Optus wholesales wireless broadband services
Optus recently created a new broadband offering – called home wireless broadband. This is essentially a mobile data SIM card and a modem that can use the card to create a wireless network for your home. All your devices would access the Optus 4G network instead of a fixed broadband line for meeting your Internet needs. This wireless broadband service is being touted as a flexible, faster and more reliable service than the NBN. With Optus wholesaling it, prices are probably set to drop too.
Home Broadband Wireless Service
As networks move towards 4.5G and 5G, mobile data is becoming an increasingly competitive option to fixed line broadband. This assumes greater significance in the context of the NBN, which has left many users frustrated with slow speeds, network dropouts and black spots. Many parts of Australia are still waiting for their NBN roll out, which may still be years away given the shoddy way in which the project is being (mis)managed. As customers search for new broadband options, telcos are coming up with creative solutions to fill the gap. After OVO’s recent launch of 100 GB data cards, we have Optus wholesaling their Home Broadband Wireless Service.
Optus recently trialled some significant improvements to their 4G networks with 3CC – Cell Carrier Integration and Massive Input Massive Output (MIMO) technology. This technology uses multiple receivers and transmitters to exchange multiple packets of data simultaneously over the same signal frequency. This increases speed and capacity of the network, which means more people can download more data at faster speeds. Having invested billions in network improvement, they have repackaged their data networks into a broadband offering. While mobile data broadband speeds are slower than regular mobile data, they are still faster and more reliable than a fixed broadband lease line.
How does it work?
This technology uses a SIM card to connect your modem to the Optus 4G plus mobile network, instead of the usual physical network of telephone lines. You will have a regular wireless network in your home, and you will access it as normal. The only difference is in the method the modem uses to connect to the Internet. You will not experience any difference in your wifi use. Some useful information for customers:
- The SIM card will only function on specific modem models that need to be purchased along with the plan.
- The modem must be placed close to a window for best results.
- Actual download and upload speeds will vary depending on a number of factors including congestion, location, local conditions, hardware, software and general Internet traffic.
- The best speeds will only be available to those regions where Optus has 2300 MHz band ownership.
Optus Plan – What To Expect
Currently, this plan can be purchased directly from Optus. Plan features include:
- $70/month for 200 GB data. 10GB data automatically added for additional $10 if you exceed the limit.
- Lock In contracts – $262 cancellation fee on a 24 month and $154 on a 12 month contract.
- No upfront modem costs. Huawei E5186 modem included in plan.
- 12 Mbps download speed in areas where there is 2300 MHz spectrum, 5 Mbps in other areas
- 1 Mbps upload speed in all areas.
- A maximum of 50 GB additional data can be added in to the basic monthly plan of 200GB per month, per account. Once you surpass the 200GB limit, your Internet speed will drop to 256 KB.
- Optus perks like movie discounts and exclusive events will be available to customers of this service.
Vividwireless Home Broadband Service
Vividwireless is owned entirely by Optus, but is a separate company that offers and manages this home wireless broadband service. While it uses the same underlying Optus 4G network, the customer service and plan details vary slightly.
- $70/month for 200 GB data, $90/month for Unlimited data
- No lock in contracts. One month access fee free.
- Upfront one time modem cost of $199 for the Huawei B315s modem.
- No Optus perks and discounts
- All speed and coverage same as the Optus plan because it used the Optus network
If you are switching from Optus to Vividwireless the cancellation fees will be waived off.
MVNO Exetel – first retailer to launch soon
Optus already wholesales its mobile network to operators like Moose Mobile, Amaysim and Virgin Mobil. Exetel has joined the group as a retailer of these mobile broadband services. Exetel’s services are in the prelaunch phase, but plan details are out:
- $69.99/month for 200 GB data.
- No lock in contracts. Month-to-month plans that can be cancelled any time.
- Upfront one time modem cost of $185.
Other Optus MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) are expected to follow with similar plans.
Benefits of Wireless Broadband
Greater speed and reliability are being touted as the main benefits, because mobile broadband has progressed faster than leased line. 4G speeds are currently faster than ADSL and with 5G launching in 2020, you could theoretically download 600 films a minute over wireless. Even 4G plus speeds can let you download a two hour film in 15 minutes. Besides the speed, networks are more resilient to peak hour traffic, because they have been upgraded and maintained competitively for years, while the fixed line market has largely stagnated. Wireless broadband is portable and can be carried with you if you move houses or travel. The prices are also dropping rapidly as technology advances. However, it is important to note that wireless speeds are limited by modem specifications; hence these wireless broadband plans require compatible modems.
Mobile broadband’s speed, reliability, ready availability and portability are all advantages, particularly compared to fixed broadband that is plagued with connection delays and impacted by weather and the quality of the connection to the home. Perhaps they are the future of home Internet services in Australia.