Do you want the fastest internet speed around, but don’t want to pay top dollar for it? No problem! Canstar Blue has compiled a comparison of the cheapest NBN plans currently on offer. But make sure you know exactly what you’re getting, because the ‘cheapest’ plans don’t always mean the best ‘value’. Cheap plans often come with very modest data allowances and expensive up-front costs which you’ll need to be aware of.
The best NBN plans with superfast speeds usually come with a hefty amount of data – unlimited in many cases – and this will be reflected by the price you pay. Going for the cheapest deals usually means sacrificing either speed or data. However, if you really do your homework, you’ll be able to find some awesome NBN plans that strike a good balance between speed and data allowance. And fortunately for you, we’ve done the hard work for you.
Before we go into detail, it’s important to understand the difference between the four NBN speed tiers available because they are directly linked to price.
- Tier 1 – 12/1: 12 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload
- Tier 2 – 25/5: 25 Mbps download, 5 Mbps upload
- Tier 3 – 50/20: 50 Mbps download, 20 Mbps upload
- Tier 4 – 100/40: 100 Mbps download, 40 Mbps upload
As you’ll find, many NBN plans offered by the big service providers will give you the option of upgrading your speed tier for an extra monthly cost. So let’s take a look at the cheapest NBN plans on offer and explain what you need to look for to make sure you’re really getting a great deal.
Cheapest NBN plans
|Speed Tier||Provider and Data Allowance||Price Per Month|
|Tier 1 – 12/1||Dodo – 10GB||$29.90|
|Tier 2 – 25/5||Teleron – 50GB||$49.00|
|Tier 3 – 50/20||SpinTel – 40GB||$59.95|
|Tier 4 – 100/40||MyRepublic – Unlimited||$59.99|
Source: Respective retailer websites
As mentioned, there are four NBN speed tiers, all at different price points, of course. You will generally find that the value proposition improves as you move up through the tiers, until you reach the pinnacle of the NBN – 100Mbps downloads. Let’s dive in and see what each tier can offer you.
Cheapest NBN 12/1 Plans
NBN Tier 1 speeds may not be a great deal faster than what you’re used to with an ADSL2+ connection, but they should certainly meet the basic internet needs of most households, and you will easily be able to bag a bargain. If you’re now chained to an NBN reality, these plans can offer good prices for those not really fussed about doing much more than some light browsing. While you likely won’t be able to stream Super HD Netflix without any hiccups, this tier should take on most ‘day to day’ duties capably.
Nowadays, there are a few Tier 1 providers offering plans under $50 per month – merely a year ago you would have been struggling to find anything. For the most basic, entry-level plans, expect to pay around $30-$40, but you won’t get much data for your pennies. Expect data to be no more than 100GB. Also, it appears that investing even just $10 more a month will see a huge boost in data. Expect plans from the likes of Dodo, SpinTel, Exetel and Teleron at the bargain-basement end of the spectrum. These are the cheapest to go with, but if you want unlimited data, you’ll need to spend upwards of $50 a month. And if you’re willing to spend this much, then you might as well look at jumping into Tier 2.
Cheapest NBN 25/5 Plans
NBN Co’s first designated ‘superfast’ speed tier sees increased competition. Teleron is a front runner for having one of the cheapest plans at Tier 2 speeds, as is Exetel. Another provider competing well here is iPrimus, albeit with a relatively low data amount. iiNet subsidiary Internode also makes an appearance for a relatively generous data allowance of 100GB. Overall, expect to pay at least $40, with plans quickly creeping up over $50.
At 25Mbps speeds, you should be able to stream HD Netflix and download movies quite quickly, but don’t expect stellar performance, and peak times could see some very frustrating congestion. If you’re hungry for more data, the cheapest unlimited plans in this tier tend to be over $60, with many over the $70 range. Here expect providers like Tangerine, Barefoot and Mate to offer great value. Generally the cheapest plans in this tier offer paltry amounts of data, but Exetel does standout for offering 100GB for about $50.
Cheapest NBN 50/20 Plans
As far as tiers go, stepping up into a Tier 3 plan will see your speeds start to get to a level where you might say “Okay, this is pretty fast”. When it comes to Tier 3 plans, the cheapest deals start at around the $60 mark, but of course these plans will come with a very modest amount of data. Expect familiar faces SpinTel and Teleron to make an appearance, albeit with plans no higher than 200GB. Internode also comes to the game with 100GB, while Southern Phone rounds out the list with a relatively paltry 50GB.
For unlimited data, expect to pay over $80 a month. However, SpinTel does do a 1000GB plan for just over $70, which seems decent value. Overall expect to get a significant boost in speeds, but you’ll also be shelling out a lot more pennies for the privilege. To really get the best of this speed tier, you’ll likely want a lot of data to play with, and some of these plans might not cut it.
Cheapest NBN 100/40 Plans
This is where you’ll find the best-of-the-best download speeds, which got everything all excited when the NBN first came to fruition. 100Mbps is a speed mostly unprecedented in Australia until now. You’ll be able to download movies in a snap, provided your plan delivers on its promises. HD Netflix viewing should be easy-peasy, and things like video calling across the globe just got a whole lot easier, and less frustrating, with these types of speeds.
Surprisingly, Tier 4 also seems to be where the best value lies. This is due to new provider MyRepublic offering unlimited data for less than $60 – which is simply outstanding. All other providers struggle to offer 100GB for $60, let alone unlimited data. Apart from MyRepublic, other unlimited plan providers are around $90 a month and quickly rise after that. Be sure to check out contract options, however, as MyRepublic’s cheapest deal is only available on a 12 month deal. If you want to avoid the lock-in, you’ll need to pay an extra $10 per month – which still represents incredible value.
Is a cheap NBN plan a good move?
The NBN is a great thing for Australia – who doesn’t want superfast internet speeds at home and at work? However, to get truly impressive speeds, you’ll have to spend over $60 a month. Quite frankly, anything less than Tier 3 isn’t particularly ‘good value’, especially considering the speeds you can get through other deliveries like cable broadband and ADSL2+. The rollout of the NBN in your area might seem like a bit of an anticlimax unless you significantly upgrade your plan, which will likely mean you have to spend more than you currently do.
Take a quick look at the pros and cons to see if a cheap NBN plan is right for you.
|NBN plans can be had for as little as $30 a month||Data allowances are generally very small, around 50GB per month|
|Tier 1 is the cheapest and will be adequate for light internet users||You may feel disgruntled about having to pay more for similar speeds as you already experience|
|There are lots of service providers to choose from||Beware set-up fees. Can often be better value to choose a more expensive plan with lower fees|
|Top-speed plans can be had from around $60||Many Unlimited plans are easily $90+ a month|
If you’re in an area already with NBN rolled out, then unfortunately you don’t have much choice but to go on an NBN plan, and either go for the cheapest you can get away with – about $30 – and put up with slower speeds, or choose a faster plan but pay significantly more for the privilege and the increased data you’ll find to be using from the faster speeds. Overall, to get the NBN speeds promised, you’ll need to be willing to pay $80 or more for a Tier 4 plan, and for any sizeable amount of data you’ll need to be willing to pay $90 per month at least. For some this is simply outrageous, but for others it’s worth the money to be one of the early adopters of a technology that promises the world.