Which Mobile Broadband is Best

Mobile Broadband in Australia

Why get mobile broadband instead of fixed broadband?

We conducted a survey to figure out what people want from their broadband service. We were able to discover the key pain points for Australians when it comes to fixed broadband services, and how mobile broadband could solve their problems:

  • 70% of respondents would like to be able to take their broadband connections with them wherever they go;
  • 77% of respondents don’t think they should have to pay for reconnecting their fixed broadband when they move.

majority of Australians want a broadband connection

Vast majority of Australians want a broadband connection they can take with them wherever they go.

These are understandable. After all, if you pay for your internet service, you should be able to use it wherever you are and whenever you want. And paying for connecting a service you’ve already paid to connect on a prior occasion just because you moved house, sounds so unfair.

But these are typical issues when you have a fixed broadband connection – they are static, and they are complex and expensive to install and re-install.

Mobile broadband, on the other hand, are mobile. You can take your mobile broadband connection wherever you go, and use it wherever your service provider’s network coverage is available. They can connect your tablet, Smart TV, computer, and more.

Mobile Mobile broadband plans might be used with portable devices. Just plug your SIM into the mobile Wi-FI (sometimes referred to as a pocket Wi-Fi or Mi-Fi) device and connect multiple devices to it wirelessly. This means they are also easy to install – they are plug-and-play with no technical knowledge is needed, and so there’s no installation cost or re-connection cost when you move house.

Today, the mobile broadband market is highly competitive. This means you’ll find some great deals out there, comparable to fixed broadband plans. They also offer very fast speeds – faster, in fact, than many fixed broadband services at comparable price points.

These facts all make mobile broadband a solid option. But all mobile broadband services and data plans are not created equal. You need to know the best plans out there, and we’ve put together some great information to help you choose the best mobile broadband for you.

Things to consider before choosing a mobile broadband plan

Mobile broadband isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The best plan for you depends on what you really need – or want. Here’s a few things to consider before choosing your plan:

  • No Voice and SMS
    Mobile broadband data plans typically do not come with voice and SMS inclusions – you’d have to purchase those on a separate plan if you really need them. But with these plans, you can make calls via apps like Skype and WhatsApp, so you might not need voice and SMS plans.
  • Data usage
    How much data do you need? This question can really narrow it down. If you’re a heavy internet user who, perhaps, streams a lot of movies on Netflix, then you should look at larger data plans. If you’re a light user who browses and checks email occasionally, stick to smaller data plans.
  • Coverage
    The cool thing about mobile broadband is that you can take it with you wherever you go, unlike fixed broadband which is wired and stuck to your home. But if your provider doesn’t have great coverage throughout Australia, then the mobility benefit won’t be so great because you might not be able to connect in some areas. Thankfully, all three major telcos in Australia have pretty good coverage. Telstra leads, followed closely by Optus and Vodafone. And because MVNOs use the major telcos’ networks, you should have pretty good coverage with their mobile broadband plans as well.

Mobile broadband plans and pricing 

The three major telcos all offer mobile broadband plans. You’ll also find mobile broadband offers from MVNOs, making the market very competitive.

Here’s a look at some of the most popular mobile broadband providers’ data plans and price ranges:

 Number of PlansPrice RangeData Inclusion RangeCoverage
Telstra4 month-to-month plans.
4 prepaid recharge offers. (There are also 4 starter SIM offers)
Month-to-month: $15 to $70.
Prepaid recharge: $20 to $150.
Month-to-month: 5GB to 200GB (5G access on Medium and Large plans only).
Prepaid: 5GB to 40GB. (No 5G… yet)
Overall coverage (including 3G) is 99.4% of the population.
Optus3 month-to-month plans.$15 to $50.5GB to 75GB (Current promo offers double - 10GB to 150GB).Overall coverage is 98.5% of the population.
TPG Telecom (Vodafone)
3 month-to-month plans.
8 prepaid plans (2 short expiry, 3 normal expiry, 3 long expiry) (There are also 3 starter SIM offers)
Month-to-month: $20 to $60.
Prepaid recharge (Normal expiry): $30 to $50)
Month-to-month: 20GB to 150GB.
Prepaid recharge (Normal expiry): 10GB to 35GB.
Overall coverage is 96% of the population.
Amaysim3 prepaid recharge offers.$15 to $60.7GB to 90GB.Amaysim uses the Optus network - overall coverage is 98.5%.
OVO3 prepaid recharge offers.$49.95 to $79.95.50GB to 250GB.OVO uses the Optus network - overall coverage is 98.5%.

Telstra mobile broadband vs Optus mobile broadband

Telstra and Optus are the two of Australia’s largest telcos. Both telcos offer mobile broadband plans, and you can also purchase mobile broadband devices from them and even bundle the devices with your plan.

 Our Pick (Best Plan)Extras
TelstraSmall plan is a month-to-month plan that includes 20GB of data at $20, but you can only get 4G access and not 5G.
For 5G access, the Medium plan is a good buy at $50 per month for 60GB.
Telstra plans also come with data-free streaming of live sports and Apple Music, free access to Telstra Air, and no excess data charges - when your plan data is exhausted, your Internet stays on at 1.5mbps speeds.
OptusMedium Data SIM Plan is a month to month plan that includes 25GB at $20.Optus’ current promo makes them the best offer, doubling the data to 50GB for $20.
You can also share your data across eligible plans on your account.
You also get a subscription to Optus Sport for streaming live sport coverage.

Final words

Mobile broadband offers you mobility and ease of use. These are qualities Australians want and can’t get with fixed broadband. Your mobile broadband plan comes with a SIM card that you can plug right into your device if it has a SIM slot, or plug into a pocket Wi-FI device so you can connect multiple devices wirelessly.

You’ll find many mobile broadband data plans in Australia, but knowing what you really need is what determines the best plan for you. Consider the coverage and data inclusions when making your decision, and use this post as a guide.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.