Exetel launches off-peak unlimited NBN plans



news National broadband provider Exetel has launched a dozen new pricing plans on the National Broadband Network’s infrastructure which feature unlimited off-peak downloads between 1AM and 9AM in the morning.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the company said that current NBN plans in the market had a “restrictive” download allowance which applied 24 hours a day and seven days a week, counted uploads (“robbing the customer of 20 to 30 percent of their download allowance”) and charged “very high priced for the privilege of connecting to the NBN”.

Exetel’s new NBN plans launched on the 1st of March 2013 have none of these restrictions,” the company said. The new unmetered off-peak plans plans available on short 12 month contracts are provided with a free TP Link TL-WR740N Router (for March orders), half price set-up ($50) and great value plans starting at $49.50 per month”

The plans are available at all of the NBN’s speed tiers, and appear to be available over the NBN’s fibre or wireless infrastructure. The cheapest plan costs $49.50 a month and comes with 50GB of included data during peak periods and unlimited off-peak data, with speeds of 12Mbps. The prices then range up to $139 a month for a 100Mbps plan with 500GB of on-peak data and unlimited off-peak data.

“Exetel’s new NBN plans are the first to market to offer true unmetered off-peak downloading between 1am and 9am, perfect for scheduling those large Windows, iOS or Linux update downloads,” the company said.

“Exetel also offers great value Voice (VoIP) plans to use with the NBN service, they include the RV5 plan for $5.00 per month that includes 60 Local/National untimed calls, the RV15 plan for $15.00 per month that includes 250 Local/National untimed calls and the RV30 plan for $30.00 per month that includes 500 Local/National untimed calls per month. On top of this, each customer will receive an included SMS service where they can send SMS’s from their computer for 7 cents per 160 character message, a fax service where you can send faxes from your computer for 10 cents per fax (first page) then 3c per page.”

“All plans include 1 static IP address (which other providers charge extra for), 30 email addresses for free, 200 Megabytes of personal web space for free and a ‘Rolls Royce’ User facility that allows full control of all aspects the customers services from Exetel.”

However, Exetel confirmed in its statement that the company’s new NBN plans were still subject to its “fair use policy” as the company’s existing unlimited ADSL plans have been. The company’s customer agreement states that it will regularly monitor average usage statistics, and reduce customers’ usage if they are deemed to be exceeding the average. Persistent (two or more) breaches of the company’s fair use policy may result in the company terminating customers’ services.

The company’s new plans include free uploads, no excess charges once customers have used their on-peak quota (with speeds shaped to a “generous” 1Mbps download and 384kbps upload speeds and a data pack bolt-on available at $1.50 per gigabyte). In addition, the plans come with a free TP-LINK branded modem (TL-WR740N model) if customers sign up before midnight on the 28th of March. An activation charge of $50 applies.

The news makes Exetel the first ISP to offer ‘unlimited’ download services over the NBN, although fellow ISP TPG revealed in September last year that it was planning to offer at least one plan on the National Broadband Network’s fibre infrastructure featuring the same unlimited downloads it offers on ADSL networks, with speeds of 12Mbps and a monthly charge of $69.99 including a home telephone line.

The company is well-known for its unlimited broadband packages on its ADSL network, which typically cost around the $60 mark and feature unlimited monthly data quota and a bundled telephone line, but until now TPG has remained aloof from the race to sign up customers in the NBN’s early rollout zones.

However, in its annual financial results presentation pack at the time, TPG included a slide that featured a 12 month NBN plan at the entry-level 12Mbps speed with “unlimited data usage” for $69.99 per month, plus unlimited local and “standard national calls” to landlines and unlimited international calls to a number of countries globally. The company did not reveal whether it was planning to offer unlimited quota on higher-speed plans — such as 25Mbps, 50Mbps or 100Mbps — which would allow customers to download much higher levels of quota per month.

Along with Dodo and Vodafone, TPG is one of the few major Australian broadband providers not to have released any pricing details yet for National Broadband Network plans.

At full speeds, a 100Mbps connection could theoretically download about 10 megabytes per second. This would mean about 600MB per minute, and about 36GB per hour. During Exetel’s eight hour off-peak period, this would appear to mean customers would be able to download a total of 288GB per night if their connections were working at full capacity. However, it is unlikely that such download limits would be usually reached as the ability to download such amounts of data would also be dependent on the capacity of the servers the data was being download from.


