Before we go into details about the NBN providers we’ve compared, it’s important to understand the difference between the data download speeds you can pay for, to help you put the prices of these plans into perspective. It’s also a good idea if you check the details of your existing broadband plan, to give you a good idea of what download speed you think you will need – and what is going to represent good value for money for you.
The NBN is available on four different speed tiers that ultimately dictate how fast your internet will be and how much you will pay.
- NBN 12: 12/1 Mbps download/upload
- NBN 25: 25/5 Mbps download/upload
- NBN 50: 50/20 Mbps download/upload
- NBN 100: 100/40 Mbps: download/upload
When visiting various Internet Service Provider (ISP) websites, you might realise that you have to do some digging to find out how fast you can go for your money. So, this is what you can expect with the NBN.
The higher the speed tier, the faster your internet should be, with an emphasis on ‘should’. While the speeds listed above are theoretical and achievable, speeds in reality may change based on factors such as demand during peak periods, where you live, and even the weather. The technology through which your NBN service is delivered will also have an impact.
Generally, the faster you go, the more you will need to pay. It’s worth noting, however, that NBN 12 is not actually considered ‘superfast’ internet as it’s comparable with most standard ADSL2+ connections. Instead, NBN 25 is said to be the first superfast speed tier. Now, let’s assess what some of the biggest NBN providers are offering.
First up is iiNet, which tops our 2017 customer satisfaction ratings for NBN providers. iiNet was taken over by the TPG in late 2015, but maintains its own identity and broadband plans. It has a solid reputation for good customer service, but iiNet is about more than just friendly voices when you pick up the phone, as its NBN packages will attest. Let’s break iiNet’s plans into two categories – those on NBN speed tiers 1 and 2, and those at the highest tier 4 level. There are a total of seven plans and each includes iiNet’s Netphone (VoIP) service.
- There are two plan options: 500GB or ‘Liimitless’ data – starting at $59.99 and $69.99 a month respectively.
- Speed boosts are then available: ‘Turbo’ costs an extra $20 a month and ‘Max’ another $10 again. Note that these two speed tiers are NBN 50 and NBN 100 respectively, and all plans on these tiers come with unlimited data.
The cheapest tier 4 100Mbps plan is priced at $99.99, and includes unlimited data. After that you could pay $109.99 or $119.99 depending on your call packs preferences. Fetch entertainment bundles are also available from an extra $5 a month.
These iiNet plans are available with no lock-in contract, or over 24 months. However, the former will mean you need to pay a $79.95 activation fee
iiNet NBN key takeouts:
- Rated five stars for speed, customer service, bill and contract clarity and overall satisfaction by iiNet customers in our 2017 review
- Good choice of plans for heavy data users and those with a need for speed
- VoIP services are available. You can also add the international VoIP pack for an extra $10 per month
This is how iiNet’s top-end NBN plans line up:
TPG faces increased competition from the likes of iiNet, Dodo and Optus, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer great plans. TPG breaks its NBN plans into three different categories – Standard, Boost and Superfast – all of which come with a Wi-Fi modem and are bundled with the telco’s Digital Voice Service. Each category includes three plan options based on data allowance or call inclusions.
- Standard Plans: TPG Standard NBN plans all come with a maximum download speed of 12Mbps. The cheapest deal at $29.99 comes with just 10GB of data, while the cheapest unlimited plan will cost $59.99. In between you can get 100GB of data for $49.99.
- Fast Plans: TPG Boost plans come with a maximum download speed of 50Mbps. The standard configuration comes with unlimited data. The cheapest of these Boost plans is the $69.99 package which brings local, national, mobile and international calls at PAYG rates. You can then add a voice pack for $10 a month.
- Superfast Plans: TPG’s Superfast plans are for serious internet users, bringing a maximum download speed of 100Mbps. You’ll pay a minimum of $89.99 while an extra $20 will get you unlimited calls plus unlimited calls to 11 countries and 500 minutes to India.
As you can see, TPG offers plans on speed tiers 1, 3 and 4. Unlimited plans are differentiated by varying call charges and inclusions. For example, the cheapest option of the three charges calls at pay as you go (PAYG) rates, while the more expensive options offer unlimited call allowances, and in the case of the most expensive plan, unlimited international calls to several countries.
Standard, Boost and Superfast plans are available with no lock-in contract, or as an 18 month deal. The difference is that if you want the flexibility of leaving any time you like, you’ll need to pay a $99.95 set-up fee. TPG is also fast building its own FTTB (fibre to the basement) network set to rival the NBN itself, so watch this space.
