Australian households are gobbling up broadband data like never before. The internet service providers have invested a lot in their infrastructure to keep up with an increase in demand, and frequently offer cheaper unlimited plans. So if you want the maximum data allowance at the cheapest price, what are your options? In this report, we look 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 can comfortably get by with just 100GBs or less. But if you regularly find yourself hitting your data limit – and your head – month after month, it’s time to consider going unlimited. Unlimited internet plans get rid of pesky speed throttling you may have experienced thanks to going over your limit. So, what’s out there?
Unlimited ADSL2+ plans
The cheapest unlimited ADSL2+ plan you’ll currently find is available from Dodo, priced at just $29.90. That’s a low price, and you’ll also get the bonus of choosing from a 12 or 24-month plan, or even a no lock-in contract. However, the latter option will result in fairly common upfront costs totalling $99. After Dodo, comes AusBBS with an unlimited deal at $39.85, but you then need to spend an extra $10 before other service providers enter the mix.
ADSL2+ is the tried and true form of broadband – the one that’s been around longest. 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, which can result in a fuss-free broadband experience.
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 can be more flexible than that?! Often naked broadband 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 $69.95 per month from a suite of well-known providers:
While these plans seem similar, you have to consider if you want to bring your own modem to the naked party, or have one provided. The service providers like to jack-up upfront costs if you don’t supply your own hardware. 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, who have provided all the groundwork for other providers. 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.
Telstra’s plans come with 1000GBs of data, the cheapest of which costs $99 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 plans have less data, Telstra TV is an attractive bonus for those of us who like streaming – and we suspect many of us 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 naturally come at Tier 1 speed.
Some of the cheapest NBN plans come from small providers like Mate and Tangerine. The important thing to consider though is that Tier 1 NBN has a speed of around 12Mbps, which is comparable to some slower ADSL2+ speeds. It could pay to compare Tier 1 plans versus ADSL2+ plans.
As the Tiers progress, so too does the price per GB – and fast. Speaking of fast, with Tier 2 you can expect download speeds of up to 25Mbps, which is usually more than adequate for HD Netflix and other TV streaming services. Tier 2 is dominated in value offerings by small providers again, such as Tangerine and Mate at around the $70 mark.
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 residences are unlikely to see any plans at this tier. Let’s skip straight to Tier 4.
Speeds start to become more impressive at Tier 4. You can expect speeds of around 50Mbps, which are sure to fulfill all of your desires – from online gaming, to streaming and everything in between.
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 the advertised speeds of 100Mbps. This is most ideal for businesses and heavy home users who desire the most from their ISP. At this tier, you’ll be struggling to find anything under the $90-$100 range, but Optus and Telstra don’t come into the picture until around the $140 mark. This is because they often offer some sort of free streaming service or TV bundle as well. The cheapest providers in Tier 5 are Exetel, MyNetFone and Barefoot.
Things to consider
If you’re considering the NBN for your internet needs, there are a couple things you need to consider.
- Your location: As the NBN is still being rolled out, you’ll need to check if your area has been covered yet. You can do that with the NBN’s rollout map. If the NBN hasn’t yet arrived in your suburb, it’s still wise to check out the current offers to see what kind of deal you could get in future.
- If you’re considering a lower, cheaper speed tier, keep in mind that the service you will receive will likely be comparable to ADSL2+ plans. If you really want super-fast internet, you’ll need to spend a little more.
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.