Can Mobile Tethering Remove The Need for Home Internet?

Is it possible to completely remove the need for a home internet connection by using mobile tethering? Ideally for couples and singles. Families with kids.

A 50 mbps NBN or Opticomm plan usually cost $69 these days.

A particular plan I liked was the one by Felix Mobile. Its $35 per month for unlimited mobile data capped at 20 mbps.

Poll Options

  • 46
    Home Internet is a necessity
  • 27
    Mobile Internet is pretty good these days


  • Your phone will get very hot with multiple people connected to it

    • And your non-user replaceable lithium battery in your expensive flagship phone will die faster because of the extra heat and discharge cycles

  • Many people are unaware that they are better off using mobile internet access these days if they are low to medium users.

  • I have been on 4G/5G mobile hotspot for 3 years. No issues here.

    • yep…love my mobile broadband…no need for NBN unless you want a home phone

      • no need for NBN unless you want a home phone

        (IMO) no need to have a home phone these days. When we had one, the only people who knew the number were our parents. Only people who really called were said parents (who would call our mobile half the time anyway), telemarketers or scammers. So we got rid of it.

  • Depends entirely upon your needs.
    If you think you could get away with using mobile internet, you probably could.

  • For most people I don't think so, but for low usage users, sure.

    Fixed wireless 5g is right around the corner, rendering the NBN obsolete and finally giving Australia the Internet it deserves (at least in built up metro areas).

  • I'd also check the terms and conditions, usually there is a clause about fair use or something which precludes it from being used as a home internet tethering thing.

    • precludes it from being used as a home internet


      • I remembered there was a keffufle about "fair use" for plans that were unlimited and some users who used it for home tethering used over what they determined as fair use and terminated the plan.

        • +1 vote

          Watching a netflix movie on your phone probably exceeds the amount of data you'd use tethering at home for browsing and using email.

      • Here found an example

        However the felix plan must not be used to provide tethering to other people's devices (for example the devices of members of your household, colleagues or friends), nor used as a substitute for a home internet service or in a modem.

        Like I'm sure people can get away with it, but you can't complain if they decide to terminate your plan.

        • but you can't complain if they decide to terminate your plan

          How would they prove it?

          • @jv: I honestly don't know so that's why I said people can probably get away with it. I think I have read that people with quite a lot of usage (like more than say the average netflix used or whatnot) have had plans terminated. Just giving a heads up that's all.

          • @jv: Mobile network would route all traffic through some kind of CGNAT, where it does connection tracking. For example if it needs to keep track of large number of TCP connections from one specific IP address, then it's reasonable to assume that multiple devices are behind that IP, i.e. tethering.

            • @scotty: At the end of the day, they probably don't need proof to kick you off their network anyway…

              Look at what Exetel did a few years back kicking people off their old plans…

          • @jv: They can inspect the TTL of the network packets. Normally, your mobile carrier will see 64 if you connect with them directly. If a device hotspots off your device then that additional hop will decrease it to 63 and that's what they'll see.

    • That would have been like yonks ago. No such thing these days.

      • However the felix plan must not be used to provide tethering to other people's devices (for example the devices of members of your household, colleagues or friends), nor used as a substitute for a home internet service or in a modem.

        Looks like it is still a thing, that's why I said to check. Not all of them but you don't want to be caught out.

  • The battery….. Won't last long enough for the kids to finish surfing.
    You will need to plug the phone into a charger and it will get hot.

  • I made the switch to LTE about 4 years ago.
    I have the sim in a LTE router that plugs in to my existing home network. No issues here

  • Ideally, you’d want to use a dedicated mobile data hotspot as it’s designed to output WiFi to multiple devices for sustained periods, whilst phones are not.

    But if you don’t have a choice (e.g provider doesn’t allow a SIM with call services to be put in one of the devices) then I’d suggest buying a cheaper used phone and using that as a dedicated “router”. As others have said, you will tank your personal phone if you use it so it’s not ideal.

  • you're poll is not quite right…
    Mobile internet is pretty good these days, but tethering a home network is a bad option.
    you at least want a dedicated modem.

  • I’ll elaborate on my needs.

    Currently live alone, I use 5G for hotspot and have 180gb per month. I was previously on Telstra Ultimate unlimited 4G plan for internet but realised my average use is about 120-150gb per month so the 180 was fine. I play mostly competitive FPS and have a ping of around 25. It’s not as good as the NBN I had in Sydney which was around 10 but it’s not in anyway unplayable.

    Netflix I stream no worries and have never had issues of it cutting out, as well as streaming in 4K.

    I don’t have any home networks like google or Amazon etc so I’d take that into account if you plan on using any of that stuff.

    A lot of people mention the hassle, I plug my phone into my computer and it instantly connects my hotspot and as for Netflix/TV I just select hotspot on my phone prior to turning the TV on and again it connects immediately.

    As for battery life, I’m currently on an iPhone 12 Pro and I will admit, my previous 11 Pro Max got very hot sometimes. The 12 seems noticeably better. It gets warm when connected to my PC but in no way hot to touch or something I would consider detrimental to the phone. When I hotspot to Netflix I don’t have my phone charging. I barely use 5-10% per hour of streaming. It also probably helps that I actually watch the show and don’t sit there playing on my phone over using it but again it doesn’t really get warm at all.

    In terms of data cap, when I have a large game update (I’m looking at you Warzone. 70gb update and all they’ve done is change the trees) and I hit my cap, online gaming isn’t viable but it’s can still stream Netflix and YouTube no problem at all.

    Hope that helps.

  • did it for a year using Kogan sims and a 80gb pm optus deal (was a bargain at the time) and an old phone. worked OK but data usage for streaming was an issue. definitely can't do it on high quality streaming, only standard quality.

    was good enough for WFH as well.

    was slightly painful and when my optus deal expired I switched back to a cheap boost sim and $50pm nbn.

  • In my area, 4g seems to cap out between 10-20MB line speed, so for video calls it can be quite hit and miss. For everything else its fine - SD / HD streaming etc. You may have to put up with variability in speed though.

  • For people outside the major cities like myself, the speed and reliability of mobile internet, let alone tethering (at least on Boost), is terrible. So no.

    • I live in the country and have lived in small country towns in Vic and NSW over the last 8 years. In that time I have had amazing Optus mobile broadband service. I stream movies and online TV all the time whilst having 3+ devices connected to my modem and I have no problem. It does depend on the signal where you are though. In many places it is good - even in country towns.