Prepaid Mobile Broadband Plans & Guide

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Mobile broadband might be the thing for you if you’re doing lots of travel 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 mobile broadband?

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 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).

We’ve done a breakdown here on the differences between prepaid and postpaid plans for mobile phones, but many of the same considerations apply to broadband. Make sure you get the right plan for you that’s tailored to how you like to pay for your services.

Who offers prepaid mobile broadband?

The leading providers of prepaid mobile broadband include Amaysim, OVO, 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?

Amaysim prepaid mobile broadband plans

Amaysim uses the Optus network, with four 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 240GB for $80 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.

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 Go To Site
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 50GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $40 over 28 day billing period

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

SIM Only 90GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $60 over 28 day billing period

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

OVO prepaid mobile broadband plans

OVO uses the Optus mobile networks to deliver a small range of mobile broadband plans that come in prepaid packages. Starting at $49.95 for 50GB over a 30 day period, and going up to $79.95 for 250GB over a 30 day period, these plans would brilliant for you if you’re doing lots of file sharing on the go, or don’t have a stable home broadband connection.

OVO also gives you the option of a Huawei E5573s-606 modem when you buy a plan with them – it’s perfectly capable with 3G and 4G connections, and it’s no bigger than a small smart phone. You can pick this up for an additional $99.

OVO Mobile Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published OVO 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
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 Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Ovo Logo

OVOBoom Large

  • Unlimited sport and radio on OVOPlay
  • BYO modem option

min. cost $64.95 over 30 day billing period

100GBMax Data**/billing period $64.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Ovo Logo

OVOBoom XL

  • Unlimited sport and radio on OVOPlay
  • BYO modem option

min. cost $79.95 over 30 day billing period

250GBMax Data**/billing period $79.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Vodafone prepaid mobile broadband plans

Vodafone offers mobile broadband plans in a prepaid form, starting at $15 for 5GB 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 2 4G Starter Pack” includes a modem of the same name, coming with 10GB data, with a 30 day expiry, for $59.

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

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

$30 SIM Starter Pack

  • SIM Only Plan
  • Special offer: 20GB extra data until 31/12/20

min. cost $15 over 30 day billing period

30GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Data^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$40 SIM Starter Pack

  • SIM Only Plan
  • Special offer: 20GB extra data until 31/12/20

min. cost $40 over 30 day billing period

45GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Data^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

$50 SIM Starter Pack

  • SIM Only Plan
  • Special Offer: 20GB extra data until 31/12/20

min. cost $50 over 30 day billing period

55GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/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 24GB 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.

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

24GBMax Data**/billing period $95Advertised Data^^/billing period
ALDIMobile Logo

$240 Data Pack

  • SIM only plan
  • Includes data rollover

min. cost $240 over 365 days

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

$365 Data Pack

  • SIM only plan
  • Includes data rollover

min. cost $365 over 365 days

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

Image: Prostock Studio / Shutterstock

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