Review of Life Wireless internet plans

NBN providers and NBN Co itself have copped a bit of heat recently for not delivering on speeds and for the perception that NBN is always faster, when this is not necessarily the case. So, if you do not like the sound of the NBN and if you live in eastern Melbourne, you may be lucky enough to be serviced by Life Wireless. Just to be clear, Life Wireless is not another provider on the National Broadband Network. Rather, it has built its own network and currently services the Glen Waverley area of Melbourne, with the idea to expand. You may think Life Wireless is just another deconstructed latte-sipping telco from Melbourne, but what it offers is a suite of reasonable value, no-frills internet plans on its own network. So what exactly does it offer? Find out in this Canstar Blue review.

Life Wireless Internet Plans

Life Wireless currently has just three home internet offerings, using a mixture of its own fixed-line fibre and wireless technologies. All plans come with unlimited data as standard.

Plan Name Speed (Download/Upload Mbps) Price Per Month From
Sail 5/5 $49
Glide 12/12 $79
Soar 25/25 $99

Source: Life Wireless website

Life Wireless currently offers three internet speed tiers, with the names indicating how fast you can go.  Keep in mind, that these are maximum speeds, with several factors that may affect your internet speed. Interestingly, all plans feature symmetrical max download and upload speeds, which is really handy if you’re uploading large files such as YouTube videos or your life’s work into a cloud service.

  • All plans come with a 24 month contract, which attracts a $0 set-up fee
  • A 12 month contract is available, and for this you’ll incur a $199 set-up fee
  • Monthly contracts are also available, and with this you’ll see your plan’s price jump $10 a month and you’ll also incur a $499 set-up fee

Keep in mind that these are minimum expected fees, meaning that total installation fees may be higher depending on your individual requirements. However, with these seemingly high set-up fees, you stand to receive a more hands-on customer service approach. Some of Life Wireless’ key features include:

  • Fixed wireless technologies
  • Fibre to the premises (not the node!)
  • Unaffected by bad weather
  • Low contention ratios (i.e. subscription rates)
  • 1:1 contention ratios available
  • Localised customer service with high priority fixes

Melbournites may feel at ease with a broadband plan in Life’s hands. It boasts an inquiry system online, a 1300 call centre, email address and even lists its own address on its website – something that is fairly rare among telcos without a lot of digging. So who is covered?

Life Wireless Coverage Areas

Life Wireless’ coverage map can be found here but its service is beamed from the Melbourne suburb of Glen Waverley, and this suburb is fully covered. Life Wireless claims its installation can cover homes for up to a 10km radius. Current districts covered are:

  • City of Monash
  • City of Knox
  • City of Whitehorse

There are many more districts on the way. We wonder how long it will take Life Wireless to take over the whole of Melbourne?! Despite all of this, at the end of the day what a lot of consumers want is to get the most out of their hard-earned money, so how does Life Wireless stack up?

How does Life Wireless compare to other providers?

It’s somewhat difficult to compare a telco with such a local focus and using its own network. Simply put, it’s basically impossible to compare because no other providers use the same network. Life Wireless cannot exactly be compared to the NBN or copper wire networks, and stands in a realm all of its own. Private fibre networks are growing in popularity, and Life Wireless seems to be one of the foremost providers, with a focus on speed and customer service. If you’re intrigued by Life Wireless’ plans but live in another area, these telcos – also with a local focus – may be for you:

  • NuSkope – servicing South Australia
  • TransACT – servicing the ACT
  • Westnet – founded and based in Perth

Additionally, a number of estates around Australia are serviced by private network wholesaler Opticomm. If you’re in an estate, or soon to move into one, it pays to know if you’re covered. Nevertheless, despite Life Wireless operating on its own private network, here are a few of the cheapest ADSL and NBN plans for your consideration, but note that comparing Life Wireless with these is like comparing apples and oranges.

Cheap Unlimited ADSL Plans

ADSL connections generally feature max download speeds of around 24Mbps, but this is rarely symmetrical, and most users are ultimately lucky to receive 12Mbps download speeds, with an upload speed of around 12Mbps. ADSL plans may struggle because of the outdated copper networks, and high contention ratios. Nevertheless, if you’re still on the old copper network you can get pretty cheap plans under $50 a month for unlimited data. Such cheaper providers are Dodo, AusBBS, Bendigo Bank Telco and Belong Broadband. Note that set-up fees vary and in many cases you’ll also have to fork out for line rental, which can be an additional cost of around $20 per month.

Cheap Unlimited NBN Plans

To get the cheapest NBN plans with unlimited data you’ll generally be expected to pay around $55 a month, plus various set-up/activation fees. With this amount of money, you’ll usually be relegated to 12/1 speeds, and high contention ratios may make this a lot slower. Nevertheless, the cheapest providers in this sphere are providers like Spintel and Exetel, as well as AusBBS and Bendigo Bank Telco. Once again you’ll be subject to set-up fees, sometimes to the tune of $200+. The plus side, however, is that you’ll often be put on no-contract and not pay line rental, with the option to move around if you are totally unsatisfied.

Is Life Wireless worth living?

Life Wireless is a Melbourne-focused telco with a concise range of internet plans on three speed tiers. From just $49 a month you can get unlimited data, which is fairly solid value no matter how you look at it. However, a mistake would be to compare Life Wireless to cheaper ADSL or NBN plans, as Life Wireless operates on its own network. This allows Life Wireless more autonomy, the potential to deliver greater speeds and better customer service. Nevertheless, the set-up fees for anything short of 24 months may be prohibitive. In any case, it will be interesting to see how far Life Wireless expands, and whether its network could take on the NBN Co juggernaut, that has so far, produced some unsatisfied customers. Life Wireless should be on your checklist if you’re in the Glen Waverley area and surrounding suburbs, but always compare a wide range of deals.

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