Telstra Next G Prepaid Broadband

Telstra's prepaid wireless broadband offering is good for casual browsers or those who'd rather avoid dodgy Net cafes, but beware — there's a pricing sting to be considered.

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There's a lot to like about Telstra's Next G network. It is fast — in certain areas far faster than anything else available at all — and its coverage dwarfs that of its nearest wireless competitors. At the same time, it's never been particularly cheap, and those on a budget have had to get by with lots of compromises — most notably in terms of the handsets available to them. Prepaid mobile telephony has long been the province of the budget-minded, but does Telstra's prepaid Wireless Internet come with a long list of compromises in the same way as its handsets have?

Thankfully, the answer to that question is no — or at least no for the most part. Setting up prepaid broadband is a very simple affair. For our review, Telstra sent us a Telstra/ZTE F256 mobile phone, which in itself is pretty uninspiring; it's what happens when a budget Chinese manufacturer tries to make a Motorola phone with less money, in fact.

Setting up wireless broadband with the F256 involves installing the supplied software onto a compatible PC. At this stage, only Windows machines are supported. Once the software is installed, you then need to buy a Telstra data pack, either from the Web (if you've already got another connection) or via your mobile.

Predictably, the one issue with Next G rears its head here; Next G data isn't cheap, and it's no cheaper even when prepaid. Telstra offers a variety of prepaid data options, all of which have a 30 day shelf life. At the cheap end, the BROWSEPLUS5 plan costs AU$5 and gives you 5MB worth of data usage. BROWSEPLUS10 costs AU$10 and comes with a 20MB allowance, and the 29 and 59 plans (we're sick of typing in all caps here, as it's exhausting) cost AU$29 and AU$59 respectively, with 80 and 200MB allowances.

None of the prepaid options are capped; if you go over your data allowance you'll slip onto Telstra's PAYG service, which charges a flat AU$2 per MB. It should go without saying that you should be really careful with your connection and data usage at that kind of price point.

Once you've purchased a data pack, you simply need to connect up to your mobile via a USB cable (some phone models may need to purchase a cable; our review F256 came with one) and use the software to connect up to the Net. The software that came with our F256 was simple enough to use, and nicely tracked our data usage while we surfed and tested data speeds.

Actually using the F256 as an effective modem was unsurprisingly not that different from using any of Telstra's other wireless Next G services in terms of speed and connectivity. You're logically limited to the top speed of the phone connection — which for the moment means that the top-whack 7.2Mbps Next G service won't be coming your way — and network conditions will determine what kind of Internet connection you'll get. We certainly wouldn't use it for speed-critical applications such as gaming, for example. Leaving the cost aside, the very high latency of the wireless connection would see you fragged roughly every picosecond. Basic e-mail, Web surfing and updating our Facebook account went smoothly enough for most user's purposes, however.

Where Prepaid wireless does have a quite capable niche would be for frequent users of Net cafes. While AU$2/MB is quite high as a home data price, it's easily equivalent to what you'd pay at a Net café, and without all the associated trojans, keyloggers and curious body odours of your fellow Netizens. Well, unless your machine is already infected and you already smell funny, in which case your problems can't be cured by simple prepaid wireless broadband.

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aha posted a comment   

be sure that we read terms and conditionsm in 6 consecutive months and we fail to recharge our dungle, it will be deactivated, and there is no waus of reactivating it, yes telstra sucks, but we should know our responsibilities as a cunsumer/buyer as well.


JD posted a comment   

The Good:Not a single thing.... =(

The Bad:Slow Speed, Dropped Connections, Can't SSH

I can't think of anything good to say about Telstra Pre-Pay Broadband. I live on Swanston across from the library and the service is dog slow, sometimes it drops my connection, and frequently they block ssh access when the network is overloaded. I just switched over to Vodaphone, it's cheaper by far, and from what I can tell it's way faster and I can ssh w/o hassles. Boooo Telstra, Bravo Vodaphone!


NTKN posted a comment   

The Good:I WISH!!!!!


Bought a prepaid wireless modem with them for my Macbook, went home realized that they didn't have Mac software installed, went back to the store to show them and the response received was 'Our product is not faulty. It is your PC that has problem'.

It was my 1st and last experience with Telstra.



Chino posted a review   

The Good:reception - only compared to others

The Bad:every -EVERY- bloody else!!

