Optus eyes 4G over ADSL with new home broadband setup (now updated for realistic speeds)

The answer to high speed connections at home may be 4G for the next year or so, and to deliver that, Optus is trying its hand at a plan made just for homes that desire super fast broadband speeds.

If that’s you, but you place yourself in the category of someone who rents, who moves around, or who doesn’t want something that keeps you locked down to installed addresses, the Optus solution could be beneficial, relying on the telco’s 4G connection and a Huawei modem to get this to devices around your home.

“For a big group of customers, getting a timely and decent internet connection is a real challenge. Aussie renters, who move home frequently, find it particularly frustrating to disconnect and reconnect each time, often waiting several days or weeks before they can access the internet,” said Vicki Brady, Managing Director of Marketing and Products at Optus.

“Optus’ Home Wireless Broadband offers a simple plug-and-play solution so customers wait minutes, not weeks, to log onto the World Wide Web once a SIM is activated. Coupled with our biggest wireless data inclusion ever offered on our 4G Plus network, customers can get connected quickly with 50GB of data and get on with their lives.”

That data block — 50GB — is what you’ll get whether you choose to pay $70 per month on a two year plan, with a one year option costing $70 plus $10 per month for the modem, with the modem free on two years. In essence, you’re still paying the same, but you’re only locked into the one year plan for just that — a year — so that may factor out to be a little cheaper.


If 50GB isn’t enough, however, Optus will offer an extra 10GB for an extra $10, but after that, the service drops in speed, and it’s a pretty sizeable drop.

Officially, Optus rates the connection of the Huawei E5186 modem its bundling in as Category 6, meaning as high as 300Mbps download speeds and 50Mbps uploads speeds are offered. As for what you’ll get, that depends on the area you’re in and how many people are using the service at the time, but we’d hazard a guess that it’s between 50 and 150Mbps down and 15 to 35Mbps up (see update below to see how this will actually run).

Go over your limit (50GB without the extension, or 60GB with it) and that speed will drop to a paltry 256Kbps until the next billing cycle, not even 1Mbps and closer to the sort of connection you’d expect out of the cheap option from early ADSL.

“Customers don’t need additional hassles when moving home or simply because they want a better broadband experience,” said Brady. “Optus’ Home Wireless Broadband makes it easy and brings to life the possibility of a more flexible and convenient internet solution.”

While we see Brady’s point, the concern we have for the service stems from its over cut in speed when an overage is hit, because simply put, 256Kbps is nothing. In human terms, it’s 0.03 of a megabyte per second, compared to that 50Mbps rough estimated speed coming in at 6 megabytes per second, a staggering difference. You wouldn’t even be able to stream much on the 256Kbps connection, so you’d have to really watch your downloads if opting for this service.

For the relos, however, it could be ideal, with no setup fee and only a monthly payment to get what will constitute high-speed internet, that is until they exhaust it completely.

If that sells you, the Optus Home Wireless Broadband system will head to Optus stores very shortly, delivering the high speed connection and modem for a minimum of $70 per month.

UPDATE (November 9): Optus has provided an update to its network speeds, and there’s bad news on how this will perform.

While it will still sit on the 4G network, it won’t operate at the 4G speeds we’ve come to know and love. As such, this will now hit either 5Mbps down and 1Mbps up in some regions, while other areas will get 12Mbps down and 1Mbps up. Not quite the speed the term “4G” implies.

An Optus spokesperson told GadgetGuy that “Home Wireless Broadband is designed to be used inside the home, as a broadband replacement service. It uses our 4G spectrum but is not designed as a high speed service. To provide the best possible experience for customers, we have leveraged our 4G spectrum assets and technology.”

So much for the the whole idea of 4G being fast, because this modem isn’t quite the speed demon its Category 6 technology implies it should be.