Portable Wi-Fi: 8 reasons to use mobile broadband

Looking for Wi-Fi you can take with you? Maybe you want to replace or supplement your home internet? Mobile broadband could be the answer. A data plan gives you all the mobile broadband you need on a compatible device like a tablet or iPad. Not to mention the freedom to go anywhere and stay connected.
8 minute read

Mobile broadband plans and devices

SIM only. Device & data. Pre-Paid. Choose the option that suits you best.

First things first, what is mobile broadband?

Mobile broadband is a wireless internet connection delivered via a mobile network. In contrast, a fixed internet connection is delivered by a landline or cable network, or the nbn™ access network.  
Like a mobile hotspot on your smartphone, mobile broadband allows you to connect Wi-Fi enabled devices to the internet. And while mobile broadband devices can’t make phone calls, they generally provide a stronger, better quality internet connection than a smartphone, as they’re designed specifically for that job. 

Simple set-up

To use mobile broadband, you’ll need a data plan with a SIM card, and a compatible mobile device like a SIM-ready laptop, portable modem or a dongle (USB modem). You can bring your own device or add one to a data plan.

What you won’t need is a technician. Setting up your service is easy: 

  1. Insert your data SIM card into your mobile broadband device.
  2. Connect your Wi-Fi enabled laptop or device.
  3. Get online. 

Let’s talk terminology

As work from home becomes the norm and our kids embrace eLearning, having the flexibility to connect on the go using multiple devices has never been more important. But before we dive into the world of data, let’s get to know the lingo. 

  • Data SIM: tiny card, big network. Used with an Upfront Data Plan, a data SIM card delivers a reliable internet (mobile broadband) connection on your SIM-compatible mobile devices (think tablet, smartphone, iPad, laptop or portable modem).
  • Upfront Data Plan: a data-only plan you pay for month-to-month, that’s tailored to how you like to use the internet. Available in a range of data sizes from 5GB up to 400GB. Also called a ‘data plan’. 
  • Mobile broadband: a wireless internet connection delivered via a mobile network. You need a mobile Wi-Fi device to use it. And we’ll let you into a secret - the tech industry loves buzzwords, so when you hear: ‘mobile broadband, portable data, mobile data, cellular data or portable Wi-Fi’, be assured that they all mean the same thing. (Let’s call it mobile broadband in this article).
  • Hotspot: a physical connection to the internet.
  • Mobile broadband device: a device that allows you to connect to broadband using a SIM. A SIM-ready laptop, a tablet or iPad, a portable modem or a dongle (translation: USB modem) are most common. You can BYO your own device or get a mobile broadband device with an  Upfront Data Plan.

8 great reasons to get on board

That’s the housekeeping out of the way, now let's look at 8 great reasons to get on board with mobile broadband:

1. The freedom to work literally anywhere

Enjoy the flexibility of working from home? Whether it’s making your 9am weekday Zoom stand-up or your weekend Zoom quiz with family interstate, you need a connection you can rely on.   

With a data-only plan you can connect instantly to the internet. The data SIM is laptop compatible,  so you simply open up, connect and enjoy mobile broadband whenever you’re in an area with our network coverage. You can also connect via a USB modem to your laptop or a portable hotspot if you have multiple devices, allowing you to video call, share files and collaborate online. 

The other advantages of having a work-dedicated mobile broadband on a data plan are that you can change your plan according to how much you use, while keeping your home and work internet services separate. So while your family’s streaming movies or gaming, your own internet connection will stay on the job. 

2. The 7:59am commute just got a whole lot more enjoyable

Good morning public transport, hello data plan. Use a data SIM in your tablet, so when you’re commuting, you can connect to streaming services and watch your favourite TV show while the stations whiz by without having to hotspot and use your mobile data. All aboard…

3. Home internet in a hurry? Sorted!  

Just moved house? Maybe you’re in temporary accommodation or renting? Whichever it is, mobile broadband means you can jump online immediately just as long as you’re in an area with our network coverage. All you need is a data SIM with a month-to-month Upfront Data Plan and a mobile broadband modem. Change up your data allowance each month to match your usage and take the mobile broadband with you when you move.  

