Spintel NBN review

Potentially one to go under the radar, there is actually much to love about Spintel’s NBN offering

Spintel logo
(Image: © Spintel)

TechRadar Verdict

Without official data to go off, it's difficult to determine exactly how well Spintel fares in the wild, but with thousands of seemingly positive reviews from customers posted online, we can determine that it's an NBN provider you should at least give some consideration. While it doesn't appear to be the best option for gamers, everyone else should appreciate the incredibly low prices of Spintel NBN plans. It's these low prices and seemingly good customer service that earns Spintel a four star rating in our books.

Pros

  • +

    Low-cost NBN plans

  • +

    Streamlined offering makes decisions easier

  • +

    Fantastic customer reviews

Cons

  • -

    Typical evening speeds not the maximum on faster plans

  • -

    Not a good option for gamers

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If you’ve come across Spintel in your hunt for the best NBN plans but are wondering whether you should sign up, then you’ll want to read our full in-depth review of the service. This review isn’t based on our own personal experience with Spintel, but is instead based on expert comparative analysis against Australia’s other NBN providers, official data from consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and information gleaned from real world customer reviews.

So, who is Spintel? 

Spintel is an independent, Australian-owned telecommunications provider founded in 1996, that offers NBN, wireless and mobile services for Australian consumers. It started life providing dial-up internet services to Australians, before launching its NBN service in 2014. 

A multi-award winner – including awards from TechRadar’s sister site, Mozo – Spintel is one of the most affordable and highest-rated NBN providers in Australia. If you’re currently unhappy with your NBN service or you simply just wish to save some money, Spintel is definitely a provider that’s worth considering. 

Latest Spintel deals

Spintel NBN review: Plans

  • Three options: NBN 25, 100, 250
  • Maximum advertised speeds on NBN 25 and NBN 100
  • No 50Mbps NBN 50 plan

Spintel has an interesting selection of NBN plans compared to the vast majority of other providers in Australia, in that there is no NBN 50 plan. This is peculiar, because despite  NBN Co increasing wholesale costs of this speed tier, which have been passed onto consumers, it still remains the most popular speed tier in the country. 

The ACCC’s latest report, which was published in September 2023 and relates to the number of customers connected on each speed tier, found there were just over 3.7 million active NBN 50 connections. This figure was a decrease from the 3.87 million connections monitored in June 2023. 

However, part of the NBN Co’s reasoning for increasing wholesale costs at the slower end of NBN speeds was to encourage customers to get a faster plan, and so Spintel’s decision to omit NBN 50 plans could be to further encourage potential customers. And when you factor in the prices of Spintel’s plans (more on this below) you’ll soon see how this tactic could certainly work. 

The other slight negative to Spintel’s otherwise sparkling CV is the advertisement of typical evening speeds of 211Mbps during the hours of 7pm to 11pm on its NBN 250 plan and 240Mbps during off-peak hours. 

This speed tier offers a theoretical maximum download speed of 250Mbps, so for Spintel to not quote the maximum possible when a handful of other providers do, is a bit of a downer. However, as we’ll mention in the prices section, Spintel undercuts its rivals by some margin when it comes to how much you’ll need to pay. And realistically, 211Mbps is still incredibly quick for a home internet service, especially during the hours when networks are typically more congested. 

Spintel NBN review: Speeds

  • No 'official' reported speed data
  • Mixed accounts from current/previous customers
  • Customers outside NSW may struggle

Normally we’d use official data from the ACCC to discuss the speeds you’re likely to receive from the various NBN providers in Australia. However, either Spintel hasn’t been monitored by the consumer watchdog, or there simply aren’t enough real-world customers who have elected to have their Spintel service monitored to be able to formulate conclusive data. 

We can however use information from forums such as Whirlpool and review websites such as Product Review to gain a greater insight into Spintel’s NBN service but interestingly, the two sites provide some opposing arguments. 

Customers posting on Whirlpool forums often report slow speeds on their Spintel NBN connection, although admittedly, many of these posts were made at least three months ago (correct at the time of publishing) or earlier. The possibility of the slow speed reports being isolated and/or Spintel improving its service since they were made is entirely possible. 

Subsequently, customers posting on Product Review largely report the opposite, claiming their speeds to be adequate and as expected. Some do say speeds weren’t initially what they were expecting (or paying for) but claim customer support agents resolved any issues swiftly and effectively. 

Some other customers on Whirlpool, particularly those outside of New South Wales, also claimed that they were either unable to sign-up with Spintel, or if they could, they received a patchy service. We have however inputted various addresses in both Victoria and Queensland and have been able to sign-up for a Spintel NBN service.  

