The best broadband plans for working from home

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With broadband speeds getting faster and connections more reliable, more and more employers are offering flexible working arrangements to employees. Working from home – full time, part time, or every now and then – has become a convenient way to balance professional and personal obligations, providing a helpful alternative for parents, students, or anyone needing a break from the stress of commuting.

If you’re fortunate enough to have flexible work or study conditions, you’ll need a reliable and fast internet option, either for your home or on-the-go. Luckily, there are several broadband types available that combine affordability with portability, making it easier than ever to get work done outside the office.

Flexible working internet options:

Mobile broadband plans

HTC 5G Hub

Instead of being locked into a fixed-line internet plan that’s only available at your home, you may want to consider the flexibility of mobile broadband. A mobile broadband plan uses the same 4G or 5G cellular network as your mobile phone, but can connect to other devices such as your tablet or laptop. Mobile broadband plans are data-only, but are great for anyone needing an easy, portable, plug-in-and-go internet connection both at home and away.

If you’re a student, renter, or someone who’s constantly working on the road or out of the office, mobile broadband could be right for you. Most mobile broadband plans are powered by a SIM card, which can be inserted into your device or portable modem, or a dongle that plugs straight into your laptop (or any other USB-enabled device).

While most providers only offer mobile broadband on 4G and 3G networks, 5G service is now available from Telstra. As Telstra 5G is only live in limited major-city areas, coverage will vary, and you’ll also need Telstra’s new 5G Hub in order to access the network via a mobile broadband plan.

Telstra is currently offering a monthly discount on its Small, Medium, and Large mobile broadband plans. Customers will receive either a $10 or $15 monthly account credit each month for their first 12 months, saving you up to $180 over a full year. This offer is available now through to 6 April, 2020.

Telstra 5G mobile broadband

Telstra’s HTC 5G Hub was the first 5G-capable device available to Australians, now replaced with the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro, which can be paired with any of Telstra’s mobile broadband plans on a 24-month contract. The modem offers mobile access to both 5G and 4G networks where available, with Telstra’s 5G network now live in 32 cities and towns across Australia.

The below table features all published Telstra mobile broadband plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest and then by data allowance. These do not include device payments for the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro or any other Telstra device. These are products with links to a referral partner.

Telstra Mobile Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Telstra mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Extra Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • No 5G access

min. cost $15 over one month

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • No 5G access

min. cost $25 over one month

20GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G network access included

min. cost $50 over one month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Large

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G network access included

min. cost $75 over one month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

More about Telstra’s 5G Hub

Note, the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro has replaced the HTC 5G Hub, with similar capabilities.

The Telstra 5G Hub can connect up to 20 devices over Wi-Fi, as well as support a 1GB ethernet connection. If you’re not in a 5G-covered area, you can still use Telstra’s 5G Hub with its 4G service, or pair a Telstra mobile broadband plan with a 4G-only device, such as Telstra’s 4GX WiFi Pro or the 4GX USB dongle.

As of June 2020, Telstra 5G access is available for free for Medium and Large mobile broadband plan customers. Extra Small and Small plan customers will need to pay an additional $15 for 5G access.

4G mobile broadband options

If 5G is not yet available in your area, there are still plenty of 4G mobile broadband options available, across a variety of data allowances and price points. Many mobile broadband plans are available on a month-to-month basis, and you can even find prepaid options if you’re worried about bill shock.

We’ve highlighted several mobile broadband ranges from selected providers in the below table.

Telstra Mobile Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Telstra mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Extra Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • No 5G access

min. cost $15 over one month

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • No 5G access

min. cost $25 over one month

20GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G access included

min. cost $50 over one month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Large

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G access included

min. cost $75 over one month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Vodafone Mobile Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Vodafone mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

10GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $20 over first month

10GBMax Data**/billing period $20Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

40GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $40 over first month

40GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

100GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $60 over first month

100GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Amaysim Mobile Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of  published Amaysim mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 7GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $15 over 28 day billing period

7GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 50GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $40 over 28 day billing period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 90GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $60 over 28 day billing period

90GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Southern Phone Mobile Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Southern Phone mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Southern Phones Logo

Extra Small

  • SIM Only

min. cost $180 over 12 month plan period

7GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Small

  • SIM Only

min. cost $300 over 12 month plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Medium

  • SIM Only

min. cost $480 over 12 month plan period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Large

  • SIM Only

min. cost $780 over 12 month plan period

100GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared

The following table shows a selection of published 100GB mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

100GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $60 over first month

100GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Large

  • SIM Only

min. cost $780 over 12 month plan period

100GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 100GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $70 over 28 day billing period

100GBMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Large

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G access included

min. cost $75 over one month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Home wireless broadband

Nokia 5G Modem

If your home isn’t yet NBN-ready, or you’ve had issues with your existing NBN or fixed-line connection, you may benefit from a home wireless broadband plan. Like with mobile broadband, home wireless uses your provider’s 4G or 5G mobile network to connect your devices; however, plans are designed to be used in a fixed location, rather than on-the-go, and usually include larger data allowances, plus a router to enable multiple devices to connect at once.

Essentially, home wireless broadband serves as your primary home internet, rather than as a complement to your existing broadband service. As with mobile broadband, many Australians are turning to home wireless as an alternative to unsatisfactory ADSL connections, or as a stopgap measure while they wait for the NBN.

Most home wireless plans include a modem or hub, rather than the SIM card or dongle you’ll usually get with mobile broadband. However, this can vary between telcos – your service provider will let you know how you’ll connect at sign-up.

