Best NBN plans for singles: top picks for one-person households

Single woman using laptop at desk
(Image credit: Unsplash / Christin Hume)

Searching for a great NBN plan when you’re single can be super challenging when compared to a multi-user household. You’ll likely have fewer devices, and you’ll have to front the cost yourself, meaning your budget may play a considerable role in your decision-making. 

Fortunately, living alone doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to compromise service and quality with your NBN plan. Several of the best NBN providers offer fast and secure home internet plans that won’t break your bank. 

For most single-person households, an NBN 25Mbps plan will be your best bet where budget is concerned, but we’ve also seen some NBN 50 plans offering attractive introductory discounts and monthly prices as of late. 

We’ve teamed up with WhistleOut to compile our recommendations for the best NBN plans for one person. All of the plans below are sure to give you the most bang for your buck, the lowest monthly prices and deliver some seriously fast speeds. 

We’ve also included some NBN alternatives that singles may want to consider, such as 5G home internet, and we’ve listed any extra perks you may get if you sign up to one of these plans. 

Best overall NBN plans for singles

Let’s face it, if you live alone, then the chances of you wanting to binge watch the latest and greatest TV shows are going to be pretty high. It’s for this reason that you’re going to need a decent NBN speed, and an NBN 50 plan (at a minimum) will help to provide the best buffer-free streaming experience. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to dig deep into your back pocket, as there are a number of affordable NBN 50 plans all vying for your attention. 

Flip | NBN 50 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$59p/m

Flip | NBN 50 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$59p/m (for 6 months, then AU$69.90p/m)

Flip's NBN 50 plan is the cheapest we can find (when not factoring in More's NBN deal below). It advertises the full 50Mbps download speed, along with 17Mbps upload speeds, which is more than enough internet for some moderate social media scrolling. The current introductory discount knocks AU$10.90 off the monthly price and will save you AU$65.40 over the first six months before the price increases.

Total minimum cost: AU$59 | Total cost for first 12 months: AU$773.40 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$838.80

Tangerine | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$59.90p/m

Tangerine | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$59.90p/m (for 6 months, then $79.90p/m)

Tangerine’s Value Plus NBN 50 is one of the cheapest prices you’ll pay for an NBN 50 connection, coming in right under AU$60 p/m. Saving AU$20 a month over your first six months — that’s AU$120 total — before the price increases to AU$79.90. 

What we like about Tangerine is that it offers a 14-day risk free trial, so if you find the service isn't up to scratch for whatever reason, you're free to cancel without any issues. 

Total minimum cost: AU$59.90 | Total cost for first 12 months: AU$838.80 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$958.80

Exetel | NBN 50 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$60.99p/m

Exetel | NBN 50 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$60.99p/m (for 6 months then AU$78.99p/m)

This Exetel NBN 50 plan does have a higher yearly cost compared to Tangerine and Flip, but it comes with the added benefit of Speed Boost days. You get five free Speed Boost days by default, and you can purchase extras for $2 per day. 

These will allow you to boost your download speed to the next tier — NBN 100 in this instance — for a much faster experience, ideal if you're an avid gamer. Exetel also allows you to bank your Speed Boost days up to a total of 30, giving you the ability to have an entire month of 100Mbps download speeds. 

Total minimum cost: AU$53.99 | Total cost for first 12 months: AU$839.88 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$947.88

Cheapest NBN plans for singles

Spintel | NBN 25 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$49p/m

Spintel | NBN 25 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$49p/m (for 6 months, then AU$54.95)

If you’re looking for the cheapest NBN plan when living alone then look no further than Spintel’s Entry 20 plan. It does only deliver 20Mbps speeds during the busy evening hours of 7pm - 11pm, but the telco says you will get 25Mbps during off-peak hours. Upload speeds are quoted at just 5Mbps, so if you work from home a lot and need to carry out video calls, you may find your service will lag slightly. 

You’re also unlikely to have a great experience streaming HD movies, and 4K is certainly out of the question. However, this is the case for all NBN 25 plans, not just a mark against Spintel.

However, if your needs are just to browse the internet, send some emails and you’re happy streaming video content in standard definition, then Spintel’s NBN plan is the one that is going to cost you the least amount of money. 

Total minimum cost: AU$49 | Total cost for first 12 months: AU$623.70 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$659.40

Tangerine | NBN 25 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$49.90p/m

Tangerine | NBN 25 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$49.90p/m (for 6 months, then AU$64.90p/m) 

For a slightly faster service that still keeps the cost low, then this Tangerine NBN 25 plan is a great option. You get the full 25Mbps speed during the busy evening period, and you can also take advantage of a 14-day free trial to see if the service works for your needs. 

However, despite upload speeds on Tangerine’s NBN 25 plan being slightly higher than Spintel’s, at 10Mbps during off-peak hours and 8.5Mbps during the typical peak evening hours, the telco says you may struggle to stream and download HD video or play games online. So if these things are important to you, then you’ll need to look at moving up to an NBN 50 plan at a minimum. 

