Vodafone Australia launches 4G mobile broadband

Vodafone has gone all in with its 4G mobile broadband, launching a Cat 4 dongle and a pocket Wi-Fi device.

Six months after opening up its 4G network to the public for smartphones and tablets, Vodafone has begun offering mobile broadband plans on the network with two Category 4 mobile broadband devices.

Image: Vodafone

Thanks to Vodafone's 20MHz of 1800MHz 4G spectrum, the dongle and Wi-Fi hotspots on sale today offer a theoretical maximum speed of 150Mbps in coverage areas across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

The devices are only available on 24-month contracts, with no plans for prepaid offerings at this stage. Monthly device repayments vary between AU$3 per month and AU$7 per month, depending on the plan.

Data limit 4G dongle 4G Wi-Fi hotspot
2.5GB AU$25 per month AU$27 per month
4GB AU$33 per month AU$35 per month
8GB AU$48 per month AU$50 per month

Customers can also choose to sign up on a month-to-month contract by paying for the devices upfront for AU$119 for the dongle, or AU$169 for the Wi-Fi hotspot.

The lower price point for the plans is cheaper than that on offer from Telstra. Telstra's 24-month, post-paid 4G plans start at AU$30 per month for 1GB with the dongle, or AU$31 per month for the Wi-Fi hotspot.

The 8GB service on Telstra will set customers back AU$55 or AU$56 per month for the dongle or Wi-Fi hotspot, respectively.

As of the end of 2013, Telstra boasted that its 4G network reached out to 85 percent of the population.

Optus' mobile broadband plans start at AU$25 per month for 1GB with a dongle, or AU$27 per month for the Wi-Fi hotspot. For 7GB of data, this will cost customers AU$50 or AU$52 per month, respectively.

Optus reseller Virgin, however, offers a massive 13GB per month on an AU$60 per month plan, including a Wi-Fi hotspot on a 12-month contract.

Vodafone's general manager of devices Katie Turkal said the company's offering today is targeted at students, and those living in shared accommodation who typically avoid contracts.

"We are seeing a strong demand for mobile broadband products, especially from people who don't want a permanent fixed-broadband connection, students, those living in share accommodation and people who simply don't want to be locked into a contract," she said in a statement.

As part of the announcement, Vodafone said it would provide a 15 percent discount for existing customers who buy one of the 4G devices before April 2.