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LTE unlimited as a DSL substitute - A crackpot idea?

LTE as a DSL replacement

The rapid roll-out of LTE in rural areas has left more and more DSL customers wondering (and rightly so): Is LTE unlimited suitable as a DSL replacement?? This is not a stupid question. After all, rural Internet via LTE is usually many times faster and the latency is lower than via the old copper cable connections. Austria is also one of the countries where LTE is available even on high alpine pastures and in remote valleys. Especially if you use one of the fast VPNs like NordVPN or ExpressVPN fast Internet is a must if you want to take advantage of the service.

We explore this very question in today's post: Is LTE unlimited suitable as a DSL replacement?

LTE mobile communications technology

LTE is the first mobile communications connection method that enables significantly higher speeds and lower latencies than conventional DSL. With the right rate plan, download speeds of more than 100 Mbit/s can be achieved. At this speed, an entire Hollywood blockbuster can be downloaded in just a few seconds.

In addition to the speed, LTE also has the decisive advantage that the setup is very simple: SIM card in the router, switch on the router and the Internet is there! The only important thing here is that the router is located near a window to enable good reception.

What you have to bear in mind with LTE is the fact that not all rates are flat rates. You are often throttled after consuming a defined amount of data. You can find the right LTE flat rates for Austria here:

Find the right LTE rate plan

In rural areas, LTE unlimited is often an option as a DSL replacement

LTE as a DSL replacement

Although the government keeps promising to invest money in expanding rural Internet connections (keyword: fiber optics), not much has changed in most regions so far. DSL is also often rather sobering: More than a few Mbit/s is often not enough.

In Austria, politicians and the Federal Network Agency had obliged providers to do this in the 4G frequency auction in 2010, 4G rollout in rural areas first. This was done against the backdrop of (at the time) very extensive broadband coverage outside the cities. 

With great success: According to Chip Netztest 2021, coverage in rural areas is a good 96.5 percent. LTE is therefore available even in the most remote areas of Austria and is thus very well suited as a DSL replacement, especially in rural areas.

Many LTE tariffs are flat and thus you can surf unlimited and the Bypass ORF encryption via online offers.

The best network to use LTE unlimited as a DSL replacement

In Austria, A1 and Magenta are competing for the best network. However, the provider Drei is catching up behind the two and impresses its customers primarily with low prices. This ranking also applies to the rapidly catching up 5G technology, according to the Chip network test 2021.

The fastest network in Austria according to the Chip Netztest (linked above)

Conclusion: Is LTE suitable as a DSL replacement?

Definitely. In our team, almost all colleagues use LTE instead of DSL because it is simply faster and more fail-safe at their location. Especially in Austria, LTE can be used well as a DSL replacement, as there are many providers offering low-cost LTE flat rates (unlimited LTE Internet without throttling). In many countries (e.g., Germany), there are also some LTE flat rates in 2022.

Find the right LTE rate plan

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