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Home Wireless Broadband

If you're looking for internet options beyond the NBN for your home or business, a home wireless connection could offer the speeds you're after. 

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, updated on February 13th, 2024       

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Internet - Compare Broadband & NBN Plans

We’ve partnered with Econnex to bring you a range of internet plans to help you compare them.

If you don't have access to the NBN, or simply don't wish to use it, home wireless broadband is an alternative taken up by a vast number of Australians. However, before you purchase your policy, it's worth comparing a range of policy options to see which are available to you. You can do just that with Savvy through our rapid online comparison process which allows you to filter internet plans by price, type, data usage and more. Get the process started through us today!

What is home wireless broadband and how does it work?

Home wireless broadband is a type of internet connection available to users across Australia. It’s seen as the most suitable alternative to the National Broadband Network (NBN), as certain plans of this nature are capable of rivalling some of the faster speed tiers available on NBN plans. Currently available for home wireless broadband plans are the 4G and 5G networks on offer in Australia, with some internet service providers (ISPs) also providing 3G network coverage in addition to 4G.

In terms of the way a home wireless broadband connection works, it’s far more straightforward than fixed line internet connections like the NBN. All that’s needed to establish the connection is a modem, which can be provided by your ISP or purchased separately by you.

From this point, the modem provides Wi-Fi to your home or business, so whichever devices support internet connectivity can be linked to your modem. Unlike mobile broadband purchased for portable use, home wireless broadband comes with a router and isn’t designed to be accessed on the move, instead serving solely as an alternative to fixed line connections which is designed to provide access from multiple devices.

What types of home wireless broadband can I choose from?

There are three main types of home wireless broadband connection that are available to customers in Australia, as stated earlier, with each of these boasting different capabilities. If you’re considering purchasing a home wireless broadband connection, consider which of these will suit your preferences the most effectively:

4G home wireless broadband

Representing a vast improvement on the 3G network, 4G home wireless broadband was the most powerful and fastest wireless broadband network available to Australians prior to the introduction of 5G internet. However, these days, most 4G plans are only capable of reaching download speeds of 20Mbps to 25Mbps, placing it in a similar category to NBN 25 plans, and aren't as widely available to purchase.

The issue with home Wi-Fi plan connections in comparison to some of the more secure fixed line connections like Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) NBN is that speeds are generally more variable. This can be down to the fact that the 4G coverage in your area isn’t quite as strong as in the next suburb, which may be because your home is further away from a network distribution point.

The good news about 4G home internet plans is that they're often the most affordable to purchase. If you only use less than what these caps dictate, you can avoid any worry about data usage over the course of the month. An example of a 4G home wireless plan you may be able to purchase through a provide you can compare through Savvy (if available in your area) includes:

Provider Data allowance Max. download speed Upfront fees Cost/month
Optus
Unlimited
25Mbps
$0

$59 (with first month free)

Available plans and information correct as of 17 August, 2023.

5G home wireless broadband

The newer and stronger home wireless broadband connection, 5G is more of a direct competitor to the NBN. With providers advertising connections capable of reaching speeds upwards of 200Mbps and even 300Mbps, the download speeds you’re likely to be able to access is closer to an NBN 250 plan. It's also important to note that some plans come with speed caps of 50Mbps and 100Mbps, each of which are generally cheaper than uncapped plans, so you'll need to determine which speeds you need at your home or business.

Again, it’s worth reaching out to your ISP to determine what their average download speed is, both in peak and non-peak hours, to determine the actual speeds you’re likely to receive. Some providers offer a minimum speed guarantee, often of around 50Mbps, for customer satisfaction.

Consider some of the 5G home internet plans available with providers you can compare through Savvy below:

Provider Data allowance Max. download speed Upfront fees Cost/month
Optus
Unlimited
50Mbps
$0

$69

Optus
Unlimited
100Mbps
$0

$79

Optus
Unlimited
Uncapped (typically 240Mbps)
$0

$89 ($99 after six months)

Available plans and information correct as of 17 August, 2023.

3G home wireless broadband

As mentioned earlier, 3G internet is no longer offered on its own as an individual service to internet customers in Australia. Instead, it most commonly forms part of the 4G internet service offered by ISPs, usually as a back-up connection should 4G broadband be unable to be reached.

When accessing 3G internet, you’re unlikely to be able to complete activities such as streaming high-definition video content or play online video games, as networks simply won’t be powerful to provide you with a consistently suitable speed. In terms of its speed capabilities, you’ll likely only be able to achieve a download speed of around 10Mbps and perform at a similar level to an NBN 12 or ADSL fixed line connection.

How do I reduce the cost of my home wireless broadband plan?

There are a variety of ways that you can look to reduce the overall cost of your home wireless broadband. What you’ll end up paying for your plan will be dictated by several key factors, which you can look to optimise to reduce your internet bill. Consider some, or all, of the following avenues:

Lower your internet speed

Setting your sights lower in terms of speeds can help you save quite a bit of money on your plan. For instance, if you had access to both 4G and 5G networks at your home, you’re likely to save at least $10 per month ($120 per year) by opting for a 4G plan rather than a 5G one. You could also save money by opting for a 5G plan with a speed cap, with those maxing out at 50Mbps and 100Mbps generally cheaper than uncapped speeds.

Reduce your data cap

Similarly, people’s needs when it comes to monthly data usage will differ but opting for a stricter data cap can cut the cost of your wireless broadband plan. It’s important to be aware of how much data you use on a monthly basis, as it can be easy to overpay and oversupply with broadband plans. However, it's worth noting that most home wireless plans in the market today come with unlimited data, so this may not always be an option.