Total minimum cost: AU$49.90 | Total cost for first 12 months: AU$688.80 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$778.80

Best fast NBN plan for singles

You’re unlikely to need and NBN 100 plan living by yourself, but if you are going to be working from home a lot and you want to stream video content in glorious ultra high definition, then the 100Mbps download speeds will serve you well. It will cost you a fair bit more, of course, but if you can afford it, then it’s a worthwhile investment. 

Spintel | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$69p/m

Spintel | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$69p/m (for 6 months, then AU$79.95p/m)

Spintel offers sensational value for a low cost. Across all NBN 100 plans, the offering has one of the lowest first yearly cost of a modest AU$893.70 — only 30c above Flip's plan — and one of the cheapest ongoing rate after the introductory discount ends. 

There’s little in the way of extra features with this plan – which will likely go some way to explaining the low cost – but if you’re just searching for a no frills NBN plan to get you connected, Spintel is well worth your attention.

Total minimum cost: AU$69 | Total cost of first 12 months: AU$893.70 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$959.40

Mate | NBN 100 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$65p/m

Mate | NBN 100 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$65p/m (for 5 months, then AU$85p/m)

One of the cheapest NBN 100 plans currently available in Australia comes from Mate, thanks to a promotional offer that saves you AU$20 for the first five months. 

Mate doesn't advertise the maximum 100Mbps speeds during the busy evening hours, but with a claimed 93Mbps, it's not far off. What's more, online reviews for Mate's NBN service are far more positive. Customers particularly love the fact Mate's customer support team are based in Australia and have proven to be incredibly helpful. 

Like most other NBN providers, Mate works on a no lock-in contract basis, so if you're not happy after your first month's service, you're free to cancel and switch. 

Total minimum cost: AU$65 | Total cost for first year: AU$900 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$1,020

Exetel | NBN 100 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$68.99p/m

Exetel | NBN 100 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$68.99p/m (first 6 months, then AU$84.99p/m)

Exetel takes another spot in this round-up with its NBN 100 plan. As we’ve said before, a major perk includes five free Speed Boost days, which lets you increase the speed of your plan to the next tier — NBN 250 — if you have the right connection type. 

Total minimum cost: AU$68.99 | Total cost for first year: AU$923.88 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$1,019.88

NBN alternatives for singles

5G home internet

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If you’re living alone, then we’d wager that you’re living in an apartment building. If this is you, and you live in a city, then you may want to consider a 5G home internet plan as an alternative to a fixed-line NBN connection. 

A 5G home broadband plan can sometimes be more affordable than the NBN equivalent and is much easier for you to install at home. All you need to do is plug the supplied router into a power socket, wait for it to connect to the 5G network and you’re done. 

Of course, 5G home internet does rely on you living in an area with good network coverage, however, the provider you want to go with will be able to tell you using their address checker feature. 

Wireless internet

If you live in a regional or rural part of Australia, then you may not be able to get a fixed-line NBN connection. If this is the case, then you’ll need to sign-up for a wireless internet plan, such as NBN fixed-wireless or satellite internet services.

Fixed-wireless internet plans can often be more expensive than their fixed-line counterparts, and some plans also come with a maximum data allowance. But for people who are unable to get a fixed-line NBN connection, and who live in an area with poor 4G or 5G network coverage, wireless internet plans offer the only way to get online.

NBN for singles FAQ

Which speed is right for me?

If you're by yourself, an NBN 25 plan should provide enough speed to carry out essential daily tasks. It's designed to be used by just 1 or 2 people, although it will likely have a tricky time streaming HD video content from the plethora of streaming services. 

We recommend an NBN 50 plan as the best option for most people, so that you will be able to stream and download content with ease, and be able to connect a number of devices: TV, phone, tablet, laptop, smart speaker etc. 

Which NBN provider is best for a single person?

We think the NBN provider that gives the best overall value for one person is Exetel. The telco's plans aren't the outright cheapest, but they're still pretty affordable and offer consistently good speeds and an all round reliable service. 

Exetel also gives customers on NBN 50 plans and above five free Speed Boost days each month, which allow you to increase the speed of your plan to the next tier. If you're on an NBN 50 plan, for example, you can boost your speed to 100Mbps tier. 

Which NBN provider is cheapest?

The cheapest NBN provider can differ depending on the speed tier you're looking at. The cheapest NBN provider on the NBN 25 tier currently is Flip. The cheapest NBN provider on the NBN 50 speed tier is also Flip, closely followed by Tangerine at 90c extra p/m. 

However, if you're a CBA customer, More's current three months free fees promotional offer is super attractive, and could save you *literally* hundreds off your NBN plan this year. 

Lucy Scotting
Staff Writer

Lucy Scotting is a digital content writer for Tom’s Guide in Australia, primarily covering NBN and internet-related news. Lucy started her career writing for HR and staffing industry publications, with articles covering emerging tech, business and finance. In her spare time, Lucy can be found watching sci-fi movies, working on her dystopian fiction novel or hanging out with her dog, Fletcher.

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