If your living circumstances change, you might decide a fixed internet connection is better. All good. Simply cancel your data plan anytime. 

Stop the share house lag with your very own internet connection

When everyone’s working from home on the same internet connection, things can get…. tense. If you’d rather have your own connection, without having to share it with the household, a portable modem or hotspot like the NightHawk M5 or the 5G Wi-Fi pro will reduce stress and give you independence.

A data plan could also help you maintain a consistent internet connection around the home if your fixed connection is patchy, or if there’s an outage.

4. Connect your kids, too

Digital experiences form the backbone of school learning. Connectivity allows kids to collaborate with their peers and teachers while eLearning develops their digital literacy across a range of devices. A data plan with your child’s tablet keeps their learning uninterrupted with a reliable connection. 

5. Travel plans and data plans make perfect companions

Travel’s on everyone's minds these days. And it’s now more important than ever to stay connected. The beauty of mobile broadband? You can take your Wi-Fi network on holidays too.  

Let’s say you’re staying in a motel and want to stream content. Hook up your hotspot and connect via the TV. Bonus: these devices are so compact and lightweight, they’ll barely register in your carry-on luggage. 

No more, “Are we there yet?” A data plan and a portable broadband device will make your kids’ journey a whole lot more entertaining, whether you’re at the beach, in a tent, or en route. As long as you're in an area with our network coverage, you’re laughing. 
Choose a portable device like the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro or the NightHawk M5. They create Wi-Fi hotspots (just like your smartphone, only better) so you can connect up to 30 devices in one hit, including tablets, speakers and computers.  

6. Get gaming at the speed of 5G

Nothing makes gamers happier than a blazing fast connection, right? That’s why a Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro or NETGEAR Nighthawk M5 with a 75GB or 400GB, 5G-ready data plan could be for you. 

Featuring dual-band Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi 6 technology, both 5G portable modems allow more Wi-Fi enabled devices to be connected and stream simultaneously, with minimal impact on speed or reliability. With increased capacity, you get faster speeds for high-end video streaming on your smartphone, tablet or computer. 
5G is now rolling out in selected areas on selected plans.

7. Say ‘bye’ to dodgy public Wi-Fi

It’s a fact. Mobile broadband is more secure than public Wi-Fi. That’s because our mobile broadband devices use encrypted Wi-Fi to create a secure connection for your Wi-Fi enabled devices. Public Wi-Fi is open to everyone, making it way less secure. Data plan to the rescue! When you have our network coverage you can do your thing in public without the risk of your data being compromised.

8. No more data dependence

Do you burn through your monthly data allowance on your mobile plan? Why not give yourself some extra data? With a Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro on an Upfront Data Plan, you can connect up to 30 Wi-Fi enabled devices, to keep you streaming, gaming and doing whatever it is you like to do at uncapped speeds.

Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro

Our most advanced hotspot on Australia’s best 5G. Supports up to 30 Wi-Fi enabled devices. (15 each on 2.4 & 5 GHz). 

NETGEAR Nighthawk® M5

Australia’s fastest 5G Mobile Broadband device. Connect up to 30 Wi-Fi enabled devices plus one Ethernet device.

Ready for your data plan?

Available in 5GB, 30GB, 75GB or 400GB, a month-to-month Upfront Data Plan puts you in control.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the SIM card that comes with our data plans will work in a mobile phone but will only provide an internet connection – as it would for a mobile broadband device. You won’t be able to make calls with your mobile phone.  

If it can be connected to the internet, you can use it with an Upfront Data Plan. Use your data SIM to deliver mobile broadband to your SIM-compatible device, like a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Use a hotspot to connect several devices at once, including your smart TV. 

To see if you can get mobile broadband at your address, check our coverage map.