Internet plans with 4G backup routers

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There’s nothing worse than a random internet drop-out, especially when you’re in the middle of Netflix or gaming. But, that’s a fact of life for many Australians, including those on the National Broadband Network (NBN). While there are countless different routers and modems out there, few have dual access to a 4G connection should your home internet go awry. And even fewer again do the hard work for you – Telstra and Vodafone are some of the only telcos in Australia that provide home internet plans with 4G backup modems. Review what you can get below, and how much you can expect to pay.

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Internet Plans & Modems with 4G Backup

There are two key internet service providers in Australia that backup their plans with 4G in case things go awry:  Telstra and Vodafone. Both offer modems that – should the NBN go down – automatically switch to a 4G mobile data connection, so you can continue browsing as if nothing happened.

Telstra Smart Modem & Plans

Telstra Smart Modem
Telstra Smart Modem

Telstra’s updated next-gen Smart Modem can switch from your home internet connection to Telstra’s mobile network when needed. Users can also get online sooner and start browsing without the need for home installation – this modem provides access to 4G during any downtime incurred in home broadband setup.

The Smart Modem Gen 2 comes with an in-built and pre-activated SIM card, which will automatically take over for both your home internet and phone line in the event of a connection problem. Once your home internet connection is restored, your Smart Modem will switch back to your regular connection straight away – you won’t need to manually switch from NBN/ADSL to 4G or vice versa.

Telstra’s 4G mobile data speeds are limited to 6Mbps for downloads, and 1Mbps uploads – enough to do the basics, and maintain one standard definition stream under good conditions.  The Telstra Smart Modem is available on ADSL, VDSL, and NBN internet connections, and is priced at $216 upfront; however, this fee is reimbursed when you stay connected for 24 months.

The following table shows Telstra’s current NBN plans, all which include 4G backup. These are featured products from a referral partner.

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

Essential

  • Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25)
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $286 for first month

100GB Max Data**/billing period $70Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Core

  • Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25)
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $291 for first month

200GB Max Data**/billing period $75Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Unlimited

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $306 for first month

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

Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub Modem & Plans

Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub
Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub

Vodafone has recently expanded its services to NBN plans. Like Telstra, Vodafone offers its own Wi-Fi Hub modem that enables 4G access, both before home line installation and if your home NBN network drops out.

The Wi-Fi Hub enables instant access while you wait for NBN to be installed, either for up to 30 days or until your home service is activated. It also acts as a 4G backup, should your NBN connection drop out, and provides a maximum download speed of 12Mbps – the equivalent of a Basic Evening Speed NBN plan.

Vodafone’s maximum Wi-Fi Hub speed is faster than Telstra’s Smart Modem; but, depending on network congestion, end user speeds could be about the same. 12Mbps is, at its best, good enough for a high definition stream and basic internet browsing – enough to get most households by during broadband downtime.

All Vodafone NBN plans all include unlimited data, and are available on a month-to-month basis. Vodafone’s Wi-Fi Hub costs $180 upfront, but this is currently reduced to $0 for customers who stay connected for 36 months.  Vodafone solely deals in NBN plans for fixed line internet.

All of Vodafone’s NBN plans are listed in the below table, and all of these include the Wi-Fi Hub with 4G backup.These are featured products from a referral partner.

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

Essential NBN (Month to month contract)

  • Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25)
  • $180 modem (reduced to $0 over 36 months)

min. cost $239 for first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $59Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

Essentials+ NBN (Month to month contract)

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $180 modem (reduced to $0 over 36 months)

min. cost $249 for first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $69Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

Premium NBN (Month to month contract)

  • Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100)
  • $180 modem (reduced to $0 over 36 months)

min. cost $269 for first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $89Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Other Solutions When the Internet Drops Out

Frequent internet drop-outs may mean it’s time for a new provider – but if this isn’t feasible, you still have options. There are several other home internet backups and solutions out there: so if you’re worried about patchy broadband, you may want to try one of the following before cancelling your current plan.

Mobile Broadband

A prepaid or postpaid mobile broadband plan with a dongle or pocket Wi-Fi modem may serve as a good backup should your home connection drop. Dongles and pocket Wi-Fi modems can be purchased under $30, and many can be bundled in with monthly mobile broadband plan.

  • Prepaid mobile broadband options represent the most flexibility as you can recharge at any time.
  • Postpaid mobile broadband plans may offer more data for your money, but often require you to sign up for 12, 18, or 24 months.

