What are the best NBN providers you’ve never heard of?

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Australia’s home broadband market is currently dominated by four major service providers – Telstra, Optus, TPG/iiNet and Vocus Communications (Dodo/iPrimus). However, the advent of the Government-funded National Broadband Network (NBN) means many smaller telcos can now also offer competitive internet plans that rival those of the big guys.

Thanks to the NBN’s combination of a single widespread, high-speed network and affordable wholesale prices, smaller operators no longer need to piggyback on infrastructure belonging to a few big companies.

Dozens of smaller internet service providers (ISPs) have sprung up in the last few years to take advantage of the NBN, and many offer plans which provide similar or even better value compared to the major players. With this in mind, we’ve taken a close look at some of the best NBN providers you’ve probably never heard of, to see what deals they have on offer. There are some weird and wonderful names out there, but behind them are some good-value NBN plans. Read on for details or jump straight into our internet comparison tool.

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Amaysim

Chances are if you’ve bought a prepaid phone plan in the last few years then you’d have heard of Amaysim. However, you might not know it now also offers NBN plans. So what does it offer?

  • NBN 12: $60 a month
  • NBN 25: $70 a month
  • NBN 100: $90 a month

That’s it – very simple. All NBN plans come with unlimited data, and no activation fees or peak/off-peak charges. You also have the choice to BYO modem at no extra charge, or get a NetComm NF17ACV router for a $140 one-off fee. This router features AC speed standards, which is the latest standard and helps ensure your router is ready for the NBN. However, new connections may attract a $300 ‘new development’ fee, but this is set by NBN Co and is pretty standard with all providers. There are also no call packs, but this could feasibly be mitigated by an Amaysim mobile phone plan!

Aussie Broadband

Aussie Broadband is a relatively new NBN provider and what it offers is pretty exciting. For Aussie, you’ll have to look past just price and data limits, as these two alone aren’t particularly noteworthy. However, Aussie does claim by buying one of its plans you don’t have to live with the ‘6pm slowdown’ as it monitors traffic and contention to limit congestion at peak times.

  • Aussie Broadband is somewhat of an exclusive club, as it limits sign-ups (there is even a waiting list) to ease congestion. It then buys more capacity and allows others to sign up.
  • There are no unlimited plans, and prices start at $35 a month.
  • To get something more meaty (say, NBN Tier 4 plus 1000GB data) you can expect to pay $100+ a month.

While no plans have unlimited data, Aussie says it does this strategically to prevent massive downloaders using up bandwidth. You can, however, buy bolt-ons – one of which unmeters data between 1am and 7am. If you’re a night owl, you could potentially schedule your big downloads until late at night – another sign that Aussie aims to mitigate peak download slowdown. All four usual speed tiers are available, as well as an extra one – 250/100 – but this is not available in all areas. Aussie is not the cheapest provider out there, but it is arguably one of the more exciting ones.

Barefoot Telecom

Self-described as “not your average telco”, Barefoot Telecom has four easy NBN plan options to choose from – all with unlimited data.

  • Named Lite, Mid, Bigfoot and Ultra, the prices of $49, $59, $59 and $89 reflect the increasing speeds of these plans, from 12Mbps (Tier 1) up to 100Mbps (Tier 4).
  • Note that there is no price difference between Tier 2 & 3.
  • Call packs are available from an extra $9 a month.

Barefoot Telecom’s description of itself is probably justified, given all of its plans come with no lock-in contracts and no start-up or activation fees if you bring your own modem. If you do want a modem, you’ll get an AC1600-standard router for $149. You’ll also get a local call centre for peace of mind. Its name ‘Barefoot’ is describable of its no-fuss NBN plans. If you’re looking for a no-BS broadband provider, Barefoot is a solid option.

Belong Broadband

Belong Broadband is owned by Telstra, but is a solid alternative to the big telco behemoth. Upon visiting the Belong site, you’ll be presented with a simple plan builder.

  • Choose your data – 100GB of unlimited; $50 or $60 respectively
  • Choose your contract – 12 months or none; no contract is $5 a month extra
  • Choose your speed – NBN 12, NBN 25 or NBN 100; jumping to NBN 25 costs an extra $10, and to NBN 100 an extra $30

Beyond that, you can also add a ‘Belong Voice’ package, starting at $10 a month for standard national calls, or $10 a month for the international-only option, including calls to 10 countries. Belong Voice is easily accessed through Belong’s mobile app and is a VoIP service, meaning no line rental or set-up costs.

Exetel

Exetel has some of the cheapest NBN plans out there. You can get yourself connected to the NBN with Exetel from as little as $39.99 per month, provided 100GB of data at 12Mbps max speed is all you need or want.

  • For the same Tier 1 speed you can upgrade to either 500GB or unlimited data, taking your monthly bill to $49.99 or $54.99 respectively

Exetel also offers Tier 2 and 4 plan options, with prices again determined by your data allowance. For the fastest speeds you will pay $69.99 per month for 100GB of data, $79.99 for 500GB and $89.99 for unlimited. Beyond that, Exetel also has three contract terms – 18 months, 12 months and no lock-in.

