Best wireless internet plans in Australia: Fixed, 5G & mobile broadband compared

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The best wireless internet plans in Australia have improved massively in recent years and now provide a genuine alternative to a fixed-line connection. When you think of wireless internet, the most common types that will likely come to mind include NBN fixed wireless and 5G home internet

And while these certainly are the two of the best internet plan options in Australia, there is increasing competition from Starlink, Tesla founder Elon Musk's satellite internet service that has slowly but surely been attracting new customers.

So, if you think your home wireless internet plan could do with improving, or you want to find out if there’s a potentially better internet option out there to rival your fixed-line NBN connection, we’re here to help. We’ve compared the best wireless internet plans, in partnership with WhistleOut, including NBN's own fixed wireless service, 4G and 5G home internet and even 4G and 5G mobile broadband. 

Current Wireless Internet Plan Deals

Looking for some quick recommendations for the best wireless broadband options in Australia? We’ve picked out some of the standout deals currently available, which you can check out below.

Best NBN Fixed Wireless Plans

The National Broadband Network (NBN) has made it its mission to provide internet access to the entire country. The majority of Australians can access the internet through a fixed-line connection, but for those in more remote areas of the country, NBN fixed wireless is on hand to keep you connected. 

As with its fixed-line counterpart, NBN fixed wireless plans are broken down into different speed tiers, and some may also have a limit on the amount of data you can download. So, as with any internet plan, it’s worth doing your homework to find out which option is best for you. 

It’s also worth noting that the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) found in its latest Measuring Broadband Australia report, published in April 2023, that “users of NBN fixed wireless services attained an average download performance of 109.2% of plan speeds during all hours, decreasing to 84.7% during the busy hours.” 

These figures are 1% and 2.9% lower compared the previous report, published in December 2022.

Despite the decrease, these figures do still paint a potentially positive picture for fixed-wireless services. However, do note that the figures obtained by the ACCC came from just 70 fixed-wireless services that were monitored during the first quarter of 2023. According to the ACCC's broadband wholesale market report, published in December 2022, there were just over 400,000 active wireless connections. 

NBN Co has also previously said it plans to upgrade its fixed wireless network with new towers that can transmit over the superior 5G millimetre wave (mmWave) frequency. With the introduction of this technology, two new speed tiers, offering download speeds between 100Mbps to 325Mbps should also be possible. 

These new towers are also said to improve the overall coverage area, so that around 120,000 customers who can currently only access satellite internet service will be able to move over to a fixed wireless internet plan. 

Best NBN Fixed Wireless plan: our pick

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Tangerine | Fixed Wireless Plus | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$54.90p/m

Tangerine | Fixed Wireless Plus | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$54.90p/m (for first 6 months, then AU$69.90p/m)

Tangerine walks away with the best NBN fixed wireless plan for its affordable price and highest possible speeds. Offering unlimited data on the NBN 50 tier (the highest possible on fixed wireless), no other provider really comes close. You also get a 14-day free trial, no lock-in contract and a AU$15p/m discount for the first 6 months. Do note, though, if you don’t already have your own modem (or you’re not comfortable getting one and configuring it yourself), then you will need to pay AU$149.90 for one supplied by Tangerine.

Total minimum cost: AU$54.90 | Total cost for first year: AU$748.80 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$838.80

Southern Phone | Fixed Wireless Plus | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$65p/m

Southern Phone | Fixed Wireless Plus | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$65p/m (for 12 months, then AU$75p/m)

Southern Phone's fixed wireless internet plan also has some appeal, as it’s the only one we can see that offers a discount for the entire first year you're connected. 

Because fixed wireless plans aren't required to advertise a typical evening speed figure, speeds on this plan are quoted as "standard", which on a Fixed Wireless Plus plan, have a theoretical maximum of 75Mbps. 

Total minimum cost: AU$65 | Total cost for first year: AU$780 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$900

More NBN Fixed Wireless deals

Best Home Wireless Internet Plans

Australia’s 4G and 5G network coverage has been steadily improving in recent years and is now a genuine internet option for people looking for a fast, reliable connection. 

5G home internet, in particular, has the potential to offer download speeds that far exceed those offered on a fixed-line NBN connection. 

4G home internet speeds may be slower in comparison, but they offer an easier and more convenient way of getting online for people in more remote areas. 

Best 5G home wireless plan: our pick

When 5G home internet first became available in Australia, it was only Telstra and Optus that could offer it. And Telstra was by invitation only. But now Vodafone has joined the party, Telstra has dropped its invitation policy and overall 5G coverage has increased considerably. 

This means 5G home internet is a genuine option for Australians wanting to get online and experience (potentially) superfast download speeds. And, with increased competition, the telco providers are starting to offer better deals to help entice you. We’ve picked out our favourite plan for most people below, but check out the best 5G home internet plans for more deals.

TPG | 5G Home Broadband Premium | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | First month free | AU$64.99p/m

TPG | 5G Home Broadband Premium | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | First month free | AU$64.99p/m

TPG is our pick for the best 5G home internet plan thanks to its fast speeds (up to 100Mbps) and affordable pricing in comparison to its competitors. TPG provides the required modem for free and if you choose to cancel your plan, you need to return it within 21 days. If you don’t, you’ll need to pay a non-return fee, charged at AU$17p/m for every unused month within a 36-month term. 

