The NBN is probably the last thing you want going down on you; there’s nothing worse than an internet outage. Outages can and do happen, but there are now a few NBN providers that offer 4G backup with their plans.
These plans are bundled with a modem that connects to both the NBN and a mobile network. In the event your NBN goes down, the modem will fall back to 4G to keep you online.
There is one catch when it comes to 4G backup: your connection will be a good deal slower. Every provider offering mobile redundancy caps your download speeds to either 6Mbps or 12Mbps over 4G. While that might be a little underwhelming, some internet is better than no internet.
Here’s a look at what providers offer 4G backup with their plans.
Telstra NBN plans
Big T’s NBN plans all include the telco’s second generation “Smart Modem”, a modem router with 4G backup. The integrated 4G means you get online even before your NBN connection is live, but it’s also there for if you’re having a problem with your internet. You’ll keep using your plan’s download allowance when using your 4G service, but most Telstra NBN plans are unlimited these days. Telstra limits 4G download speeds to 6Mbps down and 1Mbps up.
Here’s a look at Telstra’s NBN plans:
Telstra is currently running two NBN promos: new customers can nab a three-month free subscription to Foxtel Now if they sign-up before April 30, and Telstra will also waive the $99 connection charge.
Telstra NBN plans are technically contract-free, but you’ll need to pay out the pro-rated value of the included modem ($216) if you leave within your first 24 months.
Vodafone NBN plans
All Vodafone NBN plans include a modem with integrated 4G backup: the Vodafone WiFi Hub. You can use this for up to 30 consecutive days while you’re waiting to connect to the NBN, or whenever there’s an outage in your area. If you’re having trouble accessing the NBN, the WiFi Hub will connect you to Vodafone’s 4G network. You’ll get unlimited data for as long as you need it, but your speeds will be limited to 12Mbps down and 1Mbps up.
Here’s a look at Vodafone’s NBN plans:
Vodafone is currently offering a $20 per month discount on its NBN 100 plan, bringing it down to $75 per month for your first six months. You’ll pay $95 per month thereafter, but you bring down your total bill by bundling with another Vodafone service. Vodafone offers a 5 per cent discount for every plan on your account after your first, for a maximum discount of 20 per cent.
Vodafone NBN plans are contract-free, but as with Telstra you’ll pay out a pro-rated modem fee if you leave within your first three years. This is equivalent to $5 multiplied by the number of months left in your term.
Tangerine NBN plans
Tangerine is the first smaller NBN provider to add a 4G backup option. However, since Tangerine doesn’t own a mobile network, it’s a little bit different to what’s on offer from Telstra and Vodafone. Tangerine’s 4G backup isn’t a standard plan feature, doesn’t come with unlimited data, and has extra upfront fees.
To add 4G backup to a Tangerine plan, you’ll need to splash out $199 on its 4G backup modem – the
Netcomm NL19ACV – when you first sign-up. You’ll also pay an additional $15 per month, which gets you 30GB of backup data capped to speeds of 12Mbps down and 12Mbps up.
While $15 per month extra might seem pricey, that kind of money typically only gets you 5GB per month when it comes to mobile broadband plans.
Tangerine’s 4G backup is powered by the Optus network.
Here’s a look at Tangerine’s NBN plans:
Tangerine is currently running a promotional discount on all of its plans. You can save $10 per month for your first six months on its NBN 25 and NBN 50 plans, or $15 per month on your first six months on its NBN 100 plan.
All Tangerine NBN plans have a 14-day satisfaction guarantee. If you decide you want to ditch Tangerine within your first two weeks, you can get a full refund of your plan and modem fees.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.