TPG and Vodafone triple 5G coverage with ‘supercharged’ network

TPG Telecom has announced that TPG and Vodafone 5G network coverage will triple from today onwards, thanks to the launch of its new 5G standalone core.

The company has confirmed that its 5G network now covers 85% of the population across ten major cities and areas, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Wollongong, and NSW Central Coast. 5G standalone can connect devices directly to 5G, without the need to use underlying 4G technology.

What is standalone 5G?

The switch to standalone access 5G allows your phone or device to connect exclusively to 5G signals, a change TPG Telecom says will ‘supercharge’ its current 700MHz spectrum holdings. In addition to increasing Vodafone and TPG’s 5G footprint, the launch is also key to enabling the true benefits of 5G technology, such as low latency, rapid response times and a much higher network capacity.

TPG Telecom originally switched on 5G standalone in selected areas of Sydney back in July, with the goal to expand coverage across Australia’s six largest cities by the end of 2021. Thanks to today’s launch, that milestone has now been achieved – meaning ‘game-changing’ 5G service is within reach for millions of Australians.

“This is truly a pivotal moment for TPG Telecom, and sets us up to deliver 5G’s full potential,” said TPG Telecom Chief Executive Officer Iñaki Berroeta.

“The upgraded core network has amplified our 700 MHz spectrum, tripling our 5G coverage and giving us greater reach across suburbs and in densely-populated areas.”

Comparison of Sydney TPG 5G coverage maps
Left: TPG Telecom 5G coverage in Sydney (in blue) with 5G standalone core. Right: coverage without 5G standalone core.

TPG Telecom partnered with Nokia and Ericsson in its 5G standalone core build, two companies who have also worked with Optus and Telstra on their respective 5G rollouts. According to TPG Telecom, the TPG and Vodafone 5G rollouts are still in ‘full swing’, with more than 100 new 5G sites going live each month.

“The merger [between TPG and Vodafone] has enabled us to build a better and smarter 5G network faster than we otherwise would have, delivering one of the biggest and most tangible benefits for customers,” said Mr. Berroeta.

“We will deliver around 160 5G sites in November. No other carrier has achieved that with a full upgrade like ours and we are now delivering more sites a month than the others combined.”

TPG Telecom states that standalone capability upgrades for major 5G devices are due to be released in the coming weeks, although hasn’t specified just which phones or devices will be included.  But for now, if you’re interested in trying out the TPG Telecom 5G network on your 5G-ready smartphone, you can access it on the below Vodafone SIM plans.

The following table shows a selection of published Vodafone postpaid mobile plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, then by data allowance. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner. Use our mobile comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers.

TPG and Vodafone 5G vs. Telstra and Optus

The move sees the major brands under the TPG Telecom umbrella – most notably TPG and Vodafone – more effectively able to compete with Telstra and Optus in Australia’s 5G space. Since last year’s TPG and Vodafone merger, the now-combined telcos are catching up in the 5G race, after initial infrastructure setbacks caused by Australia’s ‘Huawei ban’ led TPG to scrap its own planned 5G network build.

With the 5G standalone core now launched, and TPG Telecom also in the testing phase for its up-and-coming millimetre wave (mmWave) 5G technology, the company is on track to deliver more 5G products to a wider range of customers.

Vodafone’s 5G mobile service went live in early 2020, and Vodafone and TPG each launched residential 5G home internet plans at the tail end of 2021. Both brands now offer unlimited 5G internet where available, along with 5G mobile plans from Vodafone, but competition in 5G is heating up: just last week, Telstra launched its own 5G home broadband plans, which are likely to be available to a larger percentage of Aussies.


Read more: TPG launches unlimited fast 5G home internet


5G home internet: plans compared

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 Max Plan

  • $74.99 per month for existing TPG customers
  • No speed restrictions
  • $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 $79.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $79.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period
iiNet Logo

Home Broadband Max

  • No speed caps
  • $0 set up fees and no lock-in contract
  • $0 5G modem
  • Special offer: one month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $84.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $84.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go to Site
Internode

Home Broadband Max

  • No speed caps
  • $0 set up fees and no lock-in contract
  • $0 5G modem
  • Special offer: one month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $84.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $84.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
Vodafone Logo

Ultimate 5G Home Broadband

  • $80 per month for existing Vodafone customers
  • No speed restrictions
  • $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 $85 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $85Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
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
Optus Logo

Optus 5G Internet Entertainer

  • No speed cap
  • Includes the Optus supplied Nokia modem
  • Special offer: First month plan fees free. Terms apply.

min. cost $90 over one month

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

5G Home Broadband Premium Plan

  • $64.99 per month for existing TPG 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 $69.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $69.99Advertised 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 $74.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $74.99Advertised 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 $74.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $74.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
Optus Logo

Optus 5G Internet Everyday

  • Up to 100Mbps speeds
  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Includes the Optus supplied Nokia modem
  • Special offer: one month free

min. cost $75 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Cost^^/billing period Link to provider unavailable
Vodafone Logo

Premium 5G Home Broadband

  • $70 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 $75 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go to Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

TPG Telecom claims that the standalone core switch-on has opened up 5G coverage to 85% of the population, but only in the ten cities and regions where the network rollout has begun. In comparison, Telstra states that its 5G network now covers over 75% of all Australians, across 3,200 suburbs and 200 cities and towns.

Optus hasn’t released specific 5G coverage data, but as of May 2021 had switched on more than 1,200 5G sites nationwide. So while Australians living in major metro areas may have their pick of the three 5G networks, customers in less populated areas may have to wait.

How fast is TPG and Vodafone 5G?

TPG Telecom has said its 5G network is capable of delivering speeds in excess of 400Mbps, which is significantly faster than the performance currently available with 5G. However, this may not reflect the average speeds customers will experience on TPG or Vodafone 5G plans, particularly during busy hours.

Although Vodafone and TPG don’t yet list expected speeds for their respective 5G internet plans, Optus’ typical busy period download speed for its 5G Internet Entertainer plan is 210Mbps, while Telstra’s sole 5G Home Internet option lists an average download of 378Mbps. But real world speeds can vary due to a variety of factors, such as your location, equipment used, and local network congestion.

The good news is that Vodafone and TPG’s mobile and internet plans tend to fall on the cheaper end of the scale when compared to both Telstra and Optus, so if you do have 5G coverage, you may prefer to save your dollars on a less expensive plan. Both TPG and Vodafone also offer unlimited data on all 5G broadband plans, while Telstra’s plan is capped at one terabyte of usage (or 1,000 gigabytes).


Read more: Telstra finally launches 5G home internet


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