4G home internet plans in Australia: compare providers and best deals

A middle-aged couple using a laptop on the verandah of their farm in rural Australia
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4G home internet is an NBN alternative that can get you connected when there isn't a fixed-line NBN connection available. It's similar to 5G home internet, in the sense that it's wireless (compared to the wired nature of NBN) and relies on good coverage in your area to deliver the fastest possible speeds. 

It's most likely going to be Australians living in remote or rural areas of the country that would consider a 4G home internet plan, although there are other options such as the aforementioned 5G home internet, along with fixed-wireless NBN plans

Being completely honest, if you're able to connect via NBN fixed-wireless or 5G home internet, those would be our recommendations over 4G home internet. This is because 4G has a decidedly low maximum speed limit of around 25Mbps. This puts it on par with the second-slowest speed tier on the NBN, NBN 25

Both 5G home internet and NBN fixed-wireless internet can theoretically offer faster download speeds. 

However, there will be far greater coverage for 4G in Australia than 5G, and so you may find it's your only option to get online. 

Most telcos offering 4G plans don’t require a set-up fee, and it’s usually as simple as powering up the modem router once you’ve received it. Note that many provider’s stipulate that if you leave their service within the first 24 months of connection, you’ll need to return the modem, or pay out the remaining cost.

If you think you’re one of the many Aussies that would benefit from a 4G home internet or mobile broadband connection, we’ve partnered with WhistleOut to compare 4G home internet plans and recommend the best on offer, while giving you some more insight into what this type of connection actually entails.

Best 4G home internet plans

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Best value 4G home internet plan

Spintel4G home internetUnlimited dataNo lock-in contractAU$39.95p/m

<a href="https://techradar.whistleout.com.au/Transact?pai=2&si=454&gi=2113&pi=12091&ct=0&ci=14315&ai=42&ppt=0&subtag=hawk-custom-tracking&r=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="whistleout.com.au"">Spintel | 4G home internet | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$39.95p/m (for 3 months, AU$49.95 ongoing)

Spintel is our pick for the best value 4G home internet plan due it offering among the fastest download speeds and being one of the most affordable providers. 

Spintel advertises 25Mbps typical evening download speeds, which ranks it as being one of the fastest providers of 4G home internet. You also only need to pay AU$39.95 per month for the first 3 months of the service and AU$49.95 ongoing. 

Other providers tend to offer the first month of the service for free, but the regular monthly payments are higher than Spintel's regular cost. Spintel also promises a 14 day free trial, wherein if you're not totally satisfied with the service, you can cancel without any hidden charges. 

You can also choose the option of paying AU$4p/m for the 4G modem, or a one-off upfront fee of AU$210. Both options come with a AU$20 postage fee applied too. If you ever decide to cancel your service, you have 21 days to return the modem (if you're renting it) otherwise you'll be asked to pay out the remainder of the AU$210 upfront cost.

Total minimum cost: AU$59.95 (incl. modem) | Total first year cost: AU$589.40 (incl. postage/excl. modem) | Ongoing cost: AU$599.40 (excl. modem)

Fastest 4G home internet plan

Optus | 4G home internet | No lock-in contract | AU$59p/m (first month free)

<a href="https://techradar.whistleout.com.au/Transact?pai=2&si=254&gi=1850&pi=13190&ct=0&ci=15956&ai=42&ppt=0&subtag=hawk-custom-tracking&r=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="whistleout.com.au"">Optus | 4G home internet | No lock-in contract | AU$59p/m (first month free)

Optus takes the crown for the fastest 4G home internet plan in Australia, at least going by its advertised typical evening speeds. Like Spintel, Optus quotes 25Mbps download speeds during the busier evening hours of 7pm to 11pm (Spintel uses the Optus 4G network). But it's the upload speeds that differ, Optus quoting 5Mbps compared to Spintel's 2Mbps. 

In reality, a 3Mbps difference is likely going to go unnoticed, but if you're someone who uploads a lot of files to the cloud for example, it could prove to be invaluable. 

Optus prices things slightly differently to other providers however. Not only is the regular monthly cost relatively high compared to others, but if you decide to cancel your service within 24 months of being connected, you'll be required to pay for the modem. Optus doesn't offer a 21-day return window to avoid any fee. If you remain connected for longer than 24 months, then you pay nothing for the modem. 

Total minimum cost: AU$216 (incl. modem) | Total first year cost: AU$649 | Ongoing cost: AU$708

Best 4G mobile broadband plans

Best cheap mobile broadband plan

TelstraMobile broadband30GB dataNo lock-in contractAU$25p/m

<a href="https://techradar.whistleout.com.au/Broadband/Providers/Telstra?subtag=hawk-custom-tracking&r=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="whistleout.com.au"" target="_blank" rel="sponsored">Telstra | Mobile broadband | 30GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$25p/m

Telstra’s cheapest mobile broadband option will set you up with 30GB of data for AU$25 a month. This plan is actually capable of delivering both 4G and 5G speeds, so you’ll get whatever is the best available to you at the time. It can be bought as a SIM-only data plan, or paired with a modem if your portable device doesn’t have a SIM card slot. Note that if you do select one of Telstra’s modems, you’ll need to pay it off before cancelling the contract.

