When it comes to getting online, Mobile Broadband is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to do it. You can stick a data-only SIM in an iPad or Android tablet, or grab a compact, lightweight WiFi modem, so you can use it at home in the evenings and then pack it in a bag before leaving in the morning.
Best Mobile Broadband Plan
"This is ultimately the NBN alternative. It's hard to go past a mobile broadband plan with unlimited data, especially at a price which is similar to most fixed-line internet plans. And a current promotion means you will save $90, if you commit for longer period of time, which is a bargain"
"If you plan on using mobile broadband as your main internet connection at home, you'll need at least 100GB per month. Optus and OVO Mobile are great options if the VividWireless plan is out of your price range."
Best Data SIM Plan
"If you'll use your data SIM in an iPad, chances are you already have mobile phone and home internet plans, so you'll want to keep the bill for your data SIM as low as possible.
"Jeenee Mobile's $25 Data SIM has everything you'll need to keep your tablet up and running on the go."
"You'll pay a bit more for the exetel data SIM, but you get a bunch more data. Optus include data-free music streaming and an Optus Sport subscription with the $35 My Mobile Broadband Plus plan, which are both great bonuses."
How we choose the best mobile broadband plans
Mobile phone and internet plans are our focus at WhistleOut, so we put a lot of thought into how we judge these awards.
When considering Mobile Broadband plans for these recommendations, we break up the eligible plans into two categories: plans with lots of data which could be used as the main internet service at home, and plans with less data designed for use in a tablet or iPad.
Because of the simple structure of Mobile Broadband plans, the winners tend to be the best value plans meeting the usage criteria that our expert team believes will meet the needs of most people. We also consider setup costs and plan bonuses in selecting the best plans.
Why would I get mobile broadband?
There are three main reasons why you'd consider signing up for a mobile broadband connection.
- The first is that you don't have a fixed address, are regularly changing addresses, or can't get a fixed line connection where you live. Mobile broadband doesn't use Australia's copper network or the National Broadband Network, so there's no need for a fixed physical connection between your place and the internet. Mobile broadband is also great if you just don't want to deal with the hassle of an extended setup period or are sick of waiting for the NBN to come to your area.
- Mobile broadband can also be useful as a backup solution for if your fixed line connection goes down, or in the event of a power outage. Many mobile broadband modems are powered by a battery, so they'll keep on kicking even when the lights are out.
- A portable mobile broadband modem and connection are also a good option when travelling, especially if you don't want to burn through your smartphone's battery while tethering.
What equipment do I need for a mobile broadband connection?
At a minimum, you need a data-only SIM card and a device to put it in to get a mobile broadband connection going. This could be a simple as putting a SIM in your iPad, and using it as a hotspot, or alternatively, as involved as buying a modem with a SIM card slot.
Most telcos selling data-only SIM plans will also have a range of 4G capable modems available. These include portable battery-powered solutions, as well as more traditional modem replacements that plug into a spare power outlet.
If you've got a SIM-enabled iPad or Android tablet, you can simply put in a data-SIM and then use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot to share its connection with another device.
A USB modem is a great portable mobile broadband solution, provided you only need to take one computer online at a time. While it doesn't need to be recharged, it needs to be plugged in directly to the device you want to get connected.
|Portable Wireless Hotspot|
A portable wireless hotspot lets you share a mobile broadband connection with a number of devices simultaneously. These are typically battery powered, and will need recharging.
|Fixed Home Wireless Modem|
A fixed home wireless modem is much more like a traditional modem, in that it needs to be plugged into a power outlet to work. As such, these are more appropriate for those who don't need their mobile broadband on the go.
For more information read: Mobile Broadband: Everything you need to know.