Aaaaand I can just see geeks right around Australia rubbing their hands together in joy right now. I think a lot of people have been waiting for unlimited NBN plans, and it looks like Exetel is planning to deliver. I hope to see some early adopters posting their experiences soon online regarding just how much data they’ve been able to download through Exetel’s ‘unmetered’ NBN service in real life.

From my perspective, what this appears to be on Exetel’s part is a huge bet. Clearly, it it is unsustainable for any ISP to be able to fund customers to download 288GB per night at even the company’s highest prices of $139 a month. I suspect that the company, as Exetel often does, is conducting an experiment here to see what real-world behaviour really is on the NBN. If all of its users start downloading terabytes of data each week, I strongly suspect that it will can this style of plans or, at minimum, start rigidly enforcing its acceptable use policy.

However, I suspect the opposite will happen. As with the current batch of ‘unlimited’ plans offered by ISPs such as TPG, I suspect what will happen in real life is that Exetel will find that many users will sign up to its plans for the attraction of being able to download as much as they want, but that very few users will download more than 500GB to a terabyte per month.

In general, I view it as hugely positive that Exetel has launched these plans — and not only because of the ‘unmetered’ aspect. I also note that the company is also offering users free services such as a static IP address, that other ISPs typically charge for or only include in business plans. This is precisely the kind of product and service innovation I have been hoping to see around NBN plans, and I’m not surprised that Exetel, one of Australia’s most innovative and iterative ISPs, is the first to implement this kind of product. Nice work, guys. Let’s open the floodgates.

And just a quiet message to NBN Co … when is my suburb going to get on the early stage rollout list before the election? Didn’t you see all the positive articles I wrote, fanning pro-NBN ‘zealotry’, in my quest for ‘the ultimate broadband’? Didn’t you get the memo? *Sigh*.

Image credit (table): Exetel


  1. You pro-NBN zealots will be the last to get FTTN, let alone FTTH.

    Ha ha.



  2. I was under the impression that enforcement of the AUP was what let Exetel run such an offer (on DSL) in the first place – it gets to trim the expensive customers at will.

    • This is exactly why I suspect most heavy users aren’t going to be on Exetel anyway. They’ve done a “purge” a few times in the past where they’ve terminated a bunch of people for downloading too much. They never state it exactly like that, though: I was terminated because they told me my service had become “unprofitable” (actually I think I might have been terminated because I threatened to report them to the TIO after they wouldn’t reimburse me when my service was out for two straight weeks, but anyway…)

      • yep if you like constant plan changes and being d**ked around by your ISP, Exetel is for you. Whirlpool has a few beaut threads over the years telling the sordid tale.

  3. eh, personally I don’t see the appeal of these plans. I’d much rather something like a 100/40mbps 1tb plan with a 12/1 shaping speed. Looks like it’ll naturally go that way eventually though. Also good to see ISPs innovating, I remember a few nutters were convinced it was impossible with the NBN, seems Exetel has proved them wrong already.

  4. “Clearly, it it is unsustainable for any ISP to be able to fund customers to download 288GB per night at even the company’s highest prices of $139 a month.”

    Why not? What additional costs do they incur?

      • I see what he’s saying Renai. If the CVC is available and they don’t need to worry very much about it being used between those times by “normal” customers, what extra does it cost them if a few users max it out in off-peak times? Sure, those guys hit the contention limit and can’t get full speed- tough cookies. What did you think, data was free?

        But I agree, it’s not likely to happen anyway.

        • “what extra does it cost them if a few users max it out in off-peak times?”

          Um … what retail ISPs are paying NBN Co is only one part of the picture (it’s the last mile, to be precise). If Exetel has a few users funnelling 288GB a night through their network, I would imagine most of that is going to consist of offshore data, and that’s where the real cost lies here — international transit.

          • “I would imagine most of that is going to consist of offshore data, and that’s where the real cost lies here — international transit.”

            And like CVC isn’t international transit purchases in the Mbps and provisioned for peak times?

            What actual cost is involved in offering unused capacity for free as a marketing campaign?

          • International transit actually makes up a lot less of the equation than you would think, look at say skymesh’s pricing for their low tier plans. The ONLY part of the network exetel would be charged $/gb is on the NBN part of the network, this would be the only real barrier to releasing the flood gates in off peak times.

  5. Lol @ anyone dumb enough to actually move to Exetel.

    Their TnC conditions 6.3, 6.5 and 13.1 will mean they’ll kick off anyone who actually tries to use this at a rate that costs them money. From memory they literally have a profit/loss calculation per customer built into their accounting software that will kick people off if they go into negative.

