Prepaid broadband

  • Good for visitors and when travelling around Australia
  • Mobile Broadband only
  • Internet on the go

Thanks to mobile wireless broadband, it is possible to get prepaid internet. While the plans don’t include as much data as ADSL home broadband or cable broadband plans, it’s perfect if you need internet on the go. You also won’t have to worry about long contracts or expensive excess usage charges.

See our pick of the best prepaid mobile broadband plans.

Going prepaid is a great way to limit your data usage. It may suit parents who want to give younger kids access to the internet without their usage getting out of hand.

Be aware you pay more per gigabyte than if you were to go on a post-paid plan, but this way you’re not locked in to any contracts. Also, while you’re not locked into any plan, prepaid credit (which is your data allowance) has an expiry date (often 30 days), so it’s important to keep track of this. Usually, the more data you purchase at once, the longer the period before the data expires.

Generally with a prepaid broadband service, you will need to purchase a starter kit, which will include a mobile broadband modem, as well as some data to get you started. Once you have used that data, you can “recharge” online to purchase more data.

Customers who already have a USB modem and are looking for a new prepaid broadband service will first need to ensure their modem isn’t locked to an incompatible network. For example, if you have a Vodafone USB modem, it may be locked to the Vodafone network and you won’t be able to use it with Optus unless you have it unlocked (often there is an “unlocking fee”).

There are a range of mobile broadband carriers to choose from. Vodafone and 3 offer cheap plans, and are best for people in metro areas as they offer limited 3G coverage in regional areas. Optus offers cheap plans, and they have wider coverage across Australia. You can call Optus on 1300 768 194 to find out if they have coverage at your address. Virgin (1300 106 571) and Dodo (1300 136 793) also offer prepaid mobile broadband and they use the Optus network to provide network coverage.

There are usually two main types of mobile broadband modems to choose from: USB modem or a Wi-Fi modem. A USB modem can connect one computer at a time to the internet, whereas a Wi-Fi modem plugs into once device via the USB port, and a number of other devices can connect to the Wi-Fi signal simultaneously. Customers should understand however, that mobile broadband speeds can be slow at times, particularly when there is high internet traffic on the network, so sharing your data with other devices at the same time will slow it down further.

Vodafone prepaid mobile wireless broadband

Vodafone has two modems to choose from, with different starter packs for each.

USB Modem

$49 3GB (30-day expiry)
$99 6GB (94-day expiry)
$149 12GB (365-day expiry)

Pocket Wi-Fi Modem

$99 3GB (30-day expiry)
$199 12GB (365-day expiry)

BYO Modem (starter kit only)

$29 3GB (30-day expiry) - and Vodafone will send you a SIM card to put in your mobile broadband modem.

Optus prepaid mobile wireless broadband

Opus has two USB modems to choose from. Their prepaid plans also include unlimited Facebook®, Twitter® and MySpaceTM access within Australia, so accessing these sites won’t count toward your monthly data allowance.

E173 USB Modem Bundled Starter Kit

$79 4GB (93-day expiry)

E153 USB Modem Bundled Starter Kit

$49 1GB (30-day expiry)

BYO Modem (starter kit only)

$30 1GB (and Optus will send you a SIM card to put in your mobile broadband modem).

Once you have your Optus prepaid starter kit, there is a wide range of recharge offers to choose from. There is the “Connect N’ Surf” vouchers, as well as the “Connect N’ Go” vouchers. The Connect N' Go will give you more data allowance for recharging $15 - $30, whereas Connect N' Surf provides a lot more data for $40 - $130 recharge values.

Connect N’ Go

$15 575MB (15-day expiry)
$20 750MB (15-day expiry)
$30 1.15GB (30-day expiry)

Connect N’ Surf

$40 3.45GB (30-day expiry)
$50 6.9GB (30-day expiry)
$70 6.9GB (3-month expiry)
$80 9.2GB (3-month expiry)
$100 11.5GB (6-month expiry)
$130 17.25GB (12-month expiry)

Virgin prepaid mobile wireless broadband

Virgin has two modems to choose from, as well as the option to purchase a BYO starter kit. The Wi-Fi modem can connect up to three devices at once when within a 15-metre range.

Prepaid Wi-Fi modem

$99 4GB (30-day expiry)

Prepaid USB modem

$49 4GB (30-day expiry)
$79 6GB (30-day expiry)

BYO Modem (starter kit only)

$10 300MB (30-day expiry)

Starter kit – Micro SIM card (compatible with the iPad)

$5 300MB (30-day expiry)

Recharge vouchers:

$15 300MB (30-day expiry)
$19 1GB (30-day expiry)
$29 2GB (30-day expiry)
$50 4GB (60-day expiry)
$100 8GB (180-day expiry)
$149 12GB (365-day expiry)