The runaway success of this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup has shone a long-overdue spotlight on women’s sport in Oz, thanks to a spellbinding semi-final run from the Matildas. But new data from Optus highlights an unexpected bonus benefit: proving that 5G may actually be worth the investment.
If you’ve ever tried to send a text, make a call or access mobile internet in a packed stadium, you know that reliable coverage in a crowd is hard to find. However, despite the 75,000-plus attendees at Stadium Australia for last night’s World Cup final, spectators on Optus plans were able to access download speeds of up to 784 megabits per second (Mbps) — all thanks to 5G.
How Optus 5G helped share fans’ Matildas joy
According to Optus, there were more than 48,824 customers using the telco’s mobile network at Stadium Australia during the England versus Spain final match, and the customers using Optus 5G experienced an average mobile download speed of 80Mbps, with peak downloads hitting well over 700Mbps. That’s an average download speed faster than the popular NBN 50 speed tier, as well as a maximum download speed on par with the typical peak-hour performance of the fastest NBN plans available nationally!
The nailbiting Australia versus England semi-final, meanwhile, saw Optus customers making over 6,830 minutes of voice calls from inside Stadium Australia, Optus said. Those same attendees uploaded 531GB of data during the semi-final. That’s the equivalent of 132,860 photos or 53,144 short HD videos.
Lambo Kanagaratnam, Managing Director of Networks at Optus, said the telco was proud to support not only the Matildas but also fans in need of a reliable network performance during the thrilling matches.
“Thousands of selfies with fans wearing green and gold, videos of the pandemonium when goals were scored and celebrating a win when the final whistle sounds were sent over our network, which makes sharing the excitement of this tournament a real ‘whole of Optus’ effort,” he said.
Tillies forever 💚💛
The goals. The scenes. The fans. The memories. The legacy. The Matildas.
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) August 19, 2023
Fast and furious network performance in high-traffic locations is one of the biggest selling points of 5G, and something we discussed with Harvey Wright, Head of 5G at Optus, back in 2021.
Optus was particularly excited about the potential for mmWave 5G — a high-frequency technology that offers faster speeds across short distances — to boost its network during concerts, festivals and sporting events.
“One of the biggest misconceptions about 5G is that it doesn’t impact the lives of Australians right now,” Mr. Wright said at the time.
“An example of this is how we watch sports and entertainment. This means that the bandwidth that the 5G network offers will provide seamless video streaming and viewing. The new high-speed 5G wireless network can handle much more data than 4G, which undoubtedly enhances the user experience. And customers can access this right now.”
5G plans: Widely available, much more affordable
Despite the hype, many Aussies are still reluctant to embrace the possibilities offered by 5G technology. A recent Canstar Blue survey showed that although 58% of Australian phone-on-a-plan buyers hoped to move to a 5G phone, 39% didn’t care about upgrading at all. Australians on SIM-only postpaid plans were even less excited, with 57% of respondents saying they had no need for 5G access.
However, the next-generation tech may soon be hard to avoid. Optus, Telstra and Vodafone are each investing millions in their respective 5G rollouts, and 5G is now enabled in most smartphones hitting the Aussie market. If you’re in an area with 5G network coverage, it’s easy to get connected: all you need is a 5G-ready phone, and a mobile plan with 5G access.
If you’re buying a new smartphone from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone, you’ll have access to your telco’s 5G coverage as part of your mobile plan. New phones from Apple, Samsung, Google, OPPO, Motorola, and Nokia are all compatible with Australian 5G networks.
5G coverage is also available from an ever-growing selection of smaller telcos. You can find 5G SIM-only plans from around $30 per month, with options available from low-cost brands such as ALDI Mobile, Amaysim, Belong, Kogan Mobile and Boost Mobile.
To give you an idea of what’s on offer, you can compare a range of 5G-ready prepaid and postpaid SIM plans in the tables below.
The following table shows a selection of published postpaid SIM plans with 5G access 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.
The following table shows a selection of published prepaid SIM plans with 5G access 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.
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