Best Mobile Broadband Providers

With broadband internet more important to us than ever, mobile broadband has become incredibly competitive – and there’s some very real choice with the top providers in the field. All of these are well worth checking out before you decide which one to connect with.

Telstra

With their lightning-fast network, fast-expanding support for super-fast 5G (included in their top two plans) and no excess data usage charges, Telstra is really moving to the top of the mobile broadband pack with their current plans.

Telstra Mobile Broadband

Mobile Broadband - 5GB
  • No excess data charges
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • 4G Speeds Vary
  • 5GB Data
  • Mobile Broadband
  • 4G network access
  • Data-free sports streaming
$15/mth
Min Cost - $15

Mobile Broadband - 20GB
  • No excess data charges
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • 4G Speeds Vary
  • 20GB Data
  • Mobile Broadband
  • 4G network access
  • Data-free sports streaming
$25/mth
Min Cost - $25

Mobile Broadband - 200GB
  • 5G network access included
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • 4G Speeds Vary
  • 200GB Data
  • Mobile Broadband
  • No excess data charges
  • Data-free sports streaming
$75/mth
Min Cost - $75

Mobile Broadband - 60GB
  • 5G network access included
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • 4G Speeds Vary
  • 60GB Data
  • Mobile Broadband
  • No excess data charges
  • Data-free sports streaming
$50/mth
Min Cost - $50

Last audited 27 June 2020

Optus 

Making a real play for the home-based mobile broadband market, Optus has a range of 4G and 5G plans with big data allowances and, with 5G if you can get it, a speed guarantee that rivals the NBN. Watch out for that data cap, though, as there’s a charge for extra.

Vodafone

With their expanded and revitalised 4G network, Vodafone is a real competitor for mobile broadband, and with a choice of portable or home-based modem – or just a SIM – there’s flexibility for almost all use cases. The modem is free on a 36-month contract.

Southern Phone

While they have a range of SIM-only plans, it’s Southern Phone’s home wireless broadband plans that really tick the value box. While there’s a 24-month contract and a discounted $79 up-front modem fee, you get up to 500GB of data on the Optus 4G network – great for heavy data users.

Southern Phone Mobile Broadband

Extra Small Mobile Broadband
  • 12 Month Contract
  • 4G Speeds Vary
  • 7GB Data
  • Mobile Broadband
  • BYO Handset
  • Great for light data users
$15/mth
Min Cost - $180 over 12 months $0.0021 Cost of 1MB of Broadband Data

Home Wireless 70
  • 24 Month Contract
  • 4G Speeds Vary
  • 500GB Data
  • Mobile Broadband
  • $79 Upfront Modem Included
  • Optus 4G network
$70/mth
Min Cost - $1759. New services only. $0.0017 Cost of 1MB of Broadband Data

Home Wireless 50
  • 24 Month Contract
  • 4G Speeds Vary
  • 200GB Data
  • Mobile Broadband
  • $79 Upfront Modem Included
  • Optus 4G network
$50/mth
Min Cost - $1279. New services only. $0.0033 Cost of 1MB of Broadband Data

Medium Mobile Broadband
  • 12 Month Contract
  • 4G Speeds Vary
  • 50GB Data
  • Mobile Broadband
  • BYO Handset
  • Great for heavy data users
$40/mth
Min Cost - $480 over 12 months $0.0008 Cost of 1MB of Broadband Data

Small Mobile Broadband
  • 12 Month Contract
  • 4G Speeds Vary
  • 15GB Data
  • Mobile Broadband
  • BYO Handset
  • Great for light data users
$25/mth
Min Cost - $300 over 12 months $0.0017 Cost of 1MB of Broadband Data

Large Mobile Broadband
  • 12 Month Contract
  • 4G Speeds Vary
  • 100GB Data
  • Mobile Broadband
  • BYO Handset
  • Great for heavy data users
$65/mth
Min Cost - $780 Min. Cost Over 12 months $0.0007 Cost of 1MB of Broadband Data