Spintel NBN review: Cost

  • Cheapest on NBN 250 tier
  • Six month introductory pricing across all tiers
  • Refer a friend feature to reduce cost even further

Spintel is one of the most affordable NBN providers across all speed tiers, but in regard to the NBN 250 speed tier in particular it’s by far the most affordable. Not only is Spintel the cheapest during the initial six month introductory period, it’s the ongoing cost that’s particularly impressive.

Across all three speed tiers that Spintel offers an NBN plan, the cost majorly undercuts the national average. You can view Spintel’s regular monthly pricing following introductory discounts, compared with the national average, below. 

  • NBN 25: Average monthly cost – AU$68.21. Spintel cost – AU$54.95
  • NBN 100: Average monthly cost – AU$90.71. Spintel cost – AU$79.95
  • NBN 250: Average monthly cost – AU$111.58. Spintel cost – AU$85.95

As mentioned, the regular cost of Spintel’s NBN 250 plan severely undercuts the national average, by some AU$25 each month, a saving of AU$300 over the course of a year. In our opinion, it’s this major cost saving that makes Spintel’s NBN 250 worth recommending, despite the fact it doesn’t advertise the maximum possible speeds during the busier evening hours. In addition to this, Spintel advertises customers should receive up to 240Mbps during the off-peak hours, which is commendable. 

If you sign-up for a Spintel NBN plan and you need a pre-configured modem, the telco provides a TP-Link VX230v with Wi-Fi 6 support for a one-off cost of AU$139.95. You can also elect to get this modem with a TP-Link HX220 mesh Wi-Fi extender for a total cost of AU$238.95. Interestingly, Spintel does also sell the Google Nest Wifi modem through its online store, but doesn’t offer it at the sign-up stage. You could conceivably sign-up for a Spintel NBN plan, choose the BYO modem option and buy the Google Nest Wifi separately. 

Spintel also runs a refer a friend program that could reduce your monthly bills even further. All you need to do is first sign-up for a Spintel NBN plan. Once you’re connected you can obtain a referral code in your account, which you can send to your friends. If your friends also sign up for a Spintel NBN plan, you will receive AU$5 credit towards your bill for each month each friend remains connected. 

If you manage to get 10 new people to connect, you’ll receive AU$50 towards your bill each month, for example. 

Spintel NBN review: Reliability

As with the speed section, we would normally want to turn to official ACCC data to determine how reliable Spintel is as a service provider, as it provides information relating to outages experienced during its quarterly monitoring period. 

But since we don’t have that for Spintel, we once again have to turn to forums and customer reviews and from the information we’ve read, we’d say Spintel doesn’t necessarily perform any better or any worse than other NBN providers. 

We say this because it’s common for customers to report when their service is down and they’re disgruntled, but it’s more uncommon for the same customers to report when their service is working as it should. From what we can understand from the information we have read, is that when Spintel’s NBN network goes down – and it does, there’s no denying that – customer support agents do at least acknowledge the problem and do everything they can to get it up and running again, most commonly with a positive outcome. 

In some instances, it’s not even a Spintel issue but a wider NBN Co problem that requires more thorough maintenance and repairs to the main infrastructure. 

Spintel NBN review: Gaming

  • Won't be the best option for hardcore online gamers
  • Users in NSW will likely get the best experience

Aside from understanding how an internet connection is likely to function for regular everyday tasks such as web browsing, downloading files and video calls, it’s also important to determine how it may fare when it comes to online gaming. 

For an NBN provider to be deemed ‘good’ by online gamers, it needs to suffer from minimal latency/ping and provide optimal routing, especially to international gaming servers. Aussie Broadband and Superloop often receive positive comments in this regard, so how does Spintel hold up? 

Because we don’t have official ACCC data relating to latency, we have to search for real-world customer accounts of their online gaming experiences. Users on Whirlpool claim Spintel only has one point of presence (PoP) in Sydney – this is the point where all Spintel user internet traffic is routed through – meaning users in other states in the country are more likely to experience slow ping speeds, which could dramatically affect their online play. 

One customer living in Melbourne posted on Product Review to corroborate this claim, saying “Looks like Spintel only has 1 PoP in Sydney only. So now all gaming traffic going to NSW and then back to Vic went from 6 ping to 30”. 

But other users on Product Review claim they’ve had very few issues, with one claiming they were able to use the Xbox Cloud gaming service without any problems. This user was from NSW.

Ultimately, we wouldn’t outright claim that Spintel is a good option for online gamers, due to it seemingly having a network that isn’t as well-optimised as some other providers we’ve looked into. Notable mentions here go to Superloop and Aussie Broadband, which have performed well in previous ACCC results in regard to latency. However, if you game by yourself and just need to download files, Spintel is worth considering since it does advertise decent download speeds. 

