The Best Modems for Mobile Broadband

Best 4G Mobile Broadband Modems in Australia

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While the NBN may be the most popular form of home internet, for some, a mobile or home wireless broadband plan could offer a good alternative. As for any internet service, you will need a modem to connect you to the internet.

Whether you have home wireless internet as an alternative to the NBN in your home, or if you’re looking to a mobile broadband plan to take when travelling or to supplement your home internet during busy times, there are plenty of plans — and modems — to choose from.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best 4G modems in Australia from popular telcos also offering 4G home internet and mobile broadband plans.

What is the best 4G modem?

If you’re looking for the best mobile broadband modem for your plan, there are plenty of modems to choose from. In this guide we’re talking specifically about the best 4G modems, which can be portable devices or modems designed for home wireless broadband plans.

For most people, the best 4G router or modem may be the one bundled with the mobile or home wireless broadband plan they sign up to, as it’s generally easier than researching the modems yourself.

Most telcos will offer 4G modems as part of your home wireless broadband plan and some mobile broadband plans come with the option to add a modem or dongle on to your plan. In this guide, we’ll focus on the modems offered by some of Australia’s most well-known telcos.

What is mobile broadband?

Mobile broadband is internet which works through the 4G and (in some areas) 5G mobile networks across Australia that are owned by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. These networks are completely separate from the NBN, and are typically intended for smartphones; however, telcos also offer these networks as an alternative to standard home internet, such as NBN. The benefit of mobile broadband is that you can connect anywhere your provider offers mobile coverage, which means you can use your internet plan on-the-go and away from home.

There are plenty of different products that can be used for mobile broadband. Typically, mobile broadband is powered through a data-only SIM card, given to you by the internet provider. This can be usedthrough a USB internet dongle, a mobile broadband modem, or it can be inserted into a device like a tablet or even smartphone.

What about home wireless broadband or 4G home internet?

Home wireless broadband, sometimes called 4G home internet (or 5G home internet), can sometimes be confused for mobile broadband. Indeed, home wireless uses the same technology as mobile broadband, but the biggest difference is that home wireless internet is designed as a home internet alternative to a fixed service, like NBN.

This means that modems used for home wireless broadband will often need to be plugged into a powerpoint to operate and it is not portable. These modems may also have capacity to connect more devices than a modem used for mobile broadband services.

Deciding whether you need a home internet plan and 4G modem or a mobile broadband service, will depend on whether you want portability or an alternative home internet connection to a service like NBN.

Should I get mobile broadband?

If there’s strain on your home internet because multiple people are using the internet at once and for high intensity activities or you travel around the country a lot for work or holidays, mobile broadband could be a good option for you. It can work well as a back-up plan or an immediate solution and there are plenty of plans on the market to fit all lifestyles.

What about 5G mobile broadband?

The 5G networks are still being rolled out across Australia by the three major telcos, with Telstra and Optus and Vodafone well and truly rolling out their networks with many plans available. 5G access may be available on selected mobile broadband plans from some telcos, but 5G home internet plans are available from a larger range of providers if you want an at-home 5G option.

Mobile Broadband Plans

If you’re still looking for a mobile broadband plan, there are plenty of options from different telcos to choose from. Compare a range of mobile broadband plans 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

Small

  • 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 $25 over one month

30GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period
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 $58 over one month

75GBMax Data**/billing period $58Advertised Cost^^/billing period
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 $90 over one month

400GBMax Data**/billing period $90Advertised Cost^^/billing period
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

Small Data SIM Only Plan

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges for use in Australia

min. cost $20 over first month

30GBMax Data**/billing period $20Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
Vodafone Logo

Large Data SIM Only Plan

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges for use in Australia

min. cost $40 over first month

70GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised 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
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
Southern Phones Logo

Small

  • SIM Only

min. cost $300 over 12 month plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Southern Phones Logo

Medium

  • SIM Only

min. cost $480 over 12 month plan period

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

Large

  • SIM Only

min. cost $780 over 12 month plan period

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

Telstra Mobile Broadband Modems

Telstra offers a range of 4G modems that can be bundled with its plans: the Telstra 4GX Hotspot, Telstra 4GX USB Modem, the Nighthawk M6 and the Nighthawk M6 Pro. Telstra also offers a 5G mobile broadband modem.

