NBN Alternatives – Mobile Anyone?
The National Broadband Network (NBN) is still a work in progress yet Australian homes and business located in the areas where the network’s infrastructure is already up and running (50%+ nationwide) are currently using NBN services. NBN providers and plans offer a full range of options, covering different contract periods and internet speeds.
Those who are particularly invested in mobile data products can choose from a number of NBN alternatives ranging from 50BG to 100BG (traffic data wise) and A$53.95/mth to A$70/mth (cost wise).
NBN uses 4G technology for both mobile broadband & fixed wireless, but having its own cellular towers enables NBN to deliver internet even to premises where setting up a fixed connection would unfeasible at best.
Let’s start with the obvious benefit: flexibility. Unlike fixed wireless connections, which are area dependent, mobile broadband solutions are portable and operational outside the residence or working place. If you’re constantly on the move or just unable to get a fixed connection, then the NBN mobile broadband option is the most suited to your needs. After you sign-up the connection, activates within 24 h (sometimes even sooner) and you’ll be online in a matter of minutes. Mobile broadband speeds can certainly match those available on the NBN fixed wireless option. Today 4G connections deliver speeds between 50Mbps and 100Mbps yet, keep in mind, that some mobile broadband plans (i.e. those included in the “home wireless” space) can limit navigation speeds.
Unless your situation absolutely requires it, consider the mobile alternative carefully. Chances are you’ll end up spending more than you feel comfortable with – expect somewhere around $70/mth for a 100GB no-contract mobile broadband connection. The most commonly available (home wireless plans) download allowance averages at 200GB, while your mobile download speeds are restricted to a maximum of 12Mbps. Since mobile broadband is directly dependent on a decent cellular connection, poor coverage at your place of work or residence will definitely impact on the quality of your mobile connection. That’s not the ideal situation.
Equipment Requirements for Mobile Connections
You cannot do without a data-only SIM card and a device to put it – that’s the absolute minimum for a mobile broadband connection to work. The comprehensive list includes:
- SIM accepting tablets – turn your iPad or Android tablet (your old phone would also do) into a Wi-Fi hotspot by inserting the data-SIM in the device. You can share the resulting connection with another device as well.
- USB, 4G capable, modem – this is a good portable solution if you only need to use a single computer to go online. Know that it needs to be plugged in directly to the device you want to connect.
- Portable wireless hotspot – makes it possible for you to share a mobile broadband connection with more than one device, simultaneously. Unlike the USB modem, this device is usually battery powered and therefore needs recharging.
It could be that, for the moment at least, NBN fixed wireless plans take precedence in the preferences of most network users. However, it’s worth noting that, worldwide, mobile evolved from a simple trend to a pattern of consumption behaviour that is gulping up progressively more of all the internet traffic. It’s therefore reasonable to say that NBN mobile plans are here to stay, despite their low popularity levels today.