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The best no contract NBN plans in Australia

Keep your options open and your broadband costs low by switching to a no-contract NBN plan today.

Alex Kidman
Feb 19, 2024
Icon Time To Read2 min read

Historically, broadband plans used to come with serious strings attached – and we’re not just talking about the strings that used to hold some of the copper together back in the ADSL or dial-up days. Just in order to get online not only would you have to pay some hefty connection fees, but you’d also have to agree to stay with a provider for a period of years, with penalty rates if you wanted to switch providers or had to cancel the service.

Frankly speaking, that sucked. The good news here is that you don’t have to sign away your life to a restrictive contract for the vast majority of NBN plans. Most NBN contracts are offered on a rolling month-to-month basis from most providers – with a few potential catches, which we’ll get into shortly – which gives you superb flexibility to take advantage of special offers, move when you need to or cancel services with minimal fuss.

Strictly speaking, these aren’t “no contract” plans, because there is a term of use that applies here. But when it’s only a calendar month and it basically rolls over uninterrupted, it essentially equates to the same thing.

Pros and cons of no-contract NBN plans
pro Flexibility to shift to other plans
pro Easy to save money by switching to cheaper plans
pro Savings on set-up costs for most plans
con You typically have to pay out your modem-router, or buy it outright in the first place
con …That’s about it. The Pros definitely outweigh the cons here, and not by a small margin

Outside of a possibly complimentary modem-router – and you typically only ever need one of those – there’s really no benefit for most consumers with going to an ISP that wants to sign you up for a longer-term contract. While some may tout that you’re getting a “discount” on their broadband plans if you sign up for a longer period or bundle other services such as power or gas, most of those plans aren’t that competitive in the first place. They look like discounts on their rates, but as is always the case, the smart play is to shop around for the best possible value.

This brings with it the single best primary bit of advice we can give in relation to no-contract NBN plans: Check your plan at least twice a year. There’s no impetus for your NBN ISP to particularly note other or better rates if they already have you hooked, but seasonal deals from other providers may represent a serious discount to your monthly NBN bill.

Switching from one NBN provider to another should in most cases be a seamless prospect, given it’s all the same network underneath the billing, and being willing to switch can reap rich discounts. At the very least, talking to your NBN ISP a couple of times a year and casually mentioning that you might jump ship could lead to them offering you a temporary discount – which represents real money staying in your bank account rather than flowing to theirs.

Budget no-contract NBN plans

If you’re looking to maximise your savings and minimise your spend, then the low end of the NBN speed pool is where you’ll often find the best no-contract deals. Here’s a selection of plans that omit setup fees and offer great value at the NBN 50 and NBN 100 tiers.

NBN 50 Plans

NBN 100 Plans

High speed no-contract NBN plans

If you have a serious need for speed – and if you’re on the FTTP or HFC parts of the NBN – then what you need is a no-contract, no strings-attached NBN plan at the higher NBN 250 and NBN 1000 tiers. Here’s a selection of great value plans that skip over setup fees and give you maximum flexibility – and speed:

NBN 250 Plans

NBN 1000 Plans

No-contract NBN Frequently Asked Questions

Can I go contract-free if I need a modem-router or router?

It’s not too hard to find an NBN plan without setup fees, but what if you’re moving to a new home or just need new NBN connection hardware in the way of an NBN-compatible modem-router?

Here some NBN ISPs will offer you a “free” Modem-Router… with a significant catch. You don’t technically have to “pay” a fee for the device, but it’s instead “paid off” via a monthly credit that splits its cost up, typically over 12, 24 or 36 months. If you stay with that telco over that span, it’s yours without issue, but if you want to leave to go to another telco, then you’re stuck with a pro-rata bill for the months left on the modem contract, even though the NBN service contract is only month-to-month.

The smart play here is to factor that into your budgeting, and consider your other options. Many NBN telcos will let you bring your own modem-router, so if you already have hardware you’re happy with, you should be able to fairly simply configure it for your new provider.

Tip: If you’re going from a modem-router with 4G or 5G fallback data, bear in mind that this part will most likely not work with other providers, even if you’re switching to a plan from one of the big three network telcos.

It’s also worth shopping around for compatible devices to buy online. Most NBN ISP provided modem-routers are fairly basic, and while that often means they’re not that expensive, you can often do better in terms of Wi-Fi coverage and speed by simply purchasing your own modem-router outright. Check with your NBN ISP as to their supported options, however, as some can be difficult about offering support outside of their own supported router models.

What other costs are associated with No-contract NBN plans?
It varies by provider, but it’s worth checking the fine print around issues like any setup costs, or even any early termination fees. While termination fees should be minimal – the most they should be able to sting you for would be a month’s coverage fees – it is worth comparing the total cost of a month’s service including those fees, where present, when considering broadband plan value.
Are no-contract NBN plans faster or slower than contract ones?

The speed of your NBN connection can be affected by many external factors such as network congestion and hardware quality – but the type of contract you sign has no bearing on this whatsoever.

Check the typical evening speeds advertised for each plan to get a feel for your likely speeds from a particular provider – but none of them change this up just because you’re only signed up month to month.

What’s the difference between “No contract”, “Month to Month” or “Zero Contract” NBN plans?
Marketing terms, basically. The reality is that there is still a contract in play, but it’s just a very short term one with a rollover clause each month and a payment requirement. As such your maximum liability (and your ISPs, technically speaking) is for a single month of coverage and payment.
Alex Kidman
Written by
Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is some kind of word-generating AI from the future that somehow worked out how to sneak back in time to 1998 to start its journalism career. Across that time, including editorial stints at ZDNet, CNET, Gizmodo, PC Mag and Finder, as well as contributions to every major tech masthead, nobody has quite managed to figure out this deeply held secret. Let’s keep it between us, OK?

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