Exetel NBN review

We put one of our favourite NBN providers under the microscope

Exetel logo with light grey background
(Image: © Exetel)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Exetel is a relatively low-cost NBN provider that has been found to deliver a fast and reliable service, according to customer reviews and Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) data. Exetel’s plans can come with added value in the form of five free Speed Boost Days a month and options to bundle a home phone service from as low as AU$10 extra per month. It can even accommodate business customers or those looking for a mobile phone plan too.


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    Affordable NBN plans

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    Speed Boost Days feature

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    Maximum download speeds on NBN 25 — NBN 100 plans


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    Customer support can be questionable

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    NBN 1000 plan doesn't quite compete with competitors

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Exetel is an Australian-owned internet service provider (ISP) —  owned by Superloop — that offers customers broadband connections via both the National Broadband Network (NBN) and private fibre services including OptiComm. The ISP also offers mobile phone services through its partnership with Telstra. 

Exetel is typically one of the more inexpensive NBN providers in Australia and advertises the maximum download speeds across all of its NBN plans, which start at the 25Mbps tier and goes all the way up to NBN 1000 (Exetel does refer to this speed tier as NBN 500 though, because it has theoretical maximum speeds of 500Mbps). 

At surface level, Exetel — an award-winning provider — appears to be a great option for anyone looking to get connected to the internet, or to maximise savings when compared to their current NBN plan. Here at Tom’s Guide, we’ve even claimed the telco to be one of our favourites, as it constantly appears throughout our best NBN deals roundup. But now that we’ve dug a little deeper, is it all smoke and mirrors, or is Exetel a genuine contender to be your next NBN provider?

Noteworthy Exetel deals


Screenshot of Exetel NBN plans

(Image credit: Future)

Exetel NBN plans range from Basic II (25Mbps) to Ultrafast (1,000Mbps) speed tiers. Exetel does, however, refer to its Lightspeed plan as NBN 500 though — not NBN 1000. We speculate as to why this may be in the Speeds section below. 

In addition to the more common NBN 100/20 plan, the telco offers an NBN 100/40 option, where the second figure in both of these refers to the theoretical maximum uploads of the plan. For 100/20 plans, this means uploads could reach a maximum speed of 20Mbps, whereas in 100/40 plans, uploads will likely reach 40Mbps. Higher upload speeds can be useful for those who spend a majority of their time working from home and need to conduct video calls, upload or send large files, and share online presentations.  

For its NBN 25, NBN 50 and NBN 100 plans (both 20Mbps and 40Mbps upload speed variants), Exetel advertises the maximum typical evening download speeds of 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps, respectively. This is a gold tick in our books, as not all NBN providers can make the same claim, despite the NBN 50 speed tier being the most popular and all NBN connection types being theoretically capable of achieving 50Mbps download speeds. 

Exetel’s NBN plans, including regular pricing (following any introductory discounts) and typical evening speeds at time of publishing are as follows: 

  • NBN 25: AU$59.99p/m (typical evening speed 25Mbps)
  • NBN 50: AU$78.99p/m (typical evening speed 50Mbps)
  • NBN 100: AU$84.99p/m (typical evening speed 100Mbps)
  • NBN 250: AU$98.99p/m (typical evening speed 225Mbps)
  • NBN 500: AU$109.99p/m (typical evening speed 400Mbps)


In terms of speed tiers on offer, we’re going to gloss over Exetel’s first four plans to begin with, as all quote the maximum typical evening speeds. While that’s pretty stellar news for an ISP, where things get more interesting is when the NBN 250 and NBN 500 plans are brought into the spotlight. 

Currently in Australia, only a handful of NBN providers advertise the maximum typical evening speed of 250Mbps on an NBN 250 plan: Telstra, Origin, Aussie Broadband, Southern Phone, AGL and Swoop. So for Exetel to not advertise full speeds isn’t a mark against it. In fact, its advertised typical evening speed of 220Mbps is still one of the faster options you can find, and when you factor in the low cost of an Exetel NBN 250 plan, it does indeed present good value. 