Spintel NBN review: Extra features

Refer a friend

Spintel offers an attractive refer a friend program on its website, although we should add it took us a little while to find it – it’s not exactly promoted front and centre. The refer a friend program lets Spintel customers generate a referral code they can send to friends. For each friend that signs up with Spintel, the original customer gets a AU$5 credit applied to their bill. There’s no limit to the number of friends you can refer or credit you can have applied to your bill. 

Unfortunately, the person who joined as a referral doesn’t get any credit towards their bill. 

Bundle and save

Spintel also provides mobile services, and you’re able to bundle one of these together with an NBN plan to save a little bit of cash. We should say from the off however, Spintel’s NBN and mobile bundle isn’t exactly going to worry some of the best internet and mobile bundles in Australia. 

That’s because if you bundle either of Spintel’s SIM-only plans, offering a choice of 25GB or 50GB of mobile data, you save just AU$3 off the regular cost of the SIM-only plan. Considering we’ve seen other providers offering savings of up to AU$25p/m when you bundle services together, a AU$3p/m saving isn’t that exciting. 

Spintel NBN review: Cancellation and hidden costs

  • Call and live chat options available
  • Options available to transfer service
  • Billed until end of current billing cycle – no pro-rata refunds

All good things must come to an end, or so they say, and so there may come a time when you may wish to cancel your Spintel NBN service and switch to another provider. But, as seems to be the case with virtually all NBN providers, while there are some (relatively) clear terms and conditions laid out on its website, there are some gaps that need filling. 

Spintel doesn’t mention anything about providing written notice, in the sense that some other providers require a 30-day notice period. All the telco does say is that if and when you do cancel, you’ll be billed until the end of your current billing cycle. For example, if you were to cancel your service and switch to another provider on the 1st of the month, and you’re billed on the 30th, you’ll need to pay the remainder of the entire month, despite not using the service. 

What isn’t crystal clear is what happens if you cancel mid-way through a month and you’re billed at the end. Some may assume you would only be charged on a pro-rata basis, but after reading accounts of customers attempting to do the same on Whirlpool, this doesn’t seem to be the case. 

We always recommend, no matter which NBN provider you’re with, you should always contact your current internet service provider (ISP) to let them know you wish to cancel. If you switch to a new provider, they may occasionally do the work for you and notify your old one. But even if your new provider says they’ll do this, it’s always good to do your due diligence and contact your old provider yourself to confirm. 

Because Spintel works on the common no-contract policy, you’re not required to pay any early termination charges. You also won’t need to pay any fees for the modem, since this is paid upfront when you sign-up for a new Spintel NBN service.

Spintel NBN review: Reputation

We were surprised to come across as many negative reports relating to Spintel as we did, primarily because on Product Review, the telco holds a 4.4 star rating out of 5. Out of a total of just under 9,500 reviews, 8,220 are positive while the remaining 1,122 are negative. On the whole, customers on Product Review have found Spintel’s service to be reliable and good value for money – its NBN 250 plan really is exceptionally well-priced in our opinion – and customer support is given a gold star as well. 

Of course, there are negative reviews sewn in with the positive, and this is where a no-contract model comes to your advantage. It means you are free to switch providers however you see fit with little financial risk – just make sure you’re fully aware of the cancellation policy mentioned above. 

Spintel NBN review: Verdict

Overall, we would recommend Spintel as an NBN provider, although only if you’re going to be a regular user. By this, we mean if you need an internet service for online gaming, or if you have other internet-based devices that need to be connected at all times – such as NAS drives – then you will want to carefully consider before you sign-up. 

This is because Spintel is likely to suffer from slower ping speeds compared to some other providers and we have read reports of Spintel’s service dropping out (despite the seemingly positive reviews left on some review websites). But if you just need an internet connection to surf the web, stream video on-demand content or carry out the occasional video call, we see no reason why Spintel wouldn’t be a good option. 

What’s perhaps most attractive about Spintel is its pricing. We only recently noticed just how good the telco’s NBN 250 plan price was, and it severely undercuts all other providers on the market. We think this alone is grounds for at least trying the service out, if you have the right NBN connection type to support the faster speeds. 

Max Langridge
Staff Writer

Max is a digital content writer for TechRadar, covering home entertainment and audio, phones, laptops, gaming and virtually anything else that falls under the consumer electronics umbrella. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Max spent a combined five years writing for What Hi-Fi? and Pocket-lint, before moving to Australia in 2018. After a brief stint writing for men’s lifestyle publications, Max is back to working on his first passion of technology.