Internet plans with 4G backup routers

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.

Internet Plans & Modems with 4G Backup

There are several key internet service providers in Australia that backup their plans with 4G in case things go awry, including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Each 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 all published Telstra NBN plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, then by monthly data allowance. 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.

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.

The following table shows all published unlimited Vodafone NBN plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. 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.

Tangerine Telecom Modem & Plans

Tangerine offers a great selection of affordable NBN plans, and has now introduced an optional 4G backup modem to its product range. The NetComm NL19ACV device is now available on all NBN broadband plans for $199.90 upfront, plus $15 per month for 30GB of mobile 4G data on top of your unlimited NBN gigabytes.

4G backup data is available with speeds of 12Mbps, which is fast enough to keep your household functioning during temporary NBN outages. Data is provided using Optus’ 4G mobile network, with coverage available to around 98% of Australians.

4G Backup does come with an extra cost of $15 per month, so you’ll need to factor this in to your monthly NBN plan cost. With Tangerine currently offering a six-month discount on plans for new customers, prices with 4G backup are as follows:

  • Tangerine Standard Speed: $64.90 for your first six months, then $74.90 ongoing
  • Tangerine XL Speed Boost: $74.90 per month for your first six months, then $84.90 per month ongoing
  • Tangerine XXL Speed Boost: $89.90 per month for your first six months, then $104.90 per month ongoing

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Tangerine NBN plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. 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.

Optus Ultra WiFi Modem & Plans

Optus offers a pre-configured Ultra WiFi modem on all Internet Everyday and Family Internet Ultimate plans. Priced at $252, but $0 if you stay connected to your Optus plan for 36 months, the Ultra WiFi modem features 4G backup with speeds limited to 12/1 Mbps. 4G data is provided by Optus’ own 4G mobile network, and the modem will switch over automatically in the event of NBN outages.

Optus NBN plans begin at $79 per month for its Internet Everyday option, which includes unlimited data on the Standard Plus Evening Speed tier. Family Internet Ultimate plans begin at $89 per month and include a WiFi booster and internet security. Both plans can be upgraded to NBN 100 for an extra $20 per month.

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Optus NBN plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers.

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. If you’re looking at mobile broadband as a home or on-the-go mobile option, several plans are listed 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 – pay upfront via AutoPay
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • No 5G access
  • Share your data with up to 10 plans across your account

min. cost $15 over one month

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

Small

  • SIM only plan – pay upfront via AutoPay
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • No 5G access
  • Share your data with up to 10 plans across your account

min. cost $25 over one month

30GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • SIM only plan – pay upfront via AutoPay
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • 5G access included
  • Share your data with up to 10 plans across your account

min. cost $55 over one month

75GBMax Data**/billing period $55Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
Telstra Logo

Large

  • SIM only plan – pay upfront via AutoPay
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • 5G access included
  • Share your data with up to 10 plans across your account

min. cost $85 over one month

400GBMax Data**/billing period $85Advertised 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

Link to provider unavailable

Vodafone Logo

40GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $40 over first month

40GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Cost^^/billing period

Link to provider unavailable

Vodafone Logo

100GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $60 over first month

100GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Cost^^/billing period

Link to provider unavailable

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

Link to provider unavailable

Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 50GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $40 over 28 day billing period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Cost^^/billing period

Link to provider unavailable

Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 90GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $60 over 28 day billing period

90GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Cost^^/billing period

Link to provider unavailable

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

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 Southern Phone, Yomojo, SpinTel, Exetel and Optus. All offer some sort of modem to go along with the plan, but beware of often-hefty upfront costs.

The following table shows a selection of published iiNet home wireless broadband plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

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

Home Wireless Broadband Liimitless Plan

  • Up to 20Mbps speed
  • $0 set up fees and no lock-in contract
  • $0 premium WiFi modem
  • Special offer: one month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $59.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $59.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go to Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

The following table shows a selection of published TPG home wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

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

Home Wireless Broadband Unlimited Plan

  • Up to 20Mbps speeds
  • $0 setup fee with no lock-in contract
  • $0 home wireless modem
  • Special offer: First month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $54.99 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $54.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Optus 4G Home Internet Plans

The following table shows a selection of Optus 4G Home Internet 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
Optus Logo

4G Home Internet Lite 200GB (24 Months)

  • Includes: B818 Modem
  • Cost of 1MB included data is $0.0003
  • Available in selected areas

min. cost $1,416 over 24 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $59Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
Optus Logo

4G Home Internet Lite 200GB (Month-to-Month)

  • $216 upfront modem cost for B818 Modem
  • Cost of 1MB included data is $0.0003
  • Available in selected areas

min. cost $275 (incl. $216 modem cost) over first month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $59Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
Optus Logo

4G Home Internet Everyday 500GB (24 Month)

  • Includes: B818 Modem
  • Cost of 1MB included data is $0.0002
  • Available in selected areas

min. cost $1,656 over 24 month plan period

500GBMax Data**/billing period $69Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
Optus Logo

4G Home Internet Everyday 500GB (Month-to-Month)

  • $216 upfront modem cost for B818 Modem
  • Cost of 1MB included data is $0.0002
  • Available in selected areas

min. cost $285 (incl. $216 modem cost) over first month plan period

500GBMax Data**/billing period $69Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

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 Link to provider unavailable
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 Link to provider unavailable
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 Link to provider unavailable
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 Link to provider unavailable
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 Link to provider unavailable
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, Optus 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.

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