- 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 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 fibre line running in the ground to your unique site, thus opening up the option of faster, more stable broadband.
If you are sticking to Australia’s eastern coastline on your travels, you will find that many caravan parks and campgrounds offer free or very cheap Wi-Fi to guests. However, if you are planning on heading off the beaten track, you may need to invest in a portable hotspot.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a portable hotspot, such as data allowance, speed, and coverage. Once you have taken these factors into account, you can start shopping around for the best deal.
Some service providers offer special deals for travellers, so it is worth doing your research before making a purchase. With a little bit of planning, you can easily stay connected while on the road.
Prepaid vs. Postpaid 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 postpaid 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 postpaid plans. The average prepaid plan only lasts for 30 days, which is the same as many post-paid options.
Very light users may like these:
- Prepaid: Telstra $30 Prepaid Mobile Broadband starter kit – comes with 500MB (can last up to a month if you are a very light user). With this plan, you only pay for what you use and there are no lock-in contracts.
- Post-paid: Optus My Prepaid Daily Plus – $28 per 28 days for 500MB. The best thing about this plan is that you can add extra data when you need it, and there are no lock-in contracts as well
Light users may be interested in these plans:
- Prepaid: Boost Mobile $40 Prepaid Recharge – comes with 14GB that lasts for 28 days. If you are a light user, this could last you for two months.
- Post-paid: Vodafone $40 Red Plus Plan – comes with 20GB that lasts for 28 days. This plan also includes unlimited standard international calls and texts to selected countries. Perhaps the only drawback is that it does have a lock-in contract of 12 or 24 months.
Medium users may benefit from these:
- Prepaid: amaysim $50 Unlimited Recharge – comes with unlimited data that lasts for 28 days. In case you go over your data limit, you will still have access to unlimited data but at a slower speed. This means that when you are streaming movies or TV shows, you may have to wait a little longer for them to load.
- Post-paid: Vodafone $50 Red Plan – comes with 40GB that lasts for 30 days. This will already allow you to do a lot of streaming and download large files without having to worry about going over your data limit. Just like the $40 Red Plus Plan, this one also has a lock-in contract of 12 or 24 months.
Heavy users may prefer these:
- Prepaid: OVO Mobile $79.95 Large Prepaid Recharge – comes with 60GB that lasts for 90 days. As much as possible, you want to avoid going over your data limit so you can take advantage of the fast speeds.
- Post-paid: Telstra $90 Go Mobile Plus Plan – comes with 80GB that lasts for 30 days. In case you are travelling with family or friends, you can add up to five other mobile services and share your data with them. This is a great way to save on data costs while you are on the road.
No matter what your data needs are, there is a mobile broadband plan out there that will suit you. With a little bit of research, you can find the perfect plan for your needs and budget. Happy travels!