75% of the Australian population, making it the largest 5G footprint in the country.
Telstra is currently selling its 5G Home Internet plan at $85, with the first month completely free. Though it doesn't offer unlimited data, it includes a whopping 1TB of data with unlimited speed-capped data at 25Mbps on the off chance you manage to use it all up. On top of that, you get a three-month Binge subscription and no extra cost for the modem if you remain for 24 months or, if leaving before then, return it within 21 days in “good working order”.
Only a few providers offer 5G internet, but here's a quick glance at the most popular plans on offer.
Best 5G home wireless with unlimited data
Optus 5G Internet Entertainer
Though the Telstra pick above is our first choice for 5G home wireless internet, if your heart is set on unlimited full-speed data, Optus' 5G Internet Entertainer is your best bet. Not only does it have unlimited data, but you also get Fetch Mighty entertainment included.
On the downside, Optus' 5G network is considerably smaller and the plan is more expensive at $89 per month for the first six months, then $99 per month ongoing. You do still get your first month free, but if you choose not to continue after that first month, you’ll still have to pay out the $576 modem fee.
Here's how it compares to other 5G home internet plans.
Best Telstra NBN alternative
Telstra 5G Home Internet
Surprise, surprise, the Telstra 5G Home Internet plan wins this category, too. At $85 per month with one month free, no excess data charges, a Binge subscription and 1TB of data, it's just a genuinely good deal.
If 5G isn't available near you, the only other option is to purchase a Telstra data SIM, load it into a compatible modem, tablet or other device.
If that piques your interest, check out Telstra's Upfront Data Plans below.
SpinTel Mobile Broadband 200GB
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. We think SpinTel's Mobile Broadband plans offer the best value, with 200GB for just $54.95 per month for the first six 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 the most popular month-to-month 4G mobile broadband plans.
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 are currently some great deals on NBN 100 plans. Take a look at the table below at the most popular NBN 100 plans this week.
What can you do about slow NBN?
As we mentioned above, a major factor in the performance of your NBN connection is the technology used to get the internet to your house. While this is true, there are some other things to check before you give up on the NBN. Things like the modem you are using, it's position in your home, interference from other wireless devices, like cordless phones. We've put together a guide on how to diagnose slow internet problems with our best tips on getting your connection back up and running.
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 for 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.
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