Go for a contract broadband plan

It might sound interesting to advertise a lock-in contract, but the reality is that they can actually save you money on your home wireless broadband plan. This is because the upfront fees charged on plans without a contract term will often be waived for a 12 to 24-month contract, as your ISP doesn’t have to worry about not recouping the cost of their modem during your plan term. It's worth noting that most plans don't come with a contract term, though.

Always look out for great internet deals

One of the benefits of not signing onto a contract for your internet plan is that you’re afforded the ability to actively scour the market for great home wireless broadband deals. It’s important to never be complacent when it comes to internet, as there’ll always be great deals available. Staying with the same broadband provider might end up being the best option for your personal situation, whether that be to do with the price, data, speed or any other factors, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep searching.

Avoid plans packaged with unnecessary features

You’ll find that many broadband plans come with additional features that are built into the deal, such as entertainment packages. While these may be useful to you, they add onto your monthly broadband spend, in some cases representing a significant additional outlay. When shopping for broadband plans, always consider whether the bundle is worth it for you.

Compare your options with Savvy

Savvy is a great place to start when comparing the top internet offers on the market. Having a base-level understanding of what each ISP and plan can offer you is crucial knowledge when searching for the best broadband deals available where you live. We can help streamline the process of finding the right plan to suit your needs and help you get value for money on your deal.

Why should I buy a home wireless broadband plan?

There are several reasons as to why someone might wish to purchase a home wireless broadband plan ahead of others like a fixed line NBN connection. Consider some of these factors when searching for the best home wireless broadband plan to suit your needs, as you may find that you fall into one or more of these categories.

Your area doesn’t support fixed line NBN

Not all NBN connection types are available to everyone in Australia, with access to the network particularly limited for those living and working in rural areas. In cases like these, a home wireless broadband plan may be one of few viable options. Whilst there are NBN connection types which cater to people who live in areas unable to access fixed line internet, namely Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster Satellite, you may still wish to 

You’re renting your home and/or you move around a lot

If you’re a tenant in a rental property, you don’t really have much control over permanent installations in your home. As a result of this, you may be at the behest of your landlord when it comes to whether it’s possible to install a fixed line internet connection. Home wireless connections are the simple solution to this, as broadband can be purchased without any need for installation. Similarly, if you don’t tend to stick to one location for long periods, you can take your home wireless connection with you from place to place. This obviously isn’t possible with a fixed line broadband connection.

You don’t want to install the NBN

The NBN isn’t a compulsory connection that you have to purchase wherever you are in Australia. You’re well within your rights to not want to take out a plan, whether that be because you want to avoid hefty installation costs or because your location wouldn’t allow you to make the most of higher speed tiers. Home wireless broadband, particularly 5G, is an alternative to fixed line connections.

How to compare the best home wireless broadband plans

The pros and cons of home wireless broadband

PROS

Quick and easy to install

All you have to do is take your modem out of the box and plug it into your wall to activate your home or business internet, saving on time and money spent on complicated installations.

Non-permanent installation

The fact that it’s a plug in and unplug broadband connection means that you can take it with you if you’re moving or travelling to another location.

An option when fixed line isn’t possible

Fixed line broadband connections aren’t always achievable, so home wireless broadband serves as an alternative for those living in areas where this is the case.

CONS

More expensive internet comparatively

Although plans themselves may be cheaper, you may end up paying more for the internet you use under a home wireless broadband plan than a fixed line one.

Potentially inconsistent rural coverage

If you don’t have a strong mobile signal at your home or work, which can be the case in rural areas, you may find that your internet isn’t as fast as you thought it would be.

Frequently asked home wireless broadband questions

What’s the difference between home wireless broadband and mobile broadband?

While home wireless broadband is established by operating a stationary modem from your home or business, mobile broadband is a type of internet connection which is designed to offer a roaming connection wherever you take it. Connections can be provided via a dongle or SIM card in addition to a portable modem if you choose. Aside from this, the concept and functionality of these internet connections are similar.

Can I use a home mobile broadband plan instead of home wireless broadband?

You can, but it’s not always recommended. Mobile broadband plans are more expensive in terms of cost for usage, so you’re likely to be paying a similar or greater amount for less usable data. Your data will also typically be capped at a lower amoung. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t necessarily need a permanent connection at home and wants connectivity on the go, you might find a home mobile broadband plan is more suited to you.

What are some of the upfront fees I might have to pay on my home wireless broadband plan?

Some of the fees you might encounter include:

  • Cost of modem (up to around $300)
  • Delivery fee ($0-$20)
  • Setup fee (up to around $200)

 

Bear in mind that some or all of these can be waived depending on your ISP and the type of plan you purchase.

Should I compare the type of home wireless broadband provider?

Absolutely – you should always keep in mind the type of provider when comparing between home wireless broadband plans. More premium providers tend to be focused on achieving the fastest speeds and offering the widest range of services, both bundled with the plan and avenues for customer support. However, while they can still offer high-quality internet, others have dedicated their service to providing affordable internet. Where your priorities lie for your home wireless broadband connection will play a part in shaping your ultimate decision.

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Disclaimer:

Savvy is partnered with Econnex Comparison (CIMET Sales Pty Ltd, ABN 72 620 395 726) to provide readers with a variety of internet plans to compare. We do not compare all retailers in the market, or all plans offered by all retailers. Savvy earns a commission from Econnex each time a customer buys an internet plan via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased directly, as all purchases are conducted via Econnex.

Any advice presented above is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an internet plan. For further information on the variety of internet plans compared by Econnex, or how their business works, you can visit their website.

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