Home Wireless Broadband

Securing the best home wireless broadband deal to suit your needs.

Last updated on April 19th, 2022 at 02:32 pm by Thomas Perrotta

Home Wireless Broadband

With all the talk about the NBN and fixed line internet connections in Australian internet circles, it might be easy to forget that there are other viable options available to you right now. One of these is home wireless broadband, which is the internet of choice for millions of Australians across the country. Find out more about home wireless broadband connections, how they work and how you should compare them in this comprehensive guide.

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 that of fixed line internet. All that’s needed to establish the connection is a modem, which is provided by your ISP. This is, in turn, connected to a power socket in your home or business and the home wireless broadband connection can be completed. From this point, the plan provides Wi-Fi to your home or business, so whichever devices support internet connectivity can be linked to your modem. Unlike home mobile broadband, or 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.

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 serving different purposes and boasting varying capabilities. If you’re considering purchasing a home wireless broadband connection, consider which of these will suit your preferences the most effectively and provide you with good, or at least adequate, broadband.

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 only be able to achieve a maximum download speed of 40Mbps, although this number is likely to be far lower on average at around 10Mbps and perform at a similar level to an NBN 12 or ADSL fixed line connection. As a result of its comparatively poor performance when stood next to 4G and 5G home internet, it’s only utilised when 4G is unavailable.

4G home wireless broadband

4G home internet is the prevailing type of home wireless broadband connection in Australia today. Representing a vast improvement on the 3G network, 4G was up until recently the most powerful and fastest wireless broadband network available to Australians. In this respect, it still serves its purpose as a more than reasonable home broadband connection option, as its speeds of up to 150Mbps, with an average closer to 50, putting it ahead of NBN 25 and around at a similar capacity of NBN 50 and even NBN 100.

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 over due to their respective proximity to network distribution points. As such, you’ll notice that the speeds you can access are unlikely to represent your plan’s peak performance. However, 4G is still an effective network for those looking to partake in higher-demand activities like streaming and gaming.

Another factor to take into consideration is that 4G plans won’t generally give you the option of purchasing unlimited data on your home wireless broadband. This means that you’ll probably have to adhere to a cap, usually between 200GB and 500GB. The good news about this is that you can seek out affordably priced plans that can suit your internet needs. If you only use less than what these caps dictate, you can avoid any worry about data usage over the course of the month. Listed below are some of the cheapest and best 4G home internet plans in Australia for you to consider when shopping around for deals.

Provider Data allowance Contract Upfront fees Cost/month
SpinTel
500GB
Month-to-month
$280
$59.95 (six months, then $69.95)
Optus
500GB
24 months
$79

$67.50 (24 months, then $75)

Southern Phone
200GB
24 months
$79

$50

Moose Mobile
200GB
24 months
$0

$59

Tangerine
200GB
Month-to-month
$0

$59.90 (six months, then $69.90)

Uniti Wireless
500GB
12 months
$0

$67.50

iiNet
Unlimited
Month-to-month
$0

$0 (one month, then $59.99)

5G home wireless broadband

The newest and strongest type of home wireless broadband connection, 5G is here to stay as a direct competitor to the NBN. Capable of reaching speeds up to 1Gbps (equivalent to an NBN 1000 plan), the broadband you’re likely to be able to access is likely to be closer to an NBN 250 plan in terms of download speed. This means that 5G plans can outperform the second-fastest and second-most expensive NBN speed tier and can do so at a significantly cheaper price. 

Again, the concern must be raised for those buying into 5G broadband that the speeds advertised may not be reached at your home. It’s worth reaching out to your ISP to determine what their average download speed is, both in peak and non-peak hours, to see the type of connection you’re likely to receive. There are safeguards in place for some ISPs, with Optus implementing a 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee on their 5G home wireless broadband plans. This means that you’ll always have access to a minimum of 50Mbps internet speed on their plan, which is equivalent to an NBN 50 plan at top performance.

As 5G is relatively new to the Australian internet landscape, you won’t have many options when it comes to plans of this nature. Optus is leading the way with their 5G wireless broadband network, with only SpinTel also offering plans of their own (albeit utilising Optus’ network to do so). These are far more reasonably priced than NBN 250 and 1000 plans, which often comfortably exceed $100 per month. This means that this could become a more economically viable choice for you if you require fast internet speeds for working from home, downloading large files and 4K streaming. Additionally, 5G wireless broadband plans come with unlimited data, so you won’t need to fret about exhausting your allowance before the end of the month.

Provider Data allowance Contract Upfront fees Cost/month
SpinTel
Unlimited
12 months
$20

$70

Optus
Unlimited
Month-to-month
$200

$75

Southern Phone
Unlimited
Month-to-month
$20

$90

Optus
Unlimited
24 months
$0

$90 (includes Fetch set-top box and Premium Channel Pack)

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

While this is seen as being a more effective option with the NBN, as there are six speed tiers instead of two main types of home wireless broadband. However, setting your sights lower 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 upwards of $20 per month ($240 per year) by opting for a 4G plan rather than a 5G one. You could also save money by opting for a 4G plan that also uses 3G rather than a straight 4G connection. This may not always be viable depending on your internet needs, but it can certainly save you a substantial amount.

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. If you’re someone whose household typically only uses less than 200GB per month, for instance, it might be worth saving the extra $10-$15 that you would’ve spent by conservatively purchasing a 500GB plan. Cutting down on data is one of the most efficient ways you can go about reducing the cost of your plan.

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 that are 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. You can see in the tables above that these fees can sometimes be as much as $200 to $300, so it’s certainly not an insignificant saving. It’s important, though, to ensure that you aren’t entering a contract you may not be satisfied with for the sake of avoiding upfront fees.

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 that appear for you to take advantage of. 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 other features

You’ll find that many broadband plans come with additional features that are built into the deal, such as entertainment packages. An example of this is listed above with Optus’ $90 5G plan, which includes a Fetch set-top box and channel package. While these may be useful to you, they add onto your monthly broadband spend, in some cases representing a significant additional outlay. Using the Optus example above, customers are paying $15 extra per month for this package at a total added cost of $360 over 24 months. 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 home wireless broadband 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 home wireless broadband deals. Savvy can help you achieve this with comparison tools that allow you to contrast different offers in the areas that are likely to matter to you most. This will help streamline the process of finding the right plan to suit your needs and ensure you’ll be getting 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, these can also vary in their efficacy. A 4G or 5G network may be more likely to provide you with a reliable home Wi-Fi plan connection in this instance.

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’re 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, which means they’re almost certainly going to be a viable option for your home internet.

Explained: 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’re likely to end up paying more for the internet you use under a home wireless broadband plan than a fixed line one

Data restrictions

Home wireless broadband, especially 4G plans, come with more restrictive options for data usage than NBN plans, which often offer unlimited data

Inconsistent coverage rurally

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.

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 typically be capped at around 100GB, although you can access 400GB mobile data plans with Telstra and Optus. 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 ($10-$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. You can usually avoid these with a contract plan.

Can I access an unlimited 4G home wireless internet plan?

Not usually – however, iiNet is the exception to the rule with their unlimited 4G home internet plan, which also operates on a 3G network.

Which ISPs offer home wireless broadband?

There are several ISPs currently offering home wireless broadband plans on the market. These include:

  • Optus
  • Tangerine
  • SpinTel
  • Southern Phone
  • Exetel
  • Uniti Wireless
  • Moose Mobile
  • Yomojo
  • iiNet
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 like Optus 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, providers like Tangerine and SpinTel 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.