Telstra’s 5G Network Explained

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2019 has been the year of 5G, 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 August 2019, Telstra offered live 5G coverage in selected areas of the following 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.

Telstra 5G Coverage Sydney

Telstra 5G Sydney

Telstra 5G Coverage Melbourne

Telstra 5G Melbourne

Telstra 5G Coverage Brisbane

Telstra 5G Brisbane
Images: Telstra

Telstra plans to offer 5G in at least 35 cities before mid-2020, including in more regional areas, and expects that over four million Australians will have some access to 5G coverage next year.  If you do happen to live or work in a Telstra 5G-enabled zone, you can try out the new network via several 5G-capable smartphones and devices.

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 four available to Telstra customers:

Telstra 5G phones

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Samsung’s newest Galaxy-range flagship hone features a 6.7-inch screen with the company’s new Infinity O display and OneUI interface, plus Android Pie and a 4,500mAh battery. The 5G-capable S10 also includes four cameras in the rear, offering a state-of-the-art smartphone camera experience.

The S10 5G is available on Telstra’s 24 and 36-month device payment plans, which can be paired with the telco’s postpaid SIM-only plans. Below is a selection of published 24-month Telstra plans for the 256GB Samsung Galaxy S10 5G 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.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G

The super-sized Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G comes with a 6.8-inch screen, S-Pen stylus, and massive 4,300mAh battery for all-day power. It also features a brilliant quadruple camera setup in back, plus a 10-megapixel selfie lens, complemented by Samsung’s Infinity display and OneUI interface.

Telstra currently offers the Note 10+ 5G on its 24-month and 36-month payment plans. Below is a selection of published 24-month Telstra plans for the 512GB Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G 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.

OPPO Reno 5G

With a huge 6.6-inch AMOLED display, in-screen fingerprint scanner, and new ‘rising’ camera lens, the OPPO Reno 5G offers plenty of screen space. It features three rear cameras – 48-megapixel, 8-megapixel, and 13-megapixel – for up to 10x zoom, plus a huge 4,065mAh battery and a microSD card slot for extended storage.

Telstra offers the Reno 5G on 24-month or 36-month device payment plans. Below is a selection of published 24-month Telstra plans for the OPPO Reno 5G 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.

LG V50 ThinQ

LG’s V50 ThinQ features a main 6.4-inch QHD+OLED display, and a second clip-on screen measuring 6.2-inches – perfect for mobile gaming and multi-tasking, and without the technical problems currently plaguing new ‘foldable’ smartphones. Camera-wise, you’ll get five in total – three in the rear (including 12-megapixel standard and telephoto lenses, and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera), and dual 8-megapixel and 5-megapixel lenses in front.

You can pick up the ThinQ on 24 or 36-month device payment plans from Telstra, then add your choice of four month-to-month Telstra mobile plans. Below are the month-to-month Telstra postpaid plans you can pair with the LG V50 ThinQ, not including your device payment. These are published plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of 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 with links to a referral partner.

Telstra 5G Mobile Broadband

HTC 5G Hub

Looking for a 5G home internet option? The HTC 5G Hub is now available to order from Telstra on 24 or 36-month mobile broadband plans. Telstra’s Medium and Large plans come with free 5G access for the life of your plan, with Small and Extra Small options including free 5G until 30 June, 2020.

Telstra is pricing the HTC 5G Hub from $27.33 per month on a 36-month plan, or $41 per month on a 24-month plan. The device works with Telstra’s new 5G network, as well as the telco’s existing 4G coverage, and can connect up to 20 WiFi enabled devices (plus a one-gigabit ethernet connection).

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 HTC 5G Hub. These are products with links to a referral partner.

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

Extra Small

  • Unlimited data capped at 1.5Mbps
  • Free 5G access until 30 June 2020

min. cost $15 over one month

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Small

  • Unlimited data capped at 1.5Mbps
  • Free 5G access until 30 June 2020

min. cost $25 over one month

10GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • Unlimited data capped at 1.5Mbps
  • Includes 5G network access

min. cost $50 over one month

50GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Large

  • Unlimited data capped at 1.5Mbps
  • Includes 5G network access

min. cost $75 over one month

100GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

How much does 5G cost?

Right now, Telstra’s 5G network is free to use on all of the telco’s postpaid phone plans with an accompanying 5G-compatible device. 5G will be included free on postpaid plans from now until June 2020, after which customers on Telstra’s $50 Small and $60 Medium plans can switch back to 4G-only, or continue using 5G for an additional $15 per month. If you’re a customer on the $80 Large or $100 Extra Large plans, good news: 5G is included for the life of your plan.

The same applies to 5G home broadband customers using the HTC 5G Hub, as outlined above. 5G is included free on all mobile broadband plans until 30 June, 2020; after this date, customers on the $15 Extra Small and $25 Small plans will need to pay an extra $15 each month for 5G access. However, Telstra’s $50 Medium and $75 Large mobile broadband plans will continue to include 5G service at no extra cost.

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 new 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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