Getting an internet connection for your caravan or campervan
- Find the best internet connection for travel
- Mobile wireless broadband great for camping and roadtripping
- Choose between prepaid and post-paid contracts
Caravans and campervans are a common sight around Australia, whether people are living in them permanently, or simply on a long travelling holiday. Some people live in caravan parks, while others are permanently on the move. So, what is the best way for Australians to get an internet connection while they reside in a caravan or campervan? The answer is nearly always the same: Mobile Wireless Broadband.
Mobile Wireless Broadband for camping grounds, or on the road:
In Australia there are three main types of mobile phone towers: Telstra BigPond, Optus and Vodafone. The majority of other Mobile Wireless broadband providers use the Optus network to deliver their internet connections.
Telstra’s NextG network is renowned for having the widest coverage throughout Australia, especially in regional and rural locations, but unfortunately BigPond does cost more than the competition. NextG is also purported to have the fastest wireless broadband speeds, if you have the right modem, which can be very expensive. However, because of congestion issues in some locations (like major cities), BigPond’s wireless broadband can end up being even slower than its competitors.
If you are sticking to Australia’s eastern coastline on your travels, you may be better off seeing if Vodafone, Optus (1300 106 571), or one of the Optus resellers like Virgin Broadband (1300 106 571), Dodo (1300 136 793), Amaysim, or iPrimus (1300 137 794) has good coverage in the locations you are travelling to or staying. These providers all use 3G wireless broadband, but are cheaper than BigPond.
When travelling out bush most broadband providers offer external antennae you can put on the roof of your campervan or caravan, which then amplifies the broadband signal.
Note: In some campgrounds the site owners will offer a Wi-Fi service via an ADSL broadband connection that customers can either pay for or use for free. Occasionally, if your caravan is on a long-term/permanent site, you may even have a proper copper landline running in the ground to your unique site, thus opening up the option of faster, more stable ADSL broadband.
Prepaid vs. Post-paid Wireless broadband:
Most people would assume prepaid internet is the cheapest way to access the online world, but interestingly enough, you’ll get much more data with a month-to-month post-paid wireless broadband plan. Here are some good options for both prepaid and post-paid contracts:
Note: Some people like getting a prepaid plan that has a long expiry date. E.G. 365 days. This is the one instance where prepaid truly does differentiate itself from post-paid plans. The average prepaid plan only last for 30 days, which is the same as many post-paid options.
Very light users may like the Club Telco 500MB $10.00 mobile wireless broadband month-to-month plan. Club Telco uses the Optus network. You can also buy data add-ons for $20.00 (1GB), $40.00 (4GB), $70.00 (10GB). There are no excess usage charges, and no off-peak time periods, but you do have to pay a $50.00 annual membership fee. Club Telco’s USB modem costs $29.00 plus $14.00 delivery. Call Club Telco on 1300 138 155 for more information.
Virgin Mobile Broadband Prepaid $149.00 12GB plan with 365-day expiry period: Use your data anytime you like with no excess usage charges. This plan lasts for an entire year! Call Virgin Broadband on 1300 106 571 for more information.
Vodafone 1.5GB $15.00 mobile wireless broadband plus $49.00 USB modem on a month-to-month plan: This is a good plan, but you’ll need to make sure it is the right data limit for your needs, as excess usage is charged at 2-cents per MB, or $20.00 per GB.
Optus 4GB $29.95 mobile wireless broadband data cap month-to-month plan: This plan has no excess charges and no off-peak times. You need to purchase a standard USB modem for $69.00, a Wi-Fi modem for $129.00, or a Samsung Galaxy Tablet for $749.00 upfront. Additional data packs are available if you reach your quota too early in the month. Call Optus on 1300 768 194 for more information.
Virgin Mobile Broadband $39.00 10GB BYO modem month-to-month plan: This is a heavy user plan where you can use your data anytime and never have to worry about excess usage fees. If you do reach this high data limit your speed will be slowed down (shaped) to 128kbps for the next 250MB, then stopped completely until the next monthly period. Call Virgin Broadband on 1300 106 571 for more information.