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

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

Criteria for finding the best NBN plans for singles will likely be vastly different compared to a multi-user household. You will (probably) have fewer devices and with no other housemates or family members to split the cost with, your budget may play a considerable factor in your decision. 

Fortunately, living alone doesn’t mean you need to scrimp on your NBN service, as there are a multitude of NBN providers that offer fast and reliable plans that don’t break the bank. An NBN 25 plan will be your best bet where budget is concerned, but we’re also seeing the cost of some NBN 50 plans drop to seriously affordable monthly prices. 

We’ve partnered with WhistleOut to pick our recommendations for the best NBN plans for one person, ticking off the cheapest, fastest and what we consider to be the best overall value. We’ve also given a passing mention to some NBN alternatives that singles may want to consider, such as 5G home internet.

Best overall NBN plans for singles

Let’s face it, if you’re living alone, then the chances of you wanting to binge watch the latest and greatest TV shows are going to be 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. 

Spintel | NBN 50 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$54p/m (opens in new tab)

Spintel | NBN 50 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$54p/m (for 6 months, then AU$64.95p/m) (opens in new tab)

Spintel currently offers the cheapest NBN 50 plan and, based on online reviews (opens in new tab), also offers a reliable service. Spintel promises the full 50Mbps download speeds during the busy evening period and you can even add on a home phone or mobile phone service, if you wish. 

Total minimum cost: AU$54 | Total cost for first 12 months: AU$713.70 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$779.40

Exetel | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$53.95p/m (opens in new tab)

Exetel | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$53.95p/m (for 6 months then AU$74.95p/m) (opens in new tab)

Exetel’s NBN 50 plan does have a higher yearly cost compared to Spintel, 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. 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$53.95 | Total cost for first 12 months: AU$773.40 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$899.40

Cheapest NBN plans for singles

Spintel | NBN 25 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$44p/m (opens in new tab)

Spintel | NBN 25 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$44p/m (for 6 months, then AU$49.95) (opens in new tab)

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.

If, however, 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$44 | Total cost for first 12 months: AU$563.70 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$599.40

Tangerine | NBN 25 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$44.90p/m (opens in new tab)

Tangerine | NBN 25 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$44.90p/m (for 6 months, then AU$59.90p/m)  (opens in new tab)

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$44.90 | Total cost for first 12 months: AU$628.80 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$718.80

Best fast NBN plan for singles

You’re unlikely to need 100Mbps download speeds 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 an NBN 100 plan 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. 

Exetel | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$64.95p/m (opens in new tab)

Exetel | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$64.95p/m (for 6 months, then AU$84.95p/m) (opens in new tab)

You can get a slightly cheaper NBN 100 plan than this one from Exetel (take a peek at this plan from Dodo (opens in new tab)) but in our opinion, Exetel offers the best overall value thanks to delivering the full 100Mbps speeds and the inclusion of Speed Boost days. If you have a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) or hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) NBN connection, then you will be able to boost your speed to 250Mbps five times a month, for free. More than enough for one person, we think you’ll agree. 

Total minimum cost: AU$64.95 | Total cost for first year: AU$899.40 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$1,019.40

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 for you to carry out the essential daily tasks. It's designed to be used by just 1 or 2 people, although it will likely have a tricky time streaming high-definition video content from the plethora of streaming services. 

We recommend an NBN 50 plan as the best option for most people, due to the fact 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 very 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. 

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 is Tangerine, although you can save around AU$100 in the first year by going with Spintel, but this only gets you 20Mbps speeds during the evening hours and not 25Mbps. 

The cheapest NBN provider on the NBN 50 speed tier is also Spintel, coming in at about AU$35 cheaper than the next best option.

Max Langridge
Senior Editor, Tom's Guide AU

Max is a digital content writer for Tom’s Guide in Australia, where he covers all things internet-related, including NBN and the emerging alternatives, along with audio and visual products such as headphones and TVs. Max started his career in his homeland of England, where he spent time working for What Hi-Fi? and Pocket-lint, before moving to Australia in 2018.