The best mobile broadband plans for data on the go

Need internet for your laptop, tablet or iPad on the go? Consider mobile broadband.
  • Best overall

    Mobile Broadband 500GB

    Read Review
    4 out of 5 overall
    500GB
    Upfront modem cost
  • Best Optus

    $50 Data SIM Plan

    Read Review
    4 out of 5 overall
    75GB
    Optus Sport subscription at no extra cost
  • Best Telstra

    Upfront Data Plan Large

    Read Review
    4.5 out of 5 overall
    No excess data charges
    Data-free Apple Music and sports streaming
  • Best cheap

    $20 Mobile Broadband

    Read Review
    4 out of 5 overall
    Affordable price for Optus network
    12-month contract
  • Best prepaid

    90GB Data Plan

    Read Review
    4 out of 5 overall
    60GB data
    No modem option

For those with patchy WiFi at home or who are constantly working on their iPad or tablet throughout the day on the go, you might want to consider getting mobile broadband.

How does mobile broadband work?

There are four types of mobile broadband: data only SIM (no modem required), pocket WiFi (4G WiFi modem), USB modem and home wireless (5G modem). The type you’ll want to choose will depend on how many devices you want to connect, whether you want it plugged directly into your power outlet at home or to insert straight into your laptop, tablet or iPad. 

For those wanting mobile broadband on the go, it would suit most users to either pick a data SIM for their iPad/tablet or a pocket WiFi modem to connect multiple devices while you’re out. For just plugging into a single laptop, consider a 4G USB modem. If you’re at home, consider getting home wireless.

So, there are heaps of plans to pick from, but which is right for your needs?

Let’s get down to the details.

Light Bulb icon

Looking for 5G mobile broadband?

If you’re feeling the need for speed, you’ll be happy to know that Telstra and Optus have already begun rolling out 5G mobile broadband plans. For more information on these plans and how they work, read our dedicated 5G modem guide.

Best mobile broadband plan overall

If you’re looking for the best dollar-for-data deal, there’s no going past SpinTel’s Mobile Broadband 500GB plan. It offers by far the most data out of all the mobile broadband providers, and all for the relatively low price of $79.95 (that’s about 16c per gig).

Unfortunately, there is a required one-off upfront purchase of the Netgear AC800S for $290 plus $20 shipping, which isn’t ideal, but still offers the best value for heavy internet users.

SpinTel runs on the Optus network and plans are not locked-in to any contract, so you can leave at any time.

Not sold on SpinTel? See more popular mobile broadband plans:

Best Optus mobile broadband plan

Optus’ $50 Data Plan offers 150GB for $50 per month for 36 months if you buy before March 31 as well as an optional Optus Sport subscription at no extra cost, though it’s not data-free. You can opt to BYO modem or add a tablet or modem over a 12-month, 24-month or 36-month plan.

150GB a month should still be sufficient for most people who are using their tablet on the go or connecting their laptop for a couple of hours a day. Since the plan is month-to-month, you’ve got room to upsize or downsize your plan as needed.

Here are more popular Optus mobile broadband plans:

Best Telstra mobile broadband plan

Telstra’s Upfront Data Plan Large provides a massive 200GB for $75 per month. One big selling point for Telstra’s mobile broadband plans is that they have no excess charges. Once your data allowance has been used up for the month, you’ll still be able to browse the net but at a speed cap of 1.5Mbps till your next bill cycle.

Another plus is you’ll get access to Telstra’s expanding 5G network as well as data-free Apple Music and sports streaming. You’ll also gain access to Telstra Air, which has over 1 million free Telstra WiFi hotspots across Australia as well as 19 million Fon Spots overseas.

Info Box icon

Should you BYO modem or pick a modem bundle?

While you can opt to bring your own modem, be sure that you choose a compatible handset that supports 3G-850MHz, 4G 1800Mhz and 4G 700Mhz as well as 5G 3500MHz bandwidth.

Telstra also has a $15 Extra Small, $25 Small and $50 Medium mobile broadband plans so if you find you aren’t finishing your data balance at the end of the month, you can always consider switching to a lower-data plan.

If you don’t already have a modem, you can purchase one through Telstra from $4.12 per month.

Here are more popular Telstra mobile broadband plans:

Best Vodafone mobile broadband plan

Vodafone’s 100GB Modem Plans (which are available either with or without a hotspot device) are generally among the most popular in Australia according to WhistleOut’s comparison engine. For $60 per month (slightly more if you need a modem), you’ll get 100GB of data, with an extra 50GB if you buy before March 23.

The plan is contract-free, however, if you opt for the modem bundle and stick around for 24 months, Vodafone will give you a loyalty discount of $84 over the two-year period.

Here are more popular Vodafone mobile broadband plans:

Best cheap mobile broadband plan

Dodo’s 12-month contract 25GB plan for $20 per month is a great steal for those on a tight budget. As long as you don’t mind committing to this mobile broadband plan for at least a year and you’re not fussed about extra perks and benefits, Dodo could offer you the data you need at a very affordable deal.
In comparison, on Dodo’s no-contract option which also offers $20 per month, you’ll receive 5GB less every month (15GB monthly in total).

Here are more popular mobile broadband plans under $30 per month:

Best prepaid mobile broadband plan

amaysim’s Mobile Broadband Data 90GB Plan offers the most data for a 28-day prepaid plan and comes in at $60 per month. You’ll have to BYO your own modem, laptop or tablet, but there’s the added peace of mind that comes with no excess data charges.

If 90GB is too much for your usage, Amaysim also offers 7GB for $15 or 50GB for $40. All run on a 28-day recharge cycle, which can be set to top-up automatically.

Here are more popular prepaid mobile broadband plans:

How to find the best mobile broadband plan

Essentially, before picking a mobile broadband plan, you’ll need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do you have a compatible modem?

If you do, move on to Q2. If you don’t, you’ll need to either source one yourself or pick a mobile broadband (MBB) plan with a modem included. Ensure you pick a compatible device that supports 3G-850MHz, 4G 1800Mhz and 4G 700Mhz or 5G 3500MHz bandwidth if you’re in an area with 5G coverage. Here are some examples of available 4G WiFi modems and USB modems that offer free shipping from Amazon Australia.

2. How much mobile data do you (and your household) need?  

If you’re a light data user, 20GB to 30GB per month should be more than enough for most people to satisfy your streaming and browsing needs. For heavy data users, wanting to stream videos in 4K or who are using your device for work all day, you’ll probably want to look at plans from at least 60GB up per month.

3. Do you have a network preference?

Check whether the provider you’re considering has good coverage in your area(s). If you’re already with a provider, look out for any bundle deals they may be offering or you might want to stick with the same provider to make life easier. 

4. Do you want a no-lock in contract?

If you’re unsure about committing to a mobile broadband plan right now, it’d be wiser to stick with a month-to-month plan for the moment. If you don’t mind committing, you might be able to save yourself some dollars by picking a 12-month contract plan.

5. Are there any extras you value and will use?

For example, if you’re keen to get data-free or a free subscription to Apple Music or for sports streaming, you might want to pick Telstra or Optus for such perks which most MVNOs don’t have available.

6. Now you’re ready to pick the right mobile broadband plan for your individual needs.

Now that you know, here are your next steps.

Still looking? Check out the best home wireless broadband plans.

READ REVIEW

Got a tablet or laptop? Check out the best data SIM plans.

READ REVIEW