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Best WiFi dongle and pocket WiFi plans – Telstra mobile broadband

If you’re looking for a mobile broadband plan that comes with its own portable modem, you’re going to need a dongle (aka USB modem) or pocket WiFi hotspot. So how do the plans compare? Which provider should you go with? And what type of technology should you choose?

الإعلانات

In this guide, we’ve taken a look at the cheapest WiFi dongle plans around and made our top picks for plans from the major providers. Check out:

How does a WiFi dongle work? – broadband

A WiFi dongle is a USB stick that delivers instant internet to your device. Also known as internet dongles or USB modems, WiFi dongles work by connecting to the same networks as your mobile phone. 

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WiFi dongles are lightweight and don’t need to be recharged, but can only connect one device at a time. Since the introduction of the pocket or portable WiFi hub, dongles are going out of fashion, and many providers have ditched them altogether. 

Dongle

But there are still a few plans available on the market. Currently only Telstra and SpinTel and offer WiFi dongle plans.

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#1Telstra200GB Data $79.12/mthMin. cost $1,898.88
#2Telstra20GB Data $29.12/mthMin. cost $698.88
#3Telstra5GB Data $19.12/mthMin. cost $458.88
#4Telstra60GB Data $54.12/mthMin. cost $1,298.88
#5SpinTel4GB Data$9.95/mthMin. cost $148.95Deal: Enjoy $5 off your plan for the first 6 months!

How does pocket WiFi work?

Pocket WiFi is a more modern solution to the need for portable internet, compared with the dongle. A pocket WiFi modem connects your devices using mobile networks, just like a dongle. 

It’s usually about the same size and shape as a deck of cards, and unlike a dongle can connect multiple devices simultaneously – to serve a household, for example, or connect your phone and your laptop at the same time.

A pocket WiFi hub or hotspot is usually a better choice than a dongle. In most cases, a portable WiFi hub should cost the same on a plan as a dongle. But unlike a dongle, pocket WiFi hubs are battery-powered and will need recharging. Most can be plugged into power while you’re using them, however. 

broadband

Currently Telstra, Vodafone and SpinTel offer pocket WiFi plans.

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#1Telstra200GB Data $81/mthMin. cost $1,944
#2Telstra20GB Data $31/mthMin. cost $744
#3Telstra5GB Data $21/mthMin. cost $504
#4Telstra60GB Data $56/mthMin. cost $1,344
#5SpinTel4GB Data$9.95/mthMin. cost $148.95Deal: Enjoy $5 off your plan for the first 6 months!
#6Vodafone30GB Data $23.75/mthMin. cost $20Deal: Get 20GB bonus data per month until 06.05.21

Telstra 5G portable WiFi plans


Broadband Plans

With at least 1GB data | Filters

 PlanInclusionsPrice
TelstraUpfront Data Plan Extra Small5GB Data Mobile Broadband ConnectionContract (24 mths)Deal: Save $100 on this modem when you add to an eligible plan and stay connected for 24 months$44.13/mth(plan + modem)Min. cost $1,059.12
TelstraUpfront Data Plan Small20GB Data Mobile Broadband ConnectionContract (24 mths)Deal: Save $100 on this modem when you add to an eligible plan and stay connected for 24 months$54.13/mth(plan + modem)Min. cost $1,299.12
TelstraUpfront Data Plan Medium60GB Data Mobile Broadband ConnectionContract (24 mths)Deal: Save $100 on this modem when you add to an eligible plan and stay connected for 24 months$79.13/mth(plan + modem)Min. cost $1,899.12
TelstraUpfront Data Plan Large200GB Data Mobile Broadband ConnectionContract (24 mths)Deal: Save $100 on this modem when you add to an eligible plan and stay connected for 24 months$104.13/mth(plan + modem)Min. cost $2,499.12

These 5G mobile broadband plans from Telstra include

If you’re looking for super-fast WiFi as an NBN alternative, or to subsidize your home connection.

You could be one of the first Australians to enjoy 5G mobile broadband.

Telstra is rolling out its 5G mobile network across the country with pockets of coverage in over 46 cities and towns.

See our Telstra 5G coverage map for details.

To accompany the 5G rollout, Telstra is selling both the Netgear Nighthawk M5 and its own 5G Wi-Fi Pro modems. The Nighthawk will, costs $29.12 per month over 24 months, which could be a hard cost to justify, while the Wi-Fi Pro costs $24.95 per month over 24 months.

We’ve tested both modems and in terms of 5G speed, we found there wasn’t a clear winner.

The Nighthawk M5 was able to obtain better speeds when there was a clear line of sight to the tower, while the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro dealt better with obstacles.

Battery is also another point of difference.

We found the Nighthawk M5 could last ten or so hours in terms of real-world usage, while the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro lasted seven.

Plans from Telstra are contract-free on the basis that if you want to leave you can do so at any time without penalty. You’ll just have to pay out the remaining value of your modem. If you go over your monthly data cap, data speeds will be slowed to 1.5Mbps, which is still fast enough to stream SD video. 

Just be aware before you buy that Telstra 5G coverage is still limited.

The network will continue to grow over time but for right now, be sure to check where you can get 5G connectivity before you buy. However, even if you don’t have 5G coverage, the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro and the Nighthawk M5 will still connect to 4G networks. 

Telstra 4G dongle plans and pocket WiFi


 PlanInclusionsPrice
TelstraUpfront Data Plan Extra Small5GB Data Mobile Broadband ConnectionContract (24 mths)$21/mth(plan + modem)Min. cost $504
TelstraUpfront Data Plan Small20GB Data Mobile Broadband ConnectionContract (24 mths)$31/mth(plan + modem)Min. cost $744
TelstraUpfront Data Plan Medium60GB Data Mobile Broadband ConnectionContract (24 mths)$56/mth(plan + modem)Min. cost $1,344
TelstraUpfront Data Plan Large200GB Data Mobile Broadband ConnectionContract (24 mths)$81/mth(plan + modem)Min. cost $1,944

If you don’t have access to Telstra 5G coverage yet, there are still plenty of options on Telstra 4G. These 4G pocket WiFi plans from Telstra include:

  • Up to 200GB of data
  • Telstra 4GX Wi-Fi Pro hotspot modem
  • No-contract plan, no excess data charges
  • 24-month device repayment period

If you prefer to have your plan with a WiFi dongle instead of a hotspot, you can get one with any of these plans for around $2 less per month than the prices shown.

Telstra pocket WiFi plans are the priciest 4G plans around, but they come with some nice benefits.

Signing up for a mobile broadband plan with Telstra will give you access to Telstra’s 4GX network, which can boast theoretical speeds up to 20x faster than the fastest plans you can get on the NBN (when used with compatible devices). But you have to be in an area covered by 4GX to use it, otherwise, it’s just plain old 4G, or even 3G, depending on where you’re located.

Plans from Telstra are contract-free on the basis that if you want to leave you can do so at any time without penalty. You’ll just have to pay out the pro-rated value of your dongle or hotspot. If you go over your monthly data cap, data speeds will be slowed to 1.5Mbps, which is still fast enough to stream SD video.

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