The first month of your plan is free too, so if you find it doesn't quite deliver what you expected, then you are free to leave. You will be required to return the modem within 21 days or you'll be asked to pay a non-return fee.

Total minimum cost: AU$0 | Total cost for first year: AU$714.89 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$779.88

More 5G home wireless plans

Best 4G home wireless plan: our pick

TPG | Home Wireless Unlimited | Unlimited data | First month free | AU$54.99p/m

TPG | Home Wireless Unlimited | Unlimited data | First month free | AU$54.99p/m 

The majority of 4G home internet providers only offer up to 20Mbps download speeds (only Optus offers 25Mbps) so choosing the best plan here predominantly comes down to price. This is why we’ve chosen TPG home wireless broadband as our top pick, as it’s the most affordable, due to it not requiring you to pay an upfront modem fee. Other providers charge similar or less on a monthly basis, but come with a compulsory modem fee upon sign-up. 

Total minimum cost: AU$0 | Total cost for first year: AU$604.89 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$659.88

More 4G home wireless plans

Best Mobile Broadband Plans

Mobile broadband can be useful if you spend a lot of your time away from home but still require an internet connection. Both 4G and 5G speeds are possible and perhaps the greatest benefit of mobile broadband is that it can serve as an alternative to using your smartphone as a personal hotspot. But, mobile broadband can get expensive if you need to buy a compatible modem, as telcos tend to charge a monthly fee for them. 

You can get SIM-only mobile broadband plans, but these require you to have your own modem. You could, for example, put a SIM card in an old phone and use it as a personal hotspot. The key thing to remember with mobile broadband is that there is usually a limit on the amount of data included. 

The plans we’ve selected below are based on the assumption that you need to pay for the compatible modem.

Best 5G mobile broadband plans: our pick

Optus | Choice Plus Data Plan | 40GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$37.76p/m inc. modem

Optus | Choice Plus Data Plan | 40GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$37.76p/m inc. modem (for 36 months, then AU$20p/m)

Optus has an attractive offer (correct at time of publishing) that doubles your monthly data to 40GB (from 20GB) when you sign up before May 21, 2023. 

For just under AU$40p/m, you get Optus' monthly data plan, plus a Netgear Nighthawk M6 5G modem to use it with. We've selected a 36 month term to make the overall monthly cost as little as possible, but you can choose to pay over 12 or 24 months instead, and just pay more each month for the modem. 

The 40GB double data does revert to the default 20GB monthly data after 12 months, so this could influence your decision as to which device payment plan you select. 

Tangerine | Data-only plan | 400GB | No lock-in contract | AU$59.90p/m

Tangerine | Data-only plan | 400GB | No lock-in contract | AU$59.90p/m (for 6 months, then AU$64.90p/m)

If you already have a mobile broadband modem or a tablet, then you can simply pop in this data-only 5G SIM card from Tangerine to unlock 400GB of monthly data. 

Tangerine does give you the option of adding a compatible modem, but these can only be purchased outright and not on a monthly payment plan. 

Tangerine's 5G mobile broadband network uses parts of the Telstra network, so you should get good coverage when you're out and about. Download speeds on both 4G and 5G networks are capped at 250Mbps.

Total minimum cost: AU$59.90 | Total cost for first 12 months: AU$748.80 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$778.80

More 5G mobile broadband plans

Best 4G mobile broadband plans: our pick

Telstra | Upfront Data Plan Small | 30GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$31p/m

Telstra | Upfront Data Plan Small | 30GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$31p/m (for 24 months, then AU$25p/m)

Telstra offers the best overall value in our opinion when it comes to 4G mobile broadband, too. You’re able to connect to the ISP’s 4GX network, which doubles the bandwidth of 4G, offering potentially faster speeds. You also get 30GB data included as standard, far more than other providers. 

Vodafone does currently offer 30GB data p/m for less, but this includes 20GB bonus data until the end of February 2023, after which the plan resorts to its usual 10GB data p/m.

Total minimum cost: AU$169 (1 month plan + 24mth modem cost) | Total cost for 24 months: AU$744 | Yearly cost after 24 months: AU$300

More 4G mobile broadband plans

Home wireless internet FAQ

What is fixed wireless internet?

Fixed wireless internet is a connection type predominantly used by people in rural and regional areas of Australia. The ACCC estimates that 4% of NBN customers are served by an NBN fixed wireless connection. 

Fixed wireless broadband is served to home via base towers emitting radio waves that are received by an antenna installed on the roof of your property. The antenna connects to an NBN device inside your property, which connects to a modem to emit a Wi-Fi signal which your devices connect to. 

Is wireless broadband better than the NBN?

Yes and no. For some Australians, wireless broadband is the only option for connecting to the internet, as their property isn’t served by a fixed-line NBN connection. Some others may find they live in an area with good 5G network coverage and so can achieve faster download speeds than what is possible from their fixed-line connection. 

However, wireless internet options can be affected by network congestion, interference to the wireless signal and the distance between the property and the base tower. While the ACCC has found NBN fixed-wireless providers deliver 110% of download speeds across all hours, this isn’t a guarantee that you will experience the same. A fixed-line NBN connection is more likely to offer consistent speeds. 

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.