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 initially 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, darker purple indicates areas with coverage coming soon.

Telstra 5G Coverage SydneyTelstra 5G map showing Sydney and greater Sydney areas

Telstra 5G Coverage MelbourneMap of Telstra 5G coverage in Melbourne

 

Telstra 5G Coverage Brisbane

Map of Telstra 5G coverage in Brisbane 2020
Images: Telstra website

Telstra had planned 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 soon. Telstra has made plenty of progress with the roll out of 5G, so it seems the telco is on track to deliver even more coverage by the end of 2020. 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 several available to Telstra customers:

Samsung Galaxy S20 range in pink, blue and grey colours
Source: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G

The Samsung Galaxy S20 series launched early 2020 and each of three models (the S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra) come in a 4G version and a 5G version. For the 5G model, the phone does cost more, but if you’re in a 5G area, you might find it’s worth the upgrade. Telstra stocks all three 5G devices in the Galaxy S20 series.

Telstra offers the Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G on 24-month payment plans. Below is a selection of published 24-month Telstra plans for the 128GB Samsung Galaxy S20+ 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 Find X2 Pro

With a huge 6.7-inch OLED display, in-screen fingerprint scanner, sleek-looking ‘vegan’ leather material option, the OPPO Find X2 Pro offers plenty of screen space. It features three rear cameras – 48 MP wide-angle camera, 48 MP ultra wide-angle camera and 13 MP periscope telephoto camera with 10X hybrid zoom and up to 60X digital zoom, plus a 2*2130mAh battery (equivalent to 4260mAh battery) and 512GB storage with 12GB RAM.

Telstra offers the OPPO Find X2 Pro on 24-month device payment plans. Below is all published 24-month Telstra plans for the OPPO Find X2 Pro 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 A90 5G

Samsung’s Galaxy A90 5G offers a range of high-end features, with a lower price tag than you’ll find on the Note 10+ or S10 5G. The Android Pie device includes a 6.7-inch screen with Infinity-U Display and features a powerful 4,500mAh battery, plus 128GB of storage. The A90 5G also includes a triple rear camera setup, with a main 48-megapixel. 5-megapixel, and 8-megapixels lenses.

The Galaxy A90 is available on 24 and 36-month plans from Telstra. The following table shows a selection of published 24-month Telstra 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.

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 their 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

Extra Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • No 5G access

min. cost $15 over one month

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

Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • No 5G access

min. cost $25 over one month

20GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G network access included

min. cost $50 over one month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Large

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G network access included

min. cost $75 over one month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Cost^^/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 three of the telco’s postpaid phone plans with an accompanying 5G-compatible device. The Small plan for $55 (available as SIM-Only or bundled with a new device) is the only plan to not include access to Telstra’s 5G network. If you want to access Telstra 5G on a 5G-capable phone, you’ll need to sign up to the Medium plan for $65 (with 8GB of data), the Large plan for $85 (with 120GB of data) or the Extra Large plan for $115 (with 180GB of data), all of which include 5G access. Alternatively you can pay a $15/mth access fee on the small plan.

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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