Southern Phone Internet (NBN) Review
Southern Phone isn’t so much interested in offering flashy features as much as it is getting down to the nitty-gritty of offering NBN internet plans that cover the three core technology type categories: fixed line, fixed wireless, and satellite. Prices aren’t overly competitive, and the Southern Phone plans offer below-average speeds, but there are easy-to-use and meaningful online support articles, plus human support options via online chat, Facebook, and Australian-based phone support.
- Offers NBN for all technology types
- Good range of support options
- Not competitively priced
- Below-average speeds
Value for money
Not particularly competitively priced for speeds received.
- Not the cheapest…
- …but a lot of value in features, bundles and customer care
According to our NBN provider analysis, Southern Phone scored a none-too-flash 2-star rating for the price category. Plan prices start at $38 per month for a Small NBN Satellite Plan and reach as high as $190 per month for a Satellite Large NBN plan. Southern Phone is one of 11 providers to offer NBN satellite connections.
This pricing is likely reflective of the reality that Southern Phone is one of the largest NBN providers in regional Australia, which offers NBN plans across fixed line, fixed wireless, and Sky Muster satellite connection types. Southern Phone’s plans don’t rank highly compared to other popular NBN satellite plans, even if the aforementioned Small NBN Satellite Plan is affordably priced.
The Unlimited NBN Standard plan is the solitary Southern Phone fixed wireless plan which, at $65 a month normally (there’s a six-month discount to $55 a month), is expensive in comparison to the faster Standard Plus plans that win our best fixed wireless categories.
It’s a similar story for the fixed line NBN plans, which range from $65 a month for the Unlimited NBN Standard plan and up to $95 a month for the Unlimited NBN Max (100/20) plan. There’s a $10 discount for the first six months on both of those, though, and no contract means you’re free to leave at any time.
Have a look at some of Southern Phone’s plans and pricing below to get an idea of costs for unlimited-data plans.
Satellite NBN Plans
Understandably, Southern Phone’s fixed line NBN plans are comparably cheaper to its satellite and fixed wireless plans (particularly in terms of speed), which cost more because of the steeper wholesale costs of satellite vs fixed line internet.
Almost every Southern Phone fixed line plans come with unlimited data so, unlike other providers, there’s no option to save money if you want to opt for a monthly data cap. The one exception to this rule is the NBN Basic Bundle plan, which has a 24-month contract for 100GB of monthly data, unlimited local and national calls, but is restricted to NBN Basic speeds.
Satellite plans are understandably more expensive, and none of them offer unlimited data, but Southern Phone’s fixed wireless plan does.
Southern Phone’s NBN satellite prices vary and are separated into peak and off-peak data offerings, with the majority of the data being allocated to off-peak times. Considering peak times extend between 7.00am and 12.59am (18 hours) and off-peak is between 1.00am and 6.59am (six hours), that’s a lot of data allocated to traditional sleeping hours. That said, these peak and off-peak times are determined by NBN.
What are some cheaper options?
Because Southern Phone isn’t the cheapest NBN provider on the market, even for unlimited NBN plans, check out the list below for a breakdown of the cheapest NBN plans available this week.
Southern Phone NBN speeds
Whether you’re in an area serviced by NBN fixed line, fixed wireless, or satellite technologies, Southern Phone provides below-average speeds. For satellite internet, there are NBN 12 (Basic), NBN 25 (Standard), and NBN 50 (Sky Muster Plus) plans available.
Southern Phone advertises that you can expect great typical evening download speeds of 10Mbps for Basic, okay speeds of 19Mbps for Standard, and the typical Sky Muster Plus proviso of the potential for its NBN 50 Sky Muster Plus plan to burst above 25Mbps download speeds (depending on network capacity).
Download caps start at 70GB for Southern Phone’s Small NBN Satellite Plan and stretch up to 300GB for the Satellite Large plan. With a big chunk of the data reserved for the six-hour off-peak window – 40GB and 150GB for those particular plans, respectively – it does feel practically limiting with the overall data a household realistically has to work with.
On top of this, go over a Southern Phone data cap and your internet is shaped to 128Kbps symmetrical speeds, which is on par with ISDN internet speeds of the ’90s. Interestingly, NBN’s wholesale shaping rate is listed as 512Kbps download and 256Kbps upload, which suggests that Southern Phone is shaping to a quarter of the download speed and half the upload speed.
Southern Phone’s NBN 25, NBN 50, and NBN 100 plans understandably fare better when it comes to typical evening speeds, even if they are eerily multiplied by two as you step up tiers: NBN 25 is 19Mbps, NBN50 is 38Mbps, and NBN100 is 76Mbps.
Those three core NBN speed tiers are below the respective provider averages, though, with the gap between Southern Phone and provider average growing with each speed tier: ACCC fixed line averages for May 2020 are 22.4Mbps for NBN 25, 42.6Mbps for NBN 50, and 84.5Mbps for NBN 100.
Support and satisfaction
- Lots of support options
- Not a great reputation
Southern Phone has quite an extensive database of self-help support articles on its website, logically separated into click-to-expand categories for topics of interest.
For instance, setup guides for specific modem types are a few clicks away with helpful pictures to guide you through the process. If you need help with a BYO modem-router, Southern Phone has a generous list of models it can provide support for.
If you do need to contact Southern Phone, they can be reached via online chat or by calling 13 14 64 between 8am to 8pm AEDT, seven days a week, as well as via Facebook for Australian-based support.
Unfortunately, Southern Phone’s reputation isn’t as flash if popular user-review platforms are to be believed.
Which providers offer better customer support?
In the ocker Australian telco trifecta, you’ve got Southern Phone, Aussie Broadband, and Mate Broadband. The latter two have a cracker reputation with their customers and have nary a bad mark against their names when it comes to satisfaction.
Here’s a quick glance at their most popular plans.
Perks and features
Bundle and save
- Preconfigured modems for straightforward connection
- Bundles aren’t that much cheaper
While Southern Phone doesn’t offer broadband plans that bundle entertainment options, it is in the business of giving what you need to get online. Those looking for a one-stop solution to NBN, home phone connection and a compatible WiFi modem, will find this simplicity bundled with Southern Phone’s NBN plans.
These Southern Phone bundles have a $5 monthly discount for the lowest-cost plans and a $20 monthly discount for the two highest-cost plans. This discount applies for the same duration as the contract: 24 months. Three out of four of these bundles include unlimited data, with an option of two NBN12 plans, one NBN25, and one NBN50 plan. There’s no bundle option for an NBN100 plan.
National and local calls are unlimited across plans, with the top two plans including calls to mobiles, while all plans charge 40 cents per call to 13 numbers. In terms of the modem, the Netgear or Comnect modem-router is delivered preconfigured with the specific details you need to connect and get online.
Heard enough about Southern Phone?
We’ve got stacks more reviews for Aussie NBN providers. If you’re all about speed, have a gander at our Superloop NBN review. If top-notch value is more your speed, check out our Exetel NBN review. For great customer service and a provider that’s beloved by its users, check in with our Aussie Broadband NBN review. For those unable to connect to the NBN, we’ve got a round-up of great alternatives. And if you want to measure your download speeds, check out our internet speed tool.