Mobile Broadband Plans
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What is Mobile Broadband?
Mobile Broadband is the blanket term used to refer to any wireless internet technology access; whether it’s a mobile phone, a tablet device, a dongle, a laptop - basically any device that can access the internet while on the move. Mobile Broadband is designed to be convenient and uncomplicated. There are many long-term mobile plans available, but if you feel more comfortable with a plan that ensures that you’re not spending money on data you don’t use, there are also many prepaid mobile plans out there.
Mobile broadband is suitable for light users who need to take their internet connection outside the home, or for customers who cannot access a fixed line service such as ADSL2+, ADSL1, Cable or NBN broadband. Mobile broadband plans range from less than 1GB to around 16GB a month. Heavy users should consider using a fixed-line connection such as ADSL2+ for most of their downloading, keeping their mobile broadband plan for light browsing when out and about.
As mobile broadband relies on the mobile phone towers instead of a fixed line for a connection, speed can be an issue for users. Mobile broadband providers cannot give users an estimation of the speed they can expect because there are so many variables. Speeds of around 1,500kbps would be considered good for mobile broadband, however, speed will vary throughout the day and depending on your location. Mobile broadband is best suited to light browsing, such as checking email, using online banking, or reading an online newspaper.
When shopping around for a mobile broadband plan, call a provider to check the service is good in your area before signing up. Each provider has a coverage map showing signal strength across Australia. Factors that may affect signal strength include hills, trees and buildings. Mobile broadband is also affected by congestion and may become slower at certain times of the day. You will need to decide whether you want a pre-paid or contract plan. Pre-paid is ideal for temporary use, but for longer-term a month-to-month plan offers better value.
Mobile broadband users require a modem and a SIM card to access their connection. Most mobile broadband providers offer a USB modem with a SIM already installed, also known as a dongle, which can be connected to a computer via a USB port. Some devices, such as an iPad, have a built in modem and all you need is the SIM card (or in the case of an iPad, a microSIM).
What is 4G Mobile Broadband?
4G is, at the time of writing, the most commonly available form of cellular broadband technology. It is short for “fourth generation”, a reference to its predecessors, 3G and 2G, that it surpassed in both performance and the marketplace. 4G was, until recently, also the best form of cellular technology that you could attain, but it has now been surpassed by 5G (which stands for, you guessed it, “fifth generation”), and it is expected that 5G will dominate the marketplace when it becomes more readily available in Australia next year.
How is 4G different to 5G?
As it is the latest step in the evolutionary chain of cellular technology, 5G is designed to offer a quicker and more efficient performance which will deliver better connectivity between multiple devices simultaneously, which is great news for the ever expanding Internet of Things. Early reports suggest that 5G is so quick that it can download content at an unprecedented rate of 20Gb per second. At these early stages, that number is more of a hypothetical top speed rather than a guaranteed promise, but if it can hit anywhere close to that download speed, we can probably expect to see 5G eliminate both 4G as well as the NBN, especially as 5G will also probably be the cheapest alternative.
Well, that’s assuming 5G doesn’t get banned from our country! You should probably know that the flipside to 5G’s impressive performance is that it may possibly be emitting dangerous levels of radiation. Though Australian scientists and officials have officially declared that 5G is perfectly safe for public use, other countries aren’t so sure, with the city of Brussels going as far as shutting down a 5G pilot project, citing that 5G clashed with the Brussels’ safe standards of radiation laws. Time will tell as to whether that’s an overreaction or the beginning of the end for 5G (if not the beginning of the end for mobile broadband users), but for now, Aussie Telcos are still planning on making 5G a mainplace broadband alternative by 2020. 5G is not yet available nationwide, though Samsung, Ericsson, ZTE and Huwai have started offering 5G for carriers, and other Telcos, such as Telstra, have set up trials, such as the temporary 5G hotspots that Telstra set up in Southport for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. If you’d like to know more about 5G, check out our Ultimate Guide to 5G.
What is Unlimited Broadband?
Unlimited Broadband refers to a plan where you can use as an unlimited amount of data without being capped and without incurring an additional fee. Unlimited Broadband plans are very common these days, and exceedingly popular with people who stream a lot of content and/or share their broadband plan with other people in the household.
Can you get No Contract Unlimited Broadband plans?
You can, all the major ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will offer variations on a No Contract Unlimited Broadband plan. The flipside is that these plans won’t always be as affordable as certain contract or capped data plans, but if a No Contract Unlimited plan is your priority, then there are many good ones available.
What is the best mobile broadband plan?
There’s no universal answer to this, because the best for others is not going to be the best for you.
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Compare Broadband is a free internet comparison service for all Australian homes. Our customers have independently rated us 5 stars, and we have a 4.8 out of 5 stars Trust Pilot score based on over 1,800 reviews
You can compare any kind of Australia broadband online with us for free; all you have to do is enter your postcode or suburb in the white box, then click on “Compare”. We’ll then ask you to answer some quick questions regarding your average internet habits so that we can get a good idea of what sort of data would best suit. It’s a pretty quick and easy process, but if you have follow up questions or you’d simply prefer to talk to a real person, you can have a chat with one of our friendly broadband consultants on 1300 106 571. Our helpful staff are there to assist you from 9AM to 8PM Monday to Friday, and from 10AM to 5PM Saturdays (Australian Eastern Standard Time), so give them a bell if you have questions about any and all things broadband related. Again, it’s a free service for all Australian homes!