As for Exetel’s NBN 500 plan, by technicality, it would fall in the Ultrafast NBN 1000 speed tier. The NBN doesn’t offer an NBN 500 plan at wholesale level to third-party ISPs, so this is the work of those ISPs renaming their plans. We can only speculate that it helps to disguise the fact these plans don’t reach anywhere near the theoretical maximums of 1,000Mbps speeds the Ultrafast tier is capable of. 

When we first published this review in April 2023, Exetel was advertising typical evening speeds of 245Mbps on its Ultrafast plan, which also cost AU$129.95p/m. This, to us, wasn't of great value. It is now advertising 400Mbps download speeds during the typical evening hours.

Since the last update in September 2023, Exetel has reduced the price of its Ultrafast plan to AU$109.99p/m after introductory discounts, and the typical evening speeds advertised have increased to 400Mbps. 

This is still way off the theoretical maximum of 1,000Mbps this tier should be capable of, but much closer to the 500Mbps maximum Exetel says its plan is capable of. While a reduction in cost and an increase in speed does make Exetel's Ultrafast tier better value than before, it should be worth noting that its sister company Superloop currently charges the same monthly price (correct at the time of publishing) yet advertises 700Mbps typical evening speeds. 

You should also consider the fact that Exetel's Speed Boost Days feature can be employed on the NBN 250 tier, allowing you to temporarily increase your download speed to (potentially) 400Mbps speeds, for free. In our opinion, the NBN 250 plan is the one we'd likely recommend, namely because of this feature.

You can find out more information about Speed Boost Days in the ‘Extras’ section further into this review.

ACCC data recording download speeds for NBN providers analysed including Exetel

(Image credit: ACCC)

Overall, Exetel has been found to perform incredibly well according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The regulator’s most recent Measuring Broadband Performance report, published in December 2023, found that Exetel delivered 102.7% of advertised plan speeds during all hours, and 100.9% during the busy evening hours. Both these figures do represent a slight decrease compared to the previous September 2023 report, but only by about a percentage point each. What the figures do still show, however, is that Exetel manages to overdeliver on its promised speeds, which is great news for consumers.

While it’s fair to say these results can’t necessarily be applied to all Exetel customers, they at least imply that the telco delivers the speeds (or in some cases exceed them) that it advertises on its plans. Faster speeds than what you’d expect and that you’re paying for? Sounds like a killer deal to us.


If you’re looking for the best cheap NBN plans in Australia, Exetel is definitely an NBN provider to consider. While the telco's plans aren't the outright cheapest, they're a lot more affordable than much of its competitors. Not only are Exetel’s plans competitively priced, but you’ll regularly find introductory discounts being offered (along with exclusive discounts through WhistleOut that usually beat going through the telco directly). 

Below is a comparison of Exetel’s regular monthly pricing for its plan (following any introductory discounts) versus the average monthly price for each speed tier, based on pricing data obtained from WhistleOut at the time of publishing.

  • NBN 25: Average monthly cost AU$68.45. Exetel monthly cost: AU$59.99
  • NBN 50: Average monthly cost  AU$80.06. Exetel monthly cost: AU$78.99
  • NBN 100: Average monthly cost AU$91.15. Exetel monthly cost: AU$84.99
  • NBN 250: Average monthly cost AU$113.33. Exetel monthly cost: AU$98.99
  • NBN 1000: Average monthly cost AU$134.42. Exetel monthly cost: AU$109.99

As you can see, across all speed tiers, Exetel’s pricing comes in under the monthly average, (with the exception of its NBN 50 plan, which is about average at the time of writing)  and the difference increases in line with the speed. Exetel’s pricing model therefore indicates it’s one of the most affordable ISPs for anyone looking for faster fibre. 

