Mobile broadband allows you to remain connected online wirelessly and wherever you go. In Australia, this service can be bundled with residential or business broadband with the user able to connect to the Internet using a dongle that can be tethered to the mobile phone. Another option is to gain exclusive access to certain “hotspots” that are also operated by the broadband provider. Mobile broadband plans can also vary in terms of data, speed, and cost of service including prices for top-ups once you’ve consumed the data.
Cheap wireless broadband plans
Whether you’re looking for a no-contract or lock-in plans, you have a wide variety of choices for cheap wireless broadband. These options can include nifty features such as up to 3 GB data with 3G and 4G coverage for only $15 a month. For less than $30 month, you may also subscribe to a plan that already includes a home gateway and 10 GB data with no off-peak and peak data cap. Note, though, that wireless plans that come with devices may require a one-time upfront fee
iPad/ Tablet Data Plans
With more people using iPads and tablets throughout Australia, there is more of a demand for mobile broadband data plans. If you plan to use your tablet while on the go to access websites, social media or watch videos, then a data plan is necessary.
If you connect your mobile broadband plan to your iPad or tablet you will be able to access data networks in the same way your mobile phone does. So, wherever you go you have access to the Internet via your tablet.
Best Mobile Broadband Plans in Australia
Mobile broadband plans are currently available from the following major carriers:
What is Mobile Broadband?
Mobile broadband enables you to access the Internet through a portable modem. This can be used in many locations throughout Australia. Most of the carriers provide a USB or WiFi modem that has a mobile broadband plan. Once connected to mobile broadband you can access the Internet from almost anywhere. If you do not have access to a physical broadband connection, then mobile broadband is the best option for you.
How does mobile broadband work?
Mobile broadband connections use the same wireless networks that mobile telephone networks use. However, you are not able to make calls or texts through mobile broadband services. Once you have a connection, which can be through a USB modem, WiFi hotspot or smartphone acting as a hotspot, you will be able to connect to the mobile broadband access.
To learn more about 3G or 4G networks in Australia, check out our comprehensive guide to 3G and 4G in Australia.
How fast is Mobile broadband in Australia?
Whether or not your mobile broadband is fast depends on the mobile tower location and the device you are using to connect to the network. Every carrier offers different service, but it is important that they do have coverage in the area you are in.
For example, Telstra’s 3G network can provide speeds up to 20Mbps. Their 4GX network can deliver up to speeds of 1GBs. Please note that these are “up to” speeds because it depends on location, usage and device compatibility.
You might sometimes see a mobile broadband device labeled as a CAT X device. The X is often a number. CAT is short for category and has an expected speed maximum associated with the category level. However, if you connect a high category device with a low-speed network, you will not see additional speed. The CAT rating describes the expected output of that device.
Where is Mobile Broadband available?
Mobile broadband is available where mobile providers offer coverage for their voice service. Many carriers are currently striving to provide better data services.
Mobile broadband is, however, subject to more variance, which could be due to congestion of user overload or structures blocking radio transmissions. So, when you see a coverage map, this is a broad overview. The actual accessibility can vary greatly.
How can I compare Mobile broadband plans?
As previously noted, when it comes to speed of mobile broadband, it is always referenced as “up to” because of the many factors that can affect speed. You often get better data through a 4G connection, especially an LTE-Advanced connection, than you would with a 3G connection. However, many providers that have only 3G connections find that the low speed is offset by cost. Telstra’s current wholesale customers and Vodgone MVNOs offer only 3G connections.
Mobile data is often more expensive than the cost of fixed-line services. There is no “unlimited
” mobile broadband package in Australia currently.
The cost of data is important and it gdoes differently for each carrier. Many services currently offer $10/ GB for any additional data used over the quota.
Will I need a new modem for Mobile Broadband?
If you are transferring from an ADSL, NBN or cable connection, you need a mobile hotspot device. Most providers will often include a hotspot in the contract for free or at a reduced price. If you need a wider WiFi reach, some devices can be placed within larger antenna arrays to expand the reach or to improve reception.
Another option is to put a standard SIM card in your smartphone and find a mobile plan that offers you enough data. However, the WiFi broadcast range is not as spectacular, so if you are using it as a hotspot you will have to remain close to the device.
- Included hotspot - If you are looking for a mobile broadband contract, you should ask if the provider will also offer you a hotspot with your plan, and what the maximum speeds will be.
- Bundling discounts - Mobile broadband services are often part of the general mobile category of the provider. If you have multiple services, see if they offer a bundle discount.
- Quota-free content - Providers do not usually offer quota-free mobile broadband, but it could be offered for other types of content. If you know what that content is and if it is of interest to you, it is something to consider.