Wireless broadband prices vary wildly

No wires does not necessarily mean no worries, according to a new study on Australian wireless broadband pricing which found costs can vary by up to 1653 per cent.

The report, released by Telsyte, found that while a canny customer could pick up a 512Kbps residential wireless connection with a comfortable 3GB monthly download limit for $60, the same speed with the same monthly capacity could be nearly 10 times as much with another supplier.

The Australian peak price for a 512Kbps, 3GB service was $500 per month.

Telsyte's managing director, Shara Evans, believes the array of broadband wireless packages available makes it difficult for consumers to compare prices.

Evans said that there are over 40 broadband wireless providers in Australia and most of these are resellers.

"There are so many service providers with different plans out there that it pays to shop around," she said.

"I advise people, businesses and residents alike, to carefully monitor their usage and find a plan that fits them, rather than simply going for the lowest entry-level price point."

Some providers bundle a number of services and products together, some are limited in availability, some will charge excess usage fees, and all of these variants make it a nightmare for consumers to make an educated choice, she said.

The report found the lowest price point for consumers was $19.95 per month, including 400MB of downloads, with speeds of 256Kbps download and 64Kbps upload.

The best deal for business markets was priced at $29.95 per month, which included 500MB of downloads and speeds of 256Kbps download and 64 Kbps upload.

The study found that excess download charges could be as high as 45 cents per megabyte, which is three times the excess price charged by Australia's largest ADSL service providers.

"Both residential and business customers can realise huge savings by staying aware of their download behaviour," the report said. "Residential users can cut their excess fees by four-fifths with a careful choice of service provider and plan, while business users can halve their excess charges."

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