What are the best 5G modems available in Australia?

5G is the fastest of the fast for home internet – but which modem is the best?

Getting your home or office space connected to the quickest possible internet speeds can be of the utmost priority to many Australians. 5G has made this goal that much more accessible, as the successor to 4G. So read on with Canstar Blue to find out what 5G WiFi is, and the best 5G modems on the market right now. 

What is a 5G modem?

Essentially, a 5G modem is a device that connects to a 5G mobile/cellular network and connects your other devices to that network.  The name 5G comes from the technology being the fifth generation in cellular progression (just like 4G and 3G before it). However, you may see ‘5G’ used to refer to the 5GHz frequency emitted by 5G modems. 

There are generally two speeds that modems are capable of working at: 2.4GHz and 5 GHz. 2.4GHz has a lower general speed, but it covers more area and can go through walls easier. The 5GHz speed is much quicker, but has less range and doesn’t go through walls as easily. 

This is where the terminology can get muddled for 5G technology. In this article, we’re using the term ‘5G modem’ to refer to a modem or modem-router that can use 5G cellular networks to deliver a broadband connection to your devices.

How fast is 5G internet?

5G home internet is now available to eligible customers on plans from a handful of telcos, including Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, TPG, iiNet, Internode and SpinTel. It uses the same 5G networks that can connect to your phone to deliver home internet wirelessly.

5G internet is the fastest rendition of cellular broadband on the market so far, however speeds can be hard to gauge. This can be due mainly to physical locations, and time of day. The Telstra 5G home internet network has an average download speed of 378Mbps on Telstra 5G internet plans. The Optus 5G home internet network has a typical download speed of either 83Mbps for the basic tier, or 210Mbps for the higher tier 5G plan. 

What are the best 5G modems?

Let’s dive into the cream of the crop for 5G modems, breaking down their pros and cons, and how you can get yourself one. 

Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro

This is arguably the most coveted of the 5G modems. The Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro tends to retail for around $599, and can be purchased directly from Telstra, as well as The Good Guys, and other select telco retailers. The device obviously connects to the Telstra 5G network, and has a battery life of roughly nine hours. Up to 30 devices can join the hotspot connection at one time, with 4K streaming and the like possible through its connection. The 2.4-inch touch screen allows for sufficient information on data speeds and usage. 

Telstra AW1000 5G Modem

telstra-home

The AW1000 5G Modem acts more as a consistent home connection, rather than the hotspot nature of the 5G Wi-Fi Pro. It comes in a relatively tall and boxy frame, giving off that modem feel that typical broadband networks tend to have. This modem isn’t available for outright purchase, but it is available through Telstra’s 5G home internet plan. The 5G Home Internet plan is free for the first month, and then costs $85 per month going forward.

Netgear Nighthawk M5

nighthawk

Another device using the Telstra 5G network, the Netgear Nighthawk M5 is a portable modem much like the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro. The device is only available alongside the Upfront Data Plan Medium, or Large, which costs either $61 per month or $91 per month. The Nighthawk M5 comes in a square device, with a 13-hour battery life – this is four hours more than the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro. It also enables 32 devices to connect to the network. 

ZTE 5G Portable Wi-Fi Modem

zte-5g

The frontier of Optus’ 5G modems, the ZTE 5G Portable Wi-Fi Modem offers nine hours of battery life alongside its 32-connection capability. The 2.4-inch touch screen delivers important feedback on the network analytics, and the quick charge technology ensures limited waiting around. The ZTE 5G costs $434.88, and can be bundled with an Optus mobile broadband plan. 

Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway 

nokia

This tends to be the modem-of-choice for non-Telstra customers. The Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway comes alongside 5G home internet plans from Optus, TPG, Vodafone, iiNet, Internode, SpinTel, or any other major telco. Due to it being a home modem, it doesn’t have a battery but rather needs a constant source of power. The standout feature of the Nokia FastMile is that if 5G isn’t available in your area, it can connect to a 4G network as a backup. Supporting download speeds of up to 500Mbps makes this a serious contender in the 5G home modem market. 

Is 5G better than the NBN?