  • Activation costs with the 18 month plan are free, while $59.99 applies to the 12 month plan, and $99.99 for the no lock-in option.
  • These plans are BYO modem, but you can also add in a modem and a home phone pack for $10 a month extra, which also includes unlimited local/national/mobile calls.
  • The modem alone incurs a $59 upfront fee.

Exetel seems to have come a long way in recent years and is one of the bigger providers in this list, with competitive rates.

Harbour ISP

Harbour ISP allows customers to pick their favoured NBN speed with their required amount of data, plus the option of a home phone or home phone and mobile bundle.

  • Prices start from $49 per month for Tier 1 speed, and $59 for Tier 2, with an additional $10 bumping the data allowance up from 250GB to unlimited for those first two plans.
  • Tier 4 NBN can be yours from $89.
  • Set-up fees are included in the 12 and 24 month plans, while for a month-to-month plan you’ll face a $99 fee.
  • Routers are included on 24 month plans but are an additional cost for 12 month and month-to-month users.

You don’t need to add any call inclusions, but if you want to they come for a further $10 or $20. No-contract plans incur a $99 set-up fee, but plans include a router, or you can upgrade to some pretty tasty options from $70. Harbour ISP also has a range of wireless NBN plans on offer, so keep your eyes peeled for those as they become more popular.

Hello Broadband

Wave hello to Hello Broadband and its competitive NBN plans. Hello offers fixed-line NBN customers a dead simple plan builder.

  • All plans come with unlimited data and you get a choice of three speed tiers – all but the top speed tier are accounted for.
  • Prices for the respective tiers are $57.95, $59.95 and $74.95, making for a strong incentive to hop into an NBN 25 plan that is only $2 more than its 12/1 counterpart.
  • Hello offers several incentives to sign up: free set-up on 12 month plans, 12th and 24th months free on a 24 month plan, and a low set up of $49.99 on a month-to-month plan.

Hello Broadband stands out for its simple plans with a strong variety of contract lengths and incentives.

Infinity Broadband

The modestly-named Infinity Broadband offers an easy mix and match option for its NBN plans. Infinity claims to offer “affordable and world class” internet. Ironically though, none of its plans are ‘infinite’ in data allowances.

  • You get a choice of 30GB, 100GB, 200GB and 1200GB – $44.95, $54.95, $59.95 and $69.95 respectively.
  • These prices are for plans with 12/1 speeds. There are all four speed tiers available, with each speed jump costing an extra $10 per month
  • 24-month contracts come as standard, while a 12-month contract will attract a set-up fee of $50

You also have the option of adding in a wireless router, with two choices. A TP-Link router costs $40, while a Netcomm one will cost $99 extra. Aside from that, most of Infinity’s home phone packs are over a VoIP service, and these start at $9.95 extra per month.

MATE Communicate

The telco that wants to be “best mates” with its customers, MATE Communicate is all about unlimited data at differing price points. Mate’s plans are simple in that you pay extra for the speed tier you choose.

  • Good Mates: $49 per month, 12/1 speeds
  • Great Mates: $59 per month, 25/5 speeds
  • Best Mates: $59 per month, 50/20 speeds
  • Soul Mates: $89 per month, 100/40 speeds

These plans all come with no lock-in contracts “between mates” and no activation fee either. Adding in a modem is optional. An AC1600 router costs $149, while the same with VoIP capabilities will cost you $169. You can bundle these plans with an unlimited local/national/mobile call pack for an extra $9 per month. Mate’s simple plans are pretty compelling, and its cheap call packs are a nice extra touch. Note that there is no price difference between Tier 2 & 3.

MyNetFone

MyNetFone is one of Australia’s leading voice and data communications services and owns one of the country’s largest VoIP networks.

  • It boasts three simple NBN plans: $49.99 for 200GB of data and PAYG rate home phone calls, $59.99 for unlimited data and PAYG calls, and $69.99 for unlimited data and unlimited calls
  • These Tier 1 speed plans are all available on no lock-in contract terms, and you can upgrade to fastest NBN for an extra $10 for Tier 2, Tier 3 for an extra $20 and Tier 4 for an extra $30

On a 12 or 24-month plan, you get a free NBN-ready modem, while no contract plans attract a $199 set-up fee. MyNetFone also boasts an Australian call centre open seven days a week, and for tech heads it also gives customers a static IPV4 IP address, which is helpful for website or domain hosting as well as VPN access when you’re away from home.

MyRepublic

MyRepublic is a relatively new addition to Australia, originating out of South East Asia. Its broadband plans are easy to follow – they all come with unlimited data and customers get a choice of either Tier 3 or 4 speeds.

  • As it stands, MyRepublic provides some of the cheapest combinations of unlimited NBN data and Tier 4 speeds
  • Landline calls are included on all plans; calls to mobiles are extra
  • You get a modem in your $1 set-up cost if you sign up for 24 months

MyRepublic’s standard inclusion of the two fastest speed tiers makes it one of the most exciting NBN providers out there. What’s more is it seems to be a champion for leading causes such as gigabit speeds in Australia, as well as prioritising gamer traffic to lower ping scores and lower lag time.

