Compare 5G Phone Plans

 

 

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5G is officially rolling out across the country, with millions of Aussies now able to access 5G coverage either at home, at work, or in transit. While we have a way to go before the next-generation mobile technology is available to most Australians, if you’re in a major city and eyeing one of many 5G-ready phones, you’re probably wondering if it’s time to jump on board a 5G mobile plan.

Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and now SpinTel all offer phone plans with access to 5G (although Vodafone’s brand-new network is currently limited to selected areas of Sydney). We’ve taken a look at what’s available from each telco, including plan prices, phones, and coverage, to help you find the best 5G deal.

5G mobile plans

The following table shows a selection of published 5G phone plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

The following table shows selected published Telstra 5G plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. If you’d like to compare more 5G phone plans from different providers, use our mobile phone comparison tool. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows selected published Optus 5G plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. If you’d like to compare more 5G phone plans from different providers, use our mobile phone comparison tool. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows selected published Vodafone 5G plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. If you’d like to compare more 5G phone plans from different providers, use our mobile phone comparison tool. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows selected published Spintel 5G plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. If you’d like to compare more 5G phone plans from different providers, use our mobile phone comparison tool. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Cheapest 5G plans

Even though 5G is still a rather new technology in the scheme of things, it doesn’t have to break the bank to sign up to a 5G plan. As this technology becomes more widely available, 5G access on phone plans is starting to become more common.

While 5G plans in Australia are mostly available from the big three telcos, a couple of smaller providers offer 5G phone plans at a similar price. You can find 5G plans starting around the $40 per month mark and up. As the big three telcos are typically more expensive than smaller providers, and the smaller telcos do tend to price 5G plans higher than 4G, you might need a bigger budget to sign up to a 5G plan.

5G plans on Australia’s biggest 5G networks

Telstra 5G mobile plans

  • Telstra offers three 5G SIM-only plans which can be paired with 5G phones
  • Plans include high-speed data, plus unlimited data capped at 1.5Mbps
  • 5G coverage available to 12 million Australians as of October 2020

Telstra was the first Aussie telco to switch on 5G in selected metro areas, and now boasts live sites in more than 60 cities and towns nationwide. If you have a 5G-capable device, you can access Telstra 5G on the telco’s Medium, Large and Extra Large postpaid SIM plans; unfortunately, 5G isn’t available on Telstra’s $55 Small plan.

5G-capable Telstra plans are priced at $65 per month for 80GB of full-speed data, $85 per month for 120GB, and $115 per month for 180GB of fast data. All three plans also include unlimited speed-capped data limited to 1.5Mbps in addition to full-speed gigabytes.

Telstra’s 5G mobile network can reach speeds of 1Gbps or more, although real-world performance will depend on your location ,your device, and network congestion, But overall, 5G is easily faster than Telstra’s existing 4G coverage.

To access Telstra 5G, you’ll need a compatible phone. You can bring your own unlocked 5G-ready handset to Telstra’s Medium, Large or Extra Large SIM-only plans, or bundle in a 5G phone on a Telstra device payment plan. Telstra offers a range of 5G phones on plans from smartphone brands such as Apple, Samsung, OPPO and Google.  

If you’re picking up a 5G phone from Telstra, you can pay off your device over 12, 24 or 36 months of equal monthly repayments. As the handset payments are separate from Telstra’s SIM-only plans, you’re free to switch between 5G plan options each month (but keep in mind moving to Telstra’s Small SIM-only plan means you won’t have access to Telstra’s 5G network). 

Telstra iPhone 13 Plans

The following table shows a selection of published 24-month Telstra plans for the 128GB iPhone 13 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our mobile phone plan comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Telstra Samsung Galaxy S21 5G Plans

The following table shows selected published 24-month Telstra plans for the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Telstra Google Pixel 5 Plans

The following table shows a selection of published 24-month Telstra plans for the Google Pixel 5 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Optus 5G mobile plans

  • All postpaid Optus Choice plans include free 5G access, and can be paired with any 5G-capable phone
  • Optus 5G network rolling out in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra
  • Optus also offers a Price Match Guarantee for 5G phones

Optus is rolling out 5G mobile coverage across Australian capital cities, with sites now live in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra. If you’re in an area covered by Optus 5G, you can now begin using the network at no extra charge on compatible Optus plans with 5G-ready devices.

