Telstra to offer 5G phones from Samsung, OPPO and LG

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Telstra is continuing its push to be the go-to 5G mobile network in Australia, announcing today it will be the first provider to bring several 5G devices to Aussie consumers.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn revealed three of the 5G-ready phones it will offer to customers in the first half of 2019. In addition to the just-announced Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Telstra will also be the first Australian telco to offer the LG V50 ThinQ, as well as OPPO’s first 5G smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Samsung’s first-ever 5G device will initially be a Telstra exclusive in Australia. Although we don’t yet know when the 6.7-inch device will be available, Telstra has already announced a free upgrade offer for customers who order the new Galaxy S10+ in the coming months: pick up the S10+ now, and you can swap to the S10 5G later without affecting your two-year contract.

Pricing for the S10 5G is still up in the air, but expect it to be a premium device in both quality and cost. The S10 5G will be available with 256GB of storage, will run Android 9.0 Pie, and feature a quadruple camera setup and all-day battery.

OPPO’s 5G phone

OPPO has confirmed it will release a 5G phone in partnership with both Telstra and Optus later this year. Details on the unnamed device are thin on the ground, but the handset will apparently feature OPPO’s newly-announced 10x lossless zoom triple-lens camera setup. Expect big things from this device when it’s finally unveiled.

LG V50 ThinQ

LG’s first 5G-enabled phone is a 6.4-inch upgrade to the 4G LG V40. The Android Pie device will offer a triple camera rear setup, plus dual cameras in front, and features a 4,000mAh battery with fast wireless charging. You’ll also get 128GB of storage, an ultra-fast processor, and water and dust resistance.

Again, it’s too early to know exactly what the 5G V50 will cost. The flagship LG V40 has been priced at $1,299 in Australia, but keep in mind that Telstra will be offering the new 5G phone on a two-year contract, that is effectively spreading the full price over 24 months of payments.

Examples of Telstra plans that may be available with 5G devices are below. The following table shows all published Telstra postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of advertised standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.

Telstra’s 5G network: rolling out and ready to go

Mr Penn also provided updates on Telstra’s continued 5G rollout, describing the company as being “5G-ready now”. Since August of 2018, the telco giant has been switching on 5G sites in selected areas of all major cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, and Hobart. Telstra is reportedly focusing on enabling 5G in ‘traffic hotspots’, such as busy city CBDs and regional centres, in an effort to maximise the number of Australians covered by 5G at launch.

By working with manufacturers to offer exclusive 5G handset access, Telstra is giving Australians who are eager to access 5G a serious incentive to switch to its mobile network. With over 200 5G-ready sites rolled out, 5G has become a key focus for the company – and with the network technology covered, it seems Telstra is simply waiting for device manufacturers to play catch-up.

However, the telco isn’t the only Australian provider building its strategy around the next-generation cellular tech. Optus has already announced its first 5G home broadband plan, priced at $70 for unlimited 5G data, and is planning to release 5G home wireless devices by mid-2019. As noted above, the telco will also join Telstra in offering OPPO’s first 5G phone to Australians later this year.

Vodafone is also working on its 5G network, but isn’t expected to make its 5G-enabled sites available to customers until 2020.

Huawei: foldable 5G phone coming soon

In other 5G-related news, Chinese manufacturer Huawei has unveiled its own first-ever foldable 5G phone – the Huawei Mate X – at Mobile World Congress. The upcoming device features an 8-inch screen that can fold in half, revealing dual 6.6-inch front and 6.38-inch rear displays. The phone will support 5G, offer dual SIM connectivity, and feature a 4,500mAh battery with super fast charging.

Huawei’s foldable 5G phone will be available with 512GB of storage, and is likely to hit stores midway through 2019. The bad news? It’s not cheap: Huawei has announced a price tag of €2,299, that’s approximately $3,650 Australian dollars.

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