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Telstra’s 5G network explained

5G has undergone a huge period of change in the past few years, with both Telstra and Optus officially switching on their respective networks in selected areas. While it’s still early days for the next-generation mobile technology, lucky Telstra customers can now try out the network in enabled areas now (provided they have a 5G-compatible device).

If you’re keen to give 5G a test run, you’ve probably got a lot of questions — such as where can you access 5G, which phones are 5G-capable, and how much it costs. We’ve put together a handy guide to Telstra’s new 5G network, covering the most common FAQs concerning 5G mobile and broadband.

In this guide we’ll cover:

Where is Telstra 5G available?

Telstra has been at the forefront of 5G technology in Australia since opening the 5G Innovation Centre in 2018. The telco has claimed several Australian firsts – including completing the first end-to-end standalone 5G call, being the first provider to enable 5G in all capital cities, and offering the first commercial 5G phones to Aussie consumers.

Over the last six months, Telstra has switched on 5G coverage in ten major Australian cities, albeit in selected areas. 5G is now live in city centres and airports, but coverage has yet to spread to most suburbs, or to less heavily populated locations.

As of November 2021, Telstra initially offered live 5G coverage in selected areas of the following major cities:

  • Adelaide
  • Brisbane
  • Canberra
  • Gold Coast
  • Hobart
  • Launceston
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney
  • Toowoomba

If you’re curious as to where exactly 5G is now live, you can view coverage maps for each city on Telstra’s website. However, be aware that these maps don’t include ‘indoor coverage’ – while you may be able to pick up a 5G signal outside, this doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the same network strength inside buildings. We’ve provided examples of Telstra’s 5G coverage in three major cities below; purple indicates areas where 5G is now live, darker purple indicates areas with coverage coming soon.

Telstra 5G Coverage Map: Sydney

Telstra 5G Map_Sydney

Telstra 5G Coverage Map: Melbourne

Telstra 5G Map_Melbourne

Telstra 5G Coverage Map: Brisbane

Telstra 5G Map_Brisbane

Image Credits: https://www.telstra.com.au/coverage-networks/our-coverage

How can I access Telstra’s 5G network?

To use 5G on your phone, you’ll need a device that can support the frequencies that 5G runs on in Australia. Fortunately, you don’t need to work out your phone’s compatibility yourself: 5G-capable smartphones are explicitly labelled as such, and there’s now more and more 5G phones available to Telstra customers:

Telstra 5G Phones

Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 series launched early 2024 and each of three models (the S24, S24+ and S24 Ultra) are 5G-capable. Telstra may also have stocks of older Samsung 5G devices including the Galaxy S23 series and the Galaxy S22 series.

Telstra offers the Samsung Galaxy S24 on 12, 24 and 36-month payment plans. Below is a selection of published 24-month Telstra plans for the 256GB Samsung Galaxy S24 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. 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.

iPhone 15

Apple’s first-ever 5G smartphones were launched at the end of 2020. The 2023 iPhone 15 series (which includes the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max) are all 5G-ready and compatible with Telstra’s 5G network.

The iPhone 15 is available on 12, 24 and 36-month plans from Telstra. The following table shows a selection of published 24-month Telstra phone plans for the 128GB iPhone 15 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.

Telstra 5G Mobile Broadband

Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro Modem
Image: Telstra

Looking for a 5G home internet option? Telstra had previously offered the HTC 5G Hub, however this device is no longer available from Telstra. It has now been replaced by a 5G Wi-Fi Pro modem, which supports mmWave technology. This device is now available to order from Telstra on a month-to-month mobile broadband plan. Telstra’s Medium and Large plans come with free 5G access for the life of your plan, with Extra Small and Small plans not including access to 5G (You’ll need to pay an additional $15/mth access fee). If you plan on picking up this 5G modem to pair with a plan and you want access to the 5G network, you’ll need to sign up to the $50 Medium or $75 Large plan.

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 5G Wi-Fi Pro modem. These are products with links to a referral partner.

Telstra Mobile Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Telstra mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

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

Small

  • SIM only plan – pay upfront via AutoPay
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • 5G access included
  • Share your data with up to 10 plans across your account

min. cost $25 over one month

30GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • SIM only plan – pay upfront via AutoPay
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • 5G access included
  • Share your data with up to 10 plans across your account

min. cost $58 over one month

75GBMax Data**/billing period $58Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Large

  • SIM only plan – pay upfront via AutoPay
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • 5G access included
  • Share your data with up to 10 plans across your account

min. cost $90 over one month

400GBMax Data**/billing period $90Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

How much does Telstra 5G cost?

Right now, Telstra’s 5G network is free to use on the telco’s 5G phone plans with an accompanying 5G-compatible device. In terms of Telstra’s three postpaid phone plans, the Basic plan for $62 (available as SIM-Only or bundled with a new device) is the only plan to have a speed cap on its 5G access, but 5G is included on all postpaid plans.

The same applies to 5G home broadband customers using the 5G Wi-Fi Pro modem, as outlined above. 5G is included on the Medium and Large mobile broadband plans only, so you’ll be paying a minimum of $50 per month for 5G access.

How fast is Telstra 5G?

Once you’re up and running on Telstra 5G, you can expect speeds significantly faster than the telco’s current 4G network. We’ve personally seen speed test results of more than 1,000 megabits per second with the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G in Sydney, and Telstra has also reported up to 1,900 megabits per second with the OPPO Reno 5G.

If you do fall under Telstra’s 5G umbrella, expect a serious boost in speeds and reduction in lag when using your 5G device. If you’re still waiting on 5G — as most of us are — you can still use any of the above devices on Telstra’s fast and efficient 4G and 4GX network, which is available across Australia.

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