Unlimited Mobile Data in Australia: A Distant Dream or Future Reality?

Unlimited Mobile Data 5G Plans

Unlimited and uncapped mobile data plans are a staple in the US market, allowing users to stream, browse, and download to their hearts’ content.

But in Australia, the landscape is quite different. Could Australian telcos follow suit and offer truly unlimited plans?

Let’s dive into the possibilities and challenges.

The Current State of Australian Mobile Data

Most Australian mobile plans offer a set amount of data, with excess usage charges or speed throttling kicking in once you exceed your limit.

While some plans advertise “unlimited” data, this typically comes with caveats, such as reduced speeds after a certain threshold.

For example, when we searched for Unlimited Data Plans in Australia, the only provider offering this, was Felix Mobile.

However, they reduce speed to a incredibly low 20Mbps download speed, which is essentially just the 4G network.

This is a stark contrast to the US, where numerous carriers provide genuinely unlimited plans with no download speed caps.

The only thing I did notice, is that they do cap mobile hot spotting, assuming this is to counter people from sharing their data heavily with other users.

I’ll attach some of the best plans on the US market, so you can see firsthand the difference.

Why Don’t Australian Telcos Offer Unlimited Data?

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype, however if you go into the detail, the US market is 100% better than the Australian market.

Several factors contribute to this discrepancy:

  • Network Infrastructure: Australia’s vast landmass and lower population density mean building and maintaining a robust network for unlimited data is more expensive than in the US.
  • Spectrum Limitations: The available radio frequencies for mobile data are limited, making it challenging to provide truly unlimited high-speed data to everyone.
  • Profit Margins: Telcos often rely on data overage charges or tiered pricing to maximize profits. Unlimited plans could disrupt this business model.
  • Data Demand: While Australians are heavy data users, the demand for completely unlimited plans might not be as high as in the US, where data-hungry activities like video streaming are even more prevalent.

You would have seen in recent years, the advancement of 5G Home Broadband, with providers now flocking to get offers out there.

You can see though, that in the offerings that the technology is far from where it needs to be. Telstra for example, only offer 1000GB max usage on their 5G Home Internet plans. They do however, offer incredible 500Mbps download speeds.

More providers offer 5G Home Broadband, however the offers, price, data and speeds are all so different.

The Case for Unlimited Data in Australia

Despite the challenges, there are compelling reasons why unlimited data could be beneficial for both consumers and telcos:

  • Consumer Satisfaction: Unlimited plans eliminate bill shock and provide peace of mind for users who rely heavily on mobile data.
  • Competitive Advantage: Telcos offering truly unlimited plans could attract new customers and differentiate themselves in the market.
  • Changing Habits: As 5G networks roll out and data-intensive applications like cloud gaming and augmented reality become more popular, the demand for unlimited data is likely to increase.

Is Unlimited Data on the Horizon?

While it’s not yet the norm, some smaller providers in Australia, like Felix Mobile, are experimenting with unlimited plans, albeit with speed caps.

This could be a sign that larger telcos might eventually follow suit, especially if consumer demand continues to rise.

With 5G Home Broadband already unlimited for many providers, with speeds in excess of 500Mbps for some, we can definitely see a shift from traditional NBN.

The ongoing 5G rollout is bringing us closer to nationwide coverage, but it’s the emergence of 5G+ that could be the real game-changer for unlimited data plans in Australia.

5G+ is an advanced form of 5G, already making waves in the US, that combines different technologies for a faster, more reliable, and wider-reaching network.

This enhanced infrastructure could be the key to unlocking truly unlimited mobile data plans for Australians in the near future.

Conclusion

Whether Australia will see widespread adoption of mobile plans with unlimited and uncapped speeds remains to be seen.

However, with evolving technology, changing consumer habits, and increased competition, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

As the demand for data continues to grow, we might see a shift in the market that brings Australia closer to the unlimited data landscape of the US.

Author

  • Michel Elijah

    Tech expert and strong interest in telco. I've worked in the tech industry for 4 years and have always had interest with mobile and internet providers.

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