Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash

Internode vs Tangerine: The Cheapest Home NBN Internet Battle Comparison

Can an NBN50 plan for $35/month be the real deal? That is the starting price for an NBN50 plan with Tangerine when you use a promotional code (see below).

With the rise of the work from home in 2020, your home internet connection has never had to work harder. Whether you are living alone or have a house full of bandwidth devouring workers, learners, gamers and streamers, your monthly internet bill doesn’t have to break the budget.

Thanks in part to wholesale discounts offered by NBN Co and passed through by some Internet Service Providers (ISPs), it is possible to get monthly NBN offers that are priced equivalent to your previous ADSL Broadband connection — or less with a coupon or promo code. This means much faster speeds for the same price or less.

Compared to your old Broadband connection

If you are moving from an ADSL2 (or what you might have previously called ‘Broadband’) internet connection, your download speed would be capped at 20MB/s. You might achieve a maximum of <80% of that speed depending on how far you were from your local hub. Upload speeds on ADSL2 were about 1MB/s.

For a connection with unlimited data, plans would start from $60month with a 12month contract. If you have not yet been forced to migrate to NBN yet, you likely will be in the near future as part of the NBN rollout.

Internode and Tangerine

Whether you are looking to connect to the NBN for the first time or are taking care to budget your internet costs in these economic hard times, Tangerine Telecom and Internode are two ISPs both offering discounted access to the NBN.

What is NBN50?

For this comparison, we will look at NBN50 offers from each internet retailer. NBN50 is the wholesale name offered by NBN Co to retailers. NBN50 offer a top theoretical download speed of 50MB/s and top upload speeds of 20MB/s. So both will be a big step up from an ADSL2 connection, however again, don’t expect to achieve these speeds from your connection.

There are also NBN25 and NBN12 offers out there if you are happy with something closer to ADSL2 speeds.

Price: Winner — Tangerine

Introductory Price: Winner — Tangerine

Internode currently offers NBN50 for $59.99 on a 6 month minimum contract. This means a minimum total cost of $359.94.

Tangerine currently offers NBN50 for slightly less at $59.90 for the first 6 months and no minimum contract. This means a minimum total cost of $59.90.

Ongoing Price: Winner — Tangerine

After the first 6 months, both Internode and Tangerine switch over to standard pricing.

Internode’s ongoing pricing after the introductory discount jumps by $20 and is currently $79.99 per month. Your plan continues on a month by month basis so you are free to leave after the introductory discount has ended.

Tangerine’s ongoing pricing only jumps by $10, becoming $69.90 after the first 6 months and with no lock in contract, you are free to leave at any time.

Discounts, Coupons and Promo Codes: Winner — Tangerine

From time to time, internet service providers will offer discounts through coupon codes, promo codes and refer-a-friend promotions. These can help lower the cost of your internet with a quick internet search.

Internode does not currently appear to have coupon or discount codes available.

Tangerine has been running a refer-a-friend promotion for a while that will give you and your friend $25 of credit each when you sign up using your friend’s referal code. This takes a further $25 off your first month when you sign up, bringing your first month on Tangerine to just $34.90.

Weirdly the layout of Tangerine’s sign up processes put’s the promo code field in the right hand column, while other fields (name, address, etc) are in the left column — so you might miss it when signing up. If you sign up over the phone, let the operator know your friend’s code when you register.

If you don’t have any friends with a Tangerine code, no worries mate — try MICHA30A64.

Quality

Speed: Winner — Internode

Much like with ADSL2, you are unlikely to achieve the full speed on any NBN connection because technology is not magic. However, the ACCC has been proactive on protecting consumers, ensuring you get what you pay for and advertising is not misleading.

To that end, Internode’s advertised typical evening speed is currently 45MB/s while Tangerine’s is slower at 42MB/s.

If using the latest ACCC performance data, you can see Internode (part of iiNet) can also be seen to have fewer outages and higher speeds compared to Tangerine (who are on the iPrimus / Dodo network).

Data: Winner — Tie

Both Internode and Tangerine offer unlimited downloads, so it is a draw here.

Customer Service: Winner — Tangerine.

Both Internode and Tangerine have given long wait times for technical support. Don’t be fooled by a quick connection when you sign up, Sales will always pick up quickly. Try navigating to technical support and see how long it takes to get through as a rough gauge of your potential struggles ahead.

Humans who know what they are doing tend to be expensive. If you are using a low cost ISP, this is where they will try to keep their costs low.

In this very subjective case, I’m awarding this round to Tangerine due to a major screw up by Internode and their failure to fix it.

Ease of set up: Winner — Tangerine

Both Internode and Tangerine offer to provide you with a pre-set up modem for a fee. This likely offers the easiest set up for most people. However, these may also not be the best quality machines and your money will likely go further if you bring your own (BYO) device.

Getting set up on Internode with a BYO device required multiple arduous and extensive liaisons with tech support to get custom settings enabled to work with Internode’s network.

By contrast, Tangerine worked with the default settings on the BYO device and was easy to set up once connected.

App: Winner — Tangerine (kind of…)

Neither Internode nor Tangerine currently offers a native app for iOS or Android to manage your account. Both offer an account management dashboard through their respective websites, however Internode’s is quite dated and misses key features like the ability to cancel your service.

Internode largely lost this one, rather than Tangerine winning, but a win is a win.

Overall: Winner — Tangerine

If you are in the market for a low cost NBN plan, Tangerine is hard to beat on price. From a quality perspective it is more of a mixed bag and will depend on your preferences.

You can reasonably expect slightly faster speeds and fewer outages from Internode. However when you do hit an outage or problem you’ll likely have to work harder for it, with a more difficult set up and worse customer service.

With your first month of NBN50 for under $35 (with a referral code, see above) Tangerine is the cheapest option around. Tangerine also offers a ‘14-day risk free trial’ where you can cancel for a refund in the first two weeks of your service. Overall, the low cost and low risk make Tangerine the winner for your low cost NBN internet.

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MD at The Healthy Organisation. https://mikemba.medium.com/membership

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Mike Stevenson, MBA

Mike Stevenson, MBA

MD at The Healthy Organisation. https://mikemba.medium.com/membership

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