Mobile broadband – that little USB dongle you can use on your laptop anywhere – is greatly favoured among Australians for its portability. Though it comes with its own disadvantages around the speed and quality of the broadband, mobile broadband is nevertheless a handy solution for those who can't install an ADSL connection in their own home.
And for some of the disadvantages that come with mobile broadband, pocket WiFi modems are here to save the day.
Click here for the best ADSL plans.
What is pocket WiFi?
Pocket WiFi is a mobile broadband device that uses a SIM card and connects to mobile phone towers in order to access the internet. It then broadcasts that internet connection over a WiFi signal which you can pick up on your laptop, smartphone, iPad and other tablets, netbook, desktop computer, Kindle, or other WiFi enabled device.
Just like a normal WiFi modem, it is both easy and recommended for you to protect your pocket WiFi device with a password so that nobody can access your data supply without your permission. Click here for more information on securing your WiFi connection.
You can buy a pocket WiFi device outright – it can be anywhere from $100-$200 – or you can get it on a data plan from any number of providers. Read on to discover the best deals for pocket WiFi, or, if you're just after the mobile broadband dongle, click here for the best mobile broadband plans.
What are the advantages of pocket WiFi?
Unfortunately, for many people living on RIMS, sub-exchanges, ADSL black spots, or in a house that has a pair gain, ADSL is not an option. If you're one of these people, you might turn to mobile broadband as an alternative.
If you can get a fixed line ADSL2+ connection, we recommend that you try to find one (call us on 1300 106 571 if you're not sure where to start in getting your house connected to the internet). Mobile broadband cannot compete with the speed and reliability of a fixed line connection. However, if that option is simply not open to you, pocket WiFi can help with some of the difficulties that come up when you're using mobile broadband, such as:
- Connecting to many different devices in your household at the same time, rather than being restricted to whatever computer you're putting the dongle into at the time.
- The portability means that you can carry a WiFi zone with you wherever you go. You can use it with your smartphone rather than using the 3G network where you can quickly eat up the entire (sometimes paltry) amount of data available on your phone plan. (Interested in getting more data on your phone plan? Check out the best cap phone plans at Compare Mobile Plans.)
- If you find that the reception of internet from the mobile phone towers is only good in one particular place in your house, you can leave the pocket WiFi device there constantly broadcasting a signal. It may be difficult or annoying to get your computer into the one place where the internet connection is strong; a pocket WiFi device will make it much simpler.
An iPhone using a WiFi connection vs. an iPhone using a 3G connection that eats up expensive data on your mobile plan.
Best pocket WiFi plans
Most providers will offer you pocket WiFi plans on a data plan, rather than the option to buy one outright – a notable exception is Club Telco, with their 0-month data plans. If you'd prefer, you could buy a pocket WiFi device from most electronics store, and then sign up to get a mobile broadband plan from a provider without having to go on a long contract or having to pay additional hardware costs. Here are some of the best pocket WiFi plans out there:
Vodafone offers a pocket WiFi device on all of its plans if you're willing to pay a $39 upfront hardware cost. After that, you're on a twelve month contract for the data usage. We recommend the Vodafone 6GB Mobile Wireless Broadband Plan for $29.00 per month. The plan also includes a free dongle, so you'll have a back-up along with that pocket WiFi modem that you could use when you only need one device to be connected to the internet. Call us for more information about Vodafone on 1300 106 571.
Club Telco currently offers one of Australia's most attractive pocket WiFi deals - $70 will get you the pocket WiFi modem upfront, with no need to sign onto a contract or pay any extra fees. Club Telco plans are great for those who want to avoid contracts, as they offer only 0-month plans, which means if you find the service isn't to your liking you can leave them the very next month. We recommend the Club Telco 10GB Mobile Wireless Broadband Plan for $40 per month. Call Club Telco for more information on 1300 138 155.
Dodo offers a pocket WiFi device on all of their mobile broadband 24 month plans for no added charge. You also get a bonus 5GB of data in the first month of any plan you sign up for. We recommend the Dodo 2GB Mobile Wireless Broadband Plan for $19.90 per month. Call Dodo for more information on 1300 136 793.
Optus offers their pocket WiFi device on their mobile broadband plans from $29.90 per month and up with no additional hardware charges. Alternatively, you can opt for a lower data plan – say 2GB for $19.99 per month – and pay an upfront fee from $79-99. The contracts last for twelve months. Call Optus for more information about their great mobile broadband plans on 1300 137 897.
If you already have a pocket WiFi device, or prefer to buy one free of contract from a store, and are just looking for some great mobile broadband deals on short contracts to try out with it, we recommend:
Amaysim: 1300 302 942
Virgin: 1300 106 571
Club Telco: 1300 138 155
If you're still undecided, or have any further questions about pocket WiFi, please don't hesitate to call us on 1300 106 571.