SpinTel

Already a major player in the mobile phone space, SpinTel also offers a suite of NBN plans which include PAYG or unlimited call options. As you would expect, the faster you want your internet speeds, the more you’ll need to pay.

  • You get three data choices – 50GB for $39.95, 500GB for $49.95 and Unlimited for $54.95
  • Speed Tiers: Entry 12/1 is the base speed, ‘Plus’ 50/20 is $10 extra, and ‘Premium’ 100/40 is $25 extra
  • You then choose your call packs, with $0 extra for PAYG calls starting from 10c. $10 extra gets you a pack with local/national/mobile calls included.

An important caveat with the ‘Fast’ and ‘Aww Yeah’ plans is that the unlimited data option is reduced to 1000GB, which is still a fair amount. You also get the choice of a monthly, 12 month or 24 month contract. The monthly option incurs a $49 set-up fee, while the 12 month deal has free set-up and the 24 month plan you get free set-up and $70 credit. SpinTel is really pining hard for your custom, and you can also get a router bundled in from $69 (upfront).

Southern Phone

Southern Phone is a telco that gives back to rural councils throughout Australia. Although perhaps better known for its mobile phone plans, Southern Phone also provides some competitive NBN plans.

  • There are five base plans – from 100GB for $45 up to $65 for unlimited data.
  • Speed jumps all the way up to 100/40 speeds are available, with top speeds costing $30 a month over the base plans.

24 month contracts are also standard across the board, and have no set-up fees or extra modem costs. These are easily to follow, if somewhat underwhelming due to not being able to customise your plan.

Start Broadband

Start Broadband provides a super-easy range of NBN bundles to choose from based on whether you want 100GB or unlimited data.

  • For Tier 1 speeds, prices start at $65 and $75 per month respectively. If you want to go faster, then prices jump $10 for each speed tier you move up, meaning Tier 4 plans cost $95 and $105 per month respectively

As it stands, there is strong incentive to opt for the unlimited data plan, unless you know you’re a light user. Your broadband can also be bundled with an unlimited call pack or international pack at an extra cost, from $15 to $20 extra per month.

  • Plans are available on six month terms or over 24 months – the former costing you $59.95 for set-up, and the latter $0.

Start also gives you the opportunity to BYO modem, or choose your own at no extra cost ($15 delivery applies). Start’s plans can easily exceed $100 a month but there is a strong case for its unlimited plans.

Tangerine Telecom

A relative newcomer in the NBN sphere, Tangerine Telecom has one of the more interesting names out there. Tangerine Telecom is all about unlimited data and your speed tier of choice.

  • $59.90 a month for 12/1 speeds
  • $69.90 a month for 25/5 speeds
  • $69.90 a month for 50/20 speeds

Note that there is no price difference between Tier 2 & 3. Tangerine Telecom also gives you the opportunity to either BYO modem or have one supplied for $99.95. Call packs are also available from an extra $10 a month, and this includes unlimited local/national/mobile calls. Tangerine’s plans boast no contracts; no set-up fees, unlimited data and “super quick” call centre answer times over seven days a week.

Teleron

Teleron claims to be ‘your local NBN provider’ and like your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman, Teleron is there to help – with some low-cost NBN plans. There are four base plans to choose from, and speed tiers are generally designated by metals:

  • ‘Bronze’ denotes 12/1 speeds, ‘Silver’ gets you 25/5’, ‘Gold’ is for 50/20, and ‘Platinum’ brings up 100/40 speeds. Each speed tier jump is an extra $10 a month.
  • Data allowances are 200GB, 500GB or unlimited.
  • The cheapest plan costs $45 a month (12/1 speeds with 200GB) while the dearest is $90 (100/40 speeds, unlimited data).
  • Unmetered Netflix is available from time to time on certain data-capped plans.

Call packs are also available from an extra $10 a month, which includes unlimited local and national calls with PAYG mobile calls. Set-up fees of $150 also apply if you opt for the no-contract option. Discounted rates for routers also apply if you choose a lengthier contract.

Which NBN provider is best?

To cut a long story short, this review of NBN providers gives you a good idea about the value on offer if you’re willing to look past the big telcos. This is not to say the biggest service providers don’t have great NBN deals as well, because they often do, but it’s certainly worth considering all of your options before deciding where to spend your money.

  • There certainly are some amazing deals around, and with more than 100 total providers out there – some location-specific – it’s virtually impossible to list all of them.
  • In our review, MATE Communicate, Belong Broadband, AusBBS & SpinTel all offer some of the cheapest unlimited plans at Tier 1 speed, while the likes of Exetel, MyNetFone & Teleron are strong propositions at the higher speed levels.

All of the providers mentioned above offer at least fairly good value and each have their own selling points, with most boasting unlimited data as standard. It’s worth comparing a range of different providers to see what plan is right for you.

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