How fast is 5G in Australia?

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There’s a lot to be excited about around 5G. It’s a faster and more reliable evolution of 4G, the current standard for cellular networks, with mobile carriers now rolling out new 5G networks all over the world.

Here in Australia, the three major telcos have been busy building their 5G networks, with parts of cities now covered by Telstra and Optus and Vodafone 5G. Phone manufacturers have started developing 5G-capable devices, and Samsung is leading the charge with a range of 5G phones.

But there’s also a lot of confusion around what 5G really means for the average consumer: namely, how fast is it? We’re here to answer your big questions about the next generation of cellular networks.

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How fast is 5G?

5G can reach 10Gbps (gigabits per second), whereas 4G can only reach speeds around 100Mbps  (megabits per second). This makes 5G a hundred times faster than 4G, although it isn’t as widely rolled out.

5G has the potential to reach up to 20Gbps, a sharp increase from 4G’s maximum projected maximum speed of 1Gbps. Theoretically, it’s a hundred times faster than existing 4G technology, but it also depends on the technology being used by your network provider, and the technology you’re using to access the network.

Here in Australia, we’re yet to see 5G rolled out on a massive scale, so it will still be some time before we can see some averages on 5G performance. As for devices in the home, for example, the HTC 5G Hub (offered by Telstra) can reach speeds between 250Mbps and 400Mbps when using 5G networks.

Keep in mind too that the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone 5G networks all operate off different technologies and will have different speeds, as they have in the past with the 4G network.

Again, the speed you’ll get in real life will depend on your choice of network, your location, the type of connection you have, and your device, among other factors. But for most customers, expect speeds faster than both 4G and commercial NBN and ADSL.

How can I get 5G?

You can get among the 5G hype by making sure you’ve got a 5G compatible smartphone. There’s only a few kinds of these on the market right now, all of which are Android devices. There aren’t any iPhones with 5G compatibility on the market yet, but that could change by the end of the year with the launch of the 2020 iPhone releases.

You’ll also need to be in an area where there is a 5G connection. There aren’t many of these across Australia — and Telstra, Optus and Vodafone each operate their own separate 5G networks. This means that not only do you need to be in an area with 5G coverage, you also need a plan provided by that 5G network provider (for example, for 5G on the Telstra network you’d need to be signed up for a Telstra plan that allows 5G access, plus use a 5G-capable device).

5G compatible phones

We’ve put together a table below featuring a range of 5G compatible phones on the market right now that can be purchased with a plan on a 24-month payment option. Right now, one of the cheapest ways to get a 5G phone on a plan is by purchasing the Samsung Galaxy A90 through Telstra. On both Small and Medium Telstra postpaid plans, you’ll pay $79.95 per month for both your plan and phone for a 24 month period (minimum total cost $1,918.80 on the Small plan).

Telstra offers a range of 5G phones on 12 or 24-month device payment plans, while Optus and Vodafone each offer 12, 24, or 36-month device plans. Keep in mind that you can pay less each month by spreading the cost of your device out over a longer payment period, but you’ll still pay the same for your phone in total no matter which repayment term you go with.

Aside from the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, other 5G-capable phones include the 5G-enabled Galaxy S20 series, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 & Note 20 Ultra 5G, the OPPO Fine X2 Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G. These phones can access 5G networks, but you’ll need to be in a 5G area yourself to use the service.

The following table shows a selection of published 24-month Telstra, Vodafone, Optus and Woolworths Mobile phone plans for the Samsung Galaxy S20 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.

The following table shows a selection of published 24-month Telstra, Vodafone, Optus and Woolworths Mobile phone plans for the Samsung Galaxy S20+ 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.

The following table shows a selection of published 24-month Telstra and Optus phone plans for the Samsung Galaxy A90 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 mobile broadband

If you need to use the internet on the go, or to do fast file-sharing anywhere in Australia, it might be worth looking into 5G mobile broadband offerings. Right now, Telstra is the only Aussie telco offering 5G mobile broadband, and includes free 5G network access on its Medium and Large plans. You can get data packages of 5GB, 20GB, 60GB and 200GB over one month periods, with plans starting at $15.

Telstra also offers a great wireless broadband modem for 5G — the Telstra 5G WiFi Pro.

The below table features all published Telstra mobile broadband plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest and then by data allowance. These do not include device payments for the Telstra 5G WiFi Pro. These are products with links to a referral partner.

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

Extra Small

  • Unlimited data capped at 1.5Mbps

min. cost $15 over one month

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Small

  • Unlimited data capped at 1.5Mbps

min. cost $25 over one month

20GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • Unlimited data capped at 1.5Mbps
  • Includes 5G network access

min. cost $50 over one month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Large

  • Unlimited data capped at 1.5Mbps
  • Includes 5G network access

min. cost $75 over one month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

5G home broadband

If you’re lacking a reliable wired broadband connection at home, you might want to consider home wireless broadband – and thankfully, 5G home broadband has arrived from Optus.

Optus offers 5G home broadband for $70 per month, with contract options of month-to-month or 24 months. You get unlimited data, and it comes with a 5G compatible modem. Again, keep in mind that coverage is only available in limited areas, and that speeds may vary, although Optus does offer a minimum guaranteed speed of 50Mbps.

The below table features selected published Optus 5G home broadband plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest and then by data allowance.

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

Optus 5G Home Broadband (24 months)

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

min. cost $1,680 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

Optus 5G Home Broadband (month-to-month)

  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Includes the Optus supplied Nokia modem
  • $200 setup fee
  • Special offer: one month free

min. cost $270 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Image: Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock

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