Mobile broadband usually represents the cheapest ‘backup’ to a home line, but plans can quickly reach into the $40+ range a month for any appreciable amounts of data. Below is a selection of plans with around 30GB – 60GB of data each month. This table may include featured products from referral partners.

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

30GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • Vodafone Pocket Wi-Fi 4G Modem available
  • 30GB + 30GB bonus data

min. cost $540 over 12 month billing period

30GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Ovo Logo

OVOBoom Small

  • Unlimited sport and radio on OVOPlay
  • BYO modem option

min. cost $49.95 over 30 day billing period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $49.95Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • Telstra 4GX Wi-Fi Pro available from $0 extra per month
  • 30GB + 30GB bonus data

min. cost $708 over 12 month billing period

60GBMax Data**/billing period $59Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Exetel Logo

60GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only

min. cost $59.99 over 30 day billing period

60GBMax Data**/billing period $59.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Yomojo Logo

50GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only

min. cost $69.90 over 30 day billing period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $69.90Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Home Wireless Broadband

Home wireless is the natural bigger brother to a mobile broadband plan. It’s essentially the same thing, but designed to replace your home broadband connection (e.g. ADSL2+ or NBN). Home wireless plans usually include more data than mobile broadband options, but may be a significant extra cost if you’re just looking to complement an existing home internet connection.

If you’re not in need of unlimited data, and prefer 4G to a fixed line internet connection, home wireless broadband may be an altogether better internet option than an NBN or ADSL plan. Providers worth keeping an eye out for are Yomojo, SpinTel, Exetel and Optus. All offer some sort of modem to go along with the plan, but beware of often-hefty upfront costs.

Below is a selection of home wireless broadband plans with around 200GB of data each month. This table may include featured products from referral partners.

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

Home Wireless Broadband 12 Month Plan

  • NetComm 4G modem included
  • Download speeds up to 12Mbps

min. cost $479.88 over 12 month plan period

250GBMax Data**/billing period $39.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Yomojo Logo

Home Wireless Broadband Plan

  • $169 Huawei 4G B525 Modem upfront cost

min. cost $213.90 for the first month

250GBMax Data**/billing period $44.90Advertised Data^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Home Wireless Broadband + Phone Plan

  • $99 Huawei B525 Modem upfront cost
  • $99 account credit
  • Unlimited talk to standard numbers within Australia

min. cost $899.10 over 18 month plan period

250GBMax Data**/billing period $49.95Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

Home Wireless 200GB

  • Includes: 4G Plus WiFi Modem

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

200GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Ditching the NBN

By far and away the most drastic way to curb NBN dropouts is to ditch the NBN entirely. Just because your home is connected to the network, doesn’t mean you need an active NBN plan! There are a range of NBN alternatives popping up in capital cities around the country, and offer speeds similar to that on the NBN.

  • Alternative providers offer plans from under $50, and often operate in small areas – often just one capital city or even in specific suburbs.
  • Connections are essentially a fixed wireless network.
  • Keep an eye out for providers such as ‘Spirit Telecom’, ‘Lightning Broadband’, ‘W3 Networks’, ‘OpalNet’, ‘Life Wireless’, ‘Uniti’, and more.

However, you do have to keep in mind significant upfront costs, as some like to charge more than $200 just to set up the connection. Also keep in mind that if you are much outside a capital city, you may not even be serviced.

Is an internet plan with 4G backup worthwhile?

An internet plan with 4G backup certainly makes some providers look like they’re living in 3017, but is it worth the fuss? Getting connected straight away and being able to browse should the NBN or internet drop out is a great idea, but the speeds on offer can be relatively meagre. The maximum download speed on offer from Vodafone or Telstra is 12Mbps: enough for basic tasks, but not ideal if you need sustain a whole family’s broadband needs.

If you do decide on a 4G backup plan, keep the following in mind:

  • To get access to 4G-enabled modems or WiFi hubs, you usually need to sign up for a long-term contract (or pay a hefty upfront fee).
  • Only a small subset of providers offer 4G backup on home internet plans.

Modems with cellular network backup are a relatively new phenomenon, but it’s one Australia is likely to see more of  – even more so as 5G networks begin to go live across the country.  If your home internet is giving you grief, it’s probably only a matter of time before another provider pops up with 4G backup: just make sure you’ve considered your options before making a jump.

Compare NBN Providers

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