- What is Pocket Wi-Fi
- How Fast is Pocket Wi-Fi
- Which Providers Offer Pocket Wi-Fi
When fixed-line broadband plans fail to meet your needs for a more flexible internet connection, your next best option would be to get a pocket Wi-Fi or an internet dongle. These two devices help you stay connected and do your online activities even when you’re on the move. They are the very definition of “wireless internet”.
But how do you differentiate between the two? And which of them presents the best options to subscribers? Here’s what you should know:
What is a pocket Wi-Fi?
In simple terms, a pocket Wi-Fi is like a smaller version of your plug-in modem at home. It provides you with a reliable internet connection and allows you to connect multiple devices (tablets, phones, and laptops) to the modem all at once. It’s smaller than a smartphone, powered by a battery, and can easily fit your pocket, hence the name.
Internet service providers usually offer pocket Wi-Fi plans among their products and it pretty much costs the same as a USB modem. The difference is that it does not have to be plugged in to connect to the internet and it can support other devices while being recharged. Pocket Wi-Fi plans are also often used as an NBN alternative or a supplement to a fixed-line connection.
What is an internet dongle?
Otherwise known as a USB modem, an internet dongle is like a USB stick that you plug into your computer to get instant internet. It’s smaller and lighter than a pocket Wi-Fi and does not require a battery to function. However, it can only connect one device at a time.
Between a pocket Wi-Fi and an internet dongle, most subscribers agree that the former is more cost-effective and practical. This is especially the case if you are sharing the internet with other people. When pocket Wi-Fi devices surged in popularity, the internet dongle was the most affected. But there are still telcos offering plans to interested customers.
The Best Pocket Wi-Fi Plans Overall: Vodafone
When it comes to the best pocket Wi-Fi plans in the market, Vodafone leads the pack with its 100GB Red Mobile Broadband Plan. It costs $60.25 per month for 100GB of data and if you’re lucky, you might chance upon limited offers of an additional 50GB to your plan.
This bundle includes a Vodafone Pocket Wi-Fi 3 4G, a 30-day Network Guarantee, and a loyalty discount of as much as $84 in a 24-month period. But the contract itself is on a month-to-month basis.
For something that’s cheaper and ideal for those who don’t need as much as 100GB of data on a monthly basis, Telstra also offers a $50 Medium MBB plan, which includes 60GB of data for only $55 a month.
There’s a $5 for the modem and you are required to sign up for a 24-month contract, but it includes amazing inclusions such as data-free music and sports streaming.
The Best Internet Dongle Plans Overall: Telstra
The $75 Large MBB Plan from Telstra is the leading internet dongle plan you can find in the market today. It comes with a monthly allocation of 200GB data and a $75 monthly fee. Subscribers connected to this plan enjoy data-free streaming on Apple Music and sports streaming to catch AFL, AFLW, NRL, Netball, and Hyundai A-League matches.
You can also benefit from Telstra’s No Excess Charge policy in case you exceed your data allocation. For only an additional $4, you can get the Telstra 4GX USB device, but you will have to be connected to the network for 24 months.
In case Telstra is not the best option in your location or a monthly bill of $75 is a little difficult to maintain, you might want to consider SpinTel’s 4G Mobile Broadband 500GB plan. It costs $69.95 a month with 500GB of data allocation.
It’s a no lock-in contract and includes a Netgear AC800S device in the bundle. However, your data is strictly capped at 500GB and you will need to shoulder a hefty $310 upfront fee.
Best Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Hotspot Plans
For those who are considering a good NBN alternative or some sort of supplement to their home Wi-Fi, a deal that is worth paying attention to is Telstra’s 5G Pocket Wi-Fi plan.
Telstra’s $75 Large MBB Plan comes with a monthly allocation of 200GB of data and is initially priced at $75. But that is if you opt to bring your own device. If you don’t mind paying an additional $24.95 to your bill, you can enjoy using the HTC 5G Hub that is included in the plan.