Last audited 27 June 2020

All mobile broadband plans

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Telstra Mobile
Mobile Broadband - 5GB
Mobile Speed 4G Speeds Vary
5GB Data
$15/mth Price
Min Cost - $15
  • No excess data charges
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • 4G network access
  • Data-free sports streaming
  • Data-free music streaming of Apple Music
  • Free Telstra Air® Wi-Fi
Telstra Mobile
Mobile Broadband - 20GB
Mobile Speed 4G Speeds Vary
20GB Data
$25/mth Price
Min Cost - $25
  • No excess data charges
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • 4G network access
  • Data-free sports streaming
  • Data-free music streaming of Apple Music
  • Free Telstra Air® Wi-Fi
Southern Phone Mobile
Small Mobile Broadband
Mobile Speed 4G Speeds Vary
15GB Data
$25/mth Price
Min Cost - $300 over 12 months $0.0017 Cost of 1MB of Broadband Data
  • 12 Month Contract
  • BYO Handset
  • Great for light data users
  • Optus 4G network
Southern Phone Mobile
Medium Mobile Broadband
Mobile Speed 4G Speeds Vary
50GB Data
$40/mth Price
Min Cost - $480 over 12 months $0.0008 Cost of 1MB of Broadband Data
  • 12 Month Contract
  • BYO Handset
  • Great for heavy data users
  • Optus 4G network
Southern Phone Mobile
Home Wireless 50
Mobile Speed 4G Speeds Vary
200GB Data
$50/mth Price
Min Cost - $1279. New services only. $0.0033 Cost of 1MB of Broadband Data
  • 24 Month Contract
  • $79 Upfront Modem Included
  • Optus 4G network
  • Simple set-up. Plug and go.
  • Great alternative to nbn™
Telstra Mobile
Mobile Broadband - 60GB
Mobile Speed 4G Speeds Vary
60GB Data
$50/mth Price
Min Cost - $50
  • 5G network access included
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • No excess data charges
  • Data-free sports streaming
  • Data-free music streaming of Apple Music
  • Free Telstra Air® Wi-Fi
Southern Phone Mobile
Large Mobile Broadband
Mobile Speed 4G Speeds Vary
100GB Data
$65/mth Price
Min Cost - $780 Min. Cost Over 12 months $0.0007 Cost of 1MB of Broadband Data
  • 12 Month Contract
  • BYO Handset
  • Great for heavy data users
  • Optus 4G network
Southern Phone Mobile
Home Wireless 70
Mobile Speed 4G Speeds Vary
500GB Data
$70/mth Price
Min Cost - $1759. New services only. $0.0017 Cost of 1MB of Broadband Data
  • 24 Month Contract
  • $79 Upfront Modem Included
  • Optus 4G network
  • Simple set-up. Plug and go.
  • Great alternative to nbn™
Telstra Mobile
Mobile Broadband - 200GB
Mobile Speed 4G Speeds Vary
200GB Data
$75/mth Price
Min Cost - $75
  • 5G network access included
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • No excess data charges
  • Data-free sports streaming
  • Data-free music streaming of Apple Music
  • Free Telstra Air® Wi-Fi

Last audited 27 June 2020

Choose the type of plan you need

Sim only
Sim only

These plans only include a sim card and are suitable if you only require internet connectivity for a single device that has a sim card slot (like an iPad).

Portable modem
Portable modem

These plans include either a USB (dongle) modem that provides internet for a single device with a USB port, or they include a portable WiFi hotspot modem which provides WiFi internet for multiple devices.

Home Wireless
Home Wireless

These plans include a larger modem that’s not designed to be portable and which required a constant power source. These types of plans have higher data allowances that the aforementioned plans.

or read our mobile broadband guide


What is Mobile Broadband?

While we usually think of broadband internet as something delivered to our homes via the NBN, it’s not the only option for a fast internet connection. Mobile phone services have had the ability to connect to the internet for many years, and as technology has advanced, those connections have gotten faster and faster. Today, 4G and 5G mobile broadband can easily outdo most NBN connections in terms of speed.

That makes mobile broadband a very attractive alternative for people who can’t (or don’t want to) take up a fixed-line broadband service at home. It’s also incredibly versatile, as the name suggests – you can take your mobile broadband service with you wherever you go, keeping your laptop, tablet and phone online all the time.

You can access mobile broadband in several different ways – via a SIM card in your phone or tablet, a portable modem that you can connect to via wi-fi, or a home wireless modem designed to give you a high-speed broadband service at home without the need for complex installation (and it can effortlessly move house with you, too!)

Types of Mobile Broadband Explained

SIM Only

The most common form of mobile broadband is the SIM – because everyone with a modern smartphone already has access to it as part of their general mobile phone service. While you can use your existing phone service for mobile broadband (by connecting the phone to your laptop or tablet via personal hotspot or “tethering”) the better solution for a tablet is a dedicated data SIM. This gives you access to dedicated data-only plans that are far better tailored to mobile broadband usage.

