Mobile internet plans are notoriously expensive in Australia, especially from the major Telcos like Telstra. In the US for instance, unlimited data plans (or as near to as makes no difference) are available for a fraction of what it costs us poor Aussies, so any way to reduce costs is worth looking into. How does $9 a month for 1Gb data sound? Damn good to me when I found this one so I have done some extensive testing of the service over the last 2-3 months so you don’t have to – hey, that’s what we are here for!
The ‘Big 3’ – ie: Telstra, Optus & Vodaphone – provide wholesale data services for third party providers to resell to offer wireless broadband to users that may not be able to afford paying full rates for internet access. Some, like Kogan and Aldi were reselling Telstra network services but they struck problems – in Kogan’s case it seems Telstra pulled the plug on them, probably because their offerings were great value!
Globalgig has been around for a while and they use the Optus network to provide coverage in Australia – plus they have the added bonus of arrangements with Telcos in other countries so you can connect to the internet at pretty competitive prices. Let me state up front that I don’t have any special arrangements with the company, I pay full price for my mobile broadband with them.
There are a couple of ways to get connected with Globalgig – the first is to buy their WiFi device complete with SIM card for $49, the second is to just buy a $2 SIM card and use in your Android, Windows or iPad tablet – or (and this isn’t officially supported) in an unused and unlocked WiFi broadband device I had to hand in my case. For most people the first option is by far the easiest and probably the most convenient and easy to use because the WiFi device can connect up to 5 tablets, laptops and phones at the same time so everyone can get connected at home or when travelling.
Here’s some of the ‘promotional stuff’ from their website with some of my notes for clarity:
Globalgig is an international MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) with agreements to provide mobile data services across our Globalgig Network of connected countries. We have partnered with networks in Australia and Internationally to bring you low cost mobile data in 40 countries, with more countries to come. In Australia, Globalgig is powered by the Optus 3G Network, and Internationally by our network partners in each of our connected countries.
Andys comment: Note that the Optus 4G network is not available but unless you want the fastest possible speeds this isn’t an issue. In many regional areas of Australia 3G is all that is available anyway.
So when you travel in the Globalgig Network you get access to mobile data at a fraction of the cost associated with mobile data roaming. Your hotspot or SIM will automatically register on the network when you arrive at your destination and you don’t have to tell us you’re going overseas.
Low cost domestic or international mobile data plans
We’ve designed Domestic and International mobile data plans with 1GB, 3GB or 5GB of included data and simple per MB pricing. All our plans are month to month with no lock in contracts, and you have the freedom to change plans each month to suit your usage or travel needs.
1GB data in Australia for $9 per month
Andy’s comment: Telstra price for 1Gb data is $25 a month, Optus is $30 (good luck finding the plan details easily, I had to search their sites for this info)
Looking for a great mobile data plan for Australia? Globalgig offers great value Domestic mobile data plans in Australia – 1GB for $9 per month and 5c per MB for any excess usage. You still have access to all the countries in our Globalgig Network at low cost per MB rates, or upgrade to one of our International mobile data plans before you travel.
Sounds good doesn’t it, but how does it perform in the real world? Surprisingly good I have to say and the one time I had a problem I called the help line and a very friendly chap based in the UK helped me out.
We live in a small coastal village on the south coast of NSW and wireless broadband service from any carrier is quite frankly, a joke. During holiday periods a large influx of tourists means we can get connected fine but browsing the internet or retrieving email is an exercise in frustration. I wasn’t surprised when I got variable results with Globalgig at home – sometimes I achieved 1-2Mb download speeds but often I’d be lucky to see 10 percent of that if anything at all. However, I used it in my car to travel to Wollongong and had good coverage and connections all the way (I used Google Maps to navigate and listened to streaming music as I went! ) and also when on holiday recently in another south coast town I achieved 6Mb download / 1Mb upload speed which was better than my fixed line broadband at home and we were very impressed with the service. In Sydney I had no problems at all which is what I expected.
Globalgig have a handy wee picture on their website that helps you figure out how much each Gigabyte of data really is and what you can do with 1,3 or 5 (their 3 plans) and I’ve included it here for you. If I ever get close to the 1Gb monthly limit I get an email advising me that I will be charged 5 cents for any Mb over the limit which is good to know.
Of course, Telstra still has the best coverage in rural and outback Australia, that’s just a fact of life unfortunately, so be prepared for some problems in low signal areas. You can always try using an external antenna which is what I plan to try next as the Telstra Elite WiFi device I am using has a socket for one and some are available on eBay for around $30 or so (much less if you buy from Hong Kong and are prepared to wait) which should deliver better reception in fringe areas. I have asked Globalgig if their WiFi device has a socket but haven’t heard back as yet. I’ll keep you posted.
Let us know your thoughts and if you have used this or any other wireless broadband service in Australia.
Price : From $9 per month
Needs : Any