Get NBN with no strings from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone & More
To go with a contract or no-contract, that is the question.
If you’re ready to move to the NBN, you’ll need to make a few decisions: which telco to go with, how fast you’d like your connection to be, and how much data you’ll need.
But one of the biggest choices you’ll make is whether to sign a one or two-year contract, or opt for a month-to-month plan – and if you’re still unsure about which NBN plan or provider is right for you, you’re probably reluctant to make a long-term commitment.
The good news for customers is that most telcos do offer contract-free NBN plans. Telstra*, Optus, and Vodafone all provide month-to-month NBN services, as do other big names such as Dodo, TPG, and iiNet.
So there’s a good chance that, no matter your provider, you’ll get to choose between signing up for a minimum term, or winging it on a monthly plan. But aside from the added flexibility, can going contract-free actually save you money?
Options for month-to-month plans
You’ll find that there’s usually no monthly price difference between on-contract and monthly NBN services. If, for example, you’re interested in Optus’ $60 NBN bundle with unlimited data, you’ll pay the same $60 monthly fee on both the 24-month contract and casual, month-to-month plan.
However, if you do decide to make flexibility a priority and go month-to-month, you’ll inevitably be required to pay more at sign-up.
In the above Optus example, customers on two-year contracts pay $0 in upfront costs (aside from possible charges for non-standard installation, although that’s separate from your actual plan pricing). But casual customers need to pay a $200 ‘start-up fee’ in addition to the $60 per month plan charges.
Telstra’s NBN bundles also see month-to-month users paying extra upfront. Although both 24-month and casual plans do include a $99 connection charge for new customers, month-to-month plans also incur a $120 ‘casual fee’.
Plus, while customers on two-year plans get an included Telstra Gateway Modem, you’ll shell out an extra $168 for this piece of equipment if you go for a month-to-month deal – combined with the ‘casual fee’, that’s $288 more in total.
If you’re okay with extra fees upfront, you can browse through a range of contract-free NBN plans below.
Committing to a plan
On the other hand, locking yourself in for a one- or two-year period means that you’ll be tied to the same telco until your contract expires. While you can cancel your plan at any time, you’ll be subject to cancellation fees, and the sooner you terminate your contract, the more you’ll be required to pay. In addition, even if you’re to move to a lower priced plan from the same telco mid-contract, you may also be asked to pay an ‘early recontracting fee’.
The exact amount of fees that may be added to your bill will vary from telco to telco, and depend on how far along your contract you happen to be. But you could be charged as much as $500 or more if you decide to cancel your plan within a few months of signing up.
Overall, contract or no-contract boils down to whether you’re prepared to definitely pay more upfront, or potentially pay more later. If you’re planning to stick with your chosen telco long-term, and would rather not fork out extra dollars on day one, you may be better off on a one- or two-year plan. But if you’re happy to pay more for flexibility, there’s no need to lock yourself in to a plan you may not want to stick with.
Analysis by Tara Donnelly, an editor at Australia’s most comprehensive telco comparison site WhistleOut.