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Saturday 2 Feb 2019 | 4 min read

Everything you need to know about mobile broadband

A mobile broadband dongle connected to a laptop

Looking for a portable alternative to a fixed-line internet connection for your home or office? Or a backup internet connection to keep you online if your fixed-line internet goes down? Mobile Broadband might be the solution for you.

Mobile broadband

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*Data sharing is only available on 4G plans on the same profile.

Here's everything you need to know about mobile broadband:

What is mobile broadband?

Mobile broadband, in simple terms, is an internet connection that’s delivered over a mobile network. Like your mobile phone, it uses a reception tower to access the internet.

If you use your mobile phone as a hotspot, then it’s doing the same thing as a mobile broadband device. The difference is that mobile broadband devices are designed specifically for internet. They can’t make phone calls or run apps like a smartphone can. However, the technology powering mobile broadband devices is powerful and provides a generally high-quality standard of connection. Due to this, more people are finding value in having a mobile broadband connection in addition to their phone and home internet service.

What are the different options for mobile broadband?

There are various types of mobile broadband you can choose from. Each has its own benefits, and the right one for you will depend on what you plan to use it for. The most common forms of mobile broadband are:

  1. A dongle: A mobile broadband dongle is a small device that you connect to your computer or laptop, just as you would a USB stick. It has its own internet connection, so plugging it into your computer will allow the computer to connect to the internet. It’s the most simple and straightforward example of a mobile broadband device.

  2. A personal Wi-Fi device: These are small boxes that provide a roaming Wi-Fi “hot spot” to which you can connect your devices as you would any other Wi-Fi connection. They're also known as a mobile broadband device, a mobile broadband router, or pocket Wi-Fi. The personal Wi-Fi device runs off 4G technology, meaning that the connection is fast and may operate effectively with phones, game devices, laptops and tablets.

  3. In-car Wi-Fi: These are mobile broadband devices designed to plug one of these into your car’s 12V adapter. It provides a consistent source of broadband for your car, assuming the car is travelling on a road where a signal is available. Parents, if you want to give your kids a movie to watch on a long drive, you may find a device like this invaluable!

  4. Data-only SIM cards: Data-only SIMs are small cards that work just like a mobile phone SIM card, just without call minutes or the ability to send text messages. To use a data-only SIM card, you will need to put it into a SIM-capable device (such as a tablet, computer or mobile broadband router). Then, you can use the internet through the device you've put the SIM card into.

The benefits of mobile broadband

The most obvious benefit of mobile broadband is that it’s mobile. In many places in Australia, a mobile broadband device connecting to a 4G network will offer between 20mbps to 100mbps speeds. That’s more than enough to stream movies and music, surf the web and work while you're on the go. And mobile broadband device will provide you with much greater security than public or shared Wi-Fi.

For this reason, many people who simply can’t afford to go without the internet (like people who work from home, those who have a security system that relies on the internet, or online gamers and Netflix addicts) will have a mobile broadband option as a backup in the event that something happens to their main connection to cause an outage. While mobile broadband data tends to be more expensive than fixed-line internet, you're paying for its convenience and peace of mind. Because let's face it, when the internet stops, life as we know it stops with it. Mobile broadband helps you stay connected and avoid the frustration of being without internet.

Finally, mobile broadband is incredibly easy to set up and use. You can set up a mobile broadband connection in just a few minutes. And once you’re connected, you’ll be able to disconnect and reconnect with the simple press of a few buttons.

If you're a business owner, it's important to be available to your customers, team and partners online - even when you're outside the office. Whether you're a freelancer working at your favourite cafe or a construction crew working on-site, mobile broadband is a cost-effective way to stay connected.

Connect your business to reliable mobile broadband

Stay connected, wherever your business takes you. Add a mobile broadband SIM to your existing mobile fleet to share the data across all plans*.

View business plans

*Data sharing for mobile plans on the same profile and network (4G and 5G) only. You cannot share 4G data with 5G plans, and vice versa, even if they are on the same profile.

Is mobile broadband better than nbn®?

Fixed-line internet technology available through nbn® is still the fastest, most reliable connection choice for your home or office. But where mobile broadband shines is its ability to serve as a portable internet connection wherever there's coverage.

If you need a reliable internet connection on the go, 4G mobile broadband offers unparalleled coverage. Aussie Broadband's 4G mobile broadband runs on the Optus network and covers 98.5% of the Australian population.

And through 5G, mobile broadband can now offer internet speeds that, in some cases, are comparable to those on nbn®. Although, despite 5G's much-hyped potential, the top speeds available on fixed-line nbn® via Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) still beat 5G's best efforts - for now.

5G Broadband vs nbn®: Which is better?

Find out how 5G Broadband and nbn® stack up on the criteria that matters to you in our in-depth guide.

5G broadband vs nbn® compared

However, when it comes to choosing an internet connection for your home or office, a fixed-line nbn® connection is still the clear winner. But where mobile broadband comes out on top is in its ability to work as a portable internet connection from anywhere there's reception.

What do I need for mobile broadband?

All you need for mobile Broadband is a data-only SIM card and a device to connect to. If you intend to connect multiple devices to your mobile broadband connection, ensure the device you're using can create a Wi-Fi hotspot.

How much does mobile broadband cost, and how much do I need?

One of the great things about mobile broadband is that it’s typically offered without lock-in contracts. So, if you're not sure what your usage would be like, there's no need to worry about committing to a service over 12 or 24 months. What's more, if you're on an Aussie Broadband mobile broadband plan, you can change your plan instantly on our MyAussie® app. So, if you're always reaching your data limit, you can easily upgrade your plan to access the data you need for the month, and vice versa if you never reach your data limit. And if you've got a holiday coming up and know you'll use more data than usual, you can arrange to have your plan temporarily upgraded to cover it.

At Aussie Broadband, our mobile broadband plans include unlimited calls and SMS within Australia and a wide range of 4G and 5G data limits. A smaller data cap is enough for the mobile broadband device to operate as an emergency backup for email and web applications, though you won’t be able to use it for video streaming or conferencing. If you would like to dial into a meeting or catch up on some Netflix while you're on the train home, we've got plans with a higher monthly data cap to keep you connected - at a lower price per GB than our entry-level plan.

Mobile Broadband

Get connected

Australia’s customer service-driven nbn™ provider, Aussie Broadband, have mobile broadband options for every budget, with plans ranging from 5GB to 220GB! Speak to the team today to find out how you can get connected.

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Aussie Broadband

Editorial team

The Aussie Broadband Editorial team consists of copywriters, marketers, and subject matter experts across multiple fields. We aim to bring you the latest news, insights, and guides regarding everything internet, mobile, technology, and more...

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