Best NBN plans for Aussie household revealed: Exetel takes out top spot

In our inaugural Mozo Experts Choice NBN Awards, the Mozo Experts have applied their skills of analysis to working out which NBN plans offer Aussie households the best bang for their buck.

The awards compared 100 retailers listed on the NBNCo website, by analysing factors such as the technical support available, the speed of the internet connection and the cost of a plan, including set up costs, monthly charges and the price of a modem.

“With the NBN being rolled out across Australia and already available in many areas, you might be starting to think about where to find the best value. That’s where these awards come in - cutting through the jargon and marketing hype to help you find the best options available for your needs,” said Mozo Data Services Director, AJ Duncanson.

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Exetel, which says it is Australia’s largest independent internet service provider, took out the top gong of NBN Provider of the Year, scoring wins across seven of the twelve award categories, including all four of the Unlimited Data categories.

Belong, Spintel, ActiveNet, AusBBS and TPG were among the other winners who took home a boatload of awards across multiple categories.

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The awards compared plans on the NBN levels of 25, 50 and 100 Mbps. According to Duncanson, only plans with the typical evening speed readily available - either on the website or available when a customer enquired over the phone, online chat or email - were considered for awards, because the Experts felt this was crucial information that consumers need to know to determine the best value.

“The NBN speed level is not actually how fast your internet connection will be. It will depend on the delivery technology connecting you to the NBN, but it’s important to realise that it can also be affected by your choice of provider, due to the amount of network capacity they buy from NBNCo. Typical evening speed is a more accurate picture of the speed most people will experience, and so it was a key part of our judging the Mozo Experts Choice Awards,” he said.

How to choose the right NBN plan for you

So before you sign on the dotted line, ask yourself these questions:

What internet speed do I really need?

Choosing a speed for your NBN plan will affect how quick your internet connection is and how much you pay each month. “We found that 50 Mbps plans were often very similar in price to 25 Mbps plans, but then there was a jump in price to go up to 100 Mbps,” Duncanson said.

Small households with only a couple of devices connected to the internet, or people who are interested in browsing the web, sending and receiving emails, using social media and basic video streaming might opt for a 25 Mbps plan.

If you have multiple devices connected to the internet and need to download and upload medium sized files, use video calling and HD video streaming, you might opt instead for 50 Mbps.

A 100 Mbps plan is better suited to a large household of heavy internet users or those who work from home, who are downloading and uploading large files, using cloud storage and 4K video streaming.

Should I sign up for an NBN contract?

Our analysis found that whether you’re on a lock-in contract or not, it likely won’t make a huge difference to the monthly cost of your NBN - but it might make a difference when it comes to fees.

We found that NBN providers often waive the installment fee if you sign up for a contract, but on the other hand, if you then cancel your plan before the contract has run out, you could pay huge exit fees - sometimes winding up paying as much as you would have by staying on the contract.

“On some plans we looked at, if you break your contract you could wind up paying exit fees that are more than the amount you would have paid for the full contract term anyway. A contract could be fine for a homeowner who isn’t likely to change again soon - but renters on short term leases should look closely before agreeing to a lock-in contract,” Duncanson said.

How much data do I usually use in a month?

It’s important to choose a plan that suits your data needs, because if you go over your monthly limit, your internet connection will probably slow right down. Your data use should be shown on your internet bill - it’s worth tracking it for a few months to work out your average usage before choosing a new plan.

The Mozo Experts Choice Awards considered the best plans with unlimited data, and separately looked at plans for a household that's happy with 250GB per month.

“Customers willing to shop around and compare different NBN providers could find plans with unlimited data for as little as a dollar more than a plan with 250GB of data, so for my money, I’d say Unlimited Data plans are likely to be popular,” Duncanson commented.

Now that you’re armed with knowledge about how to choose the best NBN plan, the next step is checking out the list of Mozo Experts Choice NBN Award winners and picking one out!