These modems can be bundled with any of Telstra’s mobile broadband plans and the 4G modems can be paid off over 12, 24 or 36 months, or you can buy it outright.

If you’d prefer a home internet plan from Telstra, you can only pick up a 5G home internet plan which comes bundled with the Telstra 5G Internet Modem 2.

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

Small

  • 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 $25 over one month

30GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period
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 $58 over one month

75GBMax Data**/billing period $58Advertised Cost^^/billing period
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 $90 over one month

400GBMax Data**/billing period $90Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Optus Mobile Broadband Modems

Optus also offers a range of devices to bundle with your internet, whether its for mobile broadband or a modem for 4G home internet and you can bundle with a plan.

Optus has two mobile broadband modems on offer, both of which are 5G compatible: the ZTE MU5001 5G Modem, and the Netgear Nighthawk M6 5G Modem. Both modems are available to pay off over a 12, 24 or 36 month payment period, or you can buy it outright.

If you would prefer a 4G home internet plan, Optus offers the Optus 4G WiFi Modem, which can be bundled with a 4G home internet plan.

Optus Mobile Broadband Data SIM plans

The following table shows a selection of Optus mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
optus Logo

Small Data SIM Plan

  • SIM Only
  • Month-to-month plan (SIM plan price, inclusions & add-ons may change as notified)
  • Includes Optus Sport + OS Fitness
  • No excess data charges in Australia. Speed will be capped at max 1.5Mbps

min. cost $15 month to month

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
Optus Logo

Medium Data SIM Plan

  • SIM Only
  • Month-to-month plan (SIM plan price, inclusions & add-ons may change as notified)
  • Includes Optus Sport + OS Fitness
  • No excess data charges in Australia. Speed will be capped at max 1.5Mbps

min. cost $25 month to month

30GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
Optus Logo

Large Data SIM Plan

  • SIM Only
  • Month-to-month plan (SIM plan price, inclusions & add-ons may change as notified)
  • 5G network access
  • Includes Optus Sport + OS Fitness
  • No excess data charges in Australia. Speed will be capped at max 1.5Mbps

min. cost $45 month to month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
Optus Logo

Large Data SIM Plan

  • SIM Only
  • Month-to-month plan (SIM plan price, inclusions & add-ons may change as notified)
  • 5G network access
  • Includes Optus Sport + OS Fitness
  • No excess data charges in Australia. Speed will be capped at max 1.5Mbps

min. cost $60 month to month

100GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable

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 Unlimited (24 Month)

  • Speed capped at 25Mbps download, 2Mbps upload
  • Includes: WiFi modem
  • Available in selected areas
  • Special offer: first month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $1,357 over 24 month plan period

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

4G Home Internet Unlimited (Month-to-Month)

  • Speed capped at 25Mbps download, 2Mbps upload
  • $216 upfront modem cost for WiFi Modem
  • Available in selected areas
  • Special offer: first month plan fees free. Terms apply.

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

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $59Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Vodafone Mobile Broadband Modems

Vodafone offers two 4G modems – one intended for portable use and one for the home. For mobile broadband, you can pick up the Vodafone Pocket WiFi 4 4G modem, while 4G home internet will require you to purchase a 4G modem from Vodafone, however the type of modem isn’t specified. The pocked modem can be bundled with a Vodafone mobile broadband plan, while the 4G home internet modem will be bundled with Vodafone’s 4G home internet plan.

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

Small Data SIM Only Plan

  • 30GB bonus data, offer ends 01/07/24
  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges for use in Australia

min. cost $20 over first month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $20Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
Vodafone Logo

Large Data SIM Only Plan

  • 70GB bonus data, offer ends 01/07/24
  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges for use in Australia

min. cost $40 over first month

140GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

How fast is mobile broadband?

Typically, 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 from your provider and have a compatible device. That being said, mobile broadband speeds vary depending on which network you are on and what technology you are using. However, you should, at the very least, have speeds equivalent to what you’ll get on an NBN 12 plan.

Emma Bradstock
Telco Specialist
Emma Bradstock has been an authority on consumer phone, internet, technology and streaming markets in Australia for over 5 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media from Macquarie University and has over a decade of professional writing experience in print and digital media.

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