As is the case with the majority of other NBN providers, Exetel doesn’t include a modem with any of its NBN plans, but does offer a ZTE Wi-Fi 6 modem to buy for AU$151 during the order process. You can also buy a Wi-Fi extender if you wish to improve network coverage in your home, for an additional AU$100. In our opinion, if you want to improve network range and stability, you’ll be better off choosing one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems instead. 


It’s not just how much you can expect to pay that should convince you to sign with (or steer you away from) an NBN provider. It’s also good to know how reliable a service you can expect. After all, there’s no point signing up with a new ISP, only for you to then experience frequent dropouts in service. 

Fortunately the ACCC comes to our aid once again, as it publishes data relating to average daily outages lasting more than 30 seconds after testing over 40 white boxes across all NBN providers. Exetel ranked pretty highly, recording 29.2% of units having no outages, and only 5.3% of units recording outages at least once a day. It was, however, beat out by its counterpart Superloop, recording only 3.7% of unit outages occurring at least once a day. 

Data caps

All of Exetel’s NBN plans come with unlimited data as standard, so you never have to worry about data caps. Based on information gathered from WhistleOut, the vast majority of NBN providers offer unlimited data on the majority of their plans. Where you’re likely to find data cap limits is on satellite and wireless internet plans, or Aussie Broadband, which gives you the ability to customise your own plan depending on your needs and budget. 


Only a few telcos in Australia advertise themselves as being a perfect match for online gamers, so it’s not a huge deal to find that Exetel is among the group that doesn’t advertise dedicated NBN plans for gamers. But how does Exetel fare with the online gaming community? 

The ACCC also publishes data regarding latency and in its latest report, includes data collected from December 2023. The regulator found that Exetel’s NBN service experienced 9.2ms latency across all hours and 9.8ms during the busy evening hours — both have increased by less than a percentage point from the last report. These figures are virtually on par with three other providers that were monitored during the reporting period. 

It’s tricky to determine a realistic real-world opinion of how Exetel fares for online gaming today, because the majority of customer reviews on sites such as Whirlpool are several years old. We’d say it’s fair to argue that the state of the infrastructure Exetel uses now will be much improved, with latency likely improving as a result. So, for this section, we have to rely on the ACCC data, and with Exetel sitting in second-best position, we reckon it should be a good ISP for you to game on. 

Extra features

Understanding that it might not have quite the same pull or brand awareness as some of the bigger players on the NBN scene in Australia, Exetel has a number of attractive features to entice customers to its service. 

Speed boost days

Exetel infographic explaining Speed Boost Days feature

(Image credit: Exetel)

We mentioned Exetel’s Speed Boost Days feature earlier, but we’ll go into a little bit more detail here. Essentially, the service allows you to boost the download speed of your connection for 24 hours from the moment you activate it. 

The Speed Boost Days feature is available for all plans except NBN 500, but only customers on plans from NBN 50 through to NBN 250 get five free days each month. Customers on NBN 25 plans can still use the feature, but will need to purchase days for AU$2 each.

In certain circumstances, you’ll need to have an eligible connection type in order to use the Speed Boost Days. This only applies to customers wanting to boost to NBN 250 or NBN 500 plans, as these require a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) or hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) connection. For example, if you’re a customer with an NBN 100 Exetel plan, and you wanted to boost to NBN 250, but you’re connected via fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC), you wouldn’t be able to speed boost your service. 

You get five free Speed Boost days each month, but you can purchase additional days for AU$2 each. If you don’t use all five Speed Boost Days during the month, they can rollover into the next. You’re able to bank a total of 30 Speed Boost Days. 

Slash my bill

An incentive to help you save some money is called Slash My Bill. To activate this, you first need to have at least one active Exetel residential NBN service. With this, you can choose to add-on home and/or mobile phone services. The more you add-on, the higher the savings. Adding on one additional service will save you AU$5p/m or five additional services (the maximum available) will save you AU$15p/m.

You are able to add-on services if you’re already an Exetel customer and you’ll see the discount applied to your first invoice after the 1st of the next month. 

