Should I buy a 5G phone?

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5G is on its way in Australia. The new high-speed service is already available in some parts of major cities for Optus and Telstra customers, and Vodafone has just finished the first steps of its network in Western Sydney.

It’s safe to say 5G will become the new standard of phones from here on out. 5G is being rolled out world wide and everybody is jumping on board. There’s few phone brands that haven’t made forays into 5G, with the exception of Apple (their first phone with expected 5G connectivity, the iPhone 12, will be released later this year). You can find our full list of 5G enabled phones here.

Samsung, Oppo and Huawei have each launched 5G-compatible devices, and it’s safe to say 5G will become a staple of all of their future phones soon. But is it too early to jump on the 5G bandwagon? We’re here to help you through making the decision to buy into 5G or not.

Should you buy a 5G phone in 2020?

It might be best to wait for the network to be rolled out more across Australia, or at least throughout the entirety of major cities, before you grab a 5G enabled phone. While 5G is certainly more capable than 4G, it hasn’t been rolled out yet across Australia enough to notice too much of a difference. At the moment there’s nothing that a 5G phone can do that a 4G phone can’t do, so it might be worth holding on for a bit.

For a more in depth look into if 5G phones are worth picking up yet or not, there’s more in this article for you to check out.

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What is 5G?

Woman using a 5G phone

5G is the next generation of phone data speeds being rolled out across the country by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, as well as worldwide by major international carriers. 5G speeds are super fast, potentially offering 1Gbps and faster in download speeds, but it’s still in the early days. Maximum 5G speeds can outstrip those offered by the NBN, which could see 5G as an NBN killer.

As it’s still being rolled out, not a lot of Australia is covered. The three major telcos have made 5G a priority for this year, focusing on increased coverage across major metropolitan areas and capital cities.

What is the cheapest 5G phone?

Right now, the cheapest way you can get a month-to-month (24-month) 5G phone is with the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, at $79.95 from Telstra. This is a great way of dipping your toe into 5G, without committing too much money. You can also pick up other phone models pretty cheap on plans, with the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G starting at $89.50 from Woolworths and the Oppo Reno 5G starting at $93 from Optus.

Make sure that you’re looking out for data allowances while you’re shopping for a 5G phone. Telstra’s data allowances with 5G phones are very forgiving, but you should definitely keep an eye out for the best plan for you. While you might find device costs are similar between telcos, often the plan costs will determine how much you’ll pay each month.

To give you an idea of the price differences between telcos, the following table shows a selection of published 128GB Samsung Galaxy S20+ plans 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.

Should I get a 5G phone?

It’s going to take some time before it becomes the new standard, so it would be best to wait. 5G is certainly faster than 4G, but it hasn’t even rolled out to most of Australia yet, let alone the world. For right now, as most of Australia isn’t even close to a 5G signal, you could probably miss it entirely until the network is built – which is tough to say when it’ll be done.

Also, it might be worth sitting on your hands for a bit and waiting for 5G phones to get cheaper. 5G may be the next phase of phone networks, but that doesn’t mean you should spend heaps of money on it! You should expect to see cheaper 5G phones coming out over the next few years.

Keep in mind that even if you’re not yet covered by 5G, you’ll still be able to use 5G-ready phones on your telco’s 4G and 3G networks. So if you’re eyeing a particular 5G phone, but don’t live in a 5G-covered area, you can still use your dream device at 4G speeds.

For right now, you can hop on the 5G bandwagon by getting a phone plan with a 5G enabled phone. We’ve put together a quick list of 5G-enabled phones and plans for you to go through below.

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.

Is 5G better than 4G?

Yes… but it’s not available in a lot of places. If price is a factor, it’s probably a good idea to stick with 4G-only for now and pick up a cheaper phone, rather than jumping immediately onto a 5G model when there’s only a few hotspots live around the country.

For now, it comes down to where you live and what you need. Do you live in an area where 5G signals exist, do you need a super-fast phone signal, and are you happy to spend extra on a premium device? If your answer is either “yes” or “I will soon” to these questions, you should absolutely consider a 5G connection.

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