+ Wednesday September 18th, 2019

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.

Data Sharing

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.

Sir Alex Choros   Managing Editor at WhistleOut


Alex is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, a mobile, internet, broadband, and everything comparison site which allows readers to compare mobile plans, broadband offerings and more to work out the best deal on offer.

He also happens to be a top bloke, and we love working with him.

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Leon Kernan
Ausdroid Reader

VividWireless is a division of Optus, not a separate small company.

Ausdroid Reader

These type of articles are very important for the mobile user. A couple of things I have noticed is ‘whistleout’ isn’t always up to date. You need to combine that with google searches. And this article doesn’t mention anything about Telstra Air. I’ve found those free wifi hotspots to be a great way to save data. And the more the NBN grows the more these hotspots will appear.
Driving up the M1 the other day I had my phone in my pocket instead of the graddle and it was constantly vibrating with available hotspots.

Chris Rowland
Ausdroid Director

Thanks Glenn, you make a couple of good points. First, you’re right. WhistleOut isn’t always up to the minute up to date, but they’re fairly close. As a good way of making initial comparisons, their service has served us very well, but Googling to confirm what special offers are around is definitely a good idea, as well as to confirm exact plan details. Secondly, Telstra Air is one of those things that can be very hit and miss. There are a lot of hotspots, but my experience — at least — has been that while your phone / device can… Read more »

Ausdroid Reader

I should’ve mentioned that hotspots run by Telstra are the reliable ones for speed/connection, and not the home user ones. They do need to update their app to differentiate them.

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