Home and mobile services

Expanding upon the extra services mentioned above, Exetel can supply you with both a home phone line or a mobile plan. A home phone Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service can only be bundled with an NBN plan, and you have two options relating to how you’re billed. 

You can either elect for a pay-as-you-go plan, which would be ideal for customers who may only use their phone line occasionally to call others, or you can select an unlimited plan (which includes unlimited international calls to 12 countries) for AU$10p/m. However, this plan is included in the Slash My Bill feature, and will save you AU$5p/m on your broadband bill. 

Mobile services as provided by Telstra and you have the choice of either 4G or 5G connectivity. There are five 4G plans to choose from, each with increasing amounts of data, or a single 5G plan for AU$60p/m with 60GB data. When comparing this with some of the best SIM-only mobile plans, Exetel’s 5G plan doesn’t present as amazingly great value. But, if you’re an NBN customer and you bundle the service on, you may find it works for you. 

Business NBN plans

Finally, Exetel also offers a range of NBN plans targeted at businesses and which comes with their own useful features. Firstly, Exetel supplies a modem for free (instead of the AU$180 charge for residential) and priority technical support. In fact, Exetel says you’re guaranteed to get the help you’re looking for within five minutes, and if you don’t, the telco will apply AU$10 credit to your bill. 

Home business NBN plans do cost an extra AU$10p/m more than their residential equivalent, but the included benefits justify this, in our opinion. 

Cancellation and hidden costs

One area that we have noticed has caused some customers aggravation is how cancellations are dealt with. Exetel, like many other NBN providers, advertises it works on a no lock-in contract model, meaning you’re free to cancel at any time and switch NBN provider.

What we don’t think is so clearly highlighted is that Exetel requires 30 days notice in order to cancel your service. This information is mentioned on the main NBN plans page, albeit in small print. It’s also mentioned in an FAQ on the site, but the FAQs at the bottom of a page change depending on which page you’re on. 

On the standard page where you place your order for an NBN plan for example, there’s no mention of the cancellation policy in the FAQs. But we did find it on a page called ‘Things you need to know’, which you can access by clicking on a hyperlink within some small print (and which is actually in the same small print section as the first mention of the cancellation policy). 

The official policy reads, “You may cancel your service at any time by giving Exetel thirty days’ notice (including if you do not wish to continue to use your service during the notice period).”

Credit where credit is due, the information is there, but Exetel has not made it as obvious as we’d like to see.


On the whole, we’re happy with the service Exetel puts forward, on paper at least. But what do actual customers have to say? The quick answer is, it’s a mixed bag. As we all know, a disgruntled customer is more likely to leave a negative review than someone who is satisfied with their service, but interestingly, there appears to be a difference in opinion depending which review site you look at. 

ProductReview.com.au, for example, is compiled of predominantly negative reviews from customers, claiming customer service and the way Exetel bills its customers isn’t up to scratch. Head over to TrustPilot.com however, and it's a completely different story, with customers saying they’re satisfied with the service and that customer support is excellent. 

After reading reviews from both review sites you may not be able to come to a decision as to whether to join Exetel or not. For us, taking into account the lower than average monthly prices, maximum advertised and positively-reported download speeds and the Speed Boost Days feature, we think Exetel is an NBN provider well worth considering. 

You’re free to leave whenever you like if you don’t value the service (we’d at least wait out the six month introductory period) and as long as you’re clued up on the cancellation policy, you shouldn’t be stung with any unexpected costs. 


For us, Exetel comes across as a great-value NBN provider. According to official data provided by the ACCC, download speeds should be consistent with those advertised, and in some cases you may even see an increase. 

We also appreciate Exetel's regularly low monthly prices compared to other ISPs and the regular introductory offers for new customers are often too good to pass on. The Speed Boost Days feature is another key selling point, and one that we think offers exceptional added value. 

While we have found negative customer reviews online, we've also found a raft of positive ones to counteract them, so feel they shouldn't necessarily influence your decision as to whether to sign up for an Exetel NBN plan. 

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.   

With contributions from