TPG NBN key takeouts:
- Customisable plans with unlimited data starting at just $59.99
- Lots of call pack options, but be prepared to pay for it
- No contract options provide flexibility, but at a price
This is how TPG’s top-end NBN plans line up:
Optus recently revamped its broadband plans, with a more streamlined approach allowing customers to more easily navigate their options and choose a bundle that’s right for them – and the headline is that all its NBN offerings now come with unlimited data. Optus is working hard to battle for its image as a premier provider, while still offering pretty cheap prices. The short and skinny is as follows:
- Two base NBN plans: An ‘Everyday’ internet plan costing a cheap $60 a month with NBN 12 speeds, or an ‘Entertainment’ plan costing $80 a month for NBN 25 with a Fetch set top box and entertainment pack included along with Optus Sport.
- Two contract options: Month-to-month, attracting a $200 set-up fee, or 24 months.
- Speed boost: Boost your plan to NBN 50 or 100 from $15 extra per month
The most exciting plan seems to be the $80 one, which crams a lot of extra stuff in for that $20 premium. Optus Sport ordinarily costs an extra $15 a month, while Fetch packs start at $6 a month.
Optus NBN key takeouts:
- Rated four stars on value for money by Optus customers, with five stars for speed
- Easy-to-follow plans with a variety of speeds
- Plans allow flexibility of upgrading or downgrading NBN speeds if desired
- Most Optus plans include subscription to English Premier League football at no extra charge
Here is a flavour of Optus NBN plans for your consideration:
Telstra boasts a simple mix of NBN bundles to pick from, based on varying data allowances. The first step is to decide how much data you think you’ll need, and then you can start to consider extras such as Telstra TV (which gives you access to Netflix and Stan) and Foxtel.
- Telstra’s base NBN speed is Tier 2 – 25Mbps, with speed boosts available from an extra $20 a month.
- Speed boosts appear to be on a month-to-month basis so you can sample them all without worrying about being locked-in for too long.
- Data allowances vary from 100GB up to unlimited data.
- You can opt for a month-to-month plan but be prepared to pay a $100+ set-up fee; not all plans are available as ‘Casual’ plans.
- The minimum price you can expect to pay is $70 a month, with the dearest costing over $100 a month, but expect extra goodies like Foxtel bundles to be included in the dearer plans.
When you’re thinking about signing up to a Telstra NBN plan, look carefully at the potential start-up costs. Telstra says an additional fee of $240 may apply if you require a professional installation. And if you’re in a new development and not already connected to the NBN, a $300-odd NBN Co New Development Charge may also apply. Cancellation fees of up to and over $800 may apply as well, so you’ll want to be sure of that long-term contract.
Telstra NBN key takeouts:
- Impressive entertainment options available (Telstra TV, Foxtel)
- Top speeds and massive data limits available
- Telstra is arguably the king of entertainment bundles, but be prepared to pay premium prices
Here is a selection of Telstra NBN plans for your consideration:
Dodo has a reputation for providing cheap and cheerful home broadband, and its NBN plans are no exception. Dodo soared through our customer satisfaction ratings, earning four stars overall with five stars for value for money and contract clarity. Dodo offers three levels of NBN packages based on either 10GB, 50GB or unlimited data, and once you decide how much you need, you can modify your plan according to how fast you want it and whether or not you want any additional call inclusions. There are three speed tiers on offer – 12, 25 and 100, named Standard, Turbo and Max respectively:
- Dodo’s cheapest NBN plan could cost you as little as $29.90 per month, however this comes with the basic download speed of 12Mbps and only 10GB data.
- If you want your internet faster, then you can upgrade the 10GB plan to speeds of 25Mbps or 100Mbps, costing you an extra $10 or $30 per month respectively
- A tier 1, unlimited data NBN connection costs $59.90 per month
- Upgrading this plan to tier 2 will once again cost you an additional $10 or $30. You then get the same choice of call options as the 10GB and 50GB deals
Once you’ve decided on your speed and data needs, you can then consider including one of three different call packs. Unlimited local calls will cost you an extra $10 per month, for example. No matter what your preferred mix of data and speed, each Dodo NBN plan is available on 24 month, 12 month or no lock-in contract terms. The monthly option will mean you need to pay a $99 connection fee, while the year-long agreement will see you charged $69 up-front instead.
