Virgin Mobile has revealed a shift into broadband with the launch of a new plan that will offer data and fixed-line phone style services over 3G.
By piggybacking on Optus's HSDPA network, Virgin will offer consumers two "broadband" and home phone options. Virgin Broadband at Home will comprise unlimited calls to local and national numbers as well as Virgin Mobile users, and 4GB of broadband data at AU$60 a month on a 24-month contract.
Virgin will supply the modem that PCs and home phones will need to plug into to access the service.
The second option, Virgin Mobile Broadband, will give users a mobile with AU$520 of credit and a USB 3G modem with a 1GB download allowance per month. The package will cost AU$80 a month on a 24-month contract. Both options will be available from the start of August.
Like many traditional "fixed" ISPs, Virgin will also be shaping speeds when users' download quotas are reached. Excess usage will be capped at 128Kbps with peer to peer traffic capped at 64Kbps at all times.
The Optus HSDPA network which Virgin will use to provide its 3G coverage spans around 55 percent of the Australian population with maximum download speeds of up to 3.6Mbps, although speeds are expected to average around 512Kbps in most areas. Where HSDPA coverage is not available, the service will revert to standard, lower-speed 3G.