With the price of data dropping, mobile broadband has gone from being a bit of a luxury to a surprisingly affordable way to stay connected. Whether you need a SIM card for a tablet, an alternative to a fixed line internet connection, or even just a bit of extra data for a holiday, mobile broadband could be the answer.
Mobile broadband connections can still be expensive compared to fixed line broadband, but what you lose in value, you gain in flexibility. You can take your connection anywhere (within Australia at least), there’s no fees if you’re changing house, setup is almost instantaneous, and in many cases, you’ll get faster speeds.
It might not be ideal if you want to binge on Netflix in high definition all day, but if you just need a fast, reliable internet connection, mobile broadband is worth considering.
At least 5GB of data
If you’re looking for a SIM card to throw in a tablet or just want a little bit of extra data, cheaper data only SIMs can be had for as little as $10 per month. Entry level plans will give about a 1GB of data, but the best bang for buck options tend to give you 10GB or so for $30 or so.
In most cases, you can get these plans without signing a contract, so its easy enough to get a SIM for a month or two if you’re moving house or going on holiday.
At least 50GB of data
If you’re after a bit more data, top-tier data only plans are now touting inclusions of 50GB and up. You’re looking at least $55 per month these plans, but if you’re fairly moderate in your usage, this is the point where you can genuinely look at 4G as a replacement for a fixed line connection.
As with the smaller plans, these supersized options still tend to be prepaid or month-to-month. You will need to BYO 4G modem though, although you could always tether via an old phone instead.
Fixed line replacement
If you need even more mobile data – enough to genuinely replace a fixed line internet connection – Telstra and Optus have started offering fixed home wireless plans over 4G. These can require signing up for a 24-month contract – at least if you don’t want to pay for the modem upfront.
Vividwireless is a smaller telco in the fixed home wireless market, but has a smaller network footprint, so you might not be able to get it at your place.
Vivid offers speeds of up to 10Mbps, Optus does up to 12Mbps, and Telstra offers uncapped 4G speeds (although at a much higher cost). In the case of Vivid and Optus, you’ll be given a more traditional modem router that you have to keep plugged into power at all times. On Telstra, you’ll get a Nighthawk M1 which also works on battery.
Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone all offer data sharing for phone services, which means you can pool your data from your all plans (on the same bill) into one big total. This pool can than be used across all of your devices, and can be quite economical if you actually want to use inclusions across two or more SIMs.
The cost of second (or further) SIMs for data sharing varies between carriers though, so make sure you do your research if this is your goal.