Telstra Mobile Broadband Explained

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If you’re working from home, on the go, or just need reliable internet connections wherever you are, mobile broadband should have you covered. Mobile broadband is an internet connection that takes advantage of 4G and (with limited devices) 5G networks.

Plenty of businesses have jumped on the mobile broadband bandwagon by offering it as an alternative to the NBN and home internet. It’s great for all kinds of purposes – as a backup plan, as a home internet solution, or if you need to hop on your work emails while on the train.

In particular, if the whole family is home and using the internet, you’ll want an alternative if your bandwidth is being soaked up by everyone else in the house. Mobile broadband is a solution to this problem, and it could prove to be a painless backup plan for you.

In this article we’ll be going through the mobile broadband plans offered by Telstra.

Jump to:

What is mobile broadband?

Mobile broadband is type of internet connection that, while not as hard-hitting and download intensive as a Standard Plus 50 NBN Plan or a Premium 100 NBN plan, is still great to have with you if you’re all business and need to stay online no matter what. It’s great if you’re a traveller and need a constant internet connections, or if the home internet goes down and you need to get online right then and there.

Mobile broadband speeds are, at a minimum, most similar to that of a Basic NBN 12 speed, and while there are no unlimited plans on the market, there are some big data options out there. Mobile broadband can come in a variety of packages – with Telstra, it takes the form of a data-only SIM card, but with others it could come in the form of a modem or in the form of a dongle.

Rather than taking advantage of internet lines to houses and properties, mobile broadband relies on 4G mobile coverage. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all have 4G mobile coverage across Australia, and are rolling out their respective 5G networks.

This means that mobile broadband operates at similar speeds to mobile phones. It also means that if home broadband connections are getting choked up by bandwidth constraints, like they are with COVID-19 traffic, this makes a brilliant alternative if your home internet is too slow.

How much does Telstra mobile broadband cost?

Telstra’s mobile broadband plans start at $15 for 5GB on a month to month basis, and range to $75 for 100GB on a month to month basis. You can also get a mobile broadband modem bundled in, and get access to data-free sports and music streaming.

Telstra offers four mobile broadband plans – Extra Small, Small, Medium and Large. Compared to Optus, they are a bit pricey, but keep in mind Telstra’s network is a little bit faster.

On top of this, up until June 2020, Telstra will be offering 5G mobile broadband for free if you sign up for a mobile broadband plan. After 30 June, customers on Telstra’s Extra Small and Small mobile broadband plans will need to pay an additional $15 per month to continue to access 5G, while Medium and Large plans include 5G service at no extra cost. All plans include data-free sports viewing and data-free Apple Music streaming. Each plan above the Extra Small plan also includes a saving in the first month.

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

Extra Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $15 over one month

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

Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $25 over one month

10GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $50 over one month

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

Large

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $75 over one month

100GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Beyond Telstra, mobile broadband prices range between $15 a month for a small data plan to $110 a month for a huge data plan. There aren’t any unlimited plans on the market right now, which means the price is largely dependent upon the packaged-in technology and the size of the data plan itself, ranging between 7GB and 250GB. Plans range between being month-to-month and having 12 month plan lock-in periods.

Mobile broadband plans compared

To get a good idea of the prices of mobile broadband prices from different providers, we’ve included this table below for your consideration.

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared: Over 100GB

The following table shows a selection of published mobile broadband plans with over 100GB of data 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

Large

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $75 over one month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Data^^/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 Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 240GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $60 over 28 day billing period

240GBMax Data**/billing period $80Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared: 100GB

The following table shows a selection of published 100GB 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

100GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $720 over 12 months

100GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Data^^/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 Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Large

  • SIM Only

min. cost $780 over 12 month plan period

100GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared: Over 50GB

The following table shows a selection of published mobile broadband plans with 50GB – 100GB of data 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 50GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $25 over 28 day billing period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Medium

  • SIM Only

min. cost $480 over 12 month plan period

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

SIM Only 90GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $45 over 28 day billing period

90GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

60GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $540 over 12 months

60GBMax 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

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $50 over one month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared: Under 50GB

The following table shows a selection of published mobile broadband plans with less than 50GB of data 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 Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Extra Small

  • SIM Only

min. cost $180 over 12 month plan period

7GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Extra Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $15 over one month

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

5GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $180 over 12 months

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Small

  • SIM Only

min. cost $300 over 12 month plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • Free 5G access until June 2020

min. cost $25 over one month

20GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

25GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $360 over 12 months

25GBMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Telstra mobile broadband devices

Telstra offers a selection of great devices to use with mobile broadband. The four modems up for grabs are the:

  • Telstra 4GX USB
  • Nighthawk M2
  • Telstra 4GX Wi-Fi Pro
  • Telstra 4GX Modem
Telstra's range of mobile broadband devices
Telstra’s Mobile Broadband Modems. Credit: Telstra

The Telstra 4GX USB, the Nighthawk M2 and the Telstra 4GX Wi-Fi Pro are great if you’re on the go, supporting up to five, 20 and 10 devices on their networks respectively. The 4GX USB is a dongle that you plug into your device, and allows for you to hotspot, whereas the Nighthawk M2 and the 4GX Wi-Fi Pro have in-built screens, allowing you to monitor your usage.

The 4GX Modem allows for up to 20 devices to be connected, and is great for streaming and gaming – the trade-off is that it’s not a portable modem unlike the others up for grabs, but it’s great and super-fast for a home connection.

These modems vary greatly in price and payment plans, with the Telstra 4GX USB starting at $2.66 a month for 36 months, and the 4GX modem starting at $8 a month for 36 months.

If you live in a 5G-covered area, Telstra offers a 5G WiFi Hub, although the device may not always be in stock due to demand. This offers both 5G and 4G mobile broadband connections, and is available on 24-month and 36-month plans.

Telstra also offers an ArloGo WiFi camera, which allows you to keep an eye on things from other places.

How fast is Telstra mobile broadband?

Typically with mobile broadband, you should be able to reach download speeds of between 20Mbps and 100Mbps on a 4G connection, but faster download speeds of up to 1Gbps are now possible if you live in an area with 5G network coverage and have a compatible device.

However, there are speed differences between devices and networks. We’ve done a great deep-dive article on that here.

Why should I switch to Telstra mobile broadband?

Mobile broadband is a great option for you for several reasons. It’s a great alternative to the NBN when the network is under a lot of stress, such as within the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s also great for if you’re out and about and need a reliable internet connection.

Having a separate internet connection at home could also be a great idea if you’re looking to stop bandwidth congestion for your family. If your family is watching something on Netflix and you’re trying to do a video call with your workplace, you’ll certainly notice some bandwidth tension, so maybe it’s worth thinking about mobile broadband.

If you don’t yet have the NBN available in your area, mobile broadband is something you should certainly consider. Mobile broadband speeds can easily outstrip the Basic NBN 12 speed, which rivals the max speed of ADSL connections.


Image: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock

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