5G access is included on Optus’ postpaid Choice plans, which are available from $45 per month for 20GB of data. Options up to a huge 240GB of monthly data are also available. All plans include no excess data charges, so once you use up your fast data inclusions, you can keep using your data at capped speeds of 1.5Mbps.

You can pair any of these plans with a 5G smartphone, such as Apple, Samsung, OPPO and Google 5G phones, on an Optus device plan over 12, 24, or 36 months of payments — or you can bring your own unlocked 5G handset. All plans give you access to 5G coverage with a compatible phone, although you may need to check with Optus that 5G mobile is activated on your device and plan. 

If you plan on buying your 5G handset from Optus, the telco has launched a 5G Price Match guarantee that promises to match any standard outright price on stocked 5G phones from authorised Australian sellers.  

Optus iPhone 13 plans

The following table shows a selection of published 24-month Optus plans for the 128GB iPhone 13 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Optus Samsung Galaxy S21 5G plans

The following table shows selected published 24-month Optus plans for the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Vodafone 5G mobile plans

  • Vodafone’s 5G network is beginning to roll out in capital cities, but coverage is limited
  • Vodafone includes 5G access in SIM-only postpaid and prepaid plans
  • All postpaid Infinite plans include monthly full-speed data, plus unlimited data restricted to speeds of 2Mbps, 10Mbps, or 25Mbps (depending on plan)

Vodafone is currently rolling out its own 5G network in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth,, but coverage is still extremely limited. However, network access is currently included free on all Vodafone SIM-only postpaid plans, and the telco stocks a range of 5G-capable smartphones which can be picked up on a device plan over 12, 24, or 36 months.

Like Telstra, Vodafone’s plans include a monthly full-speed data allowance, as well as unlimited data capped at slower speeds. The speed of your unlimited data depends on your plan: Lite and Lite+ plans include unlimited data at 2Mbps, Super and Super+ plans offer 10Mbps, and unlimited fast-speed data, with no speed caps, is available on the Ultra+ plan. 

This is, of course, in addition to full-speed data on Vodafone’s 4G and 5G networks, which ranges from 10GB on the $40 Lite plan up to unlimited data $85 Ultra+ option. All plans can be paired with a new 5G phone from Vodafone, or you can bring your own unlocked 5G-ready device. Vodafone offers a range of 5G phones from a range of brands, including Apple, Samsung, OPPO and Google.

Vodafone iPhone 13 plans

The following table shows a selection of published 24-month Vodafone plans for the 128GB iPhone 13 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Vodafone Samsung Galaxy S21 5G plans

The following table shows selected published 24-month Vodafone plans for the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

5G Phones

In order to access 5G, you’ll need a 5G-compatible phone. The good news is that because 5G technology is rolling out across the world, more and more phone brands are releasing 5G phones including Apple, Samsung, Google, OPPO, Nokia and Motorola. 5G is also no longer a premium feature, so no matter what your price range is, it’s likely you’ll find a 5G phone that suits your budget.

Eventually, 5G connectivity will become a standard part of a phone’s specifications, much like 4G is. But until then, you’ll need to make sure you’re picking up a 5G-compatible phone when you compare smartphones.

Want 5G internet at home?

5G isn’t just accessible via a mobile phone. There are several home internet options that use a 5G mobile network to deliver internet access. While 5G can technically be faster than what most fixed-line NBN connections are capable of, it’s not quite the end of the NBN.

The benefit of 5G is that it is, of course, much faster than 4G. If you plan on using it for activities at home such as video streaming and online gaming, you’ll most likely have better performance than home internet using a 4G network. This is good news for anyone who has had issues with their NBN connection, or perhaps you’ve simply been looking for an alternative to the NBN.

Of course, access to 5G home internet does depend on whether you have access to a 5G mobile network in your area. 5G home internet plans are also not commonly available, or might be restricted to certain customers. You might need to do some research and compare the 5G networks from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone to see if you have coverage in your area, or if you can access a 5G home internet plan.

