Canstar Blue’s annual comparison of internet bundles reviews plans from Internode, Foxtel, iiNet, iPrimus, TPG, Westnet, Belong, Dodo, Optus and Telstra based on network performance, contract clarity, ease of activation, bill clarity, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Many of us have an unlimited mobile phone plan these days, with the classic landline phone becoming a bit of a relic in many Australian homes. However, bundles encompass more than just home phone calls – have you considered bundling in an entertainment pack with your internet? Many service providers are doing so, meaning you can get internet, a phone line and entertainment in one neat package.
And the good news is that internet bundles can be had on pretty much any broadband connection type – be it ADSL or cable, NBN or otherwise. Across these three connection types, there are more than 100 different service providers and most of them offer some form of home phone and internet bundle. But before you dive into the deep rabbit hole of internet providers in Australia, consider our 2018 customer review and ratings for internet bundles as a good starting point. Ultimately, the key is to find a plan that best suits your needs – at a price you’re happy to pay – and a provider that makes life as easy as possible with a reliable service and great customer service. So, who comes out on top for internet bundles?
Our latest review has seen more than 2,600 paying customers provide their feedback on their provider, with 10 of the biggest names in the business compared. But there remains a familiar face at the top of the ladder:
Those surveyed had any type of broadband connection – ADSL, cable or NBN – along with some form of home phone calling and/or entertainment included. Though what you should know is that the way the home phone part of the bundle is delivered is different based on what type of internet connection you have, so read on to see how ADSL, cable and NBN connections differ. But first, here is a guide to what’s on offer from the 10 providers compared this year.
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You may not have heard of Internode, but it’s one of the oldest ISPs in the list, with humble beginnings dating back to Adelaide in 1991. In 2011, it was acquired by iiNet and now its plans mimic those found with the bigger telco. For ADSL home phone customers, expect to pay around $50 a month for its basic plans, but keep in mind that these come with PAYG calls on the ‘NodeLine’ service.
NBN customers get connected with a ‘NodePhone’ VoIP service from about $50 a month, again with PAYG calls. Users can also bundle a Fetch TV entertainment package from an additional $10 a month.
Bundled plan customers are evidently satisfied with Internode and its bundled options as it dominated the ranks with five stars in every category.
Renowned pay TV provider Foxtel now also offers home broadband plans, and a good deal of them can be bundled with home phone calls and Foxtel entertainment packs. From $101 a month, customers get access to unlimited data, unlimited standard local and national calls, plus a Foxtel pack ordinarily worth $26 a month.
Various offers are also given from time to time, and tend to include discounted rates, and included equipment fees (the iQ3 box). Internet bundles generally come on a 12 or 24-month contract.
Foxtel performed fairly well in our review this year, earning four stars overall, but notably achieving five stars for ease of activation. It scored three stars for value for money and network performance – it uses the Telstra network.
iiNet has been a familiar face in our ratings for many years now, known for being the ‘go-to’ alternative to the big guys. Like with so many providers in the iiNet/TPG family, plans start at around $60 per month and from there it’s easy to add on call packs if you so choose, with ADSL internet plans usually including line rental as standard.
With these plans, you’ll pay a $10-$20 odd premium over the standard plans, and you’ll get unlimited local and national calls plus entertainment value. Calls to mobile phones are generally $10 extra again.
iiNet was a solid performer overall, rated four stars for overall satisfaction and every other category.
As a company under the Vocus Communications umbrella, iPrimus offers markedly different plans to Dodo. Prices start at around $70 a month, but for unlimited data you’ll have to pay about $80.
iPrimus stands out for offering simple bundled plans with calls automatically included, instead of having to pay extra for them at the checkout. As for NBN plans, phone calls tend to be made over a VoIP service and prices look to be the same overall as its ADSL plans on Tier 3 speeds as standard.
In 2018, iPrimus was rated four stars for overall satisfaction and in most other categories.
Telco giant TPG acquired iiNet in 2016 and in doing so became the second biggest internet provider in Australia. Despite its giant stature, TPG still offers a range of competitive phone and internet plans, with ADSL2+ data allowances starting at 100GB and costing around $50 a month, while for unlimited you will get reasonable value at just under $60 a month. As with most providers, you can opt for a contract or no contract for an extra monthly fee. As for calling bundles, they are generally deadly simple to follow.
As for TPG’s NBN plans, call packs are generally an extra $10-$20 per month and international minutes come as standard.
TPG performed pretty well in our 2018 review, rating four stars for overall satisfaction and in every other category.
Perth-based telco Westnet, under the iiNet umbrella, offers much the same plans as Internode, with similar home phone calling packs. Unlimited data starts at about $80 a month.
Overall the tiny telco from Western Australia was rated four stars, with the same score for most other categories, while being rated three stars for network performance and contract clarity.
It should be said, however, that Westnet has enjoyed strong success in Canstar Blue’s customer ratings over the years, often highest-rated in our ADSL/Cable review.