    • I was one of those customers booted off by exetel for no reason at all.
      Got the 30 days walk the plank issue from Larry K.

      They offer a service to and then they stab their customers in the neck for using their services.

      Pathetic company

  6. At last you have admitted your a zealot. Well we already knew that. You’ll just have to wait like the rest of us.

    I’ll be happy to get a 12Mb/s download rate and don’t car if its still copper (still aerial copper for me) for the last bit.

  7. Off-peak is a great idea, utilize a ISP’s idle capacity in the early mornings and late nights, however I think this is probably going to end up nasty as practically the entire east coast of Australia is in the same timezone, as a result the second it hits 1:01AM hundreds if not thousands of torrent clients and download managers will fire off I’d expect Exetel’s network to be completely congested.

    Companies like iiNet had enough problems with it that iirc they made each plan a slightly delayed offpeak time to help even out the load, and this is on ADSL2+ – imagine how much problems this is going to have on 100Mbps FTTH.

    I personally believe the only way this is going to work is if you had something like;
    12Mbps: 1:00AM-9:00AM
    25Mbps: 1:15AM-9:00AM
    50Mbps: 1:30AM-9:00AM
    100Mbps 1:45AM-9:00AM

    Add to that SA and WA joining in later due to timezones and it’d likely work.

    • This is exactly what happened on the Exetel network in the past due to everyone scheduling their “Linux ISOs” to start the moment off peak started. But the difference here is that they would have significantly fewer NBN customers than DSL so this is less likely to significantly impact their network, for now.

  8. Renai,

    You failed to mention that these new plans are a massive increase in cost over their previous NBN plans that were available a few days ago.

    Eg the 100Mbps plan with 75GB was $50/mth. Now it’s $80/mth.

    This was repeated across the board. Their cheapest plan was $35/mth now its’s $50.

    To me it seems like they massively jacked up the prices to subsidized the heavy downloaded they will be attracting.

    • @JayZ

      To me it seems like they massively jacked up the prices to subsidized the heavy downloaded they will be attracting.

      Or, more likely, they had very few customers on the low plans (what we’ve been seeing overall on the NBN) and decided to cater for high volume customers to produce a bit more margin for themselves. This is VERY early days on the NBN as yet. They’re entitled to experiment with the best mechanism for charging and customer satisfaction.

  9. ” In addition, the plans come with a free TP-LINK branded modem (TL-WR740N model) if customers sign up before midnight on the 28th of March.”

    Don’t NBN customers use routers (which the TL-WR740N is) and not modems?

    • “Don’t NBN customers use routers (which the TL-WR740N is) and not modems?”

      They can, but predominantly most ISP’s (that I’ve seen anyway) are selling a combined modem / router with a 1gbps WAN port that you can plug the NBN into, but a standard ADSL2 modem too so if you move house it’s not a paper weight ;)

    • Yep, it’s an ultra low end wireless router that you could buy for $20-25
      I doubt if it can even handle 100Mb. It has 100Mbps LAN ports and 150Mbps wireless. I doubt you’d see over 60-70Mbps out of either of those however.

  10. “Exetel told ZDNet that the price rise for NBN products was due to an increase in the cost of backhaul for providing services on the NBN.”


    The ACCC with all the best intentions of not stranding existing fibre assetts by mandating 121 POI’s which has increased costs for smaller RSP’s and the fibre back haul owners are as is normal in a free market environment taking advantage of their relatively monopolistic position rather than doing what the undersea cable operators are doing, increase the capacity.
    The capacity of the NBN means greater data volumes as clearly indicated in the evaluation of the Brunswick experience.

  11. I am not interested in this in any way I wan’t to stream not download massive amounts of data.

  12. While it’s nice to see unmetered downloads, the prices have gone up, and if you download more than they want you to, they terminate your service.

    Is it the price hike or the threat of termination we are supposed to be rubbing our hands together over?

  13. “And just a quiet message to NBN Co … when is my suburb going to get on the early stage rollout list before the election?”


  14. Exetel isn’t “the NBN”, it’s an example on one ISP, who has a history of changing plans and prices as often as staff change underwear.

    They’re not really the best and only yardstick, folks, to measure how the NBN is going.

    It’s reasonable to presume ISPs will be working different plans and options over the next few months; this is a new network and it’s going to take a while for usage patterns to establish and how that relates to CVC costs.

    Lots of teeth gnashing; perhaps step back a bit and look at it in context of the bigger picture.

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