Accessability and competence of customer-service is a miserable joke. If you had ever had some idea of a reasonable deal - you will lose it over prepaid Telstra Broadband. Its all totally annoying, frustrating and if I had the time and energy, I would sue them for lost time and emotional injury!


stammy posted a comment   

The Good:nothing

The Bad:lieing thieves

just a word on the pre paid call credit plan that telstra is taking away from existing clients.upgrades that are actual serious down grading.doing it without proper contractual procceses.telstra told me you sign up to contract step out the door and the send you a text saying they have changed your plan.checked there contractual agreement on line and if it causes you serious detriment the must give you 42 days notice allowing you to assess any of their other plans or for you to change to a different service provider.they do not do this.when people top up they change the agreement.thus any pre existing credit is suddenly worth less.this is stealing.many hours on the phone eventual got me back on the plan(thank you rose in phillipines whose employ id number and any records of conversation does not entire user histroy was deleted when i became a problem.still battleing. now onto their legal department.they have stolen potientually millions of dollars from their customers.they are liars or superviser(christian,aldon)told me you are only allowed to use you phone 40hrs a month.then you have to ask telstra if you would be allowed to use it more,the complaint department was told you are only allowed to talk for 100 mins a month on the 1 cent text plan.liars or just stupid. staff have tried everything to baboozel and went to get a superviser put me on hold dropped out after 20 mins ,ring back that person had gone home for dinner.harrased on numerious occasions early last year being told that my phone would not work if i did not change pans.that was a blatent lie.overseas call centres have not one iota of care for us.except may be rose.always get there employee numbers.1258880,125111.cost nothing the 1800 num they give you to the compaints line 80c a complaint person based in melbourne was lost for words,she empethised then passed me onto a hire supervise who stallwalled again. they are criminal.

Happy Customer

Happy Customer posted a review   

The Good:Service

The Bad:Initial Set up

Similar to the other concerns, mine used $20 for 14MB. I thought this was really excessive so I called them.

The number had been activated as a mobile rather than broadband which is why is was it was using it so quickly. They recredited all my credit and upgrades me to the $40 rate.

Customer service was excellent, less than 5 mins wait time and overall I was really impressed about how good the customer service was to resolve the issue.

Don't write them off all together!


****off posted a review   

The Good:nothing

The Bad:everything

Disgustingly expensive. Compare it to other service providers and you will get a much better deal. And for the matter I've tried Optus, 3, and Vodafone.

The speeds are absolute SHITE. Can't even load web pages properly during the daytime, abysmal download speeds, less than 1MBPS the majority of the time, why do they even sell this, Telstra you are the biggest mistake I will ever make for an ISP.

mick h

mick h posted a review   

The Good:nothing


3 hrs on the phone and they just gave me the run around so pi^$ed off i went back to the telstra store in rockingham wa and the arseh%$e manager wouldnt even cancel my casual plan thats casual plan were u can opt out when ever u want, prepaid ripped through $30 in 5 min never again dont deal with these con artist they have by far the worst sevice in the country and just steal hand over fist im canceling all my services with including home phone and mobile


tortured posted a review   

The Good:i bet u can find any

The Bad:countless

****test customer service and support ever. i 'm cancelling my plan **** thank god i know now who u r before the cooling off period ends


blade888 posted a comment   

I've spent the last 5 days trying to get mine working. I got this and it took them 3 days to get it activated after 4 phone calls and a total of 3 and a half hours on hold.

I then put in $100 for 6GB, only to find it chewed a massive $2 per megabyte! I spent another 2 hours trying to get through to the call center to find that they activated it as a mobile phone and not a wireless broadband device. They said they will fix it up and call me back in 2 hours. I never recieved the call.

Next day I spend another hour on hold and get through to and their response was their activation server is having "techincal difficulties" their call back will be now 2 days ETA.. It's now been 5 days in total.

I've now tried to return the product (wishful thinking) as I've spent all this money and large amount of time getting this purely Telstra accounting issue resolved, but of course they refused to refund.

I highly do NOT recommend using Telstra Pre-Paid Broadband purely due to the bad Customer/Account Service Center. It's pretty simple, I paid for a service I have not recieved, Telstra admitted they made mistake with handling this, and then refused my money back. It's pretty much stealing.

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User Reviews / Comments  Telstra Next G Prepaid Broadband

  • aha


    "be sure that we read terms and conditionsm in 6 consecutive months and we fail to recharge our dungle, it will be deactivated, and there is no waus of reactivating it, yes telstra sucks, but we sho..."

  • JD


    "I can't think of anything good to say about Telstra Pre-Pay Broadband. I live on Swanston across from the library and the service is dog slow, sometimes it drops my connection, and frequently they..."

  • NTKN


    "Bought a prepaid wireless modem with them for my Macbook, went home realized that they didn't have Mac software installed, went back to the store to show them and the response received was 'Our pro..."

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