Wireless internet review and compare

There are desktop and roaming plans but is it the high-speed internet alternative for you?
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03.Desktop and laptop plans


Unwired offers a portable wireless service in Sydney that can be used with a desktop computer and a laptop, but both need the modem. The roaming option is laptop only using a wireless card and isn’t suitable for Macs. For information on pricing and plans, see the table. The Unwired service is also resold by other ISPs, such as Exetel and Internode, but only for desktop and laptop modem plans.


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For information on pricing and plans, go to www.exetel.com.au or www.internode.on.net/unwired

Vodafone mobile connect-laptop plans
Price / month Usage limit Speed
$29.95 100MB max 356/64kbps
$49.95 300MB max 356/64kbps
$99.95 Unlimited (a) max 356/64kbps
(a) Usage over 1GB per month may be subject to additional charges.
Excess uage fee: 0.2 cents per KB or $2.04 per MB
Data card: $299 upfront or $16.63 per month over 24 months
Early termination/switching fee: no
Usage limit includes incoming and outgoing

3 NetConnect

The 3 NetConnect mobile broadband plans have two options – connect with a laptop card or use a 3 mobile as a modem to connect to a laptop. Connection is available in most areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and Canberra. Outside of these, the service shifts to Telstra’s GPRS network where the speed is 40kbps to download and up to 10kbps to send (upload).

Refer to the table for pricing and plans.

3 NetConnect
Price/month Data usage Speed 3 Zone Speed GSM/GPRS
$29 100MB 384/64kbps 40 /10kbps
$69 300MB 384/64kbps
$99 600MB 384/64kbps
$129 1GB 384/64kbps
Card cost: $199
Excess usage: 30 cents per MB
Casual rate is $4 per MB

Optus Wireless Connect

The Optus Wireless Connect service was launched at the end of 2005. There are several plans that vary with download limit. You’ll need a PC card to access the service.

There are two types of laptops cards:

  • GSM/GPRS for laptops with inbuilt wireless network connectivity;
  • GSM/GPRS/WiFi for laptops without inbuilt wireless connectivity.

The cards can be bought up front or on 12 or 24-month payment plans and the cost varies according to how you choose to pay for it. See the table for prices.

Depending on where you roam, you’ll be moved automatically between three networks – WiFi, 3G and GSM – to maintain coverage, although the speed will vary. The PC card monitors network availability.

  • Wi-Fi is the preferred connection. It’s typically the fastest, but only available in Hotspots;
  • 3G is the next preference. It’s usually available in metropolitan areas;
  • GSM is the third option. It’s widely available wherever an Optus GSM mobile phone works.
Optus Wireless Connect
Price/month Download allowance Max speed WiFi Max speed 3G Max speed GSM/GPRS
$29.95 75MB 54Mbps 384kbps 50kbps
$39.95 200MB 54Mbps 384kbps 50kbps
$79.95 500MB 54Mbps 384kbps 50Kbps
$129.95 1500MB 54Mbps 384kbps 50kbps
Excess usage fee: 0.50 cents per MB
Fees may apply for early cancellation or switching plans
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