Total minimum cost: AU$25 (excluding modem) | Total cost for first year: AU$300

Best big-data mobile broadband plan

TangerineMobile broadband100GB dataNo lock-in contractAU$29.90p/m

<a href="https://techradar.whistleout.com.au/Broadband/Providers/Tangerine-Telecom?subtag=hawk-custom-tracking&r=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="whistleout.com.au"" target="_blank">Tangerine | Mobile broadband | 100GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$29.90p/m (for 6 months, then AU$34.90p/m)

If you’re more data-hungry, consider this 5G-capable mobile broadband plan from Tangerine. It gives you 100GB a month to burn through for just AU$34.90 each billing (after an initial AU$5p/m discount for the first 6 months). 

Belong uses parts of Telstra’s 5G and 4G networks, though it says download speeds are capped at 100Mbps for both – that still makes it as fast as some of the <a href="https://www.techradar.com/best/best-nbn-100-plans" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"" data-link-merchant="whistleout.com.au"">best NBN 100 plans. You can find Tangerine mobile broadband plans with 200GB and 400GB of data, and these cap speeds at 250Mbps, but you do need to pay a lot more each month.

If you don't already own a mobile broadband router, then Tangerine is happy to sell you one for the rather steep cost of AU$499. 

Total minimum cost: AU$29.90 | Total cost for first year: AU$388.80

4G home internet FAQ

What is 4G home internet?

Unlike the majority of the NBN, 4G home internet operates through air waves instead of fibre optic cables and copper wiring. In this sense, 4G home broadband is more similar to the way your phone operates when using mobile data.

The NBN is also government-owned infrastructure, while 4G home internet uses mobile towers operated by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone to deliver the connection. There’s minimal setup required, as all you need to do is plug in the router and your internet is ready to go.

What is 4G mobile broadband?

Mobile broadband is similar to 5G and 4G home wireless plans, but the main distinction between the two is that the modem router provided with mobile broadband plans are designed to be portable, while the modem that comes with 5G and 4G home internet plans need to be powered from a wall outlet.

There’s also plenty of mobile broadband plans on the market that don’t come with a modem at all. Instead, they come in the form of a SIM card that’s designed to be slotted into portable devices such as laptops and tablets.

Overall, mobile broadband plans tend to offer significantly less data for equivalent costs compared to home wireless plans, so it’s worth considering how important mobility is for your situation before signing up.

What are the pros and cons of 4G home internet?

Pros:

  • Can be moved around the home
  • Can be a faster option compared to the NBN (depending on the plan)
  • A good option if you don’t have access to a fixed line NBN connection

Cons: 

  • More expensive than entry-level wired NBN plans
  • Some plans carry maximum download speeds of 20Mbps
  • 5G is a better choice, if you can get it
  • May have to pay out cost of modem if you cancel

What are the downsides to 4G home internet?

More than anything else, the main issue with 4G home internet is its reliance on mobile data. While you can plug it in anywhere, it will need to work off 4G signals. That means if you live in rural or remote areas of Australia, or in a 4G blackspot, you will find yourself running into slow or non-existent internet.

To counter this, make sure you test the mobile speeds where you live first, with a service such as Speedtest. If you find that you’re getting next to no internet there, consider signing up to an NBN plan if it’s available to you.

If you want an even faster connection, 5G home internet plans are also available. However, you will then need to be in an area where a 5G mobile tower is available. Most home internet plans are both 4G and 5G compatible, and will simply work on what is in your area.

How much are 4G home internet installation fees?

Because there is no need to have anything installed or have any engineers come around, 4G home broadband is completely free to have set up. Wherever you get your 4G broadband from, the company will send you your router and you set it up yourself.

Does 4G home internet come with data caps?

The answer depends on which provider you sign up with, and what plan you choose. Most (if not all) 4G home internet plans come with unlimited data usage, but you are likely to get a maximum download speed data cap. This is similar to the NBN, which comes with various download speed tiers.

Does 4G home internet work as well as the NBN?

Neither package is necessarily better than the other, but there are a few pros and cons that 4G home internet faces compared to the NBN.

Firstly, the pros. 4G home internet offers more flexibility, in that you can place the modem almost anywhere around your home. In theory, you can also take it on the go, but it’ll still need access to a powerpoint. That could mean on trains, in hotels and so on.

However, there are negatives too. 4G home internet plans can be more expensive than entry-level wired NBN plans, and while it’s possible, they’re not guaranteed to be faster either. That means 4G home internet is less reliable, as download and upload speeds aren’t always going to be the same.

Jasmine Gearie
Ecommerce Editor

Jasmine Gearie is an Ecommerce Editor at TechRadar Australia, with a primary focus on helping readers cut through the jargon to find the best mobile and internet plans for their needs. She crunches the numbers to maintain dedicated guides to the latest phones, NBN and broadband plans of all types, and covers the important telco industry news. She also hunts down tech deals on laptops, phones, gaming consoles and more, so readers know where to buy the products they want for the cheapest prices.

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