Review of unlimited data broadband plans

Australian households are gobbling up broadband data like never before, and internet service providers have responded to our demands with ‘unlimited data’ offerings to keep us satisfied. But not all unlimited broadband plans are as good as they sound. In this report, Canstar Blue looks at the best value unlimited broadband plans on offer, depending on which type of fixed line connection you have – ADSL2+, Naked DSL, cable or NBN.

Before we go into detail, it’s important to say that unlimited data might not be for everyone. A great many households could comfortably get by with just 100GBs of data or less. It’s all about understanding your data usage and finding an appropriate internet plan that best matches your needs. If you’re not going to need an endless supply of data, then why pay for it?

However, if you regularly find yourself hitting your data limit – and subsequently your head – month after month, then it might be time to consider going unlimited. Unlimited broadband plans get rid of the pesky speed throttling that you may have experienced when going over your limit. So, where can you find the best value unlimited data plans at Australia?

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Unlimited data ADSL2+ plans

The cheapest unlimited ADSL2+ plan you’ll currently find is available from Dodo, priced at just $34.90 a month. That’s a low price, and it’s on a no-contract basis. However, the Dodo option will result in fairly common upfront costs totaling $99. Also keep an eye out for providers like Inspired Broadband, AusBBS and Barefoot Telecom who all currently offer great value deals.

ADSL2+ is the tried and true form of broadband – the one that’s been around the longest. It’s likely it’s available in more areas, and it’s a reliable way to get access to your favourite Netflix show. These following plans are the bargains on the lot, but you need to consider the advent of the BYO modem trend. While this can offer great flexibility, and you can choose a top of the line modem, the truth is, this can be expensive. Bendigo Bank has an included modem in the price of its plan, which can result in a fuss-free broadband experience.

Unlimited data Naked DSL plans

Feel stripped-bare and free your inhibitions with a naked broadband plan. If you don’t need or want an active phone landline, then Naked DSL plans are a good option as line rental fees do not apply. No pesky phone bundle and often a month to month contract – what can be more flexible than that?! Often naked broadband appeals to renters or students who prefer to have the flexibility without being tied down to a plan for two years. However, overall costs can still be higher on a monthly basis. The cheapest Naked DSL plans come in at $69.95 per month from a suite of well-known providers, listed below. While they seem similar, you have to consider if you want to bring your own modem, or have one provided. The service providers like to jack up upfront costs if you don’t supply your own. If you want ultimate flexibility, then choosing a plan with a lower upfront cost may prove beneficial.

Unlimited data Cable plans

Cable broadband can reach the pinnacle of speeds currently available in Australia. With maximum download speeds of 100 Mbps, these plans are only available from Optus and Telstra. They are the two foremost providers in Australia after all, who have provided all the groundwork for other providers. Of the two, only Optus offers unlimited plans starting from $80 per month. For a bit extra, you can get an entertainment package that includes Yes TV by Fetch, which is a great home entertainment and streaming service.

Telstra’s cable plans come with 1,000GBs of data, the cheapest of which costs $99 a month but comes with the bonus of Telstra TV, through which you can watch Netflix, Stan and Presto. You can also add Foxtel for an additional cost. Ultimately, there’s little competition in this category, and it’s relatively tit-for-tat between Optus and Telstra. While Telstra’s cable broadband plans have less data, Telstra TV is an attractive bonus for those of us who like streaming TV – and we suspect many of us do.

Unlimited data NBN plans

The much-anticipated National Broadband Network (NBN) is still being rolled out, but is available in an increasing number of suburbs. The ultimate internet connection in Australia, you’ll find unlimited data plans at all NBN speed tiers, so the cheapest will naturally come at Tier 1 level, which brings the most modest speeds of the bunch.

Tier 1 NBN plans

Some of the cheapest NBN plans out there come from small providers like Mate and Tangerine. The important thing to consider, though, is that Tier 1 NBN has a maximum download speed of just 12 Mbps, which is comparable to the standard ADSL2+ speeds you’re probably accustomed to. However, once you’re on the NBN, you’re on the NBN, so here is a selection of the cheapest Tier 1 plans you will find.

Tier 2 NBN plans

As the Tiers progress, so too does the price per GB – and fast. Speaking of fast, with Tier 2 you can expect speeds of around 25 Mbps, which is usually more than adequate for HD Netflix and other streaming services. Tier 2 is dominated in value offerings by small providers again, such as Tangerine and Mate at around the $70 mark.

Tier 4 NBN plans

As we move into the upper tiers of NBN speeds, you might be wondering where on earth Tier 3 went. Not to worry, Tier 3 is a niche offering most commonly offered to businesses, so normal residences customers are unlikely to see any plans at this tier. Let’s skip straight to Tier 4 then, where maximum download speeds start to become more impressive. You can expect speeds of around 50 Mbps, which are sure to fulfill all of your desires – from online gaming, to streaming and everything in between. Here are the cheapest Tier 4 plans around.

Tier 5 NBN plans

As we’ve seen time and time again, the big two players – Telstra and Optus – are nowhere to be seen in the budget offerings. The cheapest providers we’ve seen are again Mate, Tangerine and Barefoot. Let’s see if the big players will make an appearance in Tier 5.

Tier 5 is the mac daddy of NBN plans, delivering maximum download speeds of 100 Mbps. This is most ideal for businesses and heavy home users who desire the most from their ISP. This tier is surprisingly good value with the introduction of MyRepublic, which offers unlimited data for just $60 a month. Considering most other providers are about $90 and up, MyRepublic offers unprecedented value for money on the fastest NBN tier.

Optus and Telstra don’t come into the picture until around the $140 mark. This is because of their entertainment packages which bump up the cost, but if you want no-frills and high-speed internet thrills, then look at other providers like those listed below.

The final word on unlimited data broadband plans

Regardless of which type of broadband you’re looking for, once you’ve narrowed down a few plans that tickle your fancy, it’s worth diving into the small print to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money. As we’ve seen, costs can increase significantly if you don’t have the required hardware for your new plan, or simply because some providers charge higher set-up fees. Any monthly savings could be largely negated if you have to pay $100 or more just to get the data rolling in the first place. Overall, there’s a lot to consider before deciding on an unlimited broadband plan. It pays to do your research and compare every possible option. This isn’t just dollars and cents – the right provider could leave you much happier when it comes to all things Internet.

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