Frequently asked questions

Because 5G is a mobile network technology, mobile network coverage determines where 5G is available. As it is also an updated technology, the network providers, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, need to physically roll this technology out by upgrading existing infrastructure.

Telstra was the first to launch its 5G network, followed by Optus and then Vodafone a little later. Originally the telcos focused on the major cities and bigger regional areas. As more coverage rolls out, more metropolitan and regional areas will eventually be covered.

The largest 5G network is currently Telstra, which is unsurprising considering it was the first telco to launch its network. As of mid-2021, the Telstra 5G network now covers 75% of Australians. Optus and Vodafone are a bit behind, but eventually, 5G coverage will expand to reach a similar number of Australians as the current 4G networks.

The best 5G network for you depends on, primarily, which network covers your home and areas where you frequently visit. Although Telstra is currently the largest 5G network, if one of the other 5G networks offers better coverage at your home and areas you frequently travel to, that network will be the better option for you.

Ultimately, choosing the best 5G network depends on which network is best for you and your needs. If you’re covered by more than one network, then it’s worth comparing 5G plans from each provider to determine which phone plans are best for your needs.

Both the telcos and independent organisations have tested the three Australian 5G networks to see how speeds compare, and it’s possible that more tests will occur in the future.

A report released by Ookla in 2021 found that Optus had the fastest 5G network in Australia, thanks to its median download speeds of 323Mbps (around 60% faster than other networks) and a latency result of 18 milliseconds.

Keep in mind that 5G will typically be faster than speeds you’ve experienced on 4G and even your home internet connection, so even the ‘slower’ networks might still deliver noticeably faster speeds.

If finding the fastest 5G plan is important to you, you might want to keep an eye out for any reports released on 5G network performance in Australia, either by the telcos, or companies such as Ookla. However, the performance of the networks can change over time, and your individual experience with a 5G network can be impacted by factors including network congestion and signal strength, so the fastest 5G experience is never a guarantee.

Switching to your first 5G phone and 5G plan? You may or may not need a new SIM card, depending on your circumstances.

If you already have a phone plan with the same telco that you’re switching to 5G with, then you most likely won’t need a new SIM card. This is assuming that your current SIM card will fit into your 5G-compatible phone and the plan type is the same (i.e, switching from one postpaid plan to another postpaid plan with the same telco). If you’re unsure about this, it’s best to check up on your current and new phone’s SIM card size to see if they are the same.

However, if your current plan already has 5G compatibility and you’re switching to a new 5G phone, you might need to turn on 5G access with your telco. Depending on the telco, you might be able to access this from the telco’s app, otherwise, you may need to get in touch with them to check if 5G is activated on your plan.

For anyone switching telcos to access 5G, you will need a new SIM card from your new provider.

This totally depends on the provider. Because 5G plans are mostly available from the big three telcos, which typically have more expensive plans than the smaller telcos, a 5G plan can easily cost more than a standard 4G-only plan.

However, a couple of smaller providers also offer 5G plans, but they tend to charge a bit more for these plans than for standard 4G. In the case of Optus and Vodafone, you won’t need to pay any extra or meet any conditions to access 5G on their standard postpaid phone plans.

Telstra however, only offers 5G access on its three most expensive plans, meaning that it’s cheapest phone plan does not include 5G network access. So, you’re technically forced into paying a bit more than you might need to for the faster network, especially if that cheaper plan has enough data for your needs.

Technically, 5G is better than 4G. 5G stands for ‘fifth generation’ and is the fifth upgrade to mobile network technology. Just as the 4G network was a huge upgrade to the 3G network, and allowed us to do so much more on our phones than before (such as faster web browsing and streaming video), it’s only expected that 5G will further build on 4G and be a ‘better’ and more improved mobile network technology.

You might not notice a difference when using 5G, compared to 4G, because 4G already allows us to do those ‘high performance’ tasks such as video streaming and online gaming. Where you might start to notice more of a difference is in settings such as large events including live sports and live music, where typically you may struggle to use apps when in such a crowded place. While 5G might not make a noticeable difference now, it might be something that really changes how we use our phones in the future.