The widespread, government-funded rollout of the National Broadband Network enabled every eligible Australian to get connected to a high-speed fibre optic broadband network. Generally, the NBN is seen as a consistent, (mostly) reliable network, while the 5G network is a lot more volatile. Many areas do not have access to 5G connectivity, and the 5G broadband connection itself can have a lower range, and not go through walls as easily. 

Ultimately, whether you should go with NBN or 5G WiFi is entirely up to whether you’re looking for a quick, localised connection with the 5G WiFi, or the more stable, yet slightly slower speeds of the NBN. 

How can I get 5G?

Canstar Blue’s team of experts have scoured the market for the best (and worst) 5G deals, so if you’re looking for a 5G plan, head on over to the 5G Home Internet guide to find out what works best for you.

The following table shows selected published 5G home internet plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

5G Home Internet

  • 5G speeds
  • Speeds capped at 25Mbps after 1TB allowance exceeded
  • Includes Telstra 5G Home Modem ($0 when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: first month free for new customers. Terms apply.
  • Special offer: 3 months free BINGE standard. Terms apply.

min. cost $85 over one month

1TBMax Data**/billing period $85Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
Spintel Logo

SpinTel 5G Unlimited

  • No speed cap
  • Nokia 5G modem included
  • Special offer: $80 per month for first 6 months, then $90 per month ongoing. Terms apply.

min. cost $90 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
Optus Logo

Optus 5G Internet Entertainer Superfast

  • No speed cap
  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Includes the Optus supplied Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway Modem ($576 modem cost)
  • Stay connected for 36 months and pay $0 for the modem
  • Includes standard Netflix subscription via SubHub
  • Special offer: $0 Start-up fee + 1 Month free
  • Intro offer: $89/mth for first 6 mths, then $99/mth T&Cs Apply

min. cost $675 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $99Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

The following table shows selected published 5G home internet plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
TPG Logo

5G Home Broadband Plus

  • Up to 50Mbps speeds
  • $0 setup fee with no lock-in contract
  • $0 modem when you stay connected for 36 months
  • Special offer: First month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $59.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $59.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
iiNet Logo

Home Broadband Plus

  • Up to 50Mbps speeds
  • $0 set up fees and no lock-in contract
  • $0 5G modem
  • Special offer: one month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $59.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $59.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go to Site
Internode

Home Broadband Plus

  • Up to 50Mbps speeds
  • $0 set up fees and no lock-in contract
  • $0 5G modem
  • Special offer: one month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $59.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $59.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
Vodafone Logo

Ultimate 5G Home Broadband Plus

  • $60 per month for existing Vodafone customers
  • Up to 50Mbps speeds
  • $0 setup fee with no lock-in contract
  • $0 modem when you stay connected for 36 months
  • Special offer: First month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $65 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
TPG Logo

5G Home Broadband Premium

  • Up to 100Mbps speeds
  • $0 setup fee with no lock-in contract
  • $0 modem when you stay connected for 36 months
  • Special offer: First month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $64.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $64.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
Spintel Logo

SpinTel 5G Unlimited

  • Up to 100Mbps speeds
  • Nokia 5G modem included

min. cost $69 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $69Advertised Cost^^/billing period
iiNet Logo

Home Broadband Premium

  • Up to 100Mbps speeds
  • $0 set up fees and no lock-in contract
  • $0 5G modem
  • Special offer: one month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $69.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $69.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go to Site
Internode

Home Broadband Premium

  • Up to 100Mbps speeds
  • $0 set up fees and no lock-in contract
  • $0 5G modem
  • Special offer: one month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $69.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $69.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
Vodafone Logo

Premium 5G Home Broadband

  • $65 per month for existing Vodafone customers
  • Up to 100Mbps speeds
  • $0 setup fee with no lock-in contract
  • $0 modem when you stay connected for 36 months
  • Special offer: First month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $70 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
Optus Logo

Optus 5G Internet Everyday

  • Speed capped at 100Mbps
  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Includes the Optus supplied Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway Modem ($576 modem cost)
  • Stay connected for 36 months and pay $0 for the modem
  • Special offer: $0 Start-up fee + 1 Month free

min. cost $655 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $79Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Photo Credits: rawpixel.com, telstra.com.au, netgear.com.au, optus.com.au, nokia.com.au

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