Portable Modem

Becoming increasingly popular for mobile broadband, portable modems can be a brilliant way to get online on all your devices wherever you are. A range of them is available ranging from extremely basic “plug in and connect” devices to sophisticated devices that feature a powerful wi-fi hotspot that you can connect multiple things to at the same time. You can usually choose between having one of these added to your data plan at a small monthly cost or buying one outright.

Home Wireless

For those who don’t need broadband everywhere they go, and just want an alternative way to get connected at home, the solution can be as simple as signing up for a home wireless service. You’re provided with a large modem that takes care of the connection and all the wi-fi coverage for your home, but instead of using the NBN, it uses the 4G or 5G mobile networks to connect you to the world. Home wireless is becoming more and more affordable, too, with new 5G services rivalling the best NBN plans for price and beating them in terms of speed.

How to Work Out How Much Data You’ll Need

While wired broadband plans have almost universally become available with unlimited data, mobile broadband doesn’t offer the same luxury – mainly because the mobile coverage in any given area is a limited resource that has to be shared by thousands of people. But thanks to providers making efforts to increase capacity, data limits are far higher than ever before, for less money per month.

But how much data is enough for you? It depends on what you plan to do with it. If your mobile broadband service is going to be your main form of internet connection, then you’re likely to need as much monthly data as possible to take into account the day-to-day things that use data on your computers and mobile devices. Updates for your operating system and apps, game downloads, video streaming, general web browsing – it can all add up fast. For example, if you watch HD streaming video on Netflix or Stan, you’ll be using 3GB of data per hour. A couple of evenings of watching shows could use half of a 60GB data limit that otherwise seems generous. So if you’re doing any download-intensive stuff, it’s best to go for the biggest data limit you can, and then scale it back if you find you’re not using as much as expected.

If you’re just planning on doing less demanding things, though – like web browsing, banking, even streaming podcasts or music on Spotify – then you can save some money and go for one of the lower data caps. Again, though, estimate high, then watch your usage over the first month or two – then you can figure out the right limit for you.

We’d recommend going with a provider that doesn’t charge money for data usage above your monthly cap. Telstra is one of these – instead of giving you “bill shock” if you go over your limit, your connection is just slowed down (to about 1.5 Mbps) – you can still use it and you won’t get charged any extra, but you’ll have to settle for lower-quality video streaming for the rest of the month!

Contract Vs Month-to-Month – Which is Better?

We’re seeing more and more providers drop the mandatory long-term contract from many of their services these days, and mobile broadband is no exception. So is there still any advantage to be had in going for a plan on a 12-month (or longer) contract?

In some cases, the answer is yes – for one very good reason; the wireless modem. Not all mobile broadband providers will equip you with a modem by default – some just offer a data-only SIM card – but if you’re planning on using mobile broadband at home on all your devices, then the modem’s going to be essential – and they can get costly. Often, agreeing to a contract gives you that modem for free in return, potentially saving you $200-300 that you’d have to pay up front.

And remember, a contract plan on a mobile broadband service doesn’t tie you down to an address – if you move house, you can take your broadband with you – no installation needed! 

However, if you’ve already got a device to put your data SIM in – whether that be a modem or directly into a tablet or laptop – then the benefits of the contract are far less, and month-to-month might be the best bet.

The option of month-to-month also makes the concept of “prepaid vs postpaid” effectively obsolete – and gives customers a lot more choice.

Other Quick Links for Internet Plans

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Compare Broadband Providers

Read our reviews for everything you need to know these providers.

Broadband News

Broadband Offers

Free BINGE Standard for 3 months
on the 500GB Data plan with 500GB Data and a modem included.
$75/mth
No lock-in contract
Free BINGE Standard for 3 months
on the Telstra TV + 500GB Data plan with 500GB Data and a modem included.
$84/mth
No lock-in contract
No excess data charges
on the Mobile Broadband - 5GB plan with 5GB Data
$15/mth
No lock-in contract
Free BINGE Standard for 3 months
on the Unlimited Data plan with Unlimited Data and a modem included.
$90/mth
No lock-in contract
AC1600 Modem for only $1
on the Unlimited Essential 12 Months plan with Unlimited Data and a modem included.
$69/mth
12mth contract
$80 Free Mobile Credit
on the NBN Starter 12 Month Contract plan with Unlimited Data and a modem included.
$55/mth
12mth contract
$80 Free Mobile Credit
on the NBN Starter Month to Month plan with Unlimited Data
$60/mth
No lock-in contract
$80 Free Mobile Credit
on the NBN Standard Plus 12 Month Contract plan with Unlimited Data and a modem included.
$65/mth
12mth contract
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