Optus has made some strong plays in the Australian telecommunications market in the past 18 months. They recently announced free data deals with streaming apps like Netflix and Spotify, and are turning the sports entertainment industry on its head. The Optus Home wireless broadband offering hasn’t received as much fanfare, but is one of their most important products – especially for Australians who can’t commit to a wired broadband plan. Read on for our review of Optus’s home wireless broadband.
Plug and Play
The main allure of Optus’s home wireless broadband over other home broadband connections is that it’s so simple to set up. You can forget about line rental, or getting cable or NBN installed. All you need to do is activate the SIM card, switch on the Huawei E5186 modem, and connect. This is particularly beneficial for renters who have no control over their home infrastructure or people living in share-house situations. But it would be ideal for anyone who wants a solid internet connection without the hassle of arranging a fixed service.
The Optus home wireless broadband service runs on Optus’s their 4G network. Although you don’t get full access to the super fast speeds that ‘4G’ implies, you do get pretty decent service: 12Mbps down and 1Mbps up in most parts of Australia. If you’re not in a 2300 MHz area, you will get 5/1Mbps (down/up) (they advise you to contact them to see what your area has access to). In the speed testing we conducted at our office, we found Optus’s claims to be pretty accurate – we consistently recorded speeds of around 12/1Mbps.
On these speeds, we were able to stream videos on YouTube and Netflix smoothly. We also did our usual work on Google Apps, with multiple tabs open in Chrome and music streaming in the background without any problems. For sure, uploading larger files onto Dropbox was slightly slower than what we were used to, but you wouldn’t be disappointed with Optus’s home wireless broadband unless you were a serious online gamer.
Optus offers three types of home wireless broadband plans:
- It’s 24 month contract will set you back $80/month for a minimum cost of $1920
- If you prefer a 12 month contract, it’ll be $90/month ($80/month for the data and $10/month for the modem) or $1080 all up.
- You can also pay on a month-by-month basis. On this plan, you the modem is paid for upfront ($240), while the data plan still costs $80/month.
All three data plans get you 200GB worth of data per month. As is pretty standard these days, you can track your usage on the Optus website or app, and can set up access to SMS alerts. If you do go over the 200GB limit, it will automatically give you an extra 10GB for a $10 fee. There is a limit of 5 top-ups per month – that’s a maximum of 250GB/month. After that, your speeds will be bumped down to a meagre 256kbps (hopefully you don’t let it get to that point!)
We dug a bit deeper to clear up a few other details we were unsure of upon receiving our Huawei modem from Optus. First, in case you were thinking what we were thinking, you can’t take the SIM and put it into your phone or tablet – it’s locked to the modem!
Additionally, you might have heard of Optus’s recent data-free streaming partnerships with the likes of Netflix, Stan, Spotify and Pandora. You can also stream English Premier League games and Australian cricket for free with certain Optus bundles. Unfortunately, these offerings only apply to select mobile data plans for mobile modems, phones and tablets – never home broadband be it wired or wireless.
All in all, Optus’s home wireless broadband is a strong offering that has the potential to make a big difference in a lot of people’s lives. If you’re a renter or living in a sharehouse, this could be the answer to your internet headaches. Even if you just want a flexible internet connection at a reasonable price, you should consider this service.
Go to optus.com.au for more info.