Review of unlimited data broadband plans

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Australian households are gobbling up 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 internet 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?

The cheapest unlimited internet plans

Connection Type Provider/Plan Price Per Month
ADSL2+ Dodo Metro $34.90
Naked DSL MyRepublic $59.99
Cable Optus 60 $60
NBN Tier 1 SpinTel Basic $54.95
NBN Tier 2 AusBBS $65
NBN Tier 3 AusBBS $75
NBN Tier 4 MyRepublic Superfast $59.99

Unlimited 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.

After Dodo, keep an eye out for providers like AusBBS, Bendigo Bank Telco and Barefoot Telecom. While the cheapest providers generally offer something offer under $40 a month, keep in mind that they often come with hefty set-up fees. However, in Barefoot’s example, you’re paying a little more per month but there are no set-up fees, and no fees to change your plan. You also need to consider the fact that many don’t include line rental or home phone calls, which purchasing separately could cost an extra $20 a month or thereabouts. In this case it may be worth finding a provider that charges more per month at face-value but includes a home phone line.

Unlimited 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 could be more flexible than that?! Often naked internet appeals to renters or students who like 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 $59.95 per month with MyRepublic, while a popular price seems to be just under $70 a month. With these prices you can expect popular providers like MyNetfone, iiNet and Internode to crop up.

While they seem similar, you have to consider if you want to BYO modem, or have one provided. 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 Cable Plans

Cable broadband can reach the pinnacle of speed available currently in Australia. With maximum download speeds of 100Mbps, these plans are only available from Optus and Telstra. They are the two foremost providers in Australia after all, which have provided all the groundwork for other providers. Only the former offers unlimited plans starting from $60 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 plans come with 1,000GBs of data, the cheapest of which costs $99 but comes with the bonus of Telstra TV, through which you can watch Netflix and Stan. You can also add Foxtel for an additional cost, with some plans including it at no extra cost. Ultimately, there’s little competition in this category, and it’s relatively tit-for-tat between Optus and Telstra. While Telstra plans have less data, Telstra TV is an attractive bonus for those of us who like streaming – and we suspect many do.

Unlimited NBN Plans

The much-anticipated National Broadband Network is finally being rolled out and is available in an increasing number of areas. You’ll find unlimited plans at all NBN speed tiers, so the cheapest will most likely come at Tier 1 level.

  • At these low prices you’ll also have to consider hefty set-up fees and the fact that most don’t include any sort of VoIP calling packs.
  • To get these packs you’ll usually have to spend at least an extra $10 or so per month

However with NBN you rarely have to contend with line rental and instead just get straight broadband if you want to.

Tier 1 – 12/1

Some of the cheapest NBN Tier 1 plans come from small providers like SpinTel and Exetel, with offerings under $60 a month. The important thing to consider though is that Tier 1 NBN has a speed of around 12Mbps, which is comparable to ordinary ADSL connections.

Tier 2 – 25/5

As the Tiers progress, so too does the price per GB – and fast. Speaking of fast, with Tier 2 you can expect maximum speeds of around 25Mbps, 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 AusBBS and Tangerine at under $70 a month. While Tangerine is slightly more expensive, you do benefit from having no set-up fee, but you do have to BYO modem.

Tier 3 – 50/20

With download speeds up to 50Mbps, streaming and online gaming are made a breeze while uploading files and videos are made a breeze with the 20Mbps upload speed. 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 Tangerine and AusBBS. AusBBS is considerably cheaper by the month at under $80, but you will have to contend with a set-up fee.

Tier 4 – 100/40

Tier 4 is the mac daddy of NBN plans, delivering the advertised speeds of up to 100Mbps. 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 ISP MyRepublic, which offers unlimited data for around $60 a month. Considering most other service providers are touching $90 and beyond, MyRepublic offers unprecedented value on the fastest NBN tier. The mainstream providers don’t come into the picture until around the $100 mark. This is because they often offer some sort of free streaming service or TV bundle as well, but if you want no-frills and high-speed thrills then look at other providers.

With NBN being gradually rolled out, you’ll need to consider your location and how soon it is coming to you. As the NBN is still being rolled out, only a few areas are serviced by it. Once you’ve narrowed down a few plans that tickle your fancy, it’s worth visiting their website to see if it’s available in your location.

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 going to be 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, and cheapest doesn’t always equal ‘best’. 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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