Dodo NBN key takeouts:
- Some of the cheapest basic NBN plans on offer
- Great mix of plans that are easily tailored to your data and speed requirements
- Good balance of additional call extras for reasonable prices
Here is a selection of cheap and top-end Dodo NBN plans:
Another telco that starts its NBN offerings out at a very cheap base, iPrimus breaks its NBN plans into three categories based on speed tiers 1, 2 and 4, named Basic, High Performance and Ultimate. Once you’ve decided what super-fast speed you would like, you can then pick a plan based on its data allowance.
- Unlimited data on NBN tier 1 starts at $70 a month.
- Plans come on a 24 month basis as standard, while 12 month options cost $60 to set up and one month options attract a $100 set-up fee.
- Expect to pay an extra $10 a month for Tier 2 speeds, and another $30 on top of that for Tier 4 speeds
Like with many other providers in this list, iPrimus also offers plans with Fetch TV entertainment bundles. These packs start at around $80 a month on the most basic speed tier, and it includes a Fetch Mini set top box, one channel pack, unlimited data and unlimited standard national calls. This presents a potential big boost in value over the broadband-only plans and may be worth considering if you’re after more than just broadband.
iPrimus NBN key takeouts:
- Cheap base NBN plans, but plans can quickly exceed $100
- Local and national calls included
- Be aware of potentially significant start-up costs
This is how iPrimus’ unlimited data NBN plans line up:
Yes, that’s right. After success in the mobile phone plan segment, Amaysim has expanded and now offers some exciting NBN plans. It’s quickly becoming one of the more popular NBN providers in the country and all of its plans come with unlimited data.
- Amaysim offers its NBN plans on three different speed tiers – NBN 12, NBN 25 and NBN 100.
- Prices start at $60 a month. There are no set-up fees and no lock-in contracts.
- Prices are then $70 for NBN 25 speeds, and $90 for NBN 100 speeds.
- You can BYO modem, or purchase one for $109 if you wish.
Overall Amaysim offers great no-bull flexibility at reasonable prices. Its NBN plans are very easy to follow and there are no gimmicks or ‘extra stuff’ to worry about. From time to time, also expect Amaysim to offer discounts on its plans to entice customers to sign up, boosting the value even further. Amaysim is quickly becoming a challenger brand to the big guys mentioned above.
Amaysim NBN key takeouts:
- Competitive no-bull NBN plans
- All plans have unlimited data
- No contracts, no set-up fees
This is how Amaysim’s NBN plans line up:
MyRepublic has created a lot of buzz and since its introduction to the Aussie market in 2016 it has amassed a strong following thanks to its cheap prices and no-fuss plans on offer. While you won’t get the ‘cheapest of the cheap’ prices with MyRepublic, it does offer tantalising plans – all with unlimited data.
- All NBN fixed line plans come with NBN 50 speeds as standard with boosts to NBN 100 for $15 extra.
- Fixed-wireless plans come with NBN 50 speeds – the maximum available.
- Prices start at just $69.99 a month.
MyRepublic does away with the lower speed tiers and instead focuses just on the top two speed tiers available. To go for a no-contract plan, you’ll have to be willing to spend a little extra, while home phone packs come as standard even on the cheapest plans. The dearest plan comes in at about $95 a month, and this gets you a call pack as well as no lock-in contract with top-tier speeds. This is still much cheaper than some other providers.
MyRepublic NBN key takeouts:
- Some of the cheapest unlimited plans out there
- Top NBN speed tiers as standard
- Cheap no lock-in contract or bundled plans
Take a look at MyRepublic’s NBN plans below:
Other NBN providers
In this report we have reviewed the NBN plans of six major service providers, but it’s important to know that there are numerous other telcos out there all desperate to get you connected. You can learn about more of them in our article named The best NBN providers you’ve never heard of. Who knows, you may even find much better value! Several other smaller, but nevertheless popular telcos to offer NBN plans are as follows:
The NBN is still being rolled out across the nation, and as such it’s still in its infancy. Like with any new technology, prices are still quite high and plans are generally more expensive than regular ADSL2+ plans for the speed you stand to receive. Quite often you are going to struggle to pay under $90 a month for unlimited data on tier 4, and many tier 1 plans are expensive for the amount of data you get, coupled with the relatively modest speeds afforded to you. However, the bonus is that costs should decrease and level out over time as the whole nation is hopefully covered by some form of NBN. When it comes to your suburb, you have many, many options to navigate.