After the initial rollout of 5G in Australia, there has been much talk about how fast 5G is and the potential speeds Aussies can access on the new mobile network technology. While in the real world, this doesn’t exactly make a big difference to the way Aussies live their lives and use their mobile data, it’s still a sign of how much technology is improving. We’ve become so accustomed to actions such as streaming video on our smartphone, that we no longer really think about how fast a video loads on our smartphone unless we’re hindered by slow video buffering.
In Australia, the 5G competition is hot between the ‘big three’ telcos — Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. While Telstra was the first to start rolling out 5G, Optus wasn’t too far behind, however Vodafone was the straggler of the three. Thanks to the head start, Telstra does have a largest 5G network in the country: however in a boost for Optus, the Optus 5G network may now be the fastest 5G network in Australia.
Ookla Speedtest names Optus the fastest 5G network in Australia
Known for being the go-to site to test your internet speed, Ookla is a global leader when it comes to fixed broadband and mobile network speed testing, as well as data and analysis. No doubt if you’ve ever tried to test your internet speed, you’ve come across Ookla at some point.
Ookla uses its technology to analyse internet speeds around the world. As part of the Ookla Speedtest Intelligence data from Q1–Q2 2021, in the first half of 2021, Ookla analysed over 330,000 user-initiated 5G speedtest results in Australia to analyse which network had the fastest 5G speeds.
The results showed that Optus was the fastest performing 5G network with median download speeds of 323Mbps (which was around 60 percent faster than other networks), and with the best latency result of 18 milliseconds. To put those speeds into perspective, one of the most popular and accessible NBN speed tiers for Australian households is NBN 50 with 50Mbps maximum attainable speeds.
On the results of this report, Optus Managing Director Marketing and Revenue, Matt Williams said “Last year we made a commitment to our customers that we would build Australia’s fastest 5G network and I’m proud to say we’re delivering. Speed is king when it comes to 5G and being awarded this title by Ookla firmly establishes Optus as the leader in 5G speed.”
While Optus was the second network provider to launch its 5G network, it has worked at expanding not only the network reach by building more 5G sites across Australia, but to also offer a comprehensive suite of phone and internet products with 5G access.
With that also comes a focus on providing a quality 5G network experience not just to Optus customers, but also to customers of smaller telcos. Optus is currently the only mobile network provider to allow smaller telcos, known as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), to also offer 5G phone plans on the Optus network. SpinTel and Aussie Broadband two of these smaller telcos to now offer 5G plans with Optus coverage.
“For us being authentic to the true attributes of 5G has always been our focus – rather than trying to build our network the fastest. This means delivering ultra-fast 5G directly into the hands of our customers so they can benefit from uninterrupted high-definition streaming and lightning fast downloads – connecting them with technology that improves their lives on our world class network.” said Mr Williams.
Do I really need a 5G phone plan?
With the expansion of 5G networks across the country, more and more smartphone manufacturers are offering a range of 5G-compatible devices across different price points. “We know that our customers want 5G, in fact eight out of every 10 devices we sell in store today are 5G capable.” added Mr Williams.
When it comes to accessing 5G, it’s clear that many Aussies still aren’t quite sold on their need for a 5G plan, or indeed a 5G-compatible mobile phone. Research conducted by Canstar Blue in 2021 surveying customers who have a phone on a plan found that 42% of respondents stated that they do not need 5G or care about upgrading, compared to 17% of respondents who said they planned to upgrade their device as soon as 5G becomes available to them. 33% of those surveyed stated that they would like to upgrade to 5G but will wait until their contract expires or they need a new phone, while 7% of respondents did not know what 5G is.
While some Aussies aren’t interested in 5G, over the next couple of years it’s likely that the majority of new phones being released will be 5G compatible. Already we’re seeing more and more devices, such as the newest iPhone 12 series and the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, being released with 5G compatibility by default. In addition to the more premium 5G devices, we’re also seeing cheaper 5G phones being released by other manufacturers, such as the OPPO A54 5G, the OPPO A74 5G, the Realme 7 5G and Motorola Moto G 5G. This is great news for Aussies who have a tighter budget, but don’t want to be left behind when it comes to accessing the latest in mobile technology.
Compare 5G mobile phone plans
If you’re keen to hop on a 5G phone and want to find a plan with the best value for your needs, you can compare phones on a plan from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone in the tables below — simply switch between the tabs to compare different devices. Keep in mind that Telstra does not include 5G network access on the $55 Small plan, while Optus and Vodafone include 5G access across all postpaid plans, while Woolworths Mobile stocks 5G devices but currently does not have 5G network access available.
The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Apple iPhone 12 Pro plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wide range of telco providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.
The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Samsung Galaxy S21+ plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly 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 which may contain links to a referral partner.