The HTC 5G Hub can be used to connect as many as 20 devices simultaneously and has 24 hours of battery life. The Hub also functions as a touchscreen device where you can watch Netflix, download other Android apps, or connect to an external display using a Type C connector.
The bundle also includes data-free streaming on Apple Music, sports streaming, and free access to more than a million Telstra Air hotspots across Australia, as well as 19 million Fon Spots abroad.
There won’t be excess data charges in case you go beyond your allowed 200GB of monthly data. Plus, it’s a no lock-in contract, meaning you are free to leave Telstra by the end of the month without paying a disconnection fee. However, you will have to pay for the remaining balance for the device if you wish to end your subscription to the network.
Cheap Pocket Wi-Fi and Internet Dongle Plans from Leading Telcos
In case you need a portable internet plan that’s reliable but does not necessarily need plenty of data, Telstra’s $15 Extra Small MBB plan could be the one for you. It comes with 5GB of data, data-free music, data-free sports streaming, and you also don’t need to pay excess data charges within Australia.
The rates vary depending on the device you are looking to get. For the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro device, there is an additional $24.95 to your monthly $15 bill. Meanwhile, a Telstra 4GX Wi-Fi Pro will cost you an extra $5 to your $15 bill. Both are offered on a 24-month contract.
The good thing about subscribing to Telstra’s mobile broadband plans is getting free access to the Telstra Air Wi-Fi hotspots located across the country, as well as the Fon Wi-Fi hotspots overseas.
If your location does not pick up Telstra’s reception too well, maybe Optus is the network you should go with. The company offers the 4G Home Internet Lite 200GB plan for 465 a month. It comes with a monthly data allocation of 200GB and also includes the Huawei B818 modem in the bundle.
The contract is for 24 months, but if you don’t mind paying an upfront fee of $216, you can go month-to-month with Optus for the same rates and inclusions.
If neither of the two previous telcos meets your needs or preferences, you might want to consider checking out Vodafone’s 10GB Red Mobile Broadband plan. It costs $20.25 per month, inclusive of the fee for the Vodafone Pocket Wifi 3 4G device. It comes with 10GB of data, which is enough for some moderate internet browsing, social media use, or video streaming.
From time to time, Vodafone offers an extra 10GB of data to customers as part of its exclusive deals and loyalty plans.
Pocket Wi-Fi Plans from Other Service Providers
If you prefer smaller telcos with equally reliable service, Exetel is one brand you shouldn’t forget to check out. This service provider’s increasing popularity is a testament to the quality of service it provides to customers whether for NBN plans or mobile broadband plans.
The 4G ExoGo 1.5GB plan is one of its popular products. It costs only $9.99 a month and comes with 1.5GB of data. If you think you need more than that, the 4G ExoGo 8GB plan offers 8GB of monthly data for just $19.99 per month.
Both plans are offered on a no-contract policy but you will have to pay an upfront fee of $69 for the Huawei E8372 device.
Another viable option to consumers is SpinTel and its 4G Mobile Broadband 1.5GB plan that costs $8.95 a month for 1.5GB of data. You may also go for the plan that offers 7GB of monthly data allocation for as low as $15.95 a month.
These are also offered on a no-contract policy, although subscribers will need to shoulder the $139 upfront fee for the TP-Link WIFI M7450 device.
Choosing between a pocket Wi-Fi and internet dongle
If you are considering applying for a pocket Wi-Fi or internet dongle plan from any of the service providers we mentioned in this article, it is worth knowing that this is not always the best option to totally replace a fixed-line connection.
Pocket Wi-Fi and internet dongle plans are typically used only as an alternative or supplement to home connections. It may not be enough for online gaming, streaming, and other activities that require high data consumption and extremely fast internet speeds.
Be sure to weigh your options carefully before signing up for a contract so you can get the most value for your money.