Optus hits one million 5G devices, turns on fast mmWave 5G

Optus has hit a major 5G milestone, confirming today that it now has one million 5G-ready devices operating on its network. If that’s not enough, the telco has also announced that its first-ever mmWave 5G sites have gone live – offering faster speeds and a larger network capacity where it’s needed the most.

Six new mmWave sites have now been switched on, with more planned to go live over the coming weeks. Optus has enabled the high-capacity 5G technology in four Sydney suburbs and locations (Kings Cross, Surry Hills, North Ryde, and Optus’ own Sydney campus), as well as Huntingdale in Melbourne and Strathpine in Brisbane.

Optus is optimistic about the benefits that these new mmWave sites will offer customers, stating that the switch-on has occurred after months of testing and fine-tuning.

mmWave “…is set to blow current mobile and home internet speeds out of the water, with the potential for multi-gigabit speeds which is much faster than what Australians are used to getting today,” said Lambo Kanagaratnam, Managing Director Network Optus.

What is mmWave 5G?

mmWave – short for ‘millimetre wave’ – refers to a type of high-frequency 5G spectrum that offers fast speeds across short distances. It’s designed to complement the more widely-used sub 6Ghz 5G, which is a mid-frequency technology that isn’t quite as fast, but has a wider reach (and currently uses similar frequencies to 4G).

The high frequencies used in mmWave make it capable of offering much more bandwidth over a shorter range. Signals can be transmitted for a few hundred metres from each ‘small cell’ or live site — so while it’s not an ideal solution for sparsely populated or regional areas, it’s a great way of opening up 5G capacity in crowded locations.

mmWave sites will target areas where mobile networks are most likely to be congested, such as inner-city hubs, airports, shopping centres and even festivals and holiday celebrations. Deploying mmWave in people-packed cities and neighbourhoods will open up customers to even faster speeds and less lag, with theoretical performances of between 10Gbps and 20Gbps on the table.

iPhone 12 Pro Max in gold
The 5G-capable iPhone 12 Pro Max, available from Optus.

It may be a while before Australians are able to experience the full benefits of mmWave 5G, especially as no major locally-available smartphones currently offer support for this specific technology. But for the time being, Optus customers can access the telco’s standard mid-band 5G in more than 1,200 sites across Australia.

Of course, to do so requires a 5G-ready phone or modem; luckily, that’s now an option for millions of Aussie device owners.

More 5G phones available from Optus

More than two years after first beginning its 5G rollout, Optus has activated one million 5G-capable devices on its networks. While this doesn’t mean that every device is actively being used on Optus’ 5G network, it does show that Australians are happy to pick up a future-proofed handset or modem – especially with the latest iPhone now offering 5G capabilities, and 5G home internet available to more homes.

“The demand from our customers for 5G capable devices has surged in recent months, with eight out of 10 handsets that we sell today now 5G-enabled,” said Matt Williams, Managing Director Marketing and Revenue Optus.

“One million 5G devices is just the beginning for us, and as we grow our 5G network and launch new capabilities we expect our 5G customer base to grow in parallel.”

If you’re considering a jump to 5G, Optus offers a large range of enabled devices that can all be used on its expanding 5G network. Even better, access to 5G is included free on all Optus SIM and phone plans, which begin at $45 per month.

Some of the 5G smartphones offered on Optus plans include the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro range, the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, the Samsung Galaxy A32 and A52, and the new OPPO Find X3 range. All of these devices can be picked up on an Optus payment plan of 12, 24, or 36 months, and paired with any of the below SIM-only mobile plans.

The following table shows a selection of Optus 5G phone plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our mobile phone plan comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

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