Prepaid Mobile Broadband Plans & Guide

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Mobile broadband might be the thing for you if you’re doing lots of traveling and need a reliable, big-data package to access the internet with. Phone plans get super expensive the more data you have with them, but with a mobile broadband plan, you can have a dedicated mobile data service just for your internet use.

One of the best ways you can manage your mobile broadband use is by getting a prepaid mobile broadband plan – that being a plan that you pay for in advance, typically on a month-to-month basis, with a prepaid contract. Plenty of providers have these on offer, and it’s definitely something to consider if you’re worried about chewing through your data and running through your wallet.

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What is prepaid mobile broadband?

Prepaid Mobile broadband is a type of internet connection that utilises mobile 4G networks (powered by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone) and, in selected areas, 5G networks to deliver an internet connection to you. It is paid for in a prepaid fashion, so before the period of use. It can come in the form of a WiFi dongle, a portable modem or in the form of a SIM card, which you slot into your device.

On 4G connections, it tends to stick around 12Mbps, most similar to NBN Basic 12 internet speeds, although it can reach 20Mbps to 100Mbps in some areas. 5G network connections can potentially reach up to 1Gbps, but real-world speeds are likely to be slower.

It’s worth considering if you live in an area that doesn’t have a great NBN connection, or isn’t yet serviced by the NBN. If this is you, also consider wireless home broadband.

What does prepaid mean?

Prepaid applies to how you’ll be paying for your SIM service. It means paying in advance for your data, without the worry of receiving a surprise bill at the end of each month, or going over your plan’s data allowance. If your prepaid service runs out of data, you won’t be at risk of paying heavy excess data fees; instead, you can pay for a top-up and keep using, or simply wait for your billing cycle to reset.

Going prepaid may be right for you if:

  • You want a plan with no lock-in contract
  • You want to avoid ‘bill shock’ and paying surprise excess usage fees
  • You don’t need to buy a new modem, dongle or mobile broadband device
  • You want the freedom to recharge as often or as little as needed

Prepaid plans generally run on a 28-day or 30-day billing period, although longer-term pay-in-advance plans are available (for example, ALDI Mobile).

Is prepaid mobile broadband better than postpaid mobile broadband?

Prepaid mobile broadband might be better than postpaid mobile broadband if you prefer paying for data before the period of use. Postpaid mobile data is typically reoccurring and bills you after the period of use, so it essentially relies on your ongoing commitment to the internet plan.

Prepaid mobile broadband might be better to manage as far as costs go, with no contracts and no commitments to pay every month. However, this approach to billing also means you can’t use your plan until you pay for a recharge. It might be worth considering a long expiry mobile broadband plan for this reason.

You might find a better deal from a prepaid mobile broadband plan than from a postpaid mobile broadband plan, such as more data or more inclusions, although this is down to what you want from a mobile broadband plan.

Who offers prepaid mobile broadband?

The leading providers of prepaid mobile broadband include Amaysim, Vodafone and ALDI Mobile. However, there are far fewer prepaid mobile broadband providers compared to those offering postpaid plans. Maybe that’s because there’s more money to be made out of users going over their data limits on postpaid plans? The table below includes a mix of plan types.

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

20GBMax 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 $50 over one month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised 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 $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
Vodafone Logo

40GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $40 over first month

40GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised 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
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
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 50GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $40 over 28 day billing period

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

SIM Only 90GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $60 over 28 day billing period

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

Amaysim prepaid mobile broadband plans

Amaysim uses the Optus network, with three prepaid mobile broadband options to pick from. Plans start at $15 for 7GB over a 28 day billing period, and go all the way up to 90GB for $60 over a 28 day billing period.

If you need more data, you can also add 1GB for $10, or at a casual rate of 7.2c per MB, perfect for if you’re a pay-as-you-go kind of person.

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
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 50GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $40 over 28 day billing period

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

SIM Only 90GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $60 over 28 day billing period

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

Vodafone prepaid mobile broadband

Vodafone offers mobile broadband plans in a prepaid form, starting at $20 for 10GB over 30 days and going up to $60 for 100GB. Vodafone’s plans are no-nonsense – they don’t come with any special features, and can be purchased as a SIM-only plan to pair with a BYO device.

Vodafone also gives you the option of picking up a small 4G modem when you order a mobile broadband plan. The “Vodafone Pocket WiFi 3 4G Starter Pack” includes a modem of the same name, coming with 35GB data, with a 30-day expiry, for $99.

Vodafone is currently offering 20GB extra data each month across all prepaid mobile broadband SIM plans, through to the end of 2020.

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
Vodafone Logo

40GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $40 over first month

40GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised 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
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

ALDI prepaid mobile broadband plans

ALDI Mobile was the recipient of Canstar Blue’s Mobile Broadband Most Satisfied Customers award in 2019, scoring a solid five stars across all our research categories. ALDI’s plans provide tremendous value and data sizes, ideal for a wide range of uses. ALDI mobile uses the Telstra 3G and 4G networks.

Plans range from $95 for 30GB data over 365 days to $365 for 365GB over 365 days. You’ll only get the SIM in the plan and data rollover is included – meaning some of the data you don’t use is rolled over to the following billing period, provided you recharge before your plan expiry.

ALDI Mobile Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published ALDI Mobile 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
ALDIMobile Logo

$95 Data Pack

  • SIM only plan
  • Includes data rollover

min. cost $95 over 365 days

30GBMax Data**/billing period $95Advertised Cost^^/billing period
ALDIMobile Logo

$240 Data Pack

  • SIM only plan
  • Includes data rollover

min. cost $240 over 365 days

185GBMax Data**/billing period $240Advertised Cost^^/billing period
ALDIMobile Logo

$365 Data Pack

  • SIM only plan
  • Includes data rollover

min. cost $365 over 365 days

365GBMax Data**/billing period $365Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all mobile plans listed on Canstar Blue

Image: Prostock Studio / Shutterstock

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