Optus 5G home broadband

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area covered by Optus’ new 5G network, you may be eligible for the telco’s unlimited data 5G home broadband plan. Priced at $70 per month on both month-to-month and 24-month options, this plan includes a Nokia 5G modem and comes with a minimum speed guarantee of 50Mbps.

If you do opt for a no-contract Optus 5G broadband plan, be aware that you’ll need to pay a $200 set-up fee that isn’t required on a two-year contract. Keep in mind also that Optus’ 5G network is still only available in limited areas, but 4G mobile broadband plans make a great substitute while you wait.

The following table shows selected published Optus 5G home broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

Optus 5G Home Broadband (24 months)

  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Includes the Optus supplied Nokia modem
  • Special offer: one month free

min. cost $1,680 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

Optus 5G Home Broadband (month-to-month)

  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Includes the Optus supplied Nokia modem
  • $200 setup fee
  • Special offer: one month free

min. cost $270 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

4G home wireless broadband

5G not yet available in your area? You can still sign up to a 4G-only home wireless broadband plan. These plans are available Australia-wide, and usually offer data allowances of 100GB or more each month.

We’ve highlighted several home wireless broadband options from selected providers in the below table.

Southern Phone Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Southern Phone wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Southern Phones Logo

Home Wireless 50

  • $79 upfront WiFi modem
  • Optus 4G wireless broadband network

min. cost $1,279 over 24 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Home Wireless 70

  • $79 upfront WiFi modem
  • Optus 4G wireless broadband network

min. cost $1,759 over 24 month plan period

500GBMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Tangerine Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Tangerine wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Tangerine Logo

200GB Plan

  • Optus 4G Plus Network coverage
  • Optional modem from $259.90 upfront
  • Special offer: $59.90 per month for first 6 months, then $69.90 ongoing

min. cost $59.90 over first month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $69.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Tangerine Logo

500GB Plan

  • Optus 4G Plus Network coverage
  • Optional modem from $259.90 upfront
  • Special offer: $69.90 per month for first 6 months, then $79.90 ongoing

min. cost $69.90 over first month

500GBMax Data**/billing period $79.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Tangerine Logo

1000GB Plan

  • Optus 4G Plus Network coverage
  • Optional modem from $259.90 upfront
  • Special offer: $89.90 per month for first 6 months, then $99.90 ongoing

min. cost $99.90 over first month

1000GBMax Data**/billing period $99.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Optus Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Optus wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

4G Wireless Broadband 200GB

  • Includes: B8 18 modem

min. cost $1,560 over 24 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

4G Wireless Broadband 500GB

  • Includes: B8 18 modem

min. cost $2,040 over 24 month plan period

500GBMax Data**/billing period $85Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Yomojo Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Yomojo wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Yomojo Logo

Home Wireless Broadband Plan

  • $179 Netcomm 4G Gateway upfront cost

min. cost $238.90 for the first month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $59.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Yomojo Logo

Home Wireless Broadband Plan

  • $179 Netcomm 4G Gateway upfront cost

min. cost $258.90 for the first month

500GBMax Data**/billing period $79.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Spintel Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Spintel wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Basic Home Wireless Broadband Plan (12Mbps)

  • $179 upfront for NetComm WiFi modem ($20 P&H)
  • $100 account credit

min. cost $798.40 over 12 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $49.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Home Wireless Broadband Plan (High Speed 4G)

  • $179 upfront for NetComm WiFi modem ($20 P&H)
  • $100 account credit

min. cost $858.40 over 12 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $54.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Home Wireless Broadband (High Speed 4G)

  • $179 upfront for NetComm WiFi modem ($20 P&H)
  • $100 account credit

min. cost $1,038.40 over 12 month plan period

500GBMax Data**/billing period $69.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

NBN plans

Despite the controversy, the NBN still remains a fast, effective, and reliable home broadband option for the majority of Australians. However, if you’re looking for a plan that offers quick speeds, low latency, and quality performance during high-traffic periods, you’ll probably want to consider the higher NBN speed tiers.

Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)

For Australians looking for an all-round option that’s great for everyday use and can support multiple simultaneous connections, Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) is your best bet. With a maximum download speed of 50Mbps, and maximum uploads of 20Mbps, most plans on this tier come with a typical evening speed of over 40Mbps during peak hours (7pm to 11pm), and faster speeds during the day. NBN 50 is also considered the ‘hero’ speed tier by most telcos, so this is where you’ll often find the best deals.

Almost all NBN 50 plans are available with unlimited monthly data, and depending on your provider, you may also be given the option of ditching the contract and going month-to-month, often without set-up fees. You can also generally bring your own modem, or opt for a pre-configured modem/router provided by your telco.

In the event that there’s an NBN outage or issue, several providers also offer 4G network backup. Vodafone’s WiFi Hub and Telstra’s Smart Modem both automatically switch customers to each provider’s 4G mobile network during outages at no extra cost.

Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100)

If you’re looking for a truly fast and congestion-proof connection, and don’t mind paying a little extra each month, you may prefer to upgrade to Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100). With maximum download speeds of 100Mbps, and uploads to 40Mbps, NBN 100 typically delivers evening speeds in the 80Mbps region, but this obviously varies by provider.

Premium plans are obviously pricier than Standard Plus, but are a great option if you need to send or receive large amounts of data, join video calls or conferences, or require ultra-HD streaming.

Image: Creative Lab/Shutterstock

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