A small telco owned by Telstra, Belong offers some pretty simple bundled ADSL and NBN plans, starting at around $65 a month for unlimited data, with its prices ultimately dependent on NBN speed tiers and data allowances.
Belong declined in this year’s ratings, achieving three stars overall, as well as for other areas such as contract clarity and bill clarity – perhaps an indicator of its arguably tricky plan builder system. It did, however, score four stars for network performance and ease of activation.
Known as the ‘internet that flies’, Dodo is one of the cheapest providers in Australia to offer unlimited data plans, coming in at under $30 per month! However, these cheapest plans do not generally include home phone line rental. To get the best value with Dodo you’ll have to bundle, which is probably a given if you’re reading this report! If you bundle, expect data allowances to get a boost with ADSL plans, and ‘line rental’ coming as standard on NBN plans.
The $30 standard fee for line rental on ADSL plans is a hefty fee on otherwise pretty cheap plans. Dodo was rated three stars for overall satisfaction and saw a mixed bag of results overall.
Internet giant Optus has a really slimline approach when it comes to bundled phone and internet plans. Starting at $75, all of its plans include home phone line rental, but with PAYG calls. From there, you can get ‘bolt ons’ from $5 a month.
Beyond that, PAYG call rates start around 28c/minute for any type of domestic phone call. Optus is also a market leader when it comes to bundled entertainment packs, while usually being rated the best ISP for Netflix streaming.
Despite all it has to offer, Optus achieved three stars for overall satisfaction and for every other research category.
Australia’s biggest telco rounds off this year’s review with three stars for overall satisfaction. Such is the size of Telstra that any move it makes is under intense scrutiny and this is perhaps why it achieved a flat three stars for overall satisfaction and in most other research categories.
As for home phone call inclusions, with ADSL connections, pay-as-you-go rates come as standard, with standard calls starting from 22c a call. Prices and inclusions are similar on NBN connections with Tier 3 speeds as standard, with speed boosts from an extra $20 a month. While you do tend to pay a fair bit with Telstra, it is king for its entertainment bundles and extra perks.
If the big guys mentioned above aren’t tickling your fancy, looking to smaller providers may deliver what you’re after from a bundled phone and internet plan. Often, these tiny telcos offer competitive bundles, and with NBN VoIP services as standard. Some of the most prominent include:
While the big providers are probably going to be your first port of call, looking into a smaller provider may prove to be beneficial. Home phone packs are pretty much the same across the board, with $10 fees pretty much always providing unlimited calls to national landlines at the very least, though PAYG rates do vary wildly between providers.
Larger telcos may also provide a ‘known entity’ where you can pretty much expect a consistent level of service, which some smaller providers may not be able to replicate. That said, you should shop around and do your research before committing to a larger, or smaller provider.
With cheap mobile phone plans, many have ditched the landline phone, despite still clinging onto an internet bundle. Many also now have an unlimited data internet plan, which enables endless streaming and browsing.
Whether you’re on an NBN, ADSL or cable bundled plan, it pays to know what you’re after and what to look for, keeping in mind that home phone call packs often cost extra. And while there are many service providers out there, it’s first worth giving some thought to the major telcos that feature in these ratings. Providers are about more than just internet these days – with phone bundles, entertainment and more often all coming in one neat package.
ADSL connections use the traditional copper telephone lines to provide internet access, so bundling the two services together not only makes sense, but it can also prove to be pretty economical. Cable is basically the same type of deal, but if your home is connected to a cable service then you’ll be using high-speed fibre optic and slightly slower coaxial cables to get both internet and home phone lines.
However, the main caveat is that these plans often do not include any call packs. Instead you just ‘pay as you go’ (PAYG). While this is a great option for those mainly just using their mobile phones, the costs can add up quickly, especially if you’re paying 20c a minute or more for a call!
So, if you want an ‘all inclusive’ home phone internet bundle, you can expect to pay anywhere from an extra $10-$30+ per month on top of your basic internet plan, which can certainly add up.
As for how you actually make a home phone call with an NBN connection, there are two methods as mentioned earlier – NBN phone and VoIP. Between the two, the difference lies in the detail:
Don’t fret though, because often this is all taken care of by your bundled NBN provider, with some even offering both types of calling service.
Like with ADSL and cable bundled plans, entry costs for these plans generally don’t include any VoIP or NBN phone call packs. This means that you’ll usually have to front up for an extra $10 or so per month, but this usually gets you unlimited national calls to landlines and mobiles. International call packs are an additional cost and can add anywhere up to $30 or more to your total bundle cost. Overall, in terms of bundling charges, customers are no worse or better off than their ADSL or cable counterparts, which is ultimately a good thing.
Whether you’re on an NBN, ADSL or cable bundled plan, it pays to know what you’re after and what to look for, keeping in mind that all those extras are going to cost you extra.
Canstar Blue surveyed 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who currently have a bundled internet and phone plan in